The recent announcement about James Corden’s amazingly successful ‘Carpool Karaoke’ segment being picked up by iTunes has sparked a renewed flurry of comments on my @bobbyllew Twitter stream.
‘You should sue!’ ‘It’s a direct rip-off of your show!’ ‘I hope you’re getting royalties from Mr Corden’ etc.
All very flattering and supportive, but not terribly realistic. I was not the first person to stick cameras in a car and talk to people and clearly I’m not going to be the last.
I’m very happy for James Corden’s success and the episode with Michelle Obama was, let’s face it, fairly enormously out of my league.
The simple fact is people have always got inspiration from pre-existing examples; painters, writers, poets, film makers and TV producers have plundered, copied, re-shaped and mimicked each other for millennia.
I got a lot of inspiration for making Carpool and Fully Charged from various previously existing shows and formats, notably the encouragement I got from Leo Laporte.
I’ve met Leo a few times, been on his shows occasionally and he’s been a Carpool passenger. Like me he had a career in traditional broadcast TV but for the last 10 years has been running his own network, TWIT.TV. (This Week In Tech)
Many years ago he encouraged me to go it alone, his example gave me some reassurance that it might just be possible. I’m so glad I took his advice.
Creating a long running series like Fully Charged has been one of the highlights of my varied career in TV. It’s always been fun but it’s been a real blast this year. 75,000 new subscribers since April and an increase from 50,000 views a month to around a million makes the effort behind it worthwhile.
And then there’s Patreon which has made creating the series close to financially viable. The combination of the distribution network of YouTube and Facebook and the financial support from generous Patreon supporters is game changing.
To be able to make what is effectively a TV series without any 3rd party oversite, influence or management is a very liberating experience.
Now I want to take the project a bit further and, bizarrely, this is very much down to connectivity and indeed Leo Laporte.
I live in a fairly remote rural part of the UK, our current broadband connection is pitifully slow or non-existent. It comes and goes at random intervals like a sulky teenager, utterly unreliable and incredibly frustrating.
The main reason I am able to put out one or two shows a week is down to the patience, skill and internet connection of Mark Taylor-Hankins, (@inksharkman) the Fully Charged camera operator, sound engineer and editor.
Yes, Mark is talented, clever and has a high speed internet connection. I say high speed, it’s a perfectly normal internet connection but for me it’s super high speed.
Last week a team of hardworking your fellows dug a ditch along the lane I live on and buried a fiber optic cable outside my house. Fingers crossed, by Christmas this year I will have a genuinely high speed connection.
My plan is to continue to put at least one new Fully Charged episode a week on YouTube, Facebook and hopefully Amazon, but also do a live, interactive weekly news update from my ‘studio.’
It’s actually an outhouse playroom that we’ve cleared out since our children fled the nest.
I would release the news and hopefully discussion shows as both audio and video versions after the live webcast which is exactly what the TWIT.TV network and Leo Laporte does.
So it’s not original, okay, it’s not called TWIT and it’s not about computers, phones and the internet, it’s about electric cars and the future of energy and transport but you get my drift.
I’m very excited about this because the hardest thing to do with the current Fully Charged is to cover the news, and the news pours in like a torrent.
There is so much going on in the renewable energy, electric car space that given the time, energy and budget I could probably do an episode every day.
That’s not going to happen, I’m old, I need a nap.
But once a week would be fun. I hope some of you would watch.
Let me know.