19/10/2012

By Jackie Barrie, Copywriter, Trainer & Author at Comms Plus

How did you get into comedy writing?
Nothing exciting or funny ever happened in my life so I used to invent stories and scenarios to make up for it.

What type of clients do you write for?
Those with a serious enough lapse in judgement to hire me. Regional magazine editors seem to have been keenly afflicted by this condition, as have various bloggers in need of something a bit different.

What are you working on at the moment?
A couple of books are demanding my attention. One of which has a major publisher and will include my own cartoons. I’m calling them ‘My Pension Plan’.

What are your predictions for the future of writing?
I don’t know. What star sign is it? Cross my palm with silver. It certainly can’t be intelligibly computer-generated, so it may well require some sort of humanoid involvement for the time being.

What makes a good brief?
Short, loose briefs are the best. They don’t restrict the blood flow of inspiration and talent. The material can be taken in, shaped, embroidered and cut during the editing process.

US or UK spellings?
When in Rome...if you get my drift.

Biggest frustration about being a writer?
Not enough time in the day to get all those brilliant ideas into action.

Where do your find inspiration / get your best ideas?
Watching people in mundane situations completely unaware that a humour writer is taking mental notes. Dog walks. Cafés.

What’s the best line you’ve ever written?
I don't know about 'best' but I quite like this one: ”By the age of fifty-five, Norman Plummer had honed to a fine degree the art of failure. "

What are your greatest triumphs / career highlights?
Seriously, I received a love letter from a smitten Polish plumber after he read the spoof problem page I was writing for a London magazine. It was written under the character of ‘Cressida Forthright-Maine’ with an accompanying cartoon and he evidently believed Cressida was a real person.

What was your favourite job and why?
That spoof problem page was fun. Otherwise my own collection of short stories is always great to continue when I have time.

What’s your all-time favourite quote?
”I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying,” Woody Allen.

What’s unique about your writing style?
Some people think it’s funny but I’m not sure if they mean peculiar or ha-ha.

What tip would you give business owners?
About 10% to restaurants, I believe, is acceptable. Especially if they employ someone to make their menus funny.

What do you wish you’d written?
Woody Allen’s Collected Prose; Leonard Cohen’s songs and The BlackAdder sitcom.

Now’s your chance to crow about your achievements / awards / accomplishments…
I published a humour magazine, launched and ran a Poetry Performance venue and am producing several TV show ideas.

And the shameless plug – is there a website, blog, book or anything that you’re promoting at the moment?
Chattoon! - the chat show with cartoons at www.chattoonshow.com


Simon Ellinas was born with a pencil in one hand and a pen in the other. His mother was Irish and his father is Greek. A North London upbringing and his artistic skills led him into graphic design and cartoons, but he kept writing all the time as well.

Simon's book of short stories

Simon’s websites:
The Writer
Ha! Humorous Arts
Caricatures and Cartoons

Follow him on Twitter @Cartoono