Friday, June 29, 2007

The waiting is the hardest part

Haven't had my rejection from the 2007 BBC Writers' Academy yet, but now wish it would hurry up and arrive so I can stop thinking about it. Feels something akin to a surprise dental examination: you're not sure when it'll happen, but you know the experience won't be enjoyable. So I wait. Waiting is one of those skills nobody ever discusses at film school. It'd make a great lesson: how to wait without going completely and utterly albatross-flange-wibble insane. Perhaps paired with Coffee: The Writer's Friend.

Had a lovely meeting at the start of May, that might lead to something at some point in the future. Made a follow-up phone call last week, which led to another phone call this week. Latest update: the key personnel are now on holiday. Until August. So a fresh note gets added to the wall planner for that month and it's time to move on to other opportunities. Got some scripts out in the world, but I can't legitimately chase them up until mid-July without crossing the invisible line between professional and pushy.

Learning how to wait, knowing when to make a follow-up call, whether it's best to email or use the phone - these are all intangible things. The more importance you have, the quicker you can expect a response in most creative industries. But when you're at the bottom of the ladder, with one radio play as your sole broadcast credit, patience is an essential virtue. Deluge people with material and you can very quickly wear out your welcome, especially if the material isn't your best work.

Happily, I'm starting to accumulate paid writing gigs once more after devoting most of my time in recent months to spec work. Got a book project that's inching towards a greenlight. Got a long, long, long interview to transcribe for a multi-part feature. Got lots of little bits and bobs to fill the gaps. Got some more comics work on the horizon that will tickle the places where creativity nestles.

Being busy is good for the bank balance and the brain. Stops me having to think about all the things on which I'm waiting. And waiting. And waiting...

4 comments:

Lucy said...

I'm right there with you, my friend. This is akin to the waiting one endures when you're overdue going into labour. You know extreme pain is coming, want it over, yet dread it at the same time. Rejection - or waiting for rejection when you know people have got their summons to the capital, like we do - is actually as bad, maybe worse, since despite all the horrible pain of labour you get a lovely little baby at the end. Whereas with this, we just have to dust ourselves down and get on with stuff. Yuk.

Anonymous said...

I've found the best way through this is to have something else to get stuck into. We all have our share of rejections and it's easier to handle when you're already flying on another project, spec or otherwise. It puts the waiting to the back of the mind and if the rejection comes you can shrug it off by thinking, yeah, well, but wait 'til they see this!

I used to put all the eggs in one basket and then sit back and wait, and wait etc. Not any more.

Alistair

Lucy said...

Oh and here we go:

"Thanks again for your application for the BBC Drama Series Writing Academy and for your patience in awaiting a response. Your details have now been carefully considered and, having concluded this process, we regret to inform you that we will not be pursuing your application further in this case."

I LOVE those shows, I know it's uncool to admit it, but I really want to do them, not just for the money neither. It does make you wonder what you have to do... But 1 in 150. That's what I gotta remember. And maybe I'll get 25 WOL or in on that SW Screen Initiative or The Royal Tapes instead. And if I don't there's the flamethrower option Ripley-style.

Stuart Perry said...

Have you heard anything, David? Like Lucy I just got the "we regret to inform you" e-mail. Ah well - next year it will have to be!