Wednesday, December 09, 2009

2009: my year in review [part 2]

So, what have I been doing in 2009? Half the working week is spent as a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University. Helping invent a new MA degree from scratch has been stressful and rewarding [often at the same time] - then the students arrived and things really got interesting. Suspect I learn as much from them as they do from me, but that's teaching for you.

My mum was a teacher [mostly within primary schools] and it was an avenue I could have taken after finishing high school. I've always had the gift of the gab, so talking to a room full of strangers doesn't give me the horrors. But I saw first-hand how hard teachers work, the long nights and weekends spent marking or preparing. Wanting to find my own path in life, I chose journalism instead.

Fast forward to 2009 and I'm a teacher, albeit part-time and at university. I applied for and took the job because it would give me financial freedom from hackwork. When I wasn't teaching, I could concentrate on purely speculative writing. Of course, there's never quite enough money to offer total financial freedom, but part-time teaching has taken the pressure off most months so far.

A project left over from 2008 swallowed most of my non-teaching time January-June this year. The TV drama team-writing workshop at the Lighthouse Arts Centre in Brighton was a challenging, sometimes mind-boggling experience. The script I wrote never got near what I wanted, but it was the journey that mattered, not the destination. I always learn more from mistakes, so I learned plenty.

Two other leftovers snuck into this year. The paperback edition of THRILL-POWER OVERLOAD, my mighty tome detailing the secret history of iconic British comic 2000AD, came out in February. [I was already making royalties from the hardcover, so this one's all gravy.] And a fourth edition of THE COMPLETE INSPECTOR MORSE emerged, though I still haven't seen a copy of it yet.

Some things I did during 2009 can't be talked about, due to confidentiality clauses. I read several fistfuls of scripts for Scottish Screen. Helped brainstorm an exciting mixed media project for BBC Learning, BBC Online and BBC Radio Drama. Storylined an animation project that could open manydoors, if it gets funded. Did my shameless media whore thing on Newsnight Scotland and radio.

I also had some visible successes. THE WOMAN WHO SCREAMED BUTTERFLIES was a finalist in the Page International Screenwriting Awards, in the short film section I won two years ago with DANNY'S TOYS. Ironically, TWWSB lost to a script by a Screen Academy Scotland student - which is where I first wrote DANNY'S TOYS. TWWSB picqued interest from a few people, something might come of it.

A much rewritten version of my WWII homefront continuing drama pilot script FAMILIES AT WAR was a finalist in the Red Planet Prize. That earned an audience with Hustle creator Tony Jordan and an invitation to submit ideas to his production company. Haven't made as much use of this yet, due to committments elsewhere, but am now grasping this opportunity with both hands.

There's more to say, but I've got a stinking cold coming and things that need doing, so it'll have to wait for part 3. Tomorrow I'll ruminate on my biggest writing success of 2009. Onwards!


Jason Arnopp said...

Always love your yearly reviews, Sir - looking forward to Part 3.

Jim Campbell said...

Mr B -- I am entirely confident that some day, one of these "things about which you cannot yet speak" is going to result in a post from you saying something like: "Spielberg-Lucas meeting went well. May not blog for some time ..."

And I, for one, will cheer heartily for you on that day. :-)