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When in Rome

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Watching a drama series has become like reading a book – in the case of ‘Rome’ it is something of an epic. Though produced in 2005 it has the qualities that make a series for the era of Netflix. It is a lesson too from HBO and the BBC. A cracking pace, without becoming vulgar or repetitive (though there is always violence and sex, and sex with violence), the ‘upstairs/downstairs’ balance has two complementary and intertwinned strands. The conflict and jeopardy is relentless. At times the casting is a touch weak – Cleopatra is no Elizabeth Taylor but the strands wrap around eachother in a way that is Shakespearan – as is some of the language. And the last words of the series leave you with a smile on your face – a clever twist that must have been planned early on so that the two stories effectively roll into one – the son of Ceasar and Cleopatra actually that of a bull of a soldier.

The contrast with other series I have tried to watch is telling: V and Battlestar Gallactica are like badly written trash mags in comparison – after a few episodes it not only becomes repetitive, the same events and dilemmas repeating themselves as if on a loop, but the internal dynamic constantly trips itself up with the original need for commercial breaks every seven minutes or so.

My own efforts at the TV Series include ‘Escape from Alien Zoo’, ‘The Little Duke’ and ‘CC and Susie’. The first got me through the door at the BBC to develop the scripts, the second secured me an agent, third was too kid’s TV. Tessa Ross saw me about a TV film version ‘Rewind’. I will work on the paper version of ‘The Little Duke’ as it concerns the Normans in France in the 10th century and has enough violence and power struggles in it to think of it as a cross between ‘The Vikings’ and ‘Rome’.

Social Media is like the founding of Rome

Social media is like founding Rome; you can steadily drip, drip content and news like Romulus or you can build high and make an impact like Remus. Both approaches have their merits, on the one hand having and maintaining a presence while on the other doing something ‘big’.

You may know the story of Romulus & Remus, brought up by a she-wolf on the hills above the River Tiber, they were the founders of Rome, though only one would give the city their name.

One day, looking down at the Tiber the brother’s decided to found a great city. They agreed to build a wall encircling a piece of promising land and to do so separately, starting opposite each other, at a distance and meeting in the middle.

Romulus builds his wall low and makes quick progress laying out a great arc that heads towards his brother Remus. Remus builds as high as a man, his wall is tall, but progress away from the River is slow.

Eventually the two Walls meet. Remus cannot contain his mirth at his brother’s low wall and mockingly starts to jump over it back and forth. Unable to contain his anger Romulus picks up a shovel and knocks his brother across the head as he makes another leap.

If only one person is faced with the task of ‘building Rome’ what should they do? Already I see the need for two people and two roles, the first, the ‘low wall’ is the website that is a consistent presence, not simply static web pages, but blog-like where visitors contribute content and share what is there. The ‘high wall’ are the events, or highlights, from commissioned videos or iTunes, to live forums and Webinars. Neither should be seen as exclusive to the Internet, like the wall that surrounds Rome, web presence should be seen as part of the real world integrated with open days and events, mail outs by post or email, PR and traditional advertising too.

Like founding Rome, social media needs to be tackled in more than one way

Romulus and Remus nursed by the roman capitoline wolf

You may know the story of Romulus & Remus, brought up by a she-wolf on the hills above the River Tiber, they were the founders of Rome, though only one would give the city their name.

One day, looking down at the Tiber the brother’s decided to found a great city. They agreed to build a wall encircling a piece of promising land and to do so separately, starting opposite each other, at a distance and meeting in the middle.

Romulus builds his wall low and makes quick progress laying out a great arc that heads towards his brother Remus. Remus builds as high as a man, his wall is tall, but progress away from the River is slow.

Eventually the two Walls meet. Remus cannot contain his mirth at his brother’s low wall and mockingly starts to jump over it back and forth. Unable to contain his anger Romulus picks up a shovel and knocks his brother across the head as he makes another leap.

Social media is like founding Rome; you can steadily drip, drip content and news like Romulus or you can build high and make an impact like Remus. Both approaches have their merits, on the one hand having and maintaining a presence while on the other doing something ‘big’.

If only one person is faced with the task of ‘building Rome’ what should they do? Already I see the need for two people and two roles, the first, the ‘low wall’ is the website that is a consistent presence, not simply static web pages, but blog-like where visitors contribute content and share what is there. The ‘high wall’ are the events, or highlights, from commissioned videos or iTunes, to live forums and Webinars. Neither should be seen as exclusive to the Internet, like the wall that surrounds Rome, web presence should be seen as part of the real world integrated with open days and events, mail outs by post or email, PR and traditional advertising too.

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