Night Terrace, the Nightest Terrace of them all

March 18, 2014

I’m part of an exciting new audio science fiction comedy series called Night Terrace, which is shaping up to be something really special. It stars Jackie Woodburne (Neighbours’ Susan Kennedy), Ben McKenzie and Petra Elliott and we’ve just announced our first guest star, Jane Badler (Diana from classic science-fiction series V). We’re kickstarting the first season, so you can nab the whole 8 episode run for only $25!

You’ll find more info and rewards here:

 

 

 

 

 


2014 Writing Talks by John Richards

February 20, 2014

john richards

Looking to book a talk for your library, writers group or geostationary killer satellite? John Richards has a range of talks about comedy and screen-writing which would be an excellent addition to your event calendar.

John is a writer, broadcaster and public speaker, best known for the ABC1 series Outland (“Polished, assured and full of zing” – The Sunday Age, “Sensational writing, a great ensemble, and universal themes of love, loss, and friendship… a hit…” – The Weekend Australian). He’s also written for stage and radio, presented the podcasts Splendid Chaps and Boxcutters and is a regular contributor to radio and print, including ABC774, Joy 94.9 and RRR.

These are some of the talks he offers:

How To Write Funny: Tools For Sitcom Writers

How did Mad About You develop plot out of of characters traits? How did John Clarke construct an episode of The Games? How did Dan Harmon use an 8-step process to plot Community? John Richards, writer of the acclaimed ABC1 comedy Outland, will show techniques and tools you can use for writing narrative (funny or otherwise).

When TV Goes Wrong

No matter how well-planned or organised your production, things can go wrong. An actor dies; a network wants a change of direction; or the original idea simply doesn’t work. Suddenly your suburban soap opera is full of vampires, your lead has a new face and you’re burning through a pile of money while sobbing in a corner. John Richards, writer of ABC1’s acclaimed comedy Outland and presenter of the Splendid Chaps and Boxcutters podcasts, presents an exploration of the television shows that adapted, mutated and occasionally triumphed under the weight of external pressures. From Chances to Supertrain, The West Wing to Frontline, this show will give hope and despair to anyone interested in narrative storytelling.

The Outland Story

In 2005 writer John Richards and comedian Adam Richard wrote a pilot script for a sitcom about a gay science fiction fan club. After being turned down by the ABC and SBS, John decided to film it in his lounge room on a budget of 500 dollars. It travelled the world’s film festivals before being seen by the ABC, who thought it might make a good sitcom. Outland was finally filmed at the end of 2010, edited in 2011 and aired in February 2012 to critical acclaim. John discusses the writing and development of Outland, how it went from an idea in a cafe to a six part series on ABC1, and how to have an overnight success seven years in the making. He’ll share his experience and advice for writing comedy and how to get a show on the television in (slightly) less than a decade! Inspirational story or cautionary tale? You be the judge!

The rate for each talk is $300, which covers a 50-minute talk (including video clips) with discussion and question period afterwards. If you would like to engage John as a speaker for your library or organisation, contact him at outlandonline@gmail.com.

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John Richards is a writer and broadcaster who was co-creator and writer of the ABC1 comedy Outland (“Sensational writing, a great ensemble, and universal themes of love, loss, and friendship… a hit… Pick Of The Week. ” – The Weekend Australian. “…quite frankly, one of the best Australian series I’ve ever seen. Outland is an outrageously great series” – Trespass Magazine). He has also written sketch comedy for ABC television, Channel 10, and radio including JJJ and Radio National. He was a writer and performer on RRR’s acclaimed mid-90s sketch comedy The Third Ear (“boldly rides roughshod over the concerns that feed the modern media… The Third Ear is good.” – The Age Green Guide). In 2013 his Eurovision-themed play Songs For Europe was deemed “Pick Of The Fringe” by Aussie Theatre (as well as “refreshingly original – the writing is crisp and multi-layered and the performances terrific. …you should consider this an absolute must-see of the Fringe” by Stage Whispers and “an impressively rendered telling of loss, hope, art and spirit” by Crikey).

He was a presenter on the TV discussion podcast Boxcutters from 2008 to 2013 (deemed one of the world’s best podcasts by both ABC 774 and The Age, and winner of the Chronos Award in 2011) and part of the iTunes-chart-topping podcast Splendid Chaps (“part intellectual panel discussion and part nerdy Tonight Show” – The Age, “combines analysis, enthusiasm and irreverence” – Sydney Morning Herald, “a smash hit” – Time Out). He has hosted radio shows on JOY 94.9 and RRR, been a contributor to Red Symons’ and Jon Faine’s shows on ABC 774, a guest on BBC Radio Five Live and John Safran’s Sunday Night Safran on JJJ, and featured on ABC TV’s Big Ideas, hosted by Waleed Aly.

