Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Turning Thirty

Shhhhhh. It's been a bit quiet here. There are two reasons for this. One, I have been swamped with post New Year script reading jobs, which is ironic bearing in mind the feedback debate started by Piers and replied to by Lucy. (Plus the over 60 comments on both posts.) Now Piers is a nice bloke and I enjoyed meeting him in person last week. But think it's unfair to suggest that when I give feedback, I may not be able to be trusted because I am likely to be dishonest and tell writers what they want to hear. The argument is fundamentally flawed anyway as it seems to be based on the idea that a script reader will only read the same project from a writer, over and over, draft after draft. And so I will hold back comments to keep em coming. Eh? Do writers only write one script? I certainly hope not. And whereas one script might be excellent, the next might have serious flaws, and vice versa. Is that not the case with everyone cos it certainly is for my work!

But anyway, I'm not going to go on and on. Enough has been written on this topic already on those posts. All I will say is that writers have to get feedback on their work. Get it where you can and from people who know what they are talking about. That may not be your mate, your mum, or your nan. But if you have a writers group or the power of three or whatever, then great. To date I have never paid for feedback, because I have about a dozen writers who I regularly swap work with (95% of whom I met on my MA.) But if writers don't have that support network, paying a good reader a non budget busting price is a way around this. And I will back my knowledge, prices and one week turnaround time against any comparative service.

Moving on, the other reason I've been a bit busy is that yesterday I turned thirty! Wohoooo. Well, sort of wohooo. It is a little depressing not being a screenwriter in my twenties any more. I always thought my age, young for this business, was a strong plus (although that lot who write for Skins are probably laughing into their bowls of frosties right about now.) But my birthday also made me think of my five year plan, which ended yesterday. Five years ago I was just starting my MA. I gave myself those two years, plus a further three to 'make it.' (No one told me back then that it traditionally takes ten!) The plan was to graduate, get onto the Sky One footy soap Dream Team, get some screen credits and go on from there. The trouble was, although I got close to becoming involved with the show, by the time I had graduated they were on their final season and it was too late. So I was left floundering a bit and first year after college was a bit of a write off (get it?) I think the two after that have been a marked improvement, with the creation of a decent portfolio, some competition success, and a host of industry contacts that have been very supportive. More importantly in many respects, I now feel I have a good understanding of how this industry works, of who does what and also what I need to do. Maybe this is why it takes ten years. The first five are spent working out what the hell is going on.

My wife assures me that whilst it's good to plan, you always have to be adaptable to adjust to things as they come about. It's also important to remember to actually live a bit too. During the past five years I also nearly died (whole other story) met and married my wife, have dealt with more physical (and by extension mental) challenges than I care to mention, started this blog and have made many friends because of this industry. Would I have done anything differently? Well, probably. But that's irrelevant now.

It's time for the next five year plan...

1 comment:

Dave said...

Not to sound too much like my wife but listen to your wife! I'm guessing you didn't have win Emmy on your 5 year plan -- so I think you're doing okay.

Happy Birthday For Monday, Jez!!!!
All those who are also due to take the 30 year-old bullet this year salute you.