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I’ve just showed this vid to an industry pro, and realised that it might never have made it here – apologies! It’s the 90-sec promo for Glitter Knickers, designed to help it out of its R&D box and onto the next stages. Weirdly, both the actor Lucinda Holloway and I have been asked about the play’s next steps a few times in the last few weeks. So, here’s to some Friday smiling – I hope you enjoy it:
A much-loved but unproduced theatre script, A Bit of a Song & Dance, made the BBC Drama Script Room long-list! They had a record number of entries, and a phenomenal amount to read, so I’m especially pleased – and grateful! As all writers out there know, there’s subjectivity in all of this, too, so I’m well aware that there’s a decent degree of good fortune in getting this far.
Writersroom is a phenomenal doorway for writers; a great deal of the talent that reaches your screen passes through this system, and I know many who have been coached and nurtured by it (and by others, of course): it’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s this kind of thing that gives hope, ambition, support and professional education to me and THOUSANDS of would-be broadcast writers. The recent comedy script room has had 2,629 entries and as you can see below, Drama had almost 4,000.
This is the best any of my scripts have done with the BBC and it is a script I love (with characters I care about – but then, I always do). As one of the longlist, the BBC will give me a script report, which is invaluable – because without audience feedback, a script is nothing. Its life is in the imaginations of others….
And on that slightly strange final note, I’ve been looking for a wordpress GDPR thing and can’t find one. Some of you have signed up to get blog posts by email. If you are one of them and no longer want to, obviously do unsubscribe! Otherwise, let’s carry on! (As I try to capture your imaginations!)
Very happy to have reviewed the opening night of posting Letters to the Moon last night as it starts a tour that takes in Wimbourne, Guildford, Chipping Norton, Malvern and Devizes.
Oh, what a lovely, love-filled, heartwarming evening you will have with Posting Letters To The Moon. Opening night at Bath’s Ustinov Studio (Theatre Royal) looked like a full house for this charming legacy of a show.
But where to start? You could come into this piece through so many different doors. A Brief Encounter fan? An Archers addict? Maybe you’re a soul who loves the “letters from” format, or even “an audience with-“? Perhaps you’re an incurable ’39-’45 nostalgiac?
Whichever door works for you, this space is as welcoming and nourishing as you could possibly want. Huge congrats to Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams – and their family – for sharing these letters in such a generous way. More …
Writers need focus. And kindness. Lots of kindness. I wrote yonks ago here about the myth of artistic poverty – how a lack of money (and, related, time) absolutely stymied my work.
It leads to me chasing my tail, rather than having confidence enough to focus on a single project. It leads to me running up and down my projects, my contacts, the competition deadlines, watering them all, hoping one – just one – will bear me a fruit.
Of course, this is mad.
If studying the lives – and work – of great writers I admire tells me anything, it is that they sat with their work. One work. They listened. They thought. They paid attention to the task in hand.
Of course, they had to go to the post office. Of course, they had to shop, meet, talk, hustle, eat, drink, recover etc. But they treated their work with more respect than I have been showing mine. And that’s something I resolve to change.
Seeing as you’re here, you might be like me. You read posts about writing. I stumbled over one the other day that was so fresh, so generous in its tone, that it reminded me of Stephen King’s On Writing, or Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. What was so fresh was that it did not tell me I was doing everything wrong. It did not tell me that I could learn what 10 terrible mistakes I was making with every script. It did not tell me that if I would only be a better something [insert noun that’s simultaneously a carrot and a cat-o-nine-tails: “human”, perhaps], then I would be gobbled up eagerly by agents/producers – and not in a necessarily harrassmenty kind of way.
It was this. A post that says, “you can find a champion for your work”. That says, “yes there are hurdles, but you can get over them.” That nudges you gently out of the nest so you can fly, instead of screaming, “Jump, you tosser!” from the ground. So thank you, Hayley Mackenzie of Script Angel. It’s that kind of thoughtfulness – along with the likes of Philip Shelley‘s thorough confidence – that gives the industry a good name.
I don’t believe that making people feel bad, or in competition with their peers, works. Scriptwriting professionals like Hayley and Philip (they’re not the only ones, of course) remind me that I choose who I listen to. This is utterly personal of course, but the gentle encouragement of guys like this, and so many other writers, is one of the things that keeps me in the game.
It’s a privileged place to be, with words in your mind, in your hand, on a screen or page. The last thing you need is a beating. Just find some focus, do some listening and get those words out.
[skips off, distributing sunflowers, into a nuclear horizon…]
Wonderful week last week, with lots of goodies coming at once.
On Tuesday, I