A year ago today I blogged about five goals and objectives I would be pursuing over the next 24 months. Halfway through that duration, what progress have I made? It's time for a reality check, to see which of those goals are still important to me. Being self-employed, this is the closest I get to a performance review, so bear with me.
1. Complete my screenwriting MA. Yep, did that. Got a distinction in every module, attained a Master of Arts in Screenwriting with Distinction and won the Napier University Medal. Consider that box well and truly ticked off.
2. Build a portfolio of scripts showing my voice and range as a screenwriter. A year ago I had a 10-minuter that needed work, my much-loved 25-pager Danny's Toys and a TV pilot in need of several more drafts. Twelve months on, the 10-minuter still needs fixing, while Danny's Toys has undergone further polishing. My TV pilot did get the new drafts it needed, and I wrote another as the final project of my MA. I also added a 23-minuter as part of the TAPS continuing drama workshop, and wrote a trial script for a continuing drama series of similar length. So, some good work done there. However, I still need at least one [if not several] feature-length screenplays and my first TV pilot feels outdated.
3. Get an agent. Well, I tried. Got lots of agents to read my work, plenty of positive feedback but the scripts I sent out didn't excite enough to secure representation. Have set this quest to one side until I've secured further broadcast drama credits.
4. Have another radio play broadcast. Sigh. Waves of guilt overwhelm me when I read this. Have singularly failed to apply myself, good intentions, the road to hell and all that. Must do better. There's so much I can learn from radio drama, a medium where dialogue is king. Dialogue isn't my strongest suit, so radio is the perfect place to challenge that, push myself to improve. Must do better.
5. Secure work experience as a TV drama storyliner or script editor. This time last year it was looking hopeful. I had a very positive meeting with an executive producer, was due to attend a two-day storylining workshop and felt certain something would of this. In the end, not so much. Loved the workshop. Applied for a storylining job on Emmerdale and got invited to a one-day workshop in Leeds, but didn't get the gig. Nothing came of my very positive meeting either. Am having one more stab at this during the next twelve months but recognise I may simply be too old for entry level positions, compared to enthusiastic youngsters fresh from an arts degree.
So, a mixed bag when looking just at boxes ticket and goals achieved over the past year. But there have been other successes. Danny's Toys won an international screenwriting competition and was placed in another contest. I've made some incremental progress towards breaking into TV drama writing, but can't talk details yet [don't want to put the hex on it].
What else? Wrote my 19th novel, due out this November. Became a professional script reader. Appeared on a Radio 4 documentary. Saw my official history of iconic British comic 2000 AD finally published as a stonking big hardcover tome, to glowing reviews. My first professional published short story appeared in print. Taught classes in Norway, Edinburgh and at a V&A Museum in London. Recorded an appearance on a TV quiz show, although it hasn't been broadcast yet so I'm forbidden from saying anymore.
All in all, a varied year with lots of highs and a few frustrations. I grossed less money over the past twelve months than in any other year since 1991, yet feel happy with the improvement in my writing and am enjoying the progress I'm making in further my career into new areas. Onwards.