British Comedy Guide

Newsjack Series 19

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swerytd

  • Wednesday 5th September 2018, 3:13pm [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,524 posts

Newsjack is back this week, apparently.

They are doing a Facebook Live on Thursday. You can email questions in now for them to answer.

Here's a very long post of resources, if anyone's still interested.

This is cut'n'paste from the previous time. It may not all be relevant (or even work).

Here's the usual 'trying-to-put-the-useful-stuff-all-in-one-post' post...

(Any genuinely useful links anyone else has, PM me and I'll add)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Newsjack is hard! For a variety of reasons, it is much more difficult to get stuff on now than on earlier series and is probably one of the most difficult bits of your comedy career. If you get stuff in the script (even if it's not recorded/broadcast) that is enough to chase up the producers for other opps/your sitcom. Cultivating the producer relationship is the bit that's really important if you want to write comedy professionally, not getting stuff broadcast week-after-week (though obviously that does help). Once you're on producers' 'lists', being able to submit to stuff is easier (as said lists are much smaller, and you can submit much more than 2 sketches and 6 one-liners). However, that does not mean you are guaranteed to get stuff on, just the opportunity to get more personal rejections!

Also, make sure you've written your hit sitcom before you have kids. Trust me...

Probably (not necessarily!) all still valid from last time.

Anyway...

I will try edit this list as more relevant stuff becomes available/people post additional things, so it's all in a single place.

Submission Guidelines for Series 19 Everything in the link above supercedes anything I've put below, as the below is mostly historic things from the last few series mish-mashed all together.

Number-Crunchers has been replaced by Newsjackpedia. (See guidelines above)

Week 5 is the notoriously 'slow' week, when submissions drop off cos everyone's pissed off with rejection by then and doesn't bother submitting. By that I mean there are still many, many submissions, just not as many as the many, many, many of other weeks. That week is when, statistically, your best odds for getting something on. Write your best sketch that week.

Our very/Sitcom Geek's own Dave Cohen has a day-by-day blog of writing for Newsjack http://davecohen.org.uk/making-plans-newsjack-day-2 (there are others but I can't find an index for all of them. Change the number at the end for the consecutive ones (there is no 'Day 1' version, I don't think)

Sitcom Geeks podcast say lots and lots about Newsjack, including interviews with Angela Barnes (ep 70), the commissioned writers (ep 69) and more. They mention it. A lot. A lot. Look through the history of episodes and listen to them.

Video of Nish giving tips about submitting.

First deadline is the Monday before broadcast (10th) at 12noon for sketches (2 each per show this series) and 12noon on Tuesday for one-liners .

Tip: put an intro to the sketch and put a gag in that intro. Make the gag in the intro different to the gags in the sketch; otherwise you're just proving that you can do your gag a lot shorter.

Two pages is the ideal length. The readers admit to getting bored after that.

Similarly, two people chatting in a sketch is boring for the readers, so may not progress. Get a third character in so the sketch goes an unexpected way.

Below, I've tried to collate a lot of helpful (or unhelpful: delete as applicable) information.

Newsjack Twitter Feed: They may update this as the recording nears if they need particular one-liners on a breaking topic.

Ed Morrish's what and how to write for Newsjack. He doesn't produce it anymore, but this is the one thing you should read, if nothing else below.

Lyndsay Fenner's blogs about how they make Newsjack: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/How-we-make-BBC-Radio-4-Extras-Newsjack http://www.ideastap.com/ideasmag/the-knowledge/newsjack-producer-lyndsay-fenner-open-door-radio-comedy

List of helpful videos from the staff about script editing, the writers' meeting, etc. Script Editor Jack Bernhardt talks about writing The cast talk about which voices they like doing The Show What You Wrote's 'Tips for Writers' video; a lot of which is relevant to writing any radio comedy sketches

Ed Morrish's advice on jackapps and one-liners. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kvs8r/features/one-liners

Radio comedy writer James Cary's advice on why you should write for Newsjack(he script-edited other radio shows but is not affiliated with Newsjack)

Have I Got News For You, 15-Minute Musical and Weekending writer Dave Cohen's advice

Here's series 7's 'One Liner Rejects' thread, if people want to read them to get in the mood. Here's series 8's one and series 9's one.

Lots of sketches available in 'Critique' forum to study/see what's wrong/rip-off. Majority will show up in a search for 'NJ:' to get the majority of them in a list.

The last webchat with the crew is available on the link at the top, as are other blogs by other writers.

