And, without further ado, here are the main goals I'm setting myself for 2016:
1. More Festivals, Fewer Gigs - As I mentioned in the previous post, 2016 is the year I'm going to focus in on what I'm really good at rather than trying to master every single comedy discipline. As such, because I'm more naturally suited either to doing fun, silly full hour comedy shows or to fun, silly collaborative projects than to 20-minute stand-up sets, I'm going to be gigging less. I'll still do it whenever I'm asked, of course, as I always really love performing live, but I won't be seeking it out as much. Instead, I'll be trying to do more comedy and arts festivals where I can do full shows, be they new pieces or perhaps repeat performances of previous shows, because those are the kinds of contexts I feel more naturally funny in. I'm already booked in to do Penny Matthew's day-long comedy festival "Dr. Penny's Cabinet of Curiosities" in Swansea in January, Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival in February, Glasgow Comedy Festival in March, and the Brighton Fringe in May, and then probably Edinburgh again in August. There may be a few other gaps to fill in as well.
2. An Edinburgh Show Of Some Sort - I'll be doing Edinburgh again, of course, because I really love it and I find it very creatively fulfilling to work towards a new hour every year. In accordance with my general instincts outlind above, the show this year will try to move away from being an hour of one man doing stand-up and more towards something that's structured around a conceptual premise. I know what that premise will be, but won't go into it too much yet as I haven't yet previewed it to work out how it'll go, and I don't want to spoil the surprise. I also haven't decided on a title yet, though my two favourites as Eh Guys? and Am I Still Doing Stand-Up? I Hadn't Noticed, as a nice little Richard Curtis homage.
3. Joz Norris's Breakfast of Champions - This is my show for Leicester and is a bit different to the others. For the other festivals I'll be doing some sort of work-in-progress thing combining some bits of last year's show with some ideas for the new Edinburgh show. For Leicester, I'm doing a site-specific performance art thing where I try to do one comedy show in two venues at the same time. It'll be performed both in the Criterion and on Bob's BlundaBus at 13:00 on Saturday 20th February, with me running between the two and using a bit of multimedia trickery to make it work. It will either be a technically ingenious triumph, or a very funny, breathless mess. Either way it'll be worth seeing.
4. LittleRock Pictures - I released my first ever proper short film series in the autumn, which was really well receive and got lots of great feedback from major industry professionals, which is great - a massive thank you to the people at LittleRock Pictures for helping me make it and for all their support. Sometime in January we'll be filming another seven short episodes for the internet, which gradually move away from the dating premise and cover more general ideas about facing the world with anxiety, so there's likely to be a name change from The Girl Whisperer. Whatever it ends up being called, we'll hopefully have them ready to go up later in the spring, and I hope you all enjoy them! Once they're up I'll continue developing projects with LittleRock, either with a view towards potentially developing further web-based comedy content professionally, or perhaps trying to pitch a longer TV sitcom script that expands on the characters and ideas in the webseries. No idea how any of this will turn out, but it's very exciting and humbling to have such an excellent production company on board helping me to make and promote my ideas.
5. Other Writing Projects - One of the things that emerged from The Girl Whisperer and helped to inform my earlier decision about gigging, was a lot of feedback I received that my style of writing and performing felt better suited to the screen than stage, and that the essence of what made me a funny person came through more clearly in those videos than it necessarily does when I try to do a club set. I had a feeling that was the case myself, too, so this year I'm treating live work very much as a place to experiment and have fun, and am focusing more of my professional attention on trying to write and act more in film. As such, as well as the stuff I'm developing with LittleRock, I'm working on a few other written projects for TV as well - I'm co-writing a sitcom called Deathbed with Charlie Dinkin, which is loosely based on the last few weeks in the life of my grandad, who passed away at the end of this year. What we do with it is uncertain, as with any such project, but we're hoping to try and start pitching it about once we've finished writing the pilot, and we'll see what happens. Jon Brittain and I are also hoping to write an animated project called The Town, about a strange, absurdist little parochial town and the bureaucracy that governs it, and that's currently in development with Hoot Comedy. Finally, I've also written a short black comedy film called Double Act which (a real shocker here) isn't written for me to star in, but is just an idea I liked and would like to see made. Matthew Highton might potentially end up directing it if we can find some people to help us make it. This one's less attached to people than the others, so I have even less of an idea of who will make it and when and how, but I really like the script I've written and hope we can do something with it.
6. Other Acting Projects - Of course, I'm also always keen to do as much comic acting as possible outside of just stuff I've written, so hopefully I'll do some more of that this year as well, though of course that's less in my own hands than the previous points. I do have one acting job in the diary already, though, and that's a short film called Survival Badge which is filming in February. I'll be playing Pat, a boy who has an intense fear of human contact and is sent to join the Scouts. Considering the director doesn't know me, I think his casting is impeccable.
7. Comedian's Cinema Club and ACMS - The other new comedy gangs I've become involved with march on apace in 2016 as well, so hopefully I'll be able to continue working on them in the year to come. Comedian's Cinema Club did a show sponsored by TimeOut just before Christmas and there's apparently talk of doing a few more in partnership with them early this year, though we have to wait for confirmation of a venue before we know more. Eric Lampaert, the CCC head honcho, is also keen to expand Cinema Club from a live night and a podcast to also include online film-making, so we may be making some film spoof sketches later this year. As for ACMS, I'm apparently allowed to just join in whenever I like now, so I'll be performing there in Leicester on Valentine's Day, and there's also talk of doing some ACMS's in Paris, which I'll obviously leap aboard if I'm allowed. I like Paris.
And that's about it, I reckon. Fingers crossed I get to at least nudge ahead with the majority of those. Heres' to a great 2016, and I hope all yours bring you all you wish for too! Much love and Happy New Year,