Friday, August 22, 2008

A Non-Broadcast. And A Broadcast.

On Tuesday night we ran a kind of workshop performance of Genius with a small audience at the Drill Hall in central London. The point of the show was to try out some new things and solving some of the problems that are thrown up now that we have to think about filming the show instead of just taking the sound.

We're pretty confident that we know how to best handle the heart of the show - the ideas sent to us by potential geniuses - it's the stuff around it that we needed to experiment with. But there's no way of just trying out that stuff... we obviously needed to run a proper show as well. If you were planning to build a wall and you knew what bricks you were going to use but had yet to make your mind up on the mortar... you wouldn't be able to test the mortar without using a few bricks as well.

I'm very grateful to the people who came down to pitch their ideas - especially to a couple of people who stepped in at short notice after two of our intended idea-pitching-potential-geniuses had to pull out.

We videoed proceedings so that Team Genius could review it later and see what things looked like from number of different angles. But because we were recording it we had no choice but to turn the noisy air conditioning unit off. Rarely have I performed in as uncomfortably hot space... which isn't me complaining... indeed it's the audience I felt sorry for. It's can't be easy sitting in a sauna and watching a third variation for an ending to the show you've already seen reach a satisfying conclusion. But they stuck with it and continued to give us some really valuable feedback right to the end. They really couldn't have been much nicer. (With the possible exception of one person who seemed very happy but really wanted me to be performing something he'd already seen me do 8 or 9 years ago... sigh.)

Still, it was a very satisfying night on the whole. If you came along: thanks for the feedback and sorry for the almost unbearable heat.

Team Genius spent Wednesday deconstructing what had happened. To be honest it wasn't too hard to work out which bits were going to survive and which weren't. Laughter is unequivocal like that.

Aerials, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

On Thursday I was just round the corner from the Drill Hall at the BBC Radio Theatre for a recording of Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. I've done the show a couple of times before and it's always been a pleasure but this time I turned up feeling a bit underprepared.

Because I'm in production on something like Genius it starts to occupy my every waking thought. I'm in the office five days a week - and because of Tuesday's workshop I worked through the weekend too, getting the ideas straight in my head, tweaking scripts and so on. But I needn't have worried... it's such a self-assured show and the best things to come up always emerge out of the conversation anyway. In the end it didn't feel like work at all.

And the theatre was pleasantly cool too. Which was a relief.
It goes out today (Friday) at 6.30pm.


Unknown said...

hehe, yeah it was a tad warm in there. Perhaps we should get some genius to invent a nice little personal air conditioning bubble for everyone so we could all sit in comfort.

Glad you got what you needed from the night though, I think the show's going to be a great success. In an odd way it kinda reminds me of Room 101, but in reverse.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, if you were underprepared last night at charm offensive it really didn't show. We turned up early to be in the front row (so it was an extra nbice suprise to find out one of the guests was yourself,) and you seemed on top form, it's just a shame that your Clarkson comment will never see the light of day.

Anonymous said...

we tried to get tickets for tv genius and they're all gone apparently. boo. good luck with it all anyway.


Anonymous said...

"it's just a shame that your Clarkson comment will never see the light of day."

Don't leave us wondering!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, not Clarkson, that was something else, I meant his David Cameron comment, which would sound odd out of context.

Gio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gio said...

"indeed it's the audience I felt sorry for. It's can't be easy sitting in a sauna and watching a third variation for an ending to the show you've already seen reach a satisfying conclusion."

To be honest I hadn't noticed how hot it was until about half way through the alternative starts/endings...

Anonymous said...

Mike (failed applicant to become a genius). I stood in for my friend Damian to present his idea of collective nouns being the sound of said animal. Damian had got stage fright and bottled out partly due to failing to previously to make animal noises and partly because he was bitter that his witty retort "you are just trying to make an ass out of me" wasn't used in the final radio edit.
I did enjoy the whole process and big thanks to Dave who really took the time to speak to us contestants. It seems an almost sceintific process to make the transition from radio to TV and sorts the men from the boys (see earlier comments). Like Dave I tried to make the audience laugh with a few jokes, unlike Dave the audience didn't laugh, perhaps that had something to do with calling them idiots.

Andre Angleberry said...

Dave, I have been an avid inventor for years - non of them are of any use, unlike your bike trailer.

Check out

I've got loads more that I haven't got round to adding to the blog.

Andre Angleberry said...

...I've just remembered, I also have, which as you can probably imagine is full of useful ideas.

Check it out:

Anonymous said...

Andre's blog (unvent) is a Genius goldmine! Get him on the show! (he even does his own drawings!)