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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Strong women in Shades Of Bad get longer format edit

Shades Of Bad is a story of dark wit, misunderstanding and innuendo. 

It has a new format and a new beginning, now is the time to start watching 

Doris is a strong woman, not to be melded with. But, she wakes up one morning to find her husband has not come home. She knows he is never coming home. Not because he has left for good, but because she has made a decision. She has decided he is no longer welcome. It is one of the hardest decisions any woman makes, far harder than saying yes to a proposal, then getting married. The end of a relationship is a huge decision. Moreover, it is a huge turning point in anyone’s life, not least Doris’s life. Everything changes for she is now alone. A woman against the world, and she is not, never has been, never will be a loser. Doris is a powerful woman.

The question is how to move forward, what to do, how does the new Doris Shades develop? Jean's blog on playing Doris is insightful. It might be worth coming back for after this blog on how the three minute format is so different when played in longer form which is now available.

Doris the character starts determined to kill her husband and ensure she does not take the blame. She plans and the reveal cuts deep. The second part, not taking the blame, is as important as the first but life never works out exactly as planned. 

The best laid plans go wrong and Doris Shades accidentally becomes a serial killer bringing to the kitchen the zero remorse decision making that her neighbours commute to the city each morning to work, she begins an incredible ‘work from home’ business. The thing about a suburban housewife like Doris is, that no one will suspect her. Released in three minute coffee break or bus stop size episodes that entrance to the story took five weeks or five episodes to tell. And whilst that format has it's place our largest request was for longer episodes. 

We did a test months ago and discovered the show played so differently it was not a simple request. Here were our first bullet point findings from the initial internal viewings of the longer show.

1. Wow, it plays so much better, so much more powerful.
2. In longer form we will have to throw out junk. It demands harder reductive edits especially episodes 10 to 15.
3. There is an opportunity to make this so much better by adding new content in the form of another dimension (see below)

The desire to improve what was there, and that it was possible has long been on the cards but the work on the TV Channel's new content still consumes Jean's working day and edit suit. However the first mega episode is done and released for public reaction. Please leave comments.

The 'smart' annotation, if it works on your device slips you back to the coffee break episode 6 and for the time being you will have to continue with the three minute episodes because the edits require time and consideration and are not a simple function. We would like to see your comments. The great thing about the web is that the audience can be inclusive. 

If you have never watched the show then now is the time to start.

This new first episode may yet change again because the team really wanted to give it new life, that new dimension. However the release was forced by Stuart being on BBC's TOO MUCH TV last night with Emma Bunton and Rufus Hound (Tue 8th March) and giving Shades Of Bad web series just a glancing mention. We decided to release it without the added dimension.

The second and third mega episodes need considered editing and then a music re-score, though we are now more in control of that if you have seen Jean's HOW TO video on how we now put music on the showThen the ambition of the new dimension has yet to be considered and I guess there is no harm in sharing the idea, but first let me explain where the series has gone in three minute bites. In a character development curve of good to bad found in Breaking Bad, Doris moves from Desperate Housewives  to Dexter. Guess that sums it up. She descends into remorseless crime and reflects the nastier side of a society we have grown to accept (yes it is subtly political). Doris has started a brothel exploiting her elderly mother in law by telling her she has facial recognition dementia and it is her husband coming back over and over again. No one has dementia it is a con. She has a drug business she runs from her cellar and that all gets her noticed and head-hunted by DREK, who sends her to collect his package in NORWAY, which she drops in the sea and has to send down four skin divers for …. oh well ….  (that is the shot and soon to be released season 3)

So, the three slightly odd women have killed their first man, cut him up with a chain saw and put him in a wheelie bin (episode 40, finale of season 2), and the bin man finds it (season 3). All these are coffee break 3 minute episodes and that was the show's remit and challenge. To make every episode interesting, different, climb, peak and end on a crescendo. Sometimes, many times, we achieved it.

We have discovered that the 10.5 minute versions view so differently. The story becomes more engaging and inviting. That demands more of us. So much so our ideas were to make the whole series a reflection of the past and Doris, now incarcerated is in therapy, that being the now. We had a new opening to episode 1 that we never shot.

Why does it have to wait? Just back from shooting in Dubai there are between 4 and 6 travel films in the edit. We leave for the Caribbean in a week to shoot three or more travel films, are back for a April to edit then are pencilled to travel to Toronto and then down to Niagara Falls for another travel film or two in May. June we cruise up the Baltic to St Petersburg with maybe 10 stops from Denmark onwards and more Doris Visits.

Given that spread alone we would not be shooting Shades the drama again until July, so those new elements cannot be shot for some time. Season three coffee break episode releases will start either next week or the week after and we will schedule them to auto release so we can forget about 'transmission' until the fall.

Please watch, share and comment. 

PS Traditional broadcast episodes are 10.5 minute sections. Two make a 21 min 30 second commercial half hour. Shades has around 200 minutes of drama shot excluding titles.


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