So, it transpired that I didn't get any material into the new series of BBC Radio 4's Recorded For Training Purposes, which sucked, but as I detailed before, I got quite far into the process so it was encouraging. And I thought that was the end of it.
However, the other day I got some nice feedback through from the producer of the show, which was totally unexpected and turned out to be quite a nice confidence boost. More than that, though, I found them a very interesting and frank look at the production of sketch shows, why certain sketches are picked and why others are dropped. So, for those interested, here is the feedback.
For those who aren't familiar with the series, it is a radio sketch show themed around communication. This is the kind of theme I like, as it is open enough as to not strangle creativity, while being focused enough to not bring on the despair of 'unlimited choice' - something I find unbearable when faced with an open brief. The first of the two sketches I submitted was about a marketing consultant pitching to a bishop the idea of swapping the Holy Cross with 'the Holy Tick', as crosses are seen as being too negative. About it, the producer wrote:
"Ticks N Crosses actually made it through to the script stage, but didn't get recorded. We put more in the script than we can record, in the knowledge that not everything works when read out - and this the cast couldn't make it work as well as the other material. It's a 'bad pitch' sketch, which we tend not to do - I think it's probably a testament to how good it was that it even got that far, we usually veto them."
Good advice for those writing sketches - avoid anything based around a pitch! The second sketch was about football fans adapting to a ban on abusive chanting, recrafting famous heckles to be more positive and generally nonsensical. The producer wrote this about it:
"Football chants - one script editor in particular was a big fan of this, but it didn't make the script, which is mostly a relative thing; we lost stuff we quite liked in favour of stuff we really liked. But as a general note when you get the audience to record something (as you'd do here) it helps if the audience don't get the full picture, so you can play the recording of them back but still surprise them, so you get the sound of the laugh as well. With the bulk of this script being chants with no contextualising lines, they'd say all the gags and therefore wouldn't be surprised when they heard it back. It would almost work better for a non-audience show."
This totally makes sense. I didn't write the sketch as an audience participation bit - this was suggested to me by one of the script editors - but in future I'll know to be careful how I write something that could be picked up as such. So there you go - we've all learned a little something now, haven't we?