Friday
Jan102014

Carpool

If I ever mention anything about Fully Charged on Twitter I immediately get asked about Carpool.

If I ever mention my science fiction books on Twitter I immediately get asked about Red Dwarf.

I want to quickly point out that I’m not complaining, I’ve very proud and privileged to be involved in any and all of these projects

There is nothing I can currently say about Red Dwarf.

But seeing as I produce Carpool myself I can say what the hell I like.

This picture is a still from a recently recorded Carpool I did with the wonderful comedian and political ranter Mark Thomas.

It’s very funny.

You can’t see it yet.

Let me explain.

When I first started Carpool years ago it was an experiment and bizarrely for me it was an experiment that worked.

It was a costly and time consuming experiment but I loved doing it.

Eventually (after making 90 episodes on my own) it was commissioned by UKTV and I made a 20 guest series for Dave in the UK.

Finally I got paid something for doing the shows.

Then I did some other proper work and I didn’t have time to make any more, but the ones I’d made still got 1,000’s of views every day.

So why don’t I make more.

Two reasons and they are both to do with money.

The big one is insurance. My regular car insurance covers myself and my passengers but if there was an accident and the insurance company discovered I had camera equipment in the car, there would very likely be problems.

I don’t even want to think about it, 112 episodes recorded and no accidents but it’s a worry.

So I used a thing called ‘action car’ insurance which is what they use on film and TV productions. This covers you for specific time periods when you are recording and it’s on top of your regular car insurance.

It’s expensive but it means the likes of Stephen Fry and Sir Patrick Stewart are covered for literally tens of millions of pounds.

Second is administration. It really isn’t that hard to fir the cameras, pick someone up, drive them somewhere while chatting and drop them off. In fact it’s great fun.

It really isn’t that hard to edit the shows, it’s not hard to upload them, all that is a walk in the park.

Arranging what time to pick them up and from where and on what day is incredibly time consuming, complicated and takes the skills of someone who can organise things really efficiently.

I am not that person.

Every Carpool episode I did took about 15 e-mails, 3 phone calls and a couple of days of stressing about with diaries.

I cannot face that again.

I need someone full time for a limited period to do that part for me so all I need to know is;

‘You’re picking up Rupert Hound on Friday at 10:30am from the BBC Wood Lane and taking him to the ‘le Club Erotique des Gentlemen’ in D’Arblay Street, Soho.’

Sweet. I could do that.

But I would have to pay that person. I don’t have a budget. No really, I don’t have a brass farthing to spare.

So, I’ve toyed with Kickstarter campaigns and tip jugs and bitcoin bins, it’s all a bit shonky and anyway, the joy of Carpool was everyone who had a computer could watch it for free.

That’s what new media is all about, it’s all about free.

The only problem with that brave new media paradigm is pillocks like me working really hard, making shows that are popular and not only not earning anything but actually forking out for cameras, petrol, time, editing, phone bills, electricity bills, the list is dull and long.

 But!

I have a plan. It’s taking ages but it might just work.

The Carpool E-Book.

Maybe the Carpool monthly e-magazine might be a better description.

Cheap, iPad specific, riddled with DRM, not device agnostic, exclusive, elitist, the list goes on.

But it would create a small amount of revenue that could go toward the two expenses listed.

Let me know what you think.

Yes, I know I’m going to hear from 100’s of people who’ll say ‘but I don’t have an iPad,’ but let us consider that Apple have sold over 400 million iPads so some people have them,

After a respectable period of time I would eventually put them for free on YouTube, iTunes, Vimeo etc so even if you don’t have an iPad there would be more Carpools.

Stupid idea?

Tweet me  @bobbyllew

Tuesday
Jul312012

It's a show... about nothing!