He is a regular contributor to publications including Encore, Mumbrella, Cult and DNA, contributed to the text books Media Reloaded (Cambridge University Press) and Queers Dig Time Lords (Mad Norwegian, USA) and is a script assessor for Screen Tasmania. He has been guest lecturer and speaker for many organisations including RMIT, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Wheeler Centre, The Screen Youth Futures Festival at BMW Edge, Continuum 7 at ether, the Emerging Writers Festival and various Melbourne libraries.

If you would like to engage John as a speaker for your library or organisation, contact him at outlandonline@gmail.com.


What The Press Are Saying About Outland

February 6, 2012

While the cast of Outland wait in the wings for their opening night – premieres Wednesday, February 8th at 9.30pm on ABC1! – the reviews are already in. It’s like time-travel.

And what do they say?

“A sitcom about a gay science-fiction club might sound niche but this new local effort is warm, accessible and very funny.” – Sydney Morning Herald

“Pick Of The Week. Sensational writing, a great ensemble, and universal themes of love, loss, and friendship… a hit…” – The Weekend Australian

“Polished, assured and full of zing” – The Sunday Age TV Guide

“…a comedy that is genuinely hilarious. The premise – a secret club for gay sci-fi fans – might sound as if it’s working itself into a tiny niche, but there’s broad appeal here… Those in the know will rejoice in background details and genre winks, but the rest of us (OK, the rest of you) can enjoy the snappy banter and comic tangles between a cast of well-crafted characters.” – The Weekly Review

“…outrageously funny… We think you’ll either love the series for the hidden sci-fi references and innocent geekery, or you’ll be googling
the number for the ABC’s complaints department.” – tvpickoftheday.com

“Must-see television… incredibly slick, campy and fun… performances that cannot be beat… All the actors are sublime, and
the comedy is superb.” – guidetogay.com

“…a must-watch program…” – Dark Matter

“(a) much-needed glitter bomb into a stultifyingly straight viewing schedule.” – The Monthly

“…it’s genuinely funny but it has a kind of sincerity that makes it more than just a comedy… I found it delightful.” – Doug Anderson, The Guide

“…very sweetly surprised… such heart… you don’t have to be gay to relate to it – you don’t even have to like science fiction… it’s funny, it’s
genuinely funny.” – Michael Idato, The Guide

“Outland will delight, scare, entertain and tickle your funny bone in the best of ways.” – molkstvtalk.com

“But beneath the sci-fi-inspired double entendres, of which there are many, Outland is a character-driven comedy about relationships – an
affectionate look at how shared passions can make us feel like outsiders but also less alone.” – The Green Guide

“The cast is terrific, working with stereotypes but bringing them deliciously to life, and there are some great lines too. It’s a really impressive debut and I suspect Outland is only going to get better — and funnier — from here.” – Melinda Houston, The Sunday Age


Outland: An Easy Stalking Guide

January 25, 2012

The earth cooled, we wrote the sitcom Outland, the dinosaurs died, we made Outland, Melissa Tkautz had a hit with “Read My Lips” and finally Outland is ready to premiere! It starts on Wednesday 8th of February at 9.30pm on ABC1 (you’ll come for the gay science fiction fans, you’ll stay for David and Margaret).

You may have seen there’s a lovely promo going around – it looks like this:

In preparation and promotion I’ve been shouting at anyone who’ll listen – here’s a list of places you can find me in the next few weeks:

LIVE!

Melbourne Science Fiction Club
Friday January 27th
St. David‘s Uniting Church Hall
74 Melville Road, West Brunswick
Hall opens at 8pm

I’ll be talking Outland, its development and probably showing a clip or two.

Queer Nerd
Thursday February 2nd
Bar Nancy
61 High St, Northcote
7.30pm

This is a spoken word event for the Midsumma Festival and I’ll be one of several people doing some speaking – sort of like stand-up comedy but not necessarily funny. But maybe it will! Find out!

NOT LIVE!

I talk forever on the Shooting The Poo podcast (terrible name, good podcast);

I’m a guest on TV Revolution;

I’m interviewed for Crikey by Matt Smith (no, not that one);

Back on Boxcutters – the tippest toppest Australian TV podcast – we talk to Toby Truslove about acting, Outland and AACTA Awards.

And I’ll be coming up on Guy-Fi, Sci-Fi & Squeam, Diffrent Strokes, The Age Green Guide, I’ll probably be going door-to-door at some point (“Hello. Have you considered letting a gay-and-lesbian-science-fiction-fan-club-comedy into your lives?”).

You can keep up with Outland news and events at the official facebook page, and check out the brilliant insanity of the Where’s Outland? tumblr (and why not join in? I know I have. But I’m not saying which one is mine).

