03 Oct medianet meets: James Cary, comedy writer
In the latest installment of medianet meets, we talk to James Cary, a comedy writer who blogs at sitcomgeek.blogpost.uk – he’ll also be appearing at our Church & Media Conference on 20 October. Don’t forget to book your tickets…
How did you get into the media?
Partly through a failure to get the proper jobs I applied for after university. But mostly because I’ve always loved comedy. And writing. And the only job I ever really wanted to do was be a comedy writer – long before I even knew that was a job.
What’s an average week like for you?
Because I’m married with small children, I try to keep my hours pretty regular. It’s hard to do that while being a freelancer. I’m a bit of a workaholic, not least because I have found it’s virtually impossible to spend a whole day actually writing. Lots of time is taken up on admin, emails, travel and, cough, filling in things like questionnaires. But that’s okay. It’s part of life – and I need stuff to write about.
Complete this sentence. My day starts with…
… breakfast with my wife and kids and, ideally, a bit of biblical reflection. My kids ask brilliant questions and I’m often pretty stumped for an answer!
If I ruled the world, I would… absolute insist that everyone mind their own business.
What’s one thing you wish the Church knew about the media?
That one reason why the media seems to be ignorant and misinformed about Christian things is that articulate and well-read young men and women are usually encouraged into ministry, not the media. Can some be sent into the media please?
If you didn’t work in the media, what would you do?
I occasionally fantasise about driving a delivery van and just listening to the radio, podcasts and audiobooks – and learning stuff. And driving.
Which three media personalities – living or dead – would you love to have as dinner party guests?
The first two are easy: GK Chesterton and CS Lewis. Then either PJ O’Rourke or PG Wodehouse. I suspect O’Rourke would make the better dinner guest.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
I’m not sure it’s the best, but one thing was memorable for me. Very early on, I was excited when I was told by a producer that a broadcaster was interested in an idea I was involved with. The producer looked at me and said ‘Interest costs nothing’.
Who mentors you?
Spiritually, it’s been hard to find a mentor as it feels like I’m making it up as a go along. But I’m immensely grateful for the people who have prayed for me and given me advice.
What advice would you give to people who want to break into the media?
Know what you want to do. And be very flexible. I know – much of life is an oxymoron.
What’s the most difficult work situation you’ve faced as a Christian?
I don’t know. But I think more difficult times are ahead. Holding fast to biblical truths in the public square is getting harder and harder and I seriously worry that there is a time coming when it will no longer be possible.
How can we pray for you?
Pray that I do my job in a way that honours Jesus Christ. And that I’d put my family before my work.
At this month’s Church & Media Conference, James Cary will launch the DVD of his play The God Particle, with a brief discussion on the role of art in church, and asking what theatre has to teach the church. Hosted by Gemma Hunt, CBBC Presenter. Get your tickets here.