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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

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Reader Comments (10)

Speaking as a potentially second class viewer without an iPad are there perhaps alternatives which might even be cheaper than the 30% I believe Apple take as their share?

For example an email came through today from a Kickstarter I supported using http://www.vhx.tv for streaming and in this case downloading a short film. I haven't looked into it beyond following the link but if something like that was a possibility I'd happily contribute to a fund raiser for production costs in advance.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I like the idea of a magazine even if it involves getting an iPad, paying for early access could also be a good idea.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJack

I would rather you never made any more carpool episodes than go against your self confessed "liberal" ideals. Aren't those words like "elitist" and "exclusive" similar to those you use to describe that which you hate with regard to the oil industry and politics?

I understand if cut in half you'd have an apple core but you must be aware that it's actually a smaller market that you will ultimately be reaching. I don't have the exact answer, but there must be a better way to monetise carpool, if only to cover costs?
Subbable perhaps?

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBenjibogs

I would work for you for a cup of tea and a chance to meet yourself and the great guests you get. Seriously. Any chance you are willing to move production to Glasgow :p I'm a TV Student so I always love hearing stories about making tv that you and your guests tell often.

Also I'm a big fan of the show and would love to give back in some way but like you predicted. I don't own any Apple Products. nothing against them, just out of my price range at the moment. I do own an Android Phone though so I would certainty buy a weekly e-book/magazine if you made it available on a service that caters to both apply and android. I rather miss Carpool and I'm sure you've thought of every idea that people will shout at you on twitter so I hope you figure something out soon, Shame you don't seem to be able to make anymore with UKTV.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Rankin

A great idea and a good explanation of the challenge and joy of producing content. I make tv commercials for a living. I make my video blog just for the joy of making something I'm really into and no client can tell me what, when or how. I shoot what I want, edit when I want and post when I want. But I never yet cracked monetising it, apart from the few quid in ad revenue. You make great shows and actively get commissions to make a living out of this, whilst still retaining a sense of the originality of the early carpools. Go for it. We need experiments, and it looks like you can get production support for free!

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDanny

Robert, it may make sense to also look into an Android-specific method. I would love to see something that can be viewed on all types of machines including computers.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Carpool was always the highlight of my lunch hour each week when I was working as a rocket scientist. I miss the show and I hope that some day a method of funding it will present itself.

With all of the projects you have, you might want to have an eye out for an assistant to handle all of the office faff, calls, emails, making sure the video camera is focused, stuff like that. It takes the right person and not something that you can necessarily post an opening for in the classified section of the local paper. I know several prominent persons that have an aide de camp and it works out great for them. I don't know how Buzz Aldrin could manage his schedule without Christina keeping him organized. Being able to pay somebody is always a concern, but sometimes spending a bit will return more. Just an idea.

For now, I'm thrilled with the new season of FullyCharged.

January 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen

As you mentioned FullyCharged :)
See what I did there?
I noticed that FullyCharged has disappeared from iTunes, which sadly zapped them off my hard disk (I used to have all of them)
Is the disappearance intentional?

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Mike - yes, for some reason FullyCharged seems to have disappeared from the US iTunes Store, but still appears to be there in all the other countries.

Robert - any chance you could get someone to investigate?

July 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRollo

Please more, on any platform and in any way, just more please sir.

January 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHuge Fan

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