As a creative person, a storyteller, artist and author, I always look forward to the creative tasks on The Apprentice the most, from product development, branding and pitching to art and publishing. Unfortunately, my blood pressure doesn’t, as it’s often a rollercoaster of a ride where I hide behind my pudgy fingers on the sofa, both cringing and shouting, while shaking my head in utter incomprehension as I try to understand how the candidates could get it so wrong.

This week was no exception. The teams were set to task to create a comic for 8-12 year olds. This comic harnessed the latest AR (Augmented Reality) technology which allowed the front cover to become animated using a tablet, and possibly a smartphone.

A Simple Task with Basic Results

The directions were simple – create an original comic that 8-12 year olds will love and whoever secures the most sales, wins!

It’s a typical task of creativity, imagination, attention to detail and pitching. How could it go so wrong?

As a parent of three children aged 7, 14 and 18 who all adore comics and anime, so much that we’re attending MCM Comic Con this year, a feast of ideas began to race through my mind as soon as the task was set. Usually, children like to read stories that are a little older than their age range, something that shows them their future, where they feel a little more grown up for reading and learning about the whole new world. This is an age range not to be babied! Although every child differs they love Iron Man, Spiderman, Adventure Time, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh and some still adore the Beano (although many will be growing out of it by 12). They know what they want and they can handle the subtle nuances of an incredible storyline that opens new worlds, excites, inspires and feeds their imagination.

So why, oh why did we end up with Benji’s Space Adventures and MC GoGo?

We could have had an animal whisperer, a warlock, a boy in the future, a bully buster, a world of geeks, self esteem girl, enviroman (saving the world a milk bottle at a time), slime fighters, a bionic gaming thumb, instead we had a young boy with a telescope (no euphemism at all) and a blob with a medallion AKA Jamie and his magic torch and Rastamouse.

The Girls Go GoGo GaGa

Kick Ass Khajida staunchly lead the girl’s team with an uncompromising iron fist and shot anyone down in flames who dare to question her idea of a blob, learning ONE French word while visiting Paris. The educational aspect was a good idea, as it’s parents that part with the pennies but it was clear she had no idea of the 8-12 market, instead this seemed geared towards those just learning to read. Compared to another educational kid’s magazine, National Geographic for kids, this was a very poor contender, saved only by the pitches, namely a terrifying one from Jackie, that promised a wealth of culture and language as the comic progressed.

Fragile Frank Follows the Pack  

Fragile Frank lead the boys team to a loss, with the imagination of a domesticated tortoise by putting his creativity skills to the test to create Benji, the boy superhero who conquers enemies in outer space. David, a self-confessed fantasy writer was left with the task of writing the story, using the specs of the universe and a superhero, yet he couldn’t come up with anything better than an alien to defeat before Benji returned from his daydream of saving the world. He could have discovered a new human race, a parallel universe, a time travel machine, new species, a stranded astronaut, precious gems for his poor family and neighbours, the secret potion for toppling Trump anything but the age old alien versus superhero tosh.

Karen and Claude Deserve Applause

I have a whole new respect for Claude, who has asked me to reaffirm his reputation as menacing, after he kept his lips so tightly sealed throughout the entire task. It’s a sure sign of maturity from both Claude and Karen, when they don’t utter a word despite seeing such a shambolic situation in front of them. It must be so hard not to turn into a parody of Chris Tarrant and ask, “Are you sure?” “Are you really sure?” “Don’t you want to phone anybody?” “Maybe ask a friend for advice?”

Actor Makes it to La La Land

Although I may seem a little irate, nothing irritated me more, and left me utterly speechless for about five minutes, than Kurran creating the AR. The new technology tracks movement allowing the actor to create an animated character that talks, it’s used by giants such as Pixar in movies such as Monsters Inc, to capture an actor’s habits and nuances. However, this budding actor, this extra who wants to be Hollywood famous, could not and would not MOVE HIS HEAD AND TALK AT THE SAME TIME. He couldn’t, he stated it. “I can’t do the head tilt and talk at the same time.” To imitate a 12 year old – MIND BLOWN.

Kurran and AR
“I can’t tilt my head and speak at the same time”

If he hasn’t just waved goodbye to any actor career, he’s on hugging terms with Spielberg. Who in their right mind would hire him, even as an extra, after that?

His frustrating, over self-selling, inflated ego did not stop there though, as he told the team they were less likely to sell any copies unless he was in the pitch, yet when it came to the pitch (and I know it’s edited), he stumbled, he looked at his notes and forgot his project manager’s name. He’s delusional.

Meanwhile David felt it appropriate to inform the buyers of all the negative points from the market research in a bid to say “hey the negative feedback is minimal and we can fix it” however it didn’t come across like that. It came across as if he was business blind and had been implanted to purposely sabotage the boy’s team. This, on top of his lack of storytelling ability, saw him fired. Which is a shame as he seems like a truly nice guy. He can do my books anytime.

Ones to Watch

Khajida, Frank and Kurran took most of the airtime this week but there were other contenders who began to shine through a little bit. Despite her good pitch (it could have gone either way, she was lucky) I still don’t like Jackie, but Camilla and Sarah Ann caught my eye. I’m also a fan of Kyode and do think he has more to prove as the weeks go by.

Rick Monk makes me feel a little sticky, in a bad way, after I learned of his job of being a sex toy tester. There’s nothing wrong with it, we’ve tested toys here on Sunday Woman, but it’s not something I want to focus on when assessing his business acumen.

Next week is donuts and they’ll also be making sweet treats to sell to the public – ba boom tosh.