On a typical night at 2am I am up writing news scripts for Rocketboom. It’s a time of major stress and fear. The script must be completed by 7 or 8am and a lot of people are going to see it so the expectations are pretty high.
It’s a lot like what I used to imagine the life of a daily newspaper cartoonist was like by being doomed to come up with something really clever, interesting and entertaining everyday. There are some people that can do that, but I don’t consider this ti be my destiny, it’s just what I’ve had to do the best I can.
I start to get nervous and imagine the Daily Show with John Stewart. I count how many writers they have on my fingers. About 18. Then I’ll look back down at my script and wonder if I’m kidding myself. Time is running out, I only have about 4 hours left.
I try to keep myself in the shoes of the audience. It’s almost always about that one person who is the extremist that I’m concerned about. For every single story and every single word, there is someone who will hang on it and go nuts if it’s not right. If I can account for the extremities, it will help to keep them moving along.
I check the news tips folder in my Apple mail again and log into Bloglines to run through the new posts in my aggregated list of sites – it’s mostly about finding the unique stories that are already interesting and entertaining, when it’s a really good one, and not yet popularized, internationally. I email Ellie and she sends over a good list of links and I remember that Joanne will help assure the structure is sound.
I would suggest that most shows fall short, in part, because of poor writing. Just from observing, it seems like most people are not that great at story telling and their jokes are not that funny. They are not picking the more interesting stories and they are not answering the important questions. I know what you are thinking: Hypocrite! Ok, we’re working on it.
And so with no further ado, I’m happy to announce that last week we hired four writers to contribute to Rocketboom scripts moving forward.
I always imagined – true or not, I still don’t know exactly- that there are these conference rooms in Los Angeles where groups of writers sit around the table and just laugh and write jokes all day long. One person throws out a joke about a bad movie, another person across the table one-ups that person, everyone laughs, and the story evolves and becomes more and more jam packed with references and entertaining information. [Photo of writers for the excellent Simpsons series]
We all agreed, we created this feeling together while working on writing scripts, over email. HQ in NYC of course, with one person in Philadelphia, one in Colorado, one in Canada and one in England, we all meet over email at certain times, send in stories, thread them together and then write full scripts, typically one upping each other, again and again. Obviously having four or five people working on writing a script can be much better than having just one. Simultaneously, we’re now out of a bottle neck on the amount of content that we can produce per week and thus we are much better positioned to grow the content offerings.
Now we are in need of a tool like Backpack or some other collaborate software to stay organized while contributing online together from around the world. If anyone has any suggestions we would love to hear them.
Welcome aboard Chris, Alphaxion, Anna and Justin!
Chris Johnson a.k.a. Alphaxion:
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada