Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Progress report: January-March

At his blog Scriptuality, Paul Campbell's taken a look back at his resolutions for the year to see how they're shaking out. It's the freelance equivalent to personal assessments so beloved in office workplaces. [Don't you wish other careers had personal assessments? Wouldn't you love to see Tony Soprano from The Sopranos or Vic Mackie from The Shield giving their men staff appraisals? No? Must just be me them.] Since I'm never shy to co-opt a god idea, I thought I'd examine my own goals for the year and see how they're going.

Blog every day. Barring the rare occasions when I'm away from home, this is proving no problem. The 28 Days of 2000 AD project certainly attracted some new readeres to this blog [hello, new readers!]. Will have no problems passing my 1000th post this year, although I may not know it as Blogger/Google have locked me out of my own dashboard for this blog.

Complete my screenwriting MA - ideally, with Distinction. Still plugging away at this. I've passed two more modules, and all of them with distinction thus far. Two more 15 credit modules to go, plus the final project, which is worth a chunky 60 credits.

Write no novels between January and June. Hmm, a bizarre resolution not to do something, but one I'm achieving so far. alas, I spent most of February rewriting a novel from last year, so that's eaten a lot of time I hope to devote to other projects.

Write a novel or three between July and December. I've started discussions with editors about ideas for new novels, but am holding off doing much work on these for the moment so I can focus my efforts elsewhere.

Worry less about money and concentrate more on writing. My bank account certainly suggests I've been concentrating more on writing than making money, but worrying less? Not so much. Been doing enough paying jobs to keep my head above water, but no more. Will need to nail down a significant gig or two before July to keep the taxman happy.

Get another radio play commissioned
. My brilliant masterplan for the year set aside much of February for this, but the novel rewrite put a spanner in the spokes. Still, I am using my research project for an MA module to flesh out the background of an idea I plan to develop for radio. Consider this slight progress, but nothing tangible, if I'm honest with myself.

Get a TV drama broadcast credit. This is the toughest ask on my list of resolutions and I don't feel I'm any closer to achieving it, certainly not during 2007. I've submitted entries for Gags to Go and One Minute Wonders, but those are longshots. Recently passed the six month anniversary of submitting sample scenes to River City by invitation of the production office. Alas, that's no further forward than it was last September. Making the show has to priorities one through seventeen for the production team, while nurturing would-be writers is - understandably - somewhat lower down their To Do list.

Finish the mentoring project with a good calling card pilot script to my credit
. I'm devoting most of March to writing the first draft. Then it's feedback time and rewrites, rewrites, rewrites. Somebody once siad writing breaks into three processes. Development should be 60% of your time, bashing out a first draft is only 10% and rewriting should be 30%. Right now, I'm in the ten per cent zone.

Finish my MA with a strong, feature length script to my credit. That's my major task for June-September. First I need to decide what the hell I'm writing and get into developing those ideas. But I can't focus on that until I get the first draft of my TV project done. Argh. The projects are starting to stack up over the Heathrow of my mind.

Get an agent. Another task for the second half of this year. I don't want to approach agents until I've got something worth reading. That means a solid 10-minute script, a memorable 25-minuter and a cracking longform project. Danny's Toys is my 25-minuter and that's well along the path. My 10-minute script needs a thorough rewrite, and my longform is still coming. That'll either be the TV script, or my full-length screenpplay, depending on which one I think best represents me, my talents, my voice. Some work still to do there then.

Take proper holidays. Got a week in Gozo booked for June. Am now regretting the dates, as they clash with a seminar on TV writing I'd dearly love to attend, but I'll definitely need a holiday by June [if not sooner]. Hopefully I'll come back from that refreshing and eager to start writing my full-length screenplay for the MA course.

In summary: not a bad start, but much more to do. The novel rewrite in February's having a detrimental knock-on effect to my goals, but the resulting book's a lot better for the effort, so it was worth the effort. Right, time to get back to that TV pilot spec script.

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