In 2016, I wrote six scripts on assignment for the YouTube channel Wisecrack; the resulting videos have generated more than 8 million page views so far. New book projects, a family emergency, and a demoralizing national election snuffed out my interest in taking on new scriptwriting work for a while, but I'd love to take another crack at it now. I'd be especially interested in writing documentary scripts focusing on history and true crime.
The first Wisecrack script I worked on was The Philosophy of Bill Murray. This isn't one of the six scripts I actually wrote, but I was credited as researcher and you might see some evidence of my handiwork.
The first script I actually wrote, soup to nuts, was The Philosophy of the Joker. Because this was 2016, that's not the philosophy of the film The Joker (2019) but rather the philosophy of DC Comics' Joker as a recurring character, with special emphasis on Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008). With 3.3 million views and counting, it's the most popular thing I ever wrote for Wisecrack and probably also the best. You really can't overstate the creative influence of my editor, Jared Bauer, whose knowledge of the franchise was much deeper than mine.
My second script, South Park on Religion, gave me an opportunity to bring my religious studies background into the mix. The video performed well (2.6 million views and counting), and it was probably the most fun I had at Wisecrack outside of the 8-bit Philosophy videos.
Is Zootopia Racist? is one of those videos that sounds like idiotic clickbait if you don't actually watch it. I mean, the objective was not to call the beloved children's movie Zootopia racist; it was to use the question of whether Zootopia is racist to explain some otherwise heady and hard-to-grasp concepts in critical race theory. Wisecrack videos are never about the verdict; they're about the cross-examination. I'm proud of the script (and the video got a lot of pageviews), but judging by the social media response I feel like most viewers (understandably, I guess) focused on answering the provocative question when I wanted them to explore the ideas underneath. That's an occupational hazard that seems to go along with YouTube in general.
I'd been a fan of Wisecrack's 8-bit Philosophy series long before I actually started writing for them, so the opportunity to make my own mark on the series appealed to me. Why Do We Love Serial Killers? has had fewer than a half-million views, but I think it does what it says on the tin and I'm happy to have written it.
My second 8-bit Philosophy video, Will VR Porn Replace Sex?, was funny and philosophically sophisticated and completely unsuitable for a monetized YouTube channel under late capitalism, so we made it a Patreon exclusive.
My last Wisecrack video was The Philosophy of Darth Vader and it dealt, appropriately enough, with death anxiety and the effect it can have on your moral development. I'm proud of it.
My Wisecrack scripts weren't the only Wisecrack scripts, and I wouldn't even say they were the best, but I don't think it's ridiculous to say that they were among the best, and I'm proud of that. If you like what you just watched, be sure to check out Wisecrack's YouTube channel for more of the same sort of thing.