Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spoiled for choice about what to write next

Had two meetings in Glasgow on Monday, talking with a producer and a drama development exec. It's a chilling period in the world of film and TV drama at the moment, with commissions few and far between while long-running favourites are getting the chop. Getting funding for features is tougher than ever, ITV has all but abandoned non-soap drama before 9pm, and the BBC seems to be under constant attack from every angle. Tough times.

Despite this, one clear message emerged from both meetings: everybody's looking for great writing, fresh ideas, new concepts. There are absolutely no guarantees, but there are still opportunities. But you have to play the long game. Those with the power to say yes and inject money into a project are more risk averse than ever in these dark days of credit crunch and cutbacks. Good enough isn't enough now, you need to be exceptional.

Despite the dire state of the industry, those meetings left me fizzing with excitement. I've got a fistful of projects all clamouring for my attention, arguing inside my head about which one gets developed next. The danger is I start pinballing between them, never making any real progress. It's decision time - what should I write next?

Just for fun, I'm giving you a chance to influence that choice. Should I get stuck into the feature screenplay I've been putting off far too long? Haven't got a feature in my portfolio, it's a gaping absence. Should I work up one of half a dozen concepts for TV pilots? How about radio drama, an area I've been neglecting for months, even years? Or should I pour my energies into pitches for Doctors?

Indicate which one of these options you favour in the comments section. Can't guarantee I'll abide by the majority decision, but you might tip the balance. Vote now!

9 comments:

Adaddinsane said...

I think a hole in the portfolio is the most convincing argument - you never know when you might need a feature.

So I'd say feature.

(And thanks for the inside information - as it were - glad people are still looking for good stuff.)

John said...

Hi David,

Obviously I know NOTHING, but...

"Should I get stuck into the feature screenplay I've been putting off far too long?"

I think given the nature of the industry in these dark days, this is the least likely to get anywehere. I don't know about you, but just knowing that kinda sucks the energy out of it for me.

"Haven't got a feature in my portfolio, it's a gaping absence. Should I work up one of half a dozen concepts for TV pilots? How about radio drama, an area I've been neglecting for months, even years? Or should I pour my energies into pitches for Doctors?"

I think given your success and experience with Big Finish, that gives you a head start over other "new" writers in radio land, and could mean that, given the right idea, you might have a better chance than most of getting commissioned.

Same with Doctors, I'd say. You're already in there with them in terms of being able to pitch. Hound them.

So, I'd say, concentrate on radio and Doctors. Not the sexy options, but the most likely to lead to success/commission/the fabulous career you know is just waiting for you round the corner.

John said...

oh, little caveat. Well, not so much caveat as... Scrap all that. Write the one you want to write the most, the one that fires you up, the one you are passionate about.

And then fit it into a radio play or a Doctors ep!

Wee buns!

Piers said...

I'm with Adaddinsane on this one. If you've got a hole in the portfolio: fill it.

Feature.

Sally A said...

I'd say feature - cos it's a really really useful script to have - a whole complete story with real scale... and then to keep the pennies coming in 3-6 one page pitches for Doctors.

Next radio deadline is September isn't it? So if you are doing radio now's the time to talk to producers about ideas...

But my two penny worth is oscillate between feature and doctors pitches...

Lucy said...

Daveeeeeeeed

You KNOW what I'm gonna say

I've said it for the last two years!!!

FEATURE!

Now email me forthwith

Denise Watson said...

I'd go with Doctors - you've already started to crack the code, so don't let them forget who you are. Besides, that's the only one which will guarantee some dosh - which is quite a big plus point!
Dxx

Sofluid said...

I'd go with feature too, with a little radio on the sidelines when you need a break from feature-writing.

So you can fill that hole in the portfolio AND get some ideas/material down for whatever happens in September...

Anyone care to explain about that to me? I'm new to radio plays at the moment and am not sure on the process?

Anyway, good luck!

Janice Okoh said...

As far as I am aware, you really want to write for Continuing Drama so I agree with Sally A and suggest you :

Write the feature, which you could use to get into continuing drama, agent etc and also pitch half a dozen ideas for Doctors as you are so close....

If you have a Radio producer to pitch to, pitch there, too. Why not? It's only a few sentences here and there.

Exciting days ahead!