Archive | November, 2009

My Digital Culture Manifesto

17 Nov
Digital Culture is not the way of the future: it is the way of the present.
There’s no point debating whether or not digital culture is a good thing, whether or not social media is turning us all anti-social, or, the silliest question of all, whether or not we should engage with it. It’s happening. It’s here. People are doing it. The only question should be HOW are we engaging with it.
Social Media is about engaging with society, not about socialising.
I am tired of people assuming that if I am busy on Facebook or Twitter or even YouTube I can’t possibly be working. If you keep social media separate from your work, you are keeping a vast audience away from your work. Your choice. But don’t judge mine.
Get to know the world you’re living in.
If you don’t use Twitter properly, you might as well not be using it at all. If you don’t understand who reads blogs, don’t blog. If you can’t justify why something should be online, it probably shouldn’t be. Don’t just do it because you can. Please. We learned that the hard way with Flash.
A good workman never blames his tools.
Because that’s what social media is. An amazing set of tools. They can be dangerous in the wrong hands. But if you understand them, they can work for you.
If you can’t think of anything good to say, don’t say anything.
We don’t need anymore whining and whinging. We all know shit things happen online. Unless you have a solution, keep quiet. If your favourite free site or software crashes, turn off your computer and go outside for a little.
Shut up already about the digital divide.
Technology didn’t cause the divide. And what exactly would be better? Technology bridges more divides than most other things I can think of. It’s certainly better than fixed line telephones. Or postcards.
Don’t be afraid to think for yourself.
Guess what – when you grow up, you get to make your own decisions. Sometimes people make bad ones. That sucks. And then we deal with the consequences. We cannot control the internet – just ask the US government. But why do we so desperately want to? What’s so terrifying about people making their own choices? Because, fundamentally, I believe we are all more good than evil. So for every internet paedophile out there, there’s five people trying to hunt them down and stop them.
Let go.
Share. Open your hands. Stop hoarding your knowledge, your information, your expertise, your secrets. It’s time to give in and give out to the rest of the world. Call it Open Source, call it Creative Commons, call it madness if you want, it’s the way the world is evolving, which brings me to my final point:
Culture is alive.
Biologically and theoretically speaking, culture spreads, grows, changes, evolves, adapts. We can’t stop it. We can only hang on for the ride.
So that being said I reserve the right to change my manifesto tomorrow. But please comment – add suggestions and improvements. Or you’ll find me on Facebook, @karenjeynes, on skype at karenjeynes_sa on Google Wave, or just about anywhere these days.


Naplwrimo: No really…what’s the play actually ABOUT?

12 Nov

Having such a crazy November, but I’m (hopefully) channeling all the craziness into good things for my play. I have just arrived in Zagreb, and en route, I spent an hour in a coffee shop in Frankfurt airport discussing my play with a fellow writer. He asked me what the play was about. A simple question. A complicated answer. Since I got such fab response from my character quiz, I thought I’d share something else here. Yes, I say this a lot, so if you’ve heard it before, tough: the best advice I ever got on playwrighting was in a workshop run by Jonathan Lloyd of the Soho Theatre. He asked us to complete the sentence “this play is about XXXXX who wants XXXXX but XXXXX”. Devastatingly simple. Devastatingly hard. And, of course, if you are like me and choose to make life even harder for yourself and have four stories in one play, you get to answer it three times.

SO This play is about Jack, who wants to see everything, but doesn’t want to be seen. This play is about Sandrine, who wants to understand everything, but doesn’t want to be understood. This play is about Kai, who wants to be loved, but doesn’t love himself. This play is about Lucy, who wants to go everywhere, but hasn’t ever stepped outside of herself.

For some reason these are all on the whimsical side – I normally tend to much more practical and detailed sentences. But this play is what it is… So – what’s your play about?

Naplwrimo: Character Quiz

7 Nov

I personally believe that all good writing comes from good characters. One week into Naplwrimo, we should all know just a little bit about our characters. But unless we know them well we’re going to hit rocky ground sooner or later. If we can’t predict exactly how they’d respond in any situation, if we don’t know them as well as we know our best friends, well, then we’re not doing our jobs properly.

And so, for a brief diversion from your scripts, here’s a quick character quiz for you – and the answers given by Jack, one of my leads.

1. Where do you live?

a. everywhere and anywhere, currently sleeping on a sleeper couch at my sister’s place in Oxford.

2. Describe a present you received as a child that really meant something to you?

a. When I was ten, my granddad gave me some binoculars, small brass ones. They opened up new worlds to me, and I still take them wherever I go.

3. What do you do when you’re stuck in traffic?

a. I’m hardly ever in traffic, so it’s a bit of a novelty. I watch other people.

4. Describe the last time you cried?

a. It was a couple of weeks ago, we went to this temple in Malaysia somewhere, and we got there at dawn, as the sun started hitting the tops of the stones. So freaking beautiful.

5. What do you think is your best attribute?

a. People trust me instinctively. I gather stories and secrets wherever I go, and I keep them all.


Please share your answers, I’d love to “meet” some of your characters…

Naplwrimo: Inspiration comes in the strangest places

3 Nov

This year I am once again leaping headlong into the madness of – and because she is sweet, Dorothy lets me blog for them. And because I’m lazy I thought I’d duplicate that blog here! So here’s my first post:

It is already the 3rd of November and I have been a bad playwright. I haven’t written a word. I have an excuse: I finished my final Honours essay on Sunday, and then yesterday I handed everything in and, well, let’s be honest, drank too much champagne.

I thought very hard about writing something last night, but I was uninspired, and ended up on Facebook instead. I started chatting to a friend, and because Facebook was being imbecilic, we started chatting on Skype.

And today, just about an hour ago, I realised that I had inspiration for my play – a play I am now SO keen to write, and into which I can put a character who has inhabited my mind for years but never found a home.

You see we discovered last night that we are both random travellers. We go places and don’t remember where they are. We take pictures of things because they’re pretty, and don’t know what they’re called. We don’t plan or research, we just go.

And I thought about all the nice parallels with life that idea had.

And so my play is called “Going Somewhere”, and I am thrilled to write it, thrilled to be inspired, thrilled to be part of this fabulous Naplwrimo journey once again.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride!