Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The law of unintended audiences

Yet another thing I should have figured out before we launched the tweeting phase of The Whale in the Room: since people are following the individual characters in real time as the writers tweet, this draft-in-progress already has an audience. From the few comments I've seen, followers seem to be able to keep up with the stream as easily as any other, though one person has mentioned that Tweetdeck's group function helps matters. 

But, at this stage, I don't know if anyone is responding to the stream as a drama or a narrative... I sort-of hope not, since I think (or hope) the dramatic shape will start to solidify during the script-editing phase, change during performance, and then transform again in the audio edit. And then in the listener's mind. But we'll see. At the moment the reader's experience must be a little like "tweavesdropping", as one of the Twitterplay's characters puts it in a recent tweet. 

It's an unusual, though not unpleasant, sensation to feel that an interested audience is looking over your shoulder as you write your scraps of dialogue. And this points to perhaps what is at once the most banal and the most liberating aspect of the project - that although there will be a lot of editing, there won't be any line redrafts. In other words, we'll cut and move, but we won't rewrite. The 140-character constraint is a great way of shifting the redrafting process to the brain, or to the unforgiving text input box on Twitter, or other client of your choice. I like the sense that although not all of my character's utterances will make the cut, the ones that do will go straight to audio.

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