Ep 3 was indeed a nightmare of an edit, and the final final version - still warts and all - wasn't uploaded until a few hours before the ep went live (allowing just enough time for YouTube to process it). Before that happened, some of you over on Twitter may have noticed that Paul Gannon and I found ourselves in the midst of a wee brouhaha.
Earlier in the week, Paul had come up with a plan to drum up a bit of extra interest in the episode by pretending we'd had some sort of big falling out. He was going to announce his resignation following the episode, with a special video, I was going to respond - then we'd carry on the charade throughout this week, before kissing and making up, and him rejoining the series just in time for next week's episode. I thought it was genius.
We're both big fans of Gregg Turkington and Tim Heidecker's On Cinema At The Cinema, and they offer a similar sort of meta narrative, which spills out of the show and into the real world. And it's great - it kind of extends the show beyond the boundaries of a just-once-a-week thing.
Unfortunately... it appears we may have been too subtle, and as fun as it was for us to do... well, we won't be doing it again.
I mean, I thought my over-the-top Trump-style tweets were a pretty clear indication that this was all a big joke. And that saying Paul Gannon "nearly dies" in the episode was obviously OTT clickbait hyperbole. Not to mention the fact that the series was filmed six months ago, and if Paul had nearly died, or harboured some issue with what we'd done, he'd have quit long before now. Besides, if we'd really had a falling out I wouldn't have been part of CheapShow Live etc. etc.
Certainly - as grown men - we wouldn't have aired our dirty laundry on social media. I mean... give us some credit.
However, slightly more people than either of us had expected took our "spat" at face value. It spiralled quite astonishingly out of control - with several people genuinely furious at us.
To be honest, I don't really know what a lot of them were even angry about. Perhaps they felt foolish for believing it, and thought we'd pranked them? I dunno, but a lot of the venting which came our way soon ceased to be about anything Paul or I had done; people are just angry, and we were available to be shouted at.
All I can say is that Paul and I didn't think anybody for a second would believe that we'd genuinely had a falling out, or that I was really bullying him, but we live in weird times, where irony is a lost language, and the absence of a winking emoticon can start a war.
The stupid thing is, Paul and I are as liberal as they come, yet I think it's very important that we, as creators of things, try to block this stuff out. It's really, really important that creative people have the space to be able to try different things, and sometimes fall flat on their faces. I had to sort of give a bit of a speech to the team after the first day's filming to this effect. You can't do comedy unless you take risks... that is, unless you want to be Michael McIntyre.
It's how it works in script meetings and writer's rooms I've been a part of; you need to be able to go down cul-de-sacs, or to extreme places, in order to find the gold. We can't afford to water down what we do, or we end up with a bland, homogenised, culture, where everything is the same flavour: "plain".
Digitiser is inclusive and welcoming, and bonkers, and it isn't remotely the sort of show which goes out of its way to offend people - and yet, no matter what, it seems that some people are just looking for reasons to be offended and angry. Some of the tweets I received yesterday - literally likening me to Trump, and accusing us both of inciting violence - were just... I mean... you know... wow... They were another level. Honestly, I was head-in-my-hands shocked.
I mean, I get it to a point; irony and subtlety doesn't always land with everyone, for a myriad of reasons. We all have a different capacity for it. One of my kids is autistic, and I know that I sometimes need to watch how I phrase things.
At the same time, it seems like a lot of people these days are simply coiled up, ready to strike, at any hint of perceived offence - and that deafens their capacity to take a step back and ask themselves what's really going on. That's the world we're living in, and it's making it very difficult to speak openly, or have a reasoned debate, about anything - because on social media so many people have a hair-trigger outrage response. Even saying this is probably going to piss some people off.
I guess there's so much drama out there that we can no longer tell which drama is tongue-in-cheek. I find it exhausting having to tiptoe around.
