A personal taste of Nelson de Gouveia

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The Home Update - How I Tried and Failed to Make a News Show

in Comedy by

Long before the internet fed us the facts about the world around us from Microsoft's robots, I read the news. Like a good boy.

I wanted to read up on everyone's plight. To learn about different cultures through the events that were newsworthy. And if there was any community news, I absorbed it too from the editorials pushed into our postbox.

I also loved Monty Python. When John Cleese introduced, "And now, for something completely different..." or when Eric Idle would exclaim, "Mykos Antoniakos, the Greek rebel leader who seized power in Athens this morning, tells us what he keeps in storage jars."

Cut to 2020 and the birth of the camera phone. And so now I'm at home, the pandemic ravages the planet and I want to give a satirical spin on the news.

So I sit down and start planning out how to write a news show. A piece of content that would give someone a smile as the week is over.

Meet me at 10

"The Home Update", a 3-6 minute news segment covering local and international news. It was an attempt at being a comedy correspondent for The Daily Show or Late Night News with Loyiso Gola.

I wanted to read up on everyone's plight. To learn about different cultures through the events that were newsworthy. And if there was any community news, I absorbed it too from the editorials pushed into our postbox.

I wanted to try. The news means a lot to me. Knowing how people are doing and empathising with their plight. I'm also careful to decimate news from reliable sources.

I also wanted to combat incorrect facts and propaganda. To point out how ridiculous some people are, like flat-earthers and Covid-19 deniers.

The Process

The whole week before, I would scour the news looking for stories. They'd go into a Notes program and then pick which of the stories I’d focus on.

I also focussed more on stories I could write jokes about. Trump was easy, so was any right-wing leader taking our planet down.

The whole week before, I would scour the news looking for stories. They'd go into a Notes program and then pick which of the stories I’d focus on.

I also focussed more on stories I could write jokes about. Trump was easy, so was any right-wing leader taking our planet down.

It was people that made the best punchlines. Like the gym enthusiasts protesting for them to reopen. “Maybe they to get fit... before they die?”

Technical Notes

So how did I film? Most days, you need what you have before you.

I used my iPhone6 put on a tripod in front of me. I read from a script on my computer which was below my eye-line.

To record the show I used Filmic Pro, a fantastic app for controlling more features. It pushed the quality to 1080p at 60fps that gave a cleaner look, rather than the native camera.

I then used Final Cut Pro to edit it all together. As both a professional app and for home use, FCP is easy and works great. Even Louis CK used it to edit his work for the FX show “Louie” before they cancelled him.

Market This

Sharing it out was a mission at first. Which platforms could you push it out to? Who would care?

YouTube was a no-brainer. It also helps to embed it on Twitter and your own website, like you see above.

Don't use the YouTube link on Facebook or any other site though. They want to push their own video content, and will also decrease your link's visibility to your audience.

Thankfully, Facebook's Business Manager made it extremely easy. Deploying it to Facebook was a no-brainer, and Instagram made the process simpler thanks to IGTV's 10-minute limit. You could also film it in landscape and Instagram will allow you to flip it into your desired perspective.

The Mistakes

Lighting was a problem. I didn’t have a good lighting rig and could only rely on the 3pm sunshine during the summer streaming into my office.

The winter was less forgiving, as the sun was out of the way. I would’ve preferred the opposite as it gets WAYYY too hot when the sun blares in.

I tried to use a small desk lamp, but coupled with the moving sun it remained weird and unforgiving.

The background was too bare if I'm honest. Normally it’s a good idea to keep it clean so people can focus on you but it lacked personality.

There was a pimple I watched who had ALL his toys in the background and he wore sunglasses. That’s too much personality.

But the worst mistake was me. I spoke too slow or fast, and my energy didn’t stay consistent. If I kept my energy high the whole time, it would’ve appealed more.

Conclusion

It started with a lot of promise. Friends would message to say they liked it. That it was funny and informative.

But the numbers didn't go anywhere and kept going down. No one cared since they get their news from Trevor Noah and John Oliver anyway.

And on my own, it wasn't easy. It’s hard to write for the show, film and edit, and then market it. All in isolation and I don’t mean in the pandemic.

Many succeed not only for the presenter but also for the team behind it. That’s why there are writers, producers, stage managers and lighting engineers. Each one brings important qualities that make the show great.

I do understand now how difficult it is. And if I’m lucky, one day I can contribute to something similar and definitely better.

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He procrastinates like crazy, has little friends and a blog with no traffic. All in all, he's doing well if he's at least breathing.

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