For nine months during 2006-07, I was lucky enough to have writer-director Adrian Mead as a mentor [thanks to the excellent scheme run by Scottish Book Trust]. He's big on setting goals for your career, and using them to monitor your progress. So in May 2007 I set myself six goals for the next two years. Some I've achieved, others remain unmet or ignored. Time for a review, methinks.
1: Get an agent. Made a concerted stab at this end of 2007 after winning the Page Award for DANNY'S TOYS and finishing my screenwriting MA, but it was too soon and I lacked the portfolio or prospects to secure representation. Had a few brushes with agencies since - again, without success. Got a script on the desk of an agent right now, due to chase them mid-January.
2: Get more radio plays commissioned and broadcast. Alas, I haven't done nearly enough to even call my efforts since 2007 an attempt. Having said that, I'm got a meeting with a producer in January, so let's consider this a work in progress. What I wrote down 31 months ago still holds true - radio drama is a brilliant place to learn and be pushed as a writer.
3: Get my first TV drama credit. I predicted it would be on a continuing drama series like River City or Doctors - and Doctors it was. My episode doesn't transmit until next February, but I've got two new pitches on the produder's desk awaiting judgement, and five others in the works. Getting my second [and thrid, and fourth] TV drama credits are my goal now.
4: Develop and write at least two more TV pilot spec scripts. Only halfway done here. The new pilot I did develop was a finalist in the Red Planet Prize, but need to pull finger and come up with another two or three, if I'm honest. And write a bloody feature, if only to stop Lucy at Write Here, Write Now nagging. It's well overdue.
5. Get some work experience in TV drama storylining or script editing departments. Spent a day with Emmerdale in Leeds, had a lovely meeting with the then-executive producer of River City - but both came to naught. Have accepted I'm too old to get an entry level position in storylining or script editing, so consider this goal well and truly scrapped from the list.
6. Get into another script workshop and/or mentoring scheme. I suggested either the Moonstone course [now defunct, apparently] or the Lighthouse Writing TV drama workshop. Got accepted on the latter in October last year and learned immense amounts, even if the script I developed over nine months never took flight. You live, you learn - and then you move on.
So, what are my key objectives for 2010?
1. Write a feature screenplay.
2. Get another TV drama commission.
3. Secure representation.
4. More radio drama.
Most of those goals depend on elements beyond my control, but none of them will happen unless I take action. The feature won't write itself, TV and radio drama commission swill only come from hard work, ruthless discipline and a clear strategy, while getting an agent depends on finding the right person, someone who wants to champion my work. Time to get busy. Onwards!