Unfortunately for them and us, it's not possible to remain creative if you take the offence of others to heart, or start worrying too much what other people will think. It's absolute anathema to creativity. Too often, if somebody is offended or angry - it's actually about them.
Paul and I intended no offence, but we ran head-first into other people's "stuff". Rescuing them by changing what we do, or treading on eggshells, making allowances for their baggage, isn't going to help anyone, and it won't make for a better show.
In this instance, because we have chosen to listen, it has killed what would've been a fun, and funny, way of promoting Digitiser, and building upon it. And that's a big shame, and a lot of people who got it will now miss out. And, for us, it's also a lesson learned. As making this show has been from day 1.
Anyway, let's crack on.
Beware: SPOILERS (watch Ep 3 before reading on).
Ryan "Cousin Dan" Livermore from Barshens is playing The Chief. But who's that under the mask...?
I'm torn over what to do whenever we do a second series - whether to try to continue doing the editing myself, or get an external editor in. I mean, it has been a punishingly absurd amount of work to edit a six-part, multi camera, show like this. However much work you think it is, multiply that by a factor of 10. Handing it over to another editor might help, but... I fear losing the essence of what makes it Digitiser-y; it was through being able to experiment in a hands-on way that I worked out what the show is.
It would've been possible to produce a flawless, tight, professional version of Digitiser The Show, but that isn't what I wanted. That's what everybody else does. I realised that leaving in the flaws, the fluffs, the chaos, is what made it feel like Digitiser.
Can I also just give my jacket a shout-out; it's a replica of one that Jimi Hendrix used to wear. Personally, I think I wear it better.
Something I need to mention here is that I'm getting a lot of requests from people who want to appear on a second series of the show, or be involved behind the scenes. Now... there's no real delicate way of putting this, but... I don't get it. Y'know, I don't contact the people who make my favourite shows and ask if I can be on them. It's great that you like Digi and want to join in, but, well, that's not really how things work is it?
I dunno if it's because I'm too "available" and approachable, or because we nailed that "gang having fun" vibe, but it's not something we can just say yes to. In part, that's because so many people are asking to be involved, and in part because the guests we invited (and will continue to invite) are established YouTubers or personalities who can hopefully bring some of their sizeable audience with them. It puts me in a really difficult position of not wanting to cause offence, but... I can't simply say yes to everyone.
Also, I don't remember which comedian said it, but - and no cuss intended here - when you pick a volunteer from the audience, it's usually advisable not to pick the one with their hand in the air going "Me! Me! Me!".
That said, if we do a second series... we will try to find a way to involve more of you. No promises there, though. And, of course, there's still the live show coming...
It was one of the funniest things I ever saw, and I have never forgotten it.
I meant to give him a credit on the ep, but forgot. I still see him around from time to time, though I've not spoken to him in 30-odd years. Maybe I will have to let him know...
For instance, there was a whole other round in Crane Grabber for Real, featuring the comedian Imran Yusuf (who's in next week's ep). It was very funny, but - again - due to pacing, it had to be taken out.
You've got to kill your babies...
For me, this - though it came right at the end of the shoot - is the essence of the show. We're all involved, it's a ridiculous idea in the first instance - which only gets more ridiculous the more it goes on - and I don't think it's like anything else you'll have ever seen.
Suffice to say, if and when we do a series 2, we'll all have Crane Grabber For Real at the front of our minds. Not that it'll ever lose site of the other elements; I think having a relatively more sedate pace earlier on allows our big endings to stand out, and gives us something to build towards.
Also, massive kudos to Larry. One of the greatest joys during filming was learning the strengths of my co-hosts. Larry, in particular, is just a natural clown - he's a far, far more talented physical comedian than I ever would've given him credit for.
Except, he's not pretending...
So, to next week's episode; Imran Yusuf playing Killer Instinct, Ashens showing off the Grandstand Light Games, and a Rampage For Real climax that - just like this week - I guarantee you will never forget...
Or be able to un-see.
Just you wait.