the third heat remains elusive

In the pilot of Tina Fey’s sitcom 30 Rock Liz Lemon is told by Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donnaghey that TGS (the show within the show) needs the ‘third heat’. It’s as an amazing joke about microwaves but it’s also true. It’s true of the show within the show and for making stuff in general. 

Right now we are a good way into the writing of the next instalment of our MELLOWING series And we’re are looking for that third kind of heat. For us the three heats are:-

  1. Story 

  2. Filmmaking 

  3. Presentation

Up until now we’ve been giving all our focus to achieving the first two. The next stage is about finding interesting ways to present the thing. 

The Gimlet media podcast, Homecoming (worth listening to for David Schwimmer’s performance alone) had an angle on this. It was a fantastic ten part fictional story about drug trials in the military. Perhaps realising that many people enjoy podcasts in a semi engaged fashion they added interviews with the creators and actors at the end of each episode. It really worked. The childish, lazy side of the brain knew it only had to fully focus for fifteen minutes on the story before it got rewarded with low engagement (although very interesting) blabber from the creators.

Inspired by that we are considering adding some behind the scenes elements and mini interviews to the end of each episode. We had a meta take on this at the end of episode one but didn’t stick with it. 

And that’s the next thing- episodes. We are writing the next 48 minutes of our story but that’s a weird length for a film. We will write our outline with 6 x 8 minute episodes. Adding 2-3 minutes of BTS footage or short interviews at the end. Maybe longer. 

Thirdly we want to stop making TV for Youtube and instead start to fully embrace the medium itself. That doesn’t mean we will be starting every episode with a vlog style ‘HEY GUYSSSS’ but it could very well mean ending with a short clip asking people to ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’. Hopefully by then we will have imagined up an interesting inversion of that that is still as effective.

Casey Neistat talks of Youtube being a two way medium. It’s a conversation in a lot of ways. Albeit heavily weighted to one side. That can be seen as an annoying distraction for an artist that just wants to do their thing but it could also could be interesting if approached with enough creativity. Experimenting with this will be fun. It has required a change of attitude through. 

These ideas alone are not ‘hot’ yet. It’s going to take some ingenuity to come up with a take on the presentation of this project before we find that. If we approach the ‘problem’ with the same passion we approach the writing and making of our films it could lead to interesting outcomes.