Justin Edwards talks about the process

Here's a writer's experience of what could happen (in an ideal situation, which happened for her!) http://mums-the-nerd.tumblr.com/post/40292001463/im-coming-over-all-topical-panel-show

And Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch's (now an in-house writer!) fast track 'How To Write For Newsjack' advice.

Here's Alakazam's most excellent 'Prince Albert's Shins' sketch that was broadcast (along with production edits) from last series. And StephenM's 'Billy Footballer'.

Here's Ian's 'how they edited my sketch' sketch (from series 4, I think): https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/20167/

Here's (former) script editor Gareth Gwynn's blog on comm/non-comm submissions.

Here's a series 6 webchat, with links to three previous (series 5) webchats below it and here: series 5 webchat 1, series 5 webchat 2, series 5 webchat 3

Simon Paul Miller's 'Confessions of a Newsjack Addict'

Formatting:
Instead of us all arguing about formatting, as that repeats here more than Last of the Summer Wine, the producer have kindly supplied templates on the submissions page. Use whatever they put here.

(OLD NOTE ABOUT FORMATTING THAT IS WORTH KEEPING IN FOR REFERENCE, BUT ISN'T RELEVANT SINCE THEY PROVIDED A TEMPLATE PRIMARILY TO SATISFY IDIOTS WHO HAVE BOUGHT INTO THE APPLE ECOSYSTEM)

Formatting: here's a template for the sketches in Google Docs if you don't have/want to use Word. Unfortunately Google Docs has changed so you have to download in .docx rather than .doc and I don't know if that's compatible with the BBC yet. (I write in G-Docs, download then convert in Word to 'old-fashioned' .doc format

quote from Mr Feeoree on January 17 2013, 10:10 PM GMT
Also people, further to Mr Sweryt's post with the template, here's a blog that Dan Tetsell (the then Script Editor) wrote 3 years back, re formatting and how much they like it to look proper! : http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/2010/01/newsjack_script_smart_or_smart.shtml /quote
This is the blog that *everyone* at the BBC (and even external prodcos) refer to when asking for radio submissions, so use it. The instructions are written down for you, and there is a link to a copyable/downloadable Google Drive version above that does the same thing, if you don't have Word, and allows you to still send in a Word doc, and I reiterate, even if you don't have Word. As a script editor of an open submissions show myself (and the one who usually painfully puts the final script together), CAN YOU PLEASE USE THIS EFFING TEMPLATE, FOR GOD'S SAKE! It is a massive pain in the arse to have to change your formatting, if it's not like this.

Marc Paterson's pain in writing for Newsjack is very similar to my experience over the weekend. (He wrote this in the run-up to series 7)

Twitter vibe from the producers in series 8 episode 1 was that there are a lot of idiots who don't put their name or email address in their one-liner submissions. Try to avoid this, as angry producers notoriously don't find things funny.

Here are some very good blogs from our own Mr Salisbury about 'The Killer Premise', 'Things to Consider Whilst Drafting' and 'Sketches Need Characters' . Newsjack went reasonably well for him in series 7 so listen to his wise words. David also has a very useful list of what NOT to write for Newsjack.

Let the fun and games (read: 'rejection and hair-pulling') commence...

Dan

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Will Cam

  • Wednesday 5th September 2018, 3:57pm
  • England
  • 7,949 posts

Brilliant, thanks Dan, you are genuinely one of the most considerate posters on BCG. A big help. Cheers.

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swerytd

  • Wednesday 5th September 2018, 4:45pm [Edited]
  • Guildford, England
  • 7,524 posts

No worries. I will update that particular post if/when I get any updates, and (will try to) note in a new post that it's updated.

EDIT: Added that there is a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday.

Dan

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Bonzo

  • Wednesday 5th September 2018, 10:41pm
  • London, England
  • 822 posts

Thanks Dan!

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BTF

  • Saturday 8th September 2018, 11:32am
  • United Kingdom
  • 519 posts

Thank you for that.

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TheKingLobotomy

  • Saturday 8th September 2018, 10:04pm
  • England
  • 164 posts

It's thefirst day I've had chance to do some Newsjacking today. I have only just seen the addition of Newsjackpedia.

This is their examples

1. 'The May' -- A dance routine that defies description and is prohibited.

2. 'Italian' -- A chain of restaurants so divorced from the culture they claim to be inspired by, they eventually have to be bailed out by their owner for millions of pounds.

3. 'Wongaring' -- To have no moral fibre whatsoever yet still fail to make money.

