Spent last Friday at the Emmerdale production offices in Leeds, one of twenty people invited along for a storylining workshop. There's one, maybe two storylining positions open at the show, and a well-worn method for finding and identifying potential candidates. The workshop is the first step, six hours of talking about stories and brainstorming ideas. At the end of that we were all given an episode's worth of story beats to turn into a storyline document. That's due today.
From these written documents and our performance on the workshop day, up to half a dozen people get invited back to spent time with the story team. Let's face it, there's no shortage of people with the skills necessary to do jobs in television. The crucial question is whether anyone wants to work with you for long hours, day in, day out. Talent is an obvious requirement, but the ability to play nice and get along in a tight knit group is also important.
If I was lucky enough to be offered a job, it would create quite an upheaval. Leeds is not somewhere I could commute to on a daily basis. I'd have to travel south on Monday and come home on Friday. There might be some flexibility, but it'd mean a life divided between the working week in Leeds and life at home on the weekend. It all comes down to sacrifices, I guess. How much are you willing to give up for that vital first step on the career ladder?
It's not like I haven't up and moved before. Hell, I emigrated from New Zealand to Britain in 1990 because I could see how limited career prospects were in my home country. I walked away from my family, all my friends and came to a country where I knew one person. Ten years on, I moved to Scotland and started a new life as a professional writer. If I want to crack TV drama, it looks like more sacrifices, more change. Ask yourself this: how much would you give up to get what you want?