I’ve learnt the obvious. Had it smacked around my head, drilled into my brain, hammered into my atoms: you have to LOVE the stories you’re writing because you're going to spend a lot of time with them.
The question people ask is, when is your script ready? There’s a danger of
keeping on working it and never letting go. Hayley McKenzie pointed out another real gotcha – The danger of producers asking for changes without stumping up any money, and a hamster wheel of edits that never end.
For me, I’m new enough to take any advice I can get and if it means the script might get made, I’ll do it! It definitely helps me improve as a writer going through this cycle – all grist to the mill, right?
It’s all about LSF at the moment, every writer I know scrabbling for loglines, pitches, workshop prep… the script is by-the-by right now. If we’re not ready we’re too late!
What about first impressions with those all-important execs at LSF?
In an office, everything is about how you look. My history is IT, which is a ‘new’ industry. The nerds and geeks finally found their place in corporate world, exempt from suits – and they created their own uniform. A rebellious, never before allowed look of jeans and t-shirts – the programmers never actually met a customer, right? The techie guys crawl under desks, it’s allowed. No overtly rude of offensive t-shirts, but logos and long hair and scruffy jeans abound. Most call centre people nowadays sit in a large room with no windows! In fact, they’re probably based in a 3rd world country, who knows what they wear?
…Until you get promoted, when you slot right back into Office World and the suit comes out – the default uniform that reassures everyone you’re a professional.
An interesting article http://leejessup.com/lee-s-blog/screenwriters-are-you-paranoid-or-industry-really-looking/ by Lee Jessop came to my attention. Guess what, the execs in showbiz are the same as the execs everywhere else. They expect clean and tidy. They judge us based on what we present them, for much the same reasons:
A week and a bit off London Screenwriters Festival and yet another coup for me!
Just got a confirmed place on Meet the Experts, a 20 minute individual session with a panel of experts to discuss my script... that's on top of the Actor's Read of another of my scripts, with a director, AND the amazing Crime Lab. And and and, that's on the back on winning 6 months with Hayley McKenzie.
I SHALL pitch too, so that's another opportunity: 2 TV pilots and 1 maybe 2 features (energy levels permitting).
9 days to go and the experience is amazing before I've even started. I feel a bit like a hermit crab being pried out of my shell, and I'm sure I'll be blinking in the bright lights and noise after working from home for so long. Nerves are mental too, but the network is lovely and full of other people even more nervous than me!
Best investment in my writing career was my ticket to LSF before it even begins, and the buzz, events and learning will carry me through the dark winter nights. What an amazing, supportive and energetic group of people
Poor Hayley McKenzie at Script Angel, we’ve started my mentoring and a quick, one line question from her elicits
a full page response. But there’s so much to say! But is there? No! Be concise (note to self... and other new writers) and don't try to be too clever. Twitter is great for frugality so I’ll activate my meagre posts. Not that I shut down my account, just that I can rarely think of anything worth saying so sparely. Which is kind of my point...
For the sake of my art, I am selling my motorbike, Derek. Eking out my savings to complete 3 scripts in 6 months with Hayley McKenzie’s help so
as little work-work as possible!
Bit of encouragement needed on this sad day, so I had a browse of
competition progress this year. From the Academy Nicholl Fellowship competition: “…7,251 entries…Regrettably… not …selected as a Quarterfinalist…(but) your script scored well, placing among the top 15% of all
entries.” That's nice, isn't it?
Also, the Beeb writersroom rejected me very nicely! Having progressed to a read and review, their critique was positive, and “ only 5% of all scripts received” got a full read, so that’s encouraging too. I’ve reached the ¼ finals in the Screenwriting Goldmine comp (tho I’m re-working this script with Hayley so that’s not going any further in its present state) AND got my wins from my London Screenwriting Festival submissions.
Poor Derek sold for the greater good but he was getting on a bit. And my reward when I sell a script will be a younger model – wey-hay!
for samples of my work