This post is as much for me as it is for anybody else, though those who really like to keep very close tabs on even the most nascent of projects of mine (which I think is about four people) might find it interesting. As usual, September has been a month of gradually trying to force my brain back into engaging with creative projects again after a month of exhausting it up at the Edinburgh Fringe, which can be a tad frustrating but also exciting as you start to get your head around what you're going to occupy yourself with in the months to come. So, more for my own sanity and sense that I'm slowly starting to get things under control, here's a brief rundown of the projects I'll be devoting my time and energy into over the autumn, my vague plan for where they might go and any other salient details. I hope you all find it vaguely interesting!
Hello, Goodbye. After a Fringe run, it's usually the case that I'll do a couple of low-key London outings for my show and then it'll disappear into the ether. This year I had a bit more word-of-mouth success up in Edinburgh than in previous years and am also still very proud of my show and keen to show it to people rather than feeling ready to make a new one, so I'll be taking Hello, Goodbye to a few places before I let it disappear. It's currently booked in at the Liverpool Comedy Festival, Dead Cat Comedy in Manchester and the Oxford Playhouse over the next few months and I'm waiting for confirmation of dates at the Vaults Festival in Waterloo, the Leicester Comedy Festival and the Glasgow International Comedy Festival. After that I think it'll be done with and it'll be on to something new, if a new show seems to be shaping up to take its place. Hopefully I'll get it filmed before it goes as well.
Deathbed. This is the sitcom about a socially anxious guy feeling obliged to sit through endless visits to the hospital deathbed of his ailing grandfather which I presented at the Soho Theatre in June as part of The Comedy Project. I got a lot of really great feedback about it and have been rewriting it a bit over the last few months to structure the story a bit better and rework some of the characters. It's a script I'll continue to develop with people over the coming months in the hope of moving it towards the prospect of one day making it into an actual thing. No idea how long that'll take, but I'm very proud of it and keen to keep working hard on it, so watch this space.
Robert Johnson And The Devil Man. Earlier this year, my old pal Matthew Highton and I collaborated together on our first short film, Double Act, with me writing a script from an idea of mine and Matt on directing and producing duties. Stuart Laws let us produce it as part of the Turtle Canyon Summer Season and was our excellent DoP. You can watch the film here. I'm now working on a new script which I'd like to make as part of the same creative partnership, as long as Matt continues to like the idea and Stu has time to fit us in again. It's early days but the idea is about a modern-day fan of Robert Johnson who tries to follow in his hero's footsteps by selling his soul to the Devil. Like Double Act, it's about friendship and the price of ambition, though this time explored through a Faustian pact rather than through a murderous showbiz duo. Script is still being redrafted, but hopefully we'll start to push ahead with this more in the coming months.
The Girl Whisperer. Little Rock Pictures produced two series of this webseries of mine which sees me, as myself, trying to navigate through my own loneliness and inability to deal sensibly with the world around me, via the advice of various friends who veer between indulging me and despairing over me, played by Harriet Kemsley, John Kearns and Ralf Little. We're still working out what the future of this project will be - I'm going to be submitting it to a few webseries festivals around the world, and we're figuring out whether the next step is to make more, to find new opportunities for it, to change its format or its angle slightly to keep it fresh, etc etc. It's certainly a project I'd like to do more with as I love the tone we established and the characters and relationships we've built up in it, so hopefully there'll be more news to come on this series in the future. You can watch the whole series here.
Assorted Independent Film Projects. The three projects directly above are all film projects or scripts intended for film that I'm hoping to develop with the support and help of other people and production companies, but one of the things I'd like to do more of this year is to produce more of my own independent film stuff in my spare time as well. There's a little group of other comics and filmmakers who I'm chatting to about trying to start up some sort of regular collaboration, and I'm hoping to learn more about editing so I can be more prolific in producing my own work too. Ideally I'd like to try and make one self-made film (or, if not entirely self-made, then an independent production made quickly and cheaply in collaboration with other people of a similar mindset) every month from January. I've currently got a sketch about old school-friends, a documentary about chips, a puppetry idea about Hello, Goodbye's Little Man character, and a short film idea about a time-travelling private detective to potentially flesh out, so I should be able to get to at least April. At the very least, I'd like to be making more stuff more consistently this year.
Weirdos Shows. As ever, while I beaver away in private on my own scripts and projects and ideas, some of which will come to light and some of which won't, Weirdos remains my favourite outlet to just go and indulge in stupidity in public in front of a lovely open-minded audience and alongside all my favourite imaginative idiots in the comedy business. There are a few Weirdos projects lined up over the next few months that I'll be involved with - the two shows we're taking to Oxford Playhouse next week, a pair of Hallowe'en-themed shows we'll be doing at the new Angel Comedy venue in October, and then the fifth annual Weirdos Panto in December, My Big Fat Weirdos Christmas Wedding, which this year will run at the Leicester Square Theatre. All of them will be fantastic and feature an incredible cast of idiots, so keep checking back here for more information on them. The Weirdos podcast Jalapeno High will also continue being released in the next few weeks, and the Weirdos webseries A Load Of Croc will be coming out in the autumn too, so keep an eye out for both, I pop up playing a few silly roles in them.
Prog Rock Podcast. For months I've been tentatively talking to a friend about possibly setting up a podcast about comedians' niche musical obsessions, probably starting with my own obsession with prog rock and other obscure art-rock cul-de-sacs, and then widening out into the other musical anorak-type stuff that various guest comedians would come in and try to talk about. Now I've not got the spectre of Edinburgh looming up, it's something I'd like to finally try and do a proper job of work on, so once I've properly worked out what the format would be and lined up my first guest then I'll probably get on with recording this.
New Live Stuff. As you might be able to tell from all the above, my brain isn't really going towards live performance as a place to generate ideas at the moment. I've got loads of stuff I want to develop or make from scratch in film, audio, and so on and, while things like Weirdos, Comedians' Cinema Club, ACMS and a few festival performances of Hello, Goodbye will keep me gigging and keep my brain ticking over on the live side of things, I'm certainly not trying to write new material at the moment or generate new ideas for shows (though the title Look At Me, Don't Look At Me seems to appeal for some reason). You can still check the Gigs tab to see where you can see me live, and I might be trying out new stuff every now and again, but it won't be a priority for me until the New Year I don't think. Until then, do come and see Hello, Goodbye, it's very good and I still really enjoy performing it, hence why I'm not overly concerned with writing anything new just yet.
And that's it. No idea if this has been interesting to read or not, like I say I've written it mostly to help compartmentalise my own thoughts with regard to each of these and help me to kick-start my brain into really progressing with each of them, but if you do like the sound of any of these then keep checking back and there'll be updates on when any of these assorted vague plans and ideas inches closer to fruition! All the best in the meantime,