You Couldn’t Make It Up: Its Long and Winding Road – Off Message 55

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As the upcoming second series of You Couldn’t Make It Up, our comedy news panel show for Newstalk, fast approaches, it got me thinking about its long and treacherous journey thus far.

Back on Newstalk for a second 10-week run from January 19th, it’s been around the houses just to get this far.

As we often describe it, it’s the show that refuses to die, such has been its regular resurgences just when we think its pulse is no more.

My Luckiest Break? – Off Message 53

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My luckiest career break may well have been a literal one. It happened 40 years ago this month. I could be a very happy headmaster somewhere now if it hadn’t happened. Though I suspect my break really was for the best.

The Errors of My Ways – Off Message 51

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Mistakes, I’ve made a few, but then again, too many not to mention…

With apologies to Ol’ Blue Eyes and Paul Anka, I was reminded the other week of one the many both major and minor cock-ups that have littered my media career to date.

True Love Ways: The First Dates Effect – Off Message 47

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Now that all the fuss and excitement has died down I figured I should write a few words about the whole First Dates experience.

When I agreed to do it little did I know the impact it would have. Of all the one-off television appearances I’ve done over the years, there’s no doubt it was the one that blew up the most.

Mostly due to one simple factor.

Changing Of The Guard – Off Message 45

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Dealing with the musical chairs of changing commissioning faces is part and parcel of being a freelancer pitching ideas in the media.

Here in Ireland such cross-network, -station, -site or -publication movement is relatively rare but in bigger media markets it’s so frequent as to be expected.

When it happens it has both its pros and cons.

Rejection Dejection – Off Message 42

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Christmas may well be the season for giving but in the particularly unforgiving media business rejection happens all year round; and the festive season is no exception.

Dealing with all this negativity successfully is vital if you want to stay the pace.

And The Award Goes To… – Off Message 40

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Off Message won an Irish Blog Award recently. Get us, huh?

I was of course delighted. But now I’m wondering if winning an award like this has any real and measurable impact on one’s career.

It’s tricky to quantify.

Home Is Where The Work Is – Off Message 38

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The other day I had the most unexpected – and more than a little frightening – thought: I wondered if coming home was a mistake.

I spent 11 years in London, returning to Dublin in 2009 when RTÉ commissioned a TV idea I’d had.

It got me thinking about the pros and cons of my return.

Honesty The Best Policy? – Off Message 37

Real honesty in the media is a rare thing.

I don’t mean in its coverage and output.

No, I’m talking about the honesty of those of us lucky enough to work in the business when we’re discussing in public the day-to-day workings of our job.

And my blogposts to date prove I’m as guilty as anyone else.

The Waiting Game – Off Message 36

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When freelancing work dries up (or at least goes eerily quiet for a while) you’re forced to get your pitching mojo back on.

Which is where I’m at right now, partially because of Brexit, surprisingly enough.

And whatever the outcomes it’s the waiting that kills you.

Game Without Frontiers – Off Message 34

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I spent most of November in Maximum Media helping them produce a series of short videos.

I’ve read a lot about ‘new media’ changes and their impact on their ‘old media’ cousins over the past decade but seeing one of these ‘new media’ models up close and personal over the past while was an invaluable personal first.

Beaten By The Punch – Off Message 31

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I got a nice black eye Saturday night. Despite taking selfies cataloguing the ever-darkening wound I resisted the temptation to publicly post them. Til now.

It got me thinking about how our mainstream media’s concentration on violent crime helps propagate an atmosphere of fear.

Changing Times – Off Message 30

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As I left RTÉ last week at the end of another long run there I was very aware that I hadn’t a gig lined up to go to anywhere else anytime soon.

Oddly I wasn’t too worried, which as a freelancer is a very weird feeling.

Get Lucky – Off Message 13

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In media or any other business don’t ever underestimate the importance of luck.

Likewise don’t over-estimate the role of your own talents and hard work.

Choose Me – Off Message 12

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How humiliating are auditions?

I’ve only ever done ten; and I got three of those, a pretty decent batting average.

Unsurprisingly so I’ve never minded them.

Back Of The Net – Off Message 5

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Football and television have long been natural bedfellows.

We all remember great World Cup incidents.

Why?

Because we saw them live, as they happened, along with a massive global audience, on television.

Pitch Perfect – Off Message 3

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Ideas are the lifeblood of broadcasting.

If you’ve ever had one that you think could make it to air or even if you’re just wondering what kind might work, read on…

Simply The Best – Off Message 2

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As a freelancer I’m constantly thinking about what makes a successful idea.

And in most cases, especially for long running formats, simplicity is the key.

If you can’t explain it in a very short paragraph – think of the sentence or two you’d have in TV listings – then the odds are stacked against you.

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