Following on from my previous post I want to tell you about a recent coincidence that resulted in watching something online that really inspired me. It came about when I was having a drink with a friend and he said, “I’ve got a mate that’s doing this thing… ”
Didn’t Arya Stark shoot up quickly
But first, to explain…. some weeks ago I became one of the last people on the planet to start watching Game of Thrones and after being totally drawn in I pretty much sprinted through the entire series’ start to finish.
I completed series 4 on a Friday night and carried on with my weekend as normal, buying the newspapers as I always do (I post a round up of links to all the art and literature articles I enjoy every Sunday night on my social media links, see: https://www.facebook.com/ThinkingPlainly as an example) and as I was going through them I came across an interview with the actress Maisie Williams.
This article stood out for me because it was an interview held just before her 18th birthday and it was partly discussing her new film (The Falling: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3294200) but also her experience of growing up in front of the camera. I had never seen her act before because I hadn’t caught Game of Thrones (I was aware of it before I left for Spain but didn’t get around to it) and only recognized her because of a YouTube channel I love, called React (https://www.youtube.com/React), where she had had a few special guest spots. Yet I suddenly realised I had seen her grow up from thirteen or fourteen, to eighteen in the space of - more or less - an intensive month of Game of Thrones binge watching. It was really weird, like seeing my nieces grow up in fast-forward right before my eyes. Anyway, this drink with a friend I was talking about; he is an actor and I mentioned how strange it was to see someone grow up in the space of such a short time and of course, how great I thought Game of Thrones was. Then the coincidence.
Some years ago now, my actor friend (Gerard Monaco: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1456647) was in a staging of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge in the West End and as with all his performances I, and our friendship group, went to watch him.
And just for the totally unrelated hell of it, here is my copy of A View from the Bridge that I stole, yes, that's right, STOLE, from my secondary school. I'm finally using it twenty years later! That's the government and our taxes investing in children and our futures right there, have that.
The Supreme Tweeter
It’s a really funny comedy series (drama/mockumentary) with a great premise (yes, yes, The Interview, I know, I know) produced brilliantly (George R.R Martin cameo anyone… ) but it’s actually my feelings on the principle of the project itself I want to share with you rather than any description of the story line. Part 1 is above and please do go to www.supremetweeter.com to watch the whole series and find out more, enjoy J
I loved the fact that he has made this himself (with help, please see the bottom of this post for the press release and full information). He is an established actor and has been in one of the biggest hits of recent times yet he had an idea and went ahead and made it. How great is that! I’ve always had an interest in independent artists and how people make a name for themselves and as a novice writer at the very earliest of stages I’ve become more aware over the last three years of what it takes to utilize social media to market yourself (not saying I’ve done that! Just that I’m aware of it… ) and this ties in with one of my most fundamental beliefs: You should always focus on producing the best work you can that is important to yourself. I am not interested in fame for fame’s sake and I think the greatest goal an artist can have is to be proud of the work they create. Whether the world knows about it, or it is just their mum and the locals at the pub should be a secondary consideration. Now I know that sounds all highfalutin airy-fairy arty-nonsense to most people. When I say, ‘make a name for yourself’ most people think, MONEY, fame and the external perceptions of success. And there is nothing wrong with that, money and fame I’m sure can be fantastic, but what if it is based on something that you don’t feel satisfied or rewarded by internally? This is where the brilliant contradiction of what the series is concerned with: the exploration of what it is to exploit fame, to how it is doing it: an independent YouTube series. It really made me think about what it is we aim for when we put ourselves out there on social media and as much as it is a warning, it is also an inspiration because it’s great to know that the form is there even if the reasoning can be dangerous!
Have you ever read or seen those 100 Most Influential People type lists, or similar? They drive me mad. They are generally nothing to do with what the people are actually saying and whether or not it is commendable content, newsworthy, educational, helpful or positive… it’s about who gets their faces in front of the most people. I’ve always been dubious about the relationship of fame to influence, of course there is definitely something in it, and it has got more direct over the years with the rise of direct tailored marketing and how every child is constantly eyeballing their smartphones, but regardless of how many Facebook or Twitter followers a famous person may have, how many times their YouTube videos have been watched and liked… if they have gone viral and so on... I would love to see a closer examination on what that content makes a person do, how much it actually changes them… I mean, if there was a base of interest in the first place, the person generally speaking would drift towards that sort of content anyway or whether purely on being exposed to a famous person that changes my mind about something, i.e. influences me to the point that a person now changes their life based on what they have been exposed to. Or on the opposite side, a person becomes famous for doing something that has already caught the zeitgeist and therefore doesn’t change anything but becomes influential by becoming famous in that already established field. I guess pop music is one of the most obvious example of that, the teenage demand for new idols to have crushes over has been there since Elvis, every time a new sensation comes along they are very rarely changing pop music itself but rather filling the need that celebrity has created. Thinking of exceptions to this off the top of my head as I write (excuse my lack of research!) I would say that the fame somebody such as Lady Gaga or Kate Bush has is different, they are genuine artists who have done what all artists try to do, develop their chosen art form, push boundaries and work hard to create art that is true and meaningful to them, and that is where fame has a funny side… it can create controversy for what you don’t do just as much as what you do… if a person that has success goes down a different route outside the established boundaries then you are liable to criticism, but not for your art, just for purely having the gall to do your own thing and be your own person. Anyway, I am going a bit off topic. The point I’m flapping about with is this, the more I see conformity to mainstream and adherence to popularity for its own sake, the more I feel determined to pursue what I want to do no matter if it goes nowhere. I would just like to say that as a viewer, as a consumer of pop culture, I like it! I don’t want to put it down. It’s just watching something like The Supreme Tweeter reminds me that when it comes to actually creating something you have to know why you are doing it, and more importantly, you have to know if you are doing it for yourself.
You are your own production company
The other reason it was so inspiring is that on one hand, yes it is fascinating to think about influence, how you gain fame, maintain fame and so on but for me, it was how the actual medium itself is so accessible. That was what I took from the experience of watching The Supreme Tweeter. It was the sense that regardless of how famous you are you can still take charge of the artistic process yourself. Yes, there are issues with money and investment, there is no point glossing over that fact. If you don’t have access to a few quid (the old beg, borrow and steal) then you probably aren’t going to be able to access the higher end tools that you need to produce something as good a quality as The Supreme Tweeter, but you can still produce something! All the major social media sites have basic free functionality and that is amazing. You can create your own YouTube channel if you want and simply knowing that is possible is encouraging. Yes, there are issues with exploitation, scams and frauds. People will always try to convince you to part with your money in order to get famous and there are sites that are ready to rip you off. Yes, there are budget issues. As well as not having money to use high end equipment you may not have the money to spend on marketing and promotion. On and on it goes. There will always be issues, always! On a personal note, I have no money to invest. I do not have a budget to spend on Facebook, Google or Twitter adverts or anything like that but that isn’t going to stop me working on the projects I really enjoy and have a passion for. Maybe one day in the future I will make money from writing, most likely not, but that’s not why I am doing it, and isn’t it amazing that even without money I can still communicate my ideas and my personality. I have a presence on all major social media sites, have made a few YouTube videos, have ebooks in the major retailers and so on... I'm still at the very bottom rung of the ladder but it's all been possible by working hard and working with my friends, relying on the skills and knowledge others have that they are willing to aid me with, and of course, I help them back if I can, rather than getting a huge loan from the bank and hiring some impersonal company to do it for me (which of course is inaccessible for most people anyway and those who do try most get turned down). That is what The Supreme Tweeter reminded me of. Things are possible and it is only hard work and the production of genuine art that I am passionate about that will enable me to forward my life, and what’s more, have fun doing it.
You only have to look at Jerry Seinfeld and ‘Comedians in Cars getting Coffee’ to see what potential there is: http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com It is hilarious but all it is is a very simple idea, one person talking to another person in the car ride to get a coffee. If you strip away the fame it is an incredibly simple set up that is entertaining. It doesn’t need millions of pounds, it doesn’t need to have summer blockbuster levels of production value. If you wanted to make an episode it wouldn’t be a crazy notion, you could do it. Sure, no one would watch it because who wants to listen to your boring backside talk about your day in the office, but nevertheless, physically speaking, you could make it and release it for the world to see. Amazing.
So yet again I have managed to go all around the houses when attempting to make a very simple point. We all have those days when things just seem impossible and you feel like the most insignificant speck in the ever expanding universe of media content. They're going somewhere... They're getting noticed... They're selling... They're doing better stuff... Whoever the hell They're actually are we never seem to care about, it's just overwhelming to think you can ever make an impact. Then you go for a pint with your mate and find out he has his face on a website in-between George R.R. Martin, Harry Lloyd and Maisie Williams. That's the lesson The Supreme Tweeter gave me, it doesn't matter who They Are, its just numbers after all, they represent a certain way of commercial thinking that is important when it comes to business but if the art isn't there in the first place then what are you doing it for? It comes down to having the passion there in the first place doesn’t it, whether you get a billion-ka-jillion followers on Twitter and become The Supreme Tweeter or you are the most famous person in your own bedroom and your hat and sunglasses are only ever used for blocking the sun, not the paparazzi, you should judge yourself on what you have produced. I know I have years of hard work ahead of me and that is exciting, not because I want to be famous, but because I want to look back on my life and know I tried hard to make the most out of the potential I feel I have, regardless of its success in other people’s eyes, or social media follower numbers, but in my own heart.
Have a great week all,
Supreme Tweeter Press Kit Statement
**ABOUT SUPREME TWEETER**
SUPREME TWEETER tells the story of what happens when a struggling actor is suddenly followed online by Kim Jong-un, the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea.