And watch Outland on February 8th on ABC1, or else on iView. Or both. Whatever. I’m not your mother.


It’s Me – It’s Not You…

October 12, 2011

For those of you planning to stalk me in the next few weeks, here’s your handy cut-out-and-keep guide:

The best-gay-and-lesbian-science-fiction-fan-club-television-comedy-ever-probably Outland will be having its world premiere in Seattle on October 18th and 19th at Central Cinema as part of the 16th Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (you’ll find the cinema in the Central District, at 21st and Union. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds extremely glamorous). It starts at 6pm each night, with episodes 1 to 3 showing on the Tuesday and 4 to 6 on the Wednesday. I’ll be attending both screenings as a guest of the festival.

Incidentally, for our American readers, that’s the entire series. Just the six episodes. It’s going to be exactly like Abed and Cougarton Abbey on Community all over again, but without the Inspector Spacetime downloads afterwards. Central Cinema is fully licensed, so if you don’t find it funny you can always get drunk.

Tickets for the Outland screening are available here. Tickets for Seattle are available here (whatever you do, don’t book through Virgin Australia’s Groups And Entertainment section as IT WILL TAKE YOU FOREVER and they will send you emails stressing how unimportant you are. Honestly, it was threatening to go Gasp Jeans there for a bit. “The exclusive airline of Australians In Film”, my arse…).

Then, back in Melbourne, I will be giving a brief talk at ACMI about Star Trek: The Animated Series, because that’s the kind of thing I do, apparently. It’s part of Space: TV’s Final Frontier, this month’s Live In The Studio at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and I’ll be part of a panel that includes RRR’s Robert Jan, Clementine Ford, Dr Djoymi Baker and my fellow Boxcutter Josh Kinal as referee. That’s what they call it, isn’t it? Tickets are available here.

A warning for those planning on attending events in both Seattle and Melbourne – I may wear the same suit. Adjust your expectations accordingly.

And speaking of Inspector Spacetime – and because the Internet is infinite – someone has created a brilliant tumblr called “Where’s Outland?” that features our two publicity images getting into all kinds of scrapes. Feel free to add to the fun.


Moving Pictures

March 10, 2011

I helped dismantle Channel 9 today. Not in a “death to the capitalist media overlords” way – sadly – but with a screwdriver.

Yes, the Bendigo Street studios of GTV9 are closing and everything must go! The building was originally a piano factory, then a cannery, but from 1957 it’s been Television City. The glamour of Graham Kennedy, Don Lane and Sale Of The Century clings to the walls like a poorly-cleaned toilet. Some say Bert Newton haunts these corridors and he’s not even dead.

But Channel 9 is moving to Docklands, so they’re having the world’s biggest car boot sale. They’ve auctioned their equipment online and when a friend went to pick up a Umatic tape machine I said I’d go along. In my head this would involve visiting Richmond, selecting a carefully-marked box, and going home for biscuits.  How wrong I was.

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Something Funny Down Under

March 2, 2011

John Richards explores the very 1970s phenomenon of English sitcoms decamping to Australia. Contains double-entende and cat jokes.

As you’re probably aware, English comedian Ben Elton recently had a high-profile variety show crash and burn on Channel 9. While I do feel people may have taken a little too much glee in its downfall, it’s true Elton made it hard for people to sympathise with him. With his endless tirades about the young people – with their interwebs and the twitter and the hopping and the bopping – he mostly came across as a 24-hour audition for Grumpy Old Men.

And the show itself was fairly dire – horrendously unfunny pieces like Fat Chef competed with the seemingly endless Girl Flat sketches to see which could reach the antithesis of comedy first. It was almost like a mathematical exercise. But as a friend remarked, it would be awful if this show ended up clouding people’s appreciation of Elton‘s bona fide achievements, as a co-writer of The Young Ones and the notably better series of Blackadder.

Elton has always had a love of Australia (and Australians, or at least one of them) and word was that he had moved to Western Australia and was making this show as “a local”. But I’ll admit that when I first heard of Live From Planet Earth I wondered if this was a return to the days where we would seemingly let any famous person with an English accent have a TV show simply because they were from “over there”. I’m talking, of course, of the 1970s, when Australian television was awash with English shows in Antipodean clothing.

To be clear, I’m not talking about what we now know as “format rights”, in which a new show is based on the template for another (so The Kumars At Number 42 becomes Greeks On The Roof, for example). And I’m not talking a Very Special Episode in which the cast travel Down Under for a one-off adventure with as many koalas as the budget can manage (such as The Love Boat‘s 1981 feature-length special, “Julie’s Wedding”).

No, these are shows which directly continued the British original, in which the lead character has spontaneously moved to Sydney or Melbourne. It’s effectively the inverse of Neighbours characters moving to Queensland.

Let’s have a look at a few examples, shall we?

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