I was watching Moneyball the other day and one thing struck me, what if the same principles were applied to British Media?
The baseball concept was to find undervalued players to make up for budget shortfalls and showed that the system was working off a flawed concept.
To use one genre as an example, current television comedy is using a similar now flawed concept that is ripe for reinvention. From my experience, the talent scouts currently employed at the major production companies seem to follow the same tradition of discovering stars that translate well to television. By translate I mean the usual footlights type. This has worked previously in creating iconic programmes but for the last few years that way of bold thinking has fallen to the wayside. The output is all the same and the format is becoming stale because if it. Turn on the TV and innovation has all but stopped.
No matter where you look, these same faces appear on television talking the same comedic language.
Instead of trying to replicate the same televisual template, the Indies should be hiring people who think out of the box and stop searching for what would fit into the current lineup. Everyone is playing it safe for the sake of ratings but bold choices are for the brave and the rewards can be more enduring.
Two examples are The Real McCoy and Goodness Gracious Me that literally created an audience nobody thought existed. The Office also made the sheer boredom of office life gripping viewing and Chris Morris’s output is pure anarchy.
Obviously it’s not just down to the Indies as the commissioners need to be open to these unique ideas and be involved in the risk. Historically there have always been “quiet slots” to try out ideas so the gamble is minimised.
I have personally met some of the most respected, innovative and talented comics on the circuit who you will never know because their attitude doesn’t fit into the current mold. The right spotter can pick this talent and nurture them into creating something truly different. I think it’s high time to shake things up and hell, if it fails what do you lose from the small outlay?
The following is a transcript that was freely available on the web but since removed. I have kept this document since 2008 and regularly sent it to all my diverse media friends because of the positive mission statements Mr Henry was making. Weirdly the same statements are now being said but from a greater numbers of people in the BAME community.
Currently all posts are on the twitter site: @wifemotherloco so please go there to hear more surreal commentary.
I recently watched Maniac starring Elijah Wood and it is a surprisingly nasty film and only watchable if you can stomach such extreme misogynistic violence. Not exactly a mainstream film itself but starring a cast-against-type Elijah Wood. The feel of the film reminded me of the other notorious cinematic shocker The New York Ripper which i decided to re-watch. Both make uncomfortable viewing due to their apparent hatred for women and nothing i have seen in the last few years has been as truly psychologically horrific. Even the pre title shocker was, well, a shocking homage to the late 70’s slasher genre.
You may have found Hostel and The Human Centipede quite extreme but for me they are just an excuse to be graphic and push the audience’s buttons, you know what to expect when you watch them. Maniac doesn’t do that.. you walk into a nightmare of a disturbed mind.
These films have somehow become watered down by-the-numbers gore films that have become predictable in recycling different variations of bloodshed and considering the heritage has moved away from internalising the putrid stench of a diseased mind.
Filmmakers are fixated on the bloodshed and not the psychological dysfunction of the character involved. If you can stomach it, watch the film and see something truly sickening.