In April 2009 I posted the first episode of Carpool on YouTube. Earlier that year I had posted a few episodes on iTunes which is where the majority of the downloads/views took place. Since then I've made over 100 episodes with a total combined download count of 7.6 million.
Hopefully I will make some more later this year.
A few weeks ago my tweet stream turned into a torrent as people asked me if I'd seen news of Jerry Seinfeld's new series 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.'
 I checked it out and while the stuff in the car is clearly exactly the same idea, shot in an almost identical way, it's hard to suggest it's a rip-off. For a start half the show takes place in a coffee bar or cafe, shot with a professional crew, it's clearly got a big budget and features very well known faces from the world of comedy. Assuming it's a rip-off would mean that Mr Seinfeld or his associates had seen Carpool and thought, 'Hey! We could do that!'

It's just that Jerry has a lot of cars, he likes driving, he's a comedian, new cameras allow you to shoot in a car, he knows lots of comedians, he's making a show. 'Hey, that's a great idea Jerry!'
It's fine, what am I going to do about it? What can I do about it? Nothing except make some new episodes of carpool and get a lot more hits because of what Jerry is doing. This has already happened, Carpool's existing episodes have all had a remarkable upward swing in views and downloads over the last couple of weeks, there hasn't been a new one posted for 18 months

That's the best way to look at it. It's a win win.

 

Friday
Aug052011

Carpool summer hols

 

I think the video explains it all, but just in case I will try and cover all the areas I may have forgotten.

Carpool will be back, probably late September but don't hold me to that.

The new series will still be available on the same feeds on iTunes and YouTube, but it will hopefully look a little bit better, it won't have any sound synch problems on YouTube, and there will be audio only versions available.

I'm always happy to receive suggestions of who you'd like to see on the show.

I've got some cracking passengers already lined up and a lot more in the pipeline. 

Hope you keep watching when it comes back in the autumn.

Friday
Mar042011

Tim Minchin Carpool

Friday
Feb252011

Carpool on the web

It’s not surprising there is some confusion about Carpool, where it is, when it’s on, if it’s on, what it’s on, even why it’s on.

This is partly due to the way it came about, and partly because of the complex relationship between traditional broadcasting (what I called proper telly) and internet distribution. We are all using nascent technologies which are evolving and changing all the time, keeping track of one podcast is not that easy.

Unless you use iTunes of course then it’s very easy, but there are clearly a lot of people who don’t like using it and that’s fair enough.

Back in January 2009 I started putting them out exclusively on iTunes because I use that system, I understood it and the thinking was it was a premier media distribution tool. 

More importantly, there was no time restriction, the podcast could be as long as you wanted.

Unlike YouTube which at the time had a 10 minute limit. If you had a directors account (which I now do) no such restrictions applied and I wanted carpool to be longer than 10 minutes.

So iTunes it was and it worked. After 18 months the series had been downloaded close to 3 million times. I had managed to post a weekly episode for 18 months entirely on my own, believe me, that took some work. I loved it but it was exhausting keeping the flow going.

In early 2010 I got a directors account on YouTube and started putting them up there too. I now wish I had been able to do that from the start as I now put big hefty HD versions of the show on YouTube and more people are slowly finding it and using that.

Then in the summer of 2010 we started to record the TV versions for Dave, I knew I couldn’t keep up the regular weekly releases so I had to let it stop.

The most important lesson I have learned about online media is making sure you have a new show every week. It makes a huge difference. The word spreads quickly, people subscribe to the feed either through iTunes or an RSS feed and the numbers of downloads each week constantly increases. 

Now my plan is to mix and match, some full length episodes from the Dave series, some newly recorded episodes, or ‘old school’ carpool.

New shows are released every Friday.

Here are some of the people coming up, not in any order

Tim Minchin

Jeremy Hardy

Craig Charles

Bob Burnquist (skate board champion, amazing bloke)

Jo Brand

Kevin McCloud  (the Grand Designs man)

Jason Byrne

Shappi Korsandi

Tim Vine

Doon Mackican

Jim Jefferies

 

Here are the ways you can see carpool online.

iTunes.    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/robert-llewellyns-carpool/id302529378  

YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/user/carpoolUK

plus of course my site which has all the links for the above anyway. 

www.llewtube.com

 The iTunes version

The YouTube Version