Plagiarism

I don’t know whether I should be happy or flattered or incensed. Nearly four years ago I began writing episodes of (the then untitled) The Bloke Show. I was inspired by a series on ABC television in Australia called Andrew’s Guide to Being a Man.  Two friends of mine starred in “Andrew’s Guide” – Andrew Booth and Pete Marshall I watched a couple of episodes got the gist , decided I wanted to write an episode, sent it to the producers, who loved it, the script was accepted  and I was in the process of writing more when the series was cancelled before my episode was shot.

Andrew Booth and Pete Marshall from Andrews Guide to Being a Man

I liked the basic concept of Andrew’s Guide (two guys giving advice to other guys) and The Man Show (the two guys concept and its sketch format – otherwise I found The Man Show sexist and frankly – unfunny)… so I developed new characters, let the concept take off in a different direction and  wrote much longer scripts to allow for  more well rounded character and story  development. I sent these scripts to maybe five people at that time and told maybe ten others of the concept and gave them the part of the script that is featured in the offending clip, as an example of the direction in which the show was heading . The feedback I received was mixed, everything from “love it” to effectively saying “its crass” – which, I may add,  at times it unabashedly is – Im not steering away from it – in fact I love its crassness.

I’m aware that there are millions and millions of ideas out there and that a duplicate idea is completely within the bounds of possibility, however, this clip (which I Stumbled Upon) despite having an altered context and that it isn’t exactly as I wrote it,  is similar enough (very,very similar) to the scene I wrote to arouse more than a little suspicion.  The caption at the beginning which reads “Tacoma, Washington” – now takes on a dark overtone and is a little obvious and a little insulting – Tacoma is where I live! – it has pushed it way past the point of coincidence in my mind.

The good news – the clip has received over one million views which validates the humour of the concept – hooray! The clip has okay production values on the whole -certainly good enough for what I was envisioning anyhow.But I hate the graphics.

The bad news – the clip is very poorly directed,it isnt funny and it bloody well should be! Where’s the sense of the ridiculous (well, apart from the obvious)? Where’s the tongue in cheek? Where’s the self mockery? The director certainly does not understand of the idea of a fully explored set-up.  The audience reaction to “the arrival” is horribly projected – we hear the reaction before we see the subject! Please people! It should have worked the other way ie stunned silence followed by amazed and enthusiastic response. The humour is in the set-up and the pause folks! We are the audience – let us do the discovering and let us find joy in being right about the response – how clever we are!

The other thing that pisses me off is that (believe it or not) I developed the idea a lot further than this. Will I run into problems, as I haven’t  been able to protect my own work yet?Maybe; maybe not, but I shouldn’t have to be concerned about that at all.

I am trying to contact the youtube uploader – I have a few questions. I don’t object to it being filmed per se, its more that they’ve cramped my style, stolen my idea and possibly made it difficult for me to take this further that bugs me.

And far more damaging to me is  this: although I’m not  so naive  to believe that people don’t steal each other’s ideas or work –  I really didn’t think it would happen to me, nor so brazenly. I’m just getting over my last legal battle with an A-hole who exploited me, now I have to deal with more of the same. I like having faith in people, I like that I trust and would rather see the best in people by choice. Now, I just don’t know who to trust anymore. It’s beginning to feel as though nobody is trustworthy and that kind of loss of faith is really a tragedy.

I won’t be seeking feedback on my scripts anymore, I’ll simply have to have faith in my own judgement, which is fine, I’m loathe to lose the feedback it’s a really valuable commodity, it’s not easy to find people in whose judgement you trust.

Anyone who can help me with International copyright issues would be much appreciated here .

About Simon

Simon Houghton creator of The Bloke Show started life as a baby, going on to become a boy and then a man, at which time he became an actor. As time passed he went on to be a director, later still he became a sales guy, then a business owner. Most recently he regressed and became a writer. Then a driver, then an actor again.
Decisiveness is not one of his strong suits.

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