Saturday, 23 February 2013

Newsjack - more thoughts on sketches


Having performed a very brief analysis of tbe last episode 2 and episode 1 of series 8 of newsjack there are some points that I kinda feel that I have to cover.

12 & 13 sketches
In a episode of newsjack there are around 11-15 sketches in episode (in those 2 episodes it was 12 & 13).

28 Minute show
Newsjack is a 28 minute show.

24 minutes of sketches and 4 minutes of one-liners and jackapps
According to this posting from the producers about jackapps and one-liners.   Basically they are aiming for 24 minutes of sketches.

Average of 2 minute sketches
Therefore we can assume that based on average of 12 sketches within a 24 minute period.   Newsjack are looking for around 12 sketches of 2 minutes to fill that 24 minutes.   Now, nobody ever complains about a short sketch.   So if you submit a 1 minute sketch, awesome, that will mean that you could have 13 or 14 sketches.   Are they likely to have 24 sketches of 1 minute.   Somehow I doubt it.
More importantly, are they likely to take a sketch of 5 minutes.   Hahaha, no ways.
So aim for a 2 minute sketch.  If it's shorter, cool.   If it's longer, time to edit.  Do you really need that joke?

12 sketch average
So this is something, I have been getting really wrong.   And it's kinda obvious.   They have 12 sketches to cover the news.   Therefore if you are covering minor news items for your sketches, you are reducing your chances of getting on the show.   I kinda thought that if i covered less well known stories then I would have a better chance of getting on the show.   Totally wrong!!!!!!   I'll talk about this a little more on the next posting.

Major news stories
BUT, think about this.  They have to cover the major news items.   They have to!!!  Wouldn't it be weird for episode 1 for them not to have some sketches on the pope, or horsemeat?   You couldn't have 12 sketches taken up by minor news stories.    So write sketches on the major topics.   Now that's not to say that if you write a brilliant sketch on minor news stories that it won't get on.   I think good writing will probably get on regardless.   But you are making it harder for yourself.  I think.   Just my thoughts. And the producers seem to confirm this on one of their videos, where they talk about people sending in minor stories.   They said they want fresh angles on the major new stories.

So, write sketches on major news stories with fresh-angles.   Confine smaller stories to oneliners and jackapps.

Will talk about this a bit more in a next posting.

So i want to the recording of episode 1, and did my analysis.   So one of the things, I am learning about writing sketches.   And I haven't yet cracked this.   It's not really about the funny lines.
It's about an interesting and fresh premise and angle.   However it's all about the characters.   Listen to the show.   How does Justin speak.   What voices does pippa or nadia tend to do.   What impressions does lewis like to do.

Some of them are pretty obvious.  within 2 episodes Ed Milliband, Brian Cox were both covered by lewis.  Look at previous episodes, Silvio berlusconni and boris johnson appeared.     So if a news item appears where one of these characters are prominent, you can probably bet your ass that you have a better chance of getting on air (if you write to the character, do fresh jokes, and give it an interesting angle).    Same sort of point for Nadia, if you can have characters that bring that bring out her voice talents, do it.   Interesting accents, geordie / norther accents, playful gurlie accents etc.

Will talk about this a bit more later!!!

Use the cast
4 cast members.   2 are female, 2 are male.   one male cast member does lots of impressions (lewis).  one male cast member has a serious voice and mainly does interview style stuff (justin).  3 female members of cast.  Pippa tends to do the more serious voices, nadia tends to do the more playful gurlie voices (she's closer to lewis).    Sorry to offend if I am wrong, I am just saying what I have seen from the 2 episodes.   I haven't seen margaret perform so i can't comment.
So, my point is if you don't write to this cast, you have a problem.
If you just write male roles, you ain't getting on.   If you are not wrting to their talents, you ain't getting on.
Make interesting sketches that can be performed by male and female performers and use their voice talents.

It's not about dialog
Again something, i missed and my own writing doesn't reflect.   When you listen to the show.  Every sketch is about the character and the voice.   Funny dialog doesn't necessarily doesn't translate to a good sketch.  Every sketch has interesting voices etc.  You have to write for the characters.

Anyways, I hope this helps me improve my writing in the future and maybe you

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