Sunday, July 10, 2011

A bunch of stuff that happens

It's been a helter-skelter, action-packed fortnight since returning from New Zealand, hence the paucity of fresh blog entries round here. Vicious Imagery often has bursts of feast and famine, much like the career of any freelance creative. Sometimes you're so slammed life takes a back seat; other times you can gather your thoughts.

Do I have any news to report? Let me have a look round... Ahh, yes. While away in New Zealand I got word from my script editor at Doctors that I had a story of the day pitch banked. That should eventually lead to a commission for my fourth episode, which will bring my total amount of TV drama writing credits up to two hours in total.

Why is this significant? The BBC contracts department will consider me an "experienced" writer thereafter, and my rate goes up 25%. You needed two hours under your belt before hour-long cop drama The Bill would consider you. Alas, The Bill is no more, but two hours of credit will still show I'm past absolute beginner status.

I've no idea when my banked story pitch might go live. It's a case of waiting for my script editor to be commissioning an ep whose story of the day requirement chimes with my pitch. That could be weeks, months or even years. Writing for Doctors is not for the impatient. You have to play the long game to achieve your ambitions.

It was a relief to get my pitch banked. I'd had four rejections in a row, including one I thought was an absolute cracker. [Unfortunately, someone had a too similar idea and gotten their story commissioned first - such is life.] My batting average on Doctors is .200, with about one in five of my story pitches getting banked.

What else? Had an exciting meeting on Tuesday past, which opened the door to another opportunity. You'll forgive the lack of specificity, but I'm superstitious and don't want to put the curse on it. Hopefully I can spill the beans in a few weeks. In the meantime, blog posts might be bit sparse round here, so apologies for that.

What else? Went to the second BBC TV drama writers' festival in Leeds this week. It built on the success of last year's event, and - to me, at least - the mood seemed more positive and upbeat. Managed to overcome nerves and introduce myself to one of my writing heroes, Jimmy McGovern. He was thoroughly friendly - result.

I've got a pad full of notes from the sessions I attended, but won't get the chance to transcribe and post them up here for a while. Also got to catch up with three other writers from the Doctors mini-academy I take part in three summers back. It's always good to compare notes, see how we're getting along with our writing.

Like all writers, I get frustrated by rejections and the things that don't happen. But the truth is I've made some big strides forward in three years. I now have an agent. three eps of Doctors on BBC1 to my credit, five eps of CBeebies show Nina and the Neurons, a second radio play, and 2.5 years of postgraduate teaching experience.

Not a bad effort. There's more I want to write - much more - but one a quiet Sunday morning, it's worth pausing to reflect on the journey so far. To enjoy the successes and contemplate the road ahead. As a creative individual, it's easy to focus too much on the destination. You need to enjoy the scenery along the way, too. Onwards!

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