4. 'Costa-Cola' -- Disgusting drink soon to hit the high street.

5. Moanrinho -- One who complains flamboyantly about a situation entirely of their own making, while being paid a fortune.

I don't think much of their examples.

What are peoples first impressions of the new "bit"?

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Gjp69

  • Saturday 8th September 2018, 10:27pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 8 posts

Much more scope to get a funny in than the number crunchers. Hated them.

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Will Cam

  • Saturday 8th September 2018, 10:48pm
  • England
  • 7,949 posts
Quote: TheKingLobotomy @ 8th September 2018, 10:04 PM

It's thefirst day I've had chance to do some Newsjacking today. I have only just seen the addition of Newsjackpedia.

This is their examples

1. 'The May' -- A dance routine that defies description and is prohibited.

2. 'Italian' -- A chain of restaurants so divorced from the culture they claim to be inspired by, they eventually have to be bailed out by their owner for millions of pounds.

3. 'Wongaring' -- To have no moral fibre whatsoever yet still fail to make money.

4. 'Costa-Cola' -- Disgusting drink soon to hit the high street.

5. Moanrinho -- One who complains flamboyantly about a situation entirely of their own making, while being paid a fortune.

I don't think much of their examples.

What are peoples first impressions of the new "bit"?

I think they are just to give you an example. I think there is more scope than he number crunchers

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BTF

  • Saturday 8th September 2018, 11:17pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 519 posts

Nice to see you back this series, Will Cam.

Probably just a few quick examples they thought up. Very likely the ones on the show will be funnier. Sometimes I found the number jacks worked but mostly I found them tricky. These offer more scope.

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Alan Shaw

  • Sunday 9th September 2018, 9:19am [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 4 posts

More solid proof that the NJ team are a bunch of humourless idiots. So this new section of the show is called "Newsjackpedia"? Wonder how long it took them to think of that. No attempt at a joke or pun name, just the most obvious laziest combination of words. They then give some examples. I guess that Newsjackpedia is meant to evoke an encyclopedia or Wikipedia which are both sources of information that give extensive detail on a subject. However the examples are all a word and its definition. That's a dictionary, not an encyclopedia FFS! So their pathetic lazy name isn't even appropriate.

Then have a look at their examples. Are these meant to be jokes? There is not even the slightest hint of humour here. These are meant to be examples of what listeners should send in so presumably they'd like something funny? But even the supposed NJ comedy geniuses can't put in the effort to come up with anything remotely amusing. Unsurprising I suppose as they are consistently lazy, stupid and incompetent.

Look, here's one that took me 10 seconds to think up

JULY - Anything Corbyn says about opposing anti-semitism

See, it's easy. Shame the NJ team can't be bothered, they should be ashamed.

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BTF

  • Sunday 9th September 2018, 2:41pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 519 posts

Well it will be interesting to see how the newsjackpedias pan out. I have done a sketch, three one-liners and ground to a halt with only one 'newsjackpedia'. Had two more but, whilst topical, the other two newsjackpedias were not funny so scrapped them.

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Thosisd

  • Sunday 9th September 2018, 8:41pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 287 posts

I'm pleased to have NJ back.

Determined to get something on this series! Had a few near misses and plenty of disappointed Thursday evenings.

I've got two sketches which I've been working on since Friday. Keep punching them up and reading them through looking for joke opportunities. Will hit send on them soon.

I think they're my best yet but am concerned that the stories may let me down as they're both small ones and will be somewhat dated by the record.

I've got my one liners ready too. Again, sitting on these in case anything else pops up last minute. Was not a fan of Number Crunchers so am happy about that change. Don't get the criticism for the new format, they're just backwards one liners.

All the best to everyone submitting this series. Hope we get some wins.

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MargateSteve

  • Sunday 9th September 2018, 9:51pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 posts

Is anyone else struggling to approach Newsjackpedia as anything other than the Uxbridge English Dictionary?

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Auditchris

  • Sunday 9th September 2018, 10:41pm [Edited]
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • 134 posts

NJ has rolled around very quickly - am braced for character building rejection!

Well, I've got two sketches just about ready to go. Another child has emerged from my wife since the last series so it's very difficult to find time to write!

I must admit I quite liked the number crunchers. My initial reaction to Newsjackpedia is that it probably has to be based on a big story as there's little room for setup. I haven't tried writing any in earnest though - maybe I'll learn to love them...

Good luck everyone!

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BTF

  • Monday 10th September 2018, 12:06pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 519 posts

Good luck everyone.