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Friday 29th January 2016

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It’s been almost exactly eight years now since I started podcasting (and just over eight years since I asked my now wife to be my girl and she asked me, “What would that involve?” Hope she’s worked that out by now - she may not have agreed had she realised) and the experiment continues. It’s been interesting and usually good fun and I have put out a lot of content since then, mostly for no direct payment. But somehow this arse about tit business model has worked and it feels like it’s getting to a point where it is both potentially getting more exciting in its own right and also leading to me getting other paid work as a result of people realising that I am OK at what I do. Given that on top of those eight years of podcasting there was another seventeen years of professional work, that should give you some idea of how much time and effort goes into being even just a relative success (and some people on Twitter assume because they don’t see me on TV any more that my career is fucked and I live in a gutter somewhere, so the success is definitely relative). Tom Binns who I first worked alongside in Edinburgh and on the radio in the mid-90s is currently filming his first solo TV project. It can take a long time to get places in this competitive and unforgiving business (and I think it’s a good thing if it does, as there’s much to learn and in hindsight I wish that my initial foray into this world had taken a bit longer to get going, if only so I could have appreciated how lucky I was) and I think a lot of the secret of relative success is to just keep going. If you have some worth and some skill, eventually someone will see it and if you don’t have the talent then the long years of work will sort you out, by either teaching you how to be better or starving you to death. Many times I have felt like giving up- in December I had more or less decided that I couldn’t write scripts any more- but you’ve got to pick yourself up and have another go. You have to embrace or at least overcome rejection and be tenacious and accept that there’s an awful lot of luck involved, but the harder you work, the better your luck will get.

It feels a little bit now like things are starting to swing in my direction. I am really pleased with the latest script, which stayed buried inside me for months as if under concrete, but then suddenly emerged in a matter of days in one of the best first drafts I think I’ve ever written, I am really pleased with the material for Happy Now? the tour seems to be mainly selling well (except in Croydon and Stafford), the relentless Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts (there’s been a new one every week for the last thirty-something Wednesdays) seem to permeating through and bringing in new listeners, we’re taking a leap forward in doing something more ambitious with the nearly all new AIOTM and other potential job offers are coming in. I had a positive meeting this morning about taking on something that would be almost a proper job, certainly a very regular one and then this afternoon I had an unexpected amount of fun recording on a talking heads programme. It had been something I’d been a bit reluctant to do, as the talking head format can often just be people watching a clip and then saying what has happened in it and also this particular programme was about funny football clips, which was a bit out of my comfort zone and which I am only obliquely interested in and not very knowledgeable about and which had the potential to be blokey in a way that I am not very good at. I thought it might end up with me saying something along the lines of “I sure love footballing, footballing around. Some people like hitting balls with their a bat or racquet, but not me. I say why use some kind of hitting device when you can just use your foot. Kick kick."

But actually it turned out to be quite a joy. The team behind the show had found clips that were funny in themselves, but which had a lot of scope for improvisational exploration, they were a friendly and welcoming crew and my lack of sporting knowledge actually proved to a bit of a bonus, because it forced me to talk about the clips and the players in a more detached way, which will be a nice contrast to those who understood who all the people were. And all the podcasting I have done, I think, makes me pretty good at just chatting away until something funny comes out and I tend to hit the funny stuff pretty quickly. Being paid to talk shit might be ultimately worthless, but I am glad it’s something I am getting better at.

I suppose the point I am making is that this stuff takes a long time to bear fruit, but if the embarrassment, shame and failure don’t stop you, then eventually it can start to pay off.

I may not get the job and my sitcom may not got made and AIOTM might not get kickstarted, or they all might happen and I am going to be stupidly busy. But I expect nothing so I won't be (too) disappointed.


The latest newsletter with information about the tour and what I know so far about AIOTM (we will probably set up the kickstarter next week) is up here. Or subscribe on the newsletter page and get that sent direct to your inbox every month.



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