Sunday, 20 April 2008

One Year On

Just over a year ago, I went to a Writers' Guild event about blogging, and became a convert. Of the crop of blogs that rose up after that event, I'm only aware of Helen Smith's and mine that have survived - but please feel free to post a comment if you were there, and are still posting, I'd love to hear from you. Helen has written a lovely post about her blog birthday, and also a perceptive article for the Guild, which she links to from that page.

I agree with Helen: the best part of blogging is that it has allowed me to meet so many other writers. Not many producers, but a lot of writers; though, one producer who had got my name from Screen South, but had dismissed me as not mature enough for her project because she thought that 'new screenwriter' equated to 'fourteen years old', did give me an interview after seeing a picture on this blog of grizzled old me, with my baby son. I still didn't get the gig, though.

I'm only aware of that one direct job opportunity, but the indirect benefits are massive: the confidence boost of turning up to do some networking knowing there will be a friendly face or two in the crowd, should not be underestimated. The advanced warning of schemes, comps and events; the useful information of the craft expounded by other bloggers; the crystallising of thoughts on my own approach by posting about my own writing; the availability of a willing group of peer reviewers; all these are wonderful things. Praise be to the Blog! And happy birthday to this one.

It seems a good time to revisit the goals I set myself in April last year, and see how I've got on. Here goes:

1. Get into the imdb. Nope - still not there, but now that the sound issues with 'Lent' are dealt with, and hoping it gets some decent distribution, I should be able to get my name in there soon.

2. Get another of my short film scripts produced. A couple of possibilities are still ongoing.

3. Get an agent. Haven't even tried, to be honest. I'm hoping by building up a portfolio of scripts, and getting more commissioned and produced work, that I'll be in a stronger position to approach some agents later on.

4. Get an afternoon play commissioned for Radio 4.No commissions, but some good scripts written in the last year, and some possible leads with producers.

5. Apply to the BBC Writer’s Academy.Applied. Didn't get in. Applying again this year.

6. Write an episode of Doctors. Nope, though I am writing more one-off thirty minute dramas, to learn, and to use as examples of my work.

So, lots of work still to do. If only I'd added 'Get commissioned to write a feature script', I could have ticked one off. I shall add one to the list:

7. Get more commissions to write feature scripts.

And I'll report back on progress in another year's time*

* I will be posting in between then and now too, of course: I know that should be obvious, but my posting rate recently may have caused some to doubt it!!!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Stuff to Do

Okay: I'm going to dizzy everyone now by doing two blog posts in a week, when it's lately taken me a month to get up to that count...

As you'll know, I've been working on the latest draft of my feature for Full On Films (probably, after Cannes, I will be able to talk about the content of the script a bit more, maybe even release the title - I'll have to check with the wonderful and redoutable producer-director of the project, Mark Jay). There's lots of support for the development, and lots of interest from potential partners in the production. And both Mark and I are very happy with the shape of draft 2. There's now a bit of down-time before Mark and I meet with a script executive appointed by Screen South and resume revisions. I've got lots of things planned for this time:

1) Book a ticket to the Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham - Hooray! Did this last night. I'll be one of the Travelodge posse for a second year running.

2) Apply to the Lighthouse/Skillset 'Guiding Lights' scheme. Boo! The initial commitment for this requires one to be in London on July 1st and 2nd. Unfortunately, those are the first two days of the Screenwriters' Festival (See point 1 above). It's frustrating that two big events and opportunities for writers are clashing, and if it weren't so close to the deadline (which is this coming Tuesday) I'd write an email to them pointing this out. As it is, it's too late. Good luck to anyone who's going for it. I will have to wait and hope that they run it again next year.

3) Apply to the BBC Writers' Academy. Oh Yes!

4) Review a contract. A very talented director with a production company wants to option one of my screenplays. Very excited. Keep everything crossed for me - I'll post more when there's more to post.

4) Resume work on the half hour screenplay that I'm working on with Lou Birks.

5) Resume some pieces of spec work - I've got a radio play that needs one more draft to polish, a short film that is still just a pile of notes and thoughts and needs to be flung hard at a piece of paper to see what sticks. Plus, a feature script I've used - quite sucessfully - as a calling-card, should really be made one of these days. I got some feedback reports on it last year, which I should use to do another draft.

6) Read people's blogs, post comments, send some emails: let people know I'm still alive.

That's quite a lot to be going on with, and I still have to post about last week's Q&A with Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, and do a little '1 year on' bit to celebrate reaching my first blog birthday. I better start work then...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

To The Wire

The deadline for draft 2 of my feature for Full On films was extended, hence the posting drought here in the last few days; this means the box set of series 2 of The Wire (which I pre-ordered as my celebration gift to myself for completion) was with me slightly early (though I did manage to squeeze one episode in late on Saturday - it really is that compulsive). I delivered last night at a few minutes to midnight. Still exhausted.

Will resume normal service soon. I have some notes from Monday's Q&A to type up, and it will time for my blog's 1st Birthday in a few days. But first, I'm gonna have a short rest. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Sound and Vision

I am well and truly into the second draft of my feature for Full On, and should be finished by tomorrow. So, a bit too busy to do a proper blog post, but I wanted to shout out to anyone who's going to see and hear the mighty Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah - writers of Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, and lots of other things that aren't named after Bowie songs - talk at the Soho Theatre in a couple of weeks. If you are, I'll see you there!