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Workshop 1. Commuters.

So, I thought it might be a good idea to get this all kicked off with a bit of a workshop; something to ease us all into setting up a framework, creating characters and learning to work together. I’ve had a bit of a think, dug into my old notebook of situations/contexts that I never got around to using and thought it might be fun to use the idea of commuting to be the basic backdrop for the first workshop.

So this is what I’d like you to try and do:

  • Think about a character that commutes (planes, trains, buses, cars, underground etc).
  • Think about what kind of person your character is; what do like, dislike? What makes them happy or sad? Where do they work? Why are they travelling?
  • Try and write a small abstract of your character. This is something I wrote for one of the “wormwoods” characters:

    Gavin Toulson-Davey (about 40 years old): Gavin is a City drop out that may, or may not have more than one skeleton in his closet. Sick of the city, he has moved to Totnes to get in touch with nature. He bought the shop from Mr. Cecil Wormwood who died shortly there after. Gavin likes to think of his little supermarket as an “Eco2.O startup” and worships Innocent Smoothies and Howies and dreams of building a wormwoods in every town! 

  • I’d like you to document your thinking here.

That’s the first workshop and we will be working together on this over the course of the next week. This is actually the fun part of developing online characters and is usually the bit I do on my own.

I’ve set up a little research stream on friendfeed which is collecting commuter related tweets, pictures and articles. Subscribe and have a good dig through it. There’s no pressure on this. Try your best. Ask as many questions as you wish either here or on friendfeed.

Anybody can take part so if you fancy a try just have a go and join in.


The Black Operatives Department.

To all those who expressed an interest in taking part in The Black Operatives Department, a huge thank you. If you’ve come here for the first time and don’t know what the BOD is, then you might like to have a little read of this. I have put together a couple of things for those who want to get involved:

Twitter List.

I’ve created a Black Operatives List on Twitter. You can keep up with fellow members here: . Over time, this list should grow and should you like to join us just click here and I’ll add you to the list.

Friend Feed Group.

 This will be the main play ground of The BOD. I learned to love and respect friendfeed while working with @zeroinfluencer and it is a fantastic “place” to collect interesting things, discuss and develop ideas and “practise”. So if you want to get involved with the Black Operatives Department please make sure you join the group. . 

Creative Commons.

Everything the BOD does is and will be licensed by the BY-SA license, the terms of which can be read here

Creative Commons License
The Black Operatives Department by Marcus Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at



I suppose this is Alpha.

Over the course of the last 4 years I have been writing stories and creating characters on the Internet; they lived on twitter, facebook, friendfeed, googlemaps,, slideshare, youtube, vimeo and a whole bunch of other places. I even managed to do a couple of live shows too. I can honestly say that I loved making them and got an enormous kick out of the interactions between my characters and other people. I’ve always considered the Internet more of a canvas than a “channel” and for me, at least, it has been a wonderful experience mixing up the colours of mischief, stories and cultural criticism and applying them all to something that a whole bunch of people think of as insanely important but that for me is nothing more than a substrate. 

But I’ve been doing these things pretty much on my own. Sure, there have been a group of people encouraging me, urging me and policing me (you know who you are and you know how much it means to me so don’t sulk), but, on the whole, I create and write and film these characters on my own. It used to be easy to do this but now it’s really hard. I’m getting bored of myself and I think the ideas are suffering too. 

Doing stuff on your own just isn’t very interesting. 

I can’t believe that I’m the only one out there making up characters and stories and putting them on the Internet. I can’t believe that I’m the only one that does this kind of stuff because it makes me laugh and I get a real kick out of it. There must be other people out there that do it too and maybe there are other people that would like to do it, would like to just “have a go” but don’t know how to start. 

So I’d like to try and set up a little network of storytellers, film makers, comedians, artists, musicians, writers, actors or anyone (like me) that does this kind of thing for fun. The network is called “The Black Operatives Department” and I’d like us to make things, together. 

These are very early days, and as the title of the post says, I suppose this is The Black Operatives Department in Alpha, but if you would like to get involved please get in touch. You can either leave a comment, ping me with a tweet or get in touch on facebook.

It would be splendid if you could help spread the word a little about this. 

Thank you.