And just like that, I’m back from my self-imposed two-week hiatus. I needed the time away to be honest. Things were getting very hectic, professionally and personally, and I was mentally and physically not in the best place. I’ve never wanted this blog to turn into a moan fest or the world is shite extravaganza, so I thought the best course of action was to leave it alone, get my head down and sort out what I had to sort out.
So Passover was nice, even though me and the wife were both unwell for the first part. But at least the new fridge freezer arrived when promised! My hernia still hurts (seriously how do footballers keep on playing with hernias!?) but I don’t know where that road leads to as surgery can be a bit dicey for one such as myself. On the plus side, a hemorrhage I had in my right eye (don’t ask, I’ve had two in my left 3 years ago and fortunately they sound worse than they are) cleared up ok, and my physio has continued to help me with my back. So like I say, a lot of stress, shuffling from one medical person to the next, and just trying to stay afloat.
Work wise, my Coming Up application went off on time, and I’m quite pleased with it, even though I think it will be a stretch to progress further simply because it feels ‘bigger’ then any of the ones I watched on Channel 4. Then the decks were cleared, apart from my reading commitments of course, to apply to the BBC Writers' Academy. Like Lucy, I have also been experiencing the fear. Tinkering, polishing, redrafting, neurotically hunting for typos (as if that’s how John Yorke and Ceri Meyrick choose the next generation of BBC writers), I’ve done it all. But finally, I can confirm that I clicked send about an hour or so ago.
It’s weird to want something this much. I mean obviously I want things all the time. In my personal life, to be healthy, rich and other stuff. In my professional life, to win this comp or that award, to have this script optioned or even just a phone call returned! But career wise, whilst that’s all great, nothing seems to compare to the BBC Writers Academy. Along with the Comedy College, I don’t think the Beeb get enough credit for what they are doing. People are quick enough to give them stick, and I’m sure I’ve questioned plenty of commissioning choices etc. But what other organisation in our industry is literally offering you a career. And it is exactly that. Previous graduates prove it to be the case. So Lucy made me laugh when she suggested that when you really, really want something, you endanger wrecking it, so one tactic is to remain calm, aloof or, my own default position, ironic detachment. None of which works of course, and it made me laugh further when I realised I had been doing exactly that when we spoke online a few weeks ago.
But to hell with all that. I’ve seen enough Masterchef passion tests to know that the men who cry often get through. Particularly big and butch men. Of which I am neither, but if I do get to the interview stage, I tell you now, I am ruling nothing out. I’ve even started to make deals, like please, please, if it’s a choice between Arsenal going to Rome and me going to Elstree, let them win it next year! (Sorry T.)
But you know what, it’s also important to remember other stuff. I like watching those shows with Willie whatshisname on Channel 4 who is obsessed with chocolate. They’re interesting and cool and I wish I had my own chocolate factory. But sometimes they make me sad. All the shows involve him being away from his family, working 18 hour days, mortgaging everything in sight to raise funds, leaving his wife to look after stuff and not seeing his kids. To be fair they all seem on board with his choices, (most of the time!) and thankfully it all seems to work out in the end. And I mean blimey, I’m not judging. I don’t even know the bloke and at the end of the day it’s still a TV show. But there are times I watch it thinking for goodness sake man, it’s just chocolate. You can’t take it with you. Go and spend time with your kids!
So whilst I want to get into the BBC Writers' Academy more than I’ve probably wanted anything ever, certainly professionally, if I don’t, I’ll be okay. It won’t be the end of the world. In my very first post I wrote that we write cos we love it. But I love other things too. And more. I love my family and my wife and I’d really love to not be in pain for just one frickin day. My Rabbi says that we work as a punishment, for want of a better word. That the ideal state for man is for everything to be provided for us. But we have to labour cos we messed up in The Garden. But ultimately, the Big Man will be the one who decides what we achieve, what we earn etc. I know most of the people reading this will not believe a single word and think I am talking crap! That’s ok. But I’ve found it really useful in remaining calm when things don’t go how I want them to. If I can look back and say I’ve done the very best I can, like I did with the Kaos Film Comp, and with Rise (whatever happened to those guys) and with the Jewish Film Fund application and with Coming Up and yes, with the WA application, then that’s my part done. It might be my turn, like it was with the iEmmys (whoo whoo) or it might not.
Sorry to be a bit heavy. It’s been that kind of couple of weeks. Normal irreverent service will be resumed soon.
So in the words of Jed Bartlett… what’s next?