Wednesday, 21 November 2007

COLLABORATION -- advice sought!

As my esteemed readers may know, Lock and Load is currently collaborating on a comedy pilot.

First of all, let me tell you that the writing of comedy is a very serious business. Secondly, I should like some advice, opinions or thoughts on the collaborative process. Is it best to write our own versions then share for feedback or is it better for one of us to start off and then pass it round? Bearing in mind that we are all agreed on the basic storyline.

Thanking you.

10 comments:

Chip Smith said...

If it was me and we were starting from scratch, I'd be tempted to 'pencil in' a few rough notes by way of scenes and dialogue ideas and distribute for further comment - I don't think I'd be tempted at such an early stage to go all out and get a first draft down for everyone else to comment on (might that look a bit presumptuous? I don't know...)

The only thing I really know about this collaborative writing lark is that all egos must be checked in at the door (and I speak from bitter experience here)!

Tom said...

Can't offer any experience but I seem to recall that Messrs Rossio and Elliot would write alternate scenes individually and then review together. Or something. I'm sure it's on their site.

Elinor said...

Thanks you blokes!

Tom, I'll check out the Wordplay site.

I totally agree about the ego thing, Chip. The same goes for feedback on solo projects too. Worth it though, if you keep your ego out of the equation, it does the story no end of good.

Far away said...

Yes I'd say you need a system Elinor - brainstorm together, then allocate scenes or whatever for each writer. Then circulate all the drafts, read, come back together to review /feedback then re-allocate material (maybe to different writers)for rewrite etc...
I'm sure it will fall into place as it progresses.....

Elinor said...

Thanks FA, that makes sense.

We met with the T-shirt designers today and they were really pleased with the work so far.

Piers said...

This is what worked for me.

1)
If at all possible: write in the same room. One of you drives the computer, the other kibbitzes. Take turns.

2)
Then when the draft's done, one of you rewrites it. Then the second person rewrites that. Then the first person rewrites that.

3)
Repeat 2) until both are happy.

Elinor said...

Thank you kindly Piers! What does'kibbitzes' mean?

Piers said...

It's to stand over someone's shoulder and make comments about what they're doing.

John Soanes said...

I can only really speak of comedy writers, but as I understand it, Cleese and Chapman would be in the same room, bouncing ideas and one of them writing things down (I think Cleese said that there's always one person in a comedy writing partnership who's the note-taker or typist). Whereas Elton and Curtis would send each other drafts of the entire Blackadder episodes and then re-write each other's stuff until they reached some kind of final draft...
J

Elinor said...

Thanks for that Piers and Jon.

Hmm...not sure about standing over people's shoulders. Not sure I could bear it myself.

I have proposed to my two collaborators that we take an act each, write and swap, write again, swap again and so on. Quite handy having three writers because the majority view wins the day. No ego problems so far but the night is young...