Saturday, 23 January 2010

A New Hope

Last week, in this order, was the 2nd script meeting for Dough, propelling us into now writing the 3rd draft, followed by sending my first scripts off to LA, followed by my birthday, followed by me setting up a couple of meetings in the coming weeks.

1st the script meeting. It went well, was good fun, clarified uncertainty, and threw up new ideas and angles we hadn't even thought about. Once again we were armed with notes from readers, as well as our own thoughts. The script moved on a lot from 1st to 2nd draft. It's a lot tighter. But from here on in is where I think we (the writers) will earn our dough. It's from here I think that the men are separated from the boys (or ladies from girls, whatever.) Because, as Julian Friedmann is want of saying, good enough is not good enough. What we do now, the attention to detail and wringing out as much as possible from every single sequence, scene, line and character, will make the difference from a good script to a great one. That's not arrogance. That's what we are all trying for with every single script, isn't it? To write something great. It's really hard. Maybe we won't get there. But we're gonna have a helluva go.

Then the scripts. It's a big, big company... in LA and everything. I've not done this before. New York, yes. But not the motherland. Again, I tell you this not to give it the big I am. My point is that how does a schnook like me, sitting here in London, with no credits or agent, even get this shot? Only one answer. Being in the room. The room on this occasion was in New York in November back at the International Emmys. I spoke to someone who spoke to someone else. And that was it. Regular readers will know how I got in that particular room. But that's irrelevant. The room can be anywhere. Anyone who was at The Screenwriters' Festival was undoubtedly in any number of 'rooms' over the course of three days. 'Rooms' pop up all the time, mostly in London, but in other parts of the country too. Writers need to seek them out and get into them, by any (legal!) means necessary. I caught the show Spielberg on Spielberg on ITV4(!?) the other day. He said how he used to sneak onto the Universal Studios lot as a kid, dressed in his barmitzvah suit, so he didn't look out of place (cos back then everyone wore suits to work - which is ironic considering now the richer one is the more casual they are apparently allowed to dress to work!) I'm not suggesting anyone tries this nowadays. But hey... you do what you gotta do to get in the room and meet the people who can make a difference to your career.

Because if you have nowhere to send your scripts, it's self gratification. Okay that might be a bit harsh - but it's definitely a hobby. It's certainly not the building blocks to a career. I am under no illusions. A lengthy phone 'meeting' with the director of this company means I am already aware that the likelihood is nothing will happen with these script, for various reasons. But they'll get read. And hopefully they will be liked. And then I'm on the radar. It's always, always, about the long game.

But every single one of these things is a little new hope. Of course they hurt when they don't come off. But I wouldn't change that for not having these encounters. That frustration would be far worse.

And so to the meetings. They are exciting. Maybe everything, maybe nothing. I got them by networking and backing that up with the work, the script(s). So here is my five point guide to the possibility of a screenwriting career.

1. Read scripts (remember to get involved with David Melkevik's script club)
2. Write scripts
3. Get feedback (from peers, Power of 3, professional readers, I don't care)
4. Rewrite scripts
5. Network

Everything else is just commentary.

Oh wait, except, did I mention it was my birthday?


Anonymous said...

Like your five points. Networking is always hard but something personally I'm hoping to do more of in 2010.

You're right, it's about meeting the right people and more often than not if you've got something decent they're more than happy to meet you. It's getting something good that's the struggle! ;)

Thanks for being willing to share updates on your project. I look forward to the next one.

Janice Okoh said...

well done and happy birthday!

Jez Freedman said...

thank you both!

Anonymous said...

Much belated birthday fist bump Jez and best of luck on the next draft of Dough.

And those five points are great.Particularly the one that mentions me.

Jez Freedman said...

haha mucho gracias

Sofluid said...

Happy belated birthday!

You are so right about networking. The few networking opportunities I have had in the past year were fab. I also hope to do more networking in 2010 :)

Good luck with Dough!