Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bloggin' in the Rain

The American Film Institute has named Singin' in the Rain (1952) as the top movie musical of all time, and that's as good a choice as any, I guess. [For the record, the runners-up were: West Side Story (1961), The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Sound of Music (1965) and Cabaret (1972).] I always hated musicals as a kid, but have since developed a fondness for them, so I guess they're a lot like avocados.

Appropriately enough, it's early September and raining steadily as autumn arrives in its usual, unwelcome fashion. The days are getting shorter, I'm having to turn the light on to see my breakfast in the mornings and winter beckons like a big, ugly, beckoning thing. About the only good news to be extracted from that reality is I'm not melting after spending more than an hour in front of the computer, something that'll come in handy over the next few months. Here's my schedule of forthcoming work and deadlines for the autumn, as a sort of online To Do list...
• Write TV series pitch document - due mid-September - 1,000 words*
• Write Phantom script - due September 25th - 7,000 words
• Write Warhammer novel - due October 2nd - 95,000 words
• Write Phantom script - due early October - 7,000 words
• Write Megazine feature - due mid-October - 5,000 words
• Write WWII novel - due November 24th - 95,000 words
• Write Phantom script - due end November - 7,000 words
• Revise Phantom short story - deadline unknown - 5,000 words
• Write spec comic script - deadline unspecified - 2,000 words

[The pitch document is for the mentoring project and will probably be only 500-600 words in reality, but I'm rounding up to make calculations earlier. Besides, there's will be more to follow that as we develop our ideas further into treatments and the like - the pitch document is merely the first step on a nine-month journey.]

That's a minimum of 216,000 words to produce between now and the end of November. And that's before we get into the small matter of going back to college towards the end of this month to resumes studies for my screenwriting MA. I've a feeling the tutors will be expecting me to do some work on that some time soon, too. In other words, I've bitten far more than I can chew, as usual. But having earned tuppence over the past two months, I badly need to turn effort into revenue to pay some bills. Courses fees for the MA are more than £2000 over the next nine months and I'm not eligible for a bursary because I don't hold an EU passport. Frankly, I'm lucky they don't consider me an international student and charge me the full cost of my course.

It's a strange phenomenon, but my income has dropped through the floor since I decided about a year ago to pursue my dream of becoming a screenwriter. I was sick and tired of being a hack, churning out stories featuring other peoples characters, particularly work for hire with no royalties or even the prospect of royalties. I've deliberately chosen commissions since last summer with the hope of royalties and career progression, but that decision isn't paying off yet. It may never do.

The more time and energy I devote to chasing my dream, the less money I'm making. If I crack writing drama for TV, I could easily double my old income. Until that happens, all I've done is half it. Financially, I've tapped out and stressed up. Put that to one side, and I'm much happier. So guess what I'm doing for the next four weeks? Thrashing out a novel for Games Workshop and surrendering my copyright to that company too. But the characters are my own inventions and there's the possibility of royalties, too - even if there's little reality. So, enough blogging about work. It's time to do some damned work. Onward!

1 comment:

Jim Campbell said...

Royalties? From GW, David?

FWIW, neither myself nor Mr Walker were promised royalties for the original characters in Daemonifuge, but there were non-specific promises of ex-gratia payments for further exploitation of the property.

So ... four reprints (in English, other languages I don't know about except that there is definitely one in French), two awards, a t-shirt, a limited edition statue, two limited edition miniatures, and two sequels down the line ...


Best of luck to you, but I wouldn't hold my breath!

(Entertaining blog, by the way. Really looking forward to TPO.)