Harry Lloyd plays a mostly fictionalized version of himself: a British actor almost-famous for his part in the 1st season of HBO‘s smash hit Game of Thrones, who has not done much of note since. He joins Twitter in an attempt to raise his profile, but he gets more than he bargained for when, inexplicably, the Leader of North Korea follows him on Twitter. He seems to be a fan...
Rather than simply a punchline, North Korea and its bizarre and unique position in today’s media are used as a device to explore the relationship between propaganda and self-promotion.
The 3-part capsule series is a fun, fast-paced, and surreal modern allegory about seeking fame in the modern world and the extraordinary lengths people go to get it.
**KEY CHARACTER BIOGRAPHIES**
HARRY is a classically trained 31-year old actor living in London. He talks grandly about the Art of his job, but as the story progresses he is drawn more and more to the seductive world of Likes, celebrities and worldwide recognition.
KIM JONG-UN is a 32-year old dictator. Like his father and grandfather before him, he retains an almost God-like status in North Korea. Perhaps he relates to the impotent and exiled leader, Viserys Targaryen, Harry’s character in Game of Thrones.
**OTHER KEY CHARACTERS INCLUDE**
(George R.R. Martin; author of the Game of Thrones novels)
GEORGE feels guilty that he killed off Harry’s character in Game
of Thrones and Skypes him occasionally to check in.
(Maisie Williams; Game of Thrones, Cyberbully) MAISIE is a 17-year old actress who Harry met on Game of Thrones. She is a social media wizard with a hoard of Followers. While cute and eager online, she is in fact a strategic digital tactician.
FULL SERIES LAUNCH
APRIL 1, 2015 on supremetweeter.com
Launch timed to coincide with Season 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones
3-part Web Series
Runtime approximately 5-8 minutes each
SUPREME TWEETER is a surreal comedy about celebrity and the digital age. The story aims to reflect the unpredictable and chaotic nature of the social media landscape by invoking Birdman and Black Mirror-like story points. It is at times funny and scary, dramatic and farcical, sympathetic and provocative.
Despite its short length SUPREME TWEETER encompasses a wide range of visual styles. Traditional conversational scenes are mixed with an alternate reality set inside the realm of social media and coupled with dynamic graphic animation throughout the series.
The series looks at the glorification of celebrity over success in our modern-day culture. While popularity is a helpful tool, the spotlight can be an addictive and destructive drug. In the age of social media, the attention of the whole world can be thrust upon almost anyone or anything within the blink of an eye.
Harry’s profile pic on Twitter becomes a major character in the series. The dramatization of his relationship with the real Harry highlights the disparity and ambiguity between who we are and who we are online.
The show gives us a backstage view of how actors change in order to present themselves publicly. Whether it’s by exploiting an online association for attention, or by writing a web series about just that. The ‘character’ of Harry exists in many different forms for the viewer: in real life, in the story, online, online in the story...SUPREME TWEETER is both a critique of self-promotion and an exercise in self-promotion itself: it knowingly includes viral subject matter such as Game of Thrones, North Korea and, of course, adorable puppies.
INTERACTIVE STORY TELLING
SUPREME TWEETER was always conceived of as a web series. It is concise, relevant and accessible. It has been designed to give the audience a glimpse into a backstory that spans multiple online formats as well as the opportunity to directly interact with the SUPREME TWEETER universe. Preceding launch, our production team has been propagating content via in-character social media profiles and diverse online platforms.
**ABOUT THE CREATORS**
Harry Lloyd is a British actor who has been acting in supporting roles for over ten years, in things like The Iron Lady, The Theory of Everything and, of course, Game of Thrones. In 2014, he adapted a one-man play about a reclusive man, which he performed in Paris and London. Doing this play made Harry want to write more, and is the reason he sports such a nasty beard in Supreme Tweeter.
Jayne is from Chicago. When she was younger, her father told her that he was going to take her to McDonalds. Instead he drove her to the Grand Canyon. Later she worked in entertainment marketing and production for networks, including HBO, HISTORY and XBOX. When she's not coming up with blue sky ideas for web series', she's probably somewhere eating a Happy Meal.
Co-creators Harry Lloyd and Jayne Hong began developing the script for Supreme Tweeter in the Fall of 2014. There was something about today's frenzied world of social media that was funny, strange and scary. A bit like North Korea. And this led to the story idea of an unusual online relationship.
They teamed up with director/ editor Todd Sandler to help tell this topical and surreal little tale about an actor's quest to achieve celebrity in the digital age. The trio always wanted Supreme Tweeter to be representative of the scatter-brained nature of the Internet, playing through a variety of genres with scattered movie references and viral themes. And the inclusion of cute puppies, of course. It was specifically made for an online platform to try and create a blurred and interesting line between what you're watching and how you're watching it.
The shoot began in London in September 2014 and was put together by a brilliant team of friends and their friends and their friends. Post-production spanned across three cities - London, New York, and Los Angeles.
For more information about the show or to get in touch with the cast or crew, please use the following contact information:
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