The Idea Machine

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (or Leonardo Da Vinci as he is more commonly known, thank you Wikipedia) was a man of many and varied talents. Artist, designer, scientist, musician, his talents stretch out before you in a way that makes you want to punch him in the face. But he’s dead, so that would be distasteful.

Leo, as he was known to people whom he’d never met, was a man never short of ideas. He invented the helicopter, the parachute, the concept of painting Jesus on walls, and the Rubik’s cube (one of those isn’t true). Just when you’d be thinking, “he must be done now”, out popped some other work of genius kicking and screaming into the world. Before the nurse could wrap it in swaddling and clean the gunk off it, someone would hail old Leo as a genius once more. One can only assume Leo’s ego was so big he must have grown that enormous beard to cover it up.

Now, I don’t want to disappoint anyone, but at AST we fall somewhat short in the Renaissance genius stakes. One of us is very clever, and you get a prize if you guess which of us it is (it’s Producer Dan, let’s not have any unnecessary thinking here, please), but all in all we’re generally fairly standard blobs of DNA. We eat breakfast, go outside, give money to charity, steal money from charities, all the usual things you’d expect. We’re just like you. Well, not quite like you, but close enough to confuse an anthropologist.

The patented AST ideation process

The patented AST ideation process

As a result of this ordinariness, we can struggle with the idea of ‘inspiration’. We have to maintain a, frankly terrifying, rate of at least one episode a month. That means ideas. At least 13 a year. And we suck at maths.

“So where do you get your ideas?” you ask us, and then sit there open mouthed and slightly drooling as you wait for the reply.

“Well, they come from lots of places,” we say as we munch on a macaroon.

“Such as?” you go on to ask, slightly more irritated than you were before.

“Well, TV. TV is full of ideas. Other people’s ideas too, which are already fully formed and easy to steal.”

“Seems a bit shifty, but what did we expect? By the way, can we have a macaroon?”

“No, these are ours. We also get ideas from comics, books, films, and sometimes from the internet. That thing is full of ideas; no wonder people are so keen on it.”

“Any original ideas?”

“We don’t want to get all philosophical on you, but is there such a thing as an original idea?

“Good point. Are you sure we can’t have a macaroon?”

“Quite sure. Now if you’ll excuse us we’ve just had an idea for an episode involving a macaroon thief.”

“Amazing – how do they do it?”

Finger to nose, dear reader. Finger to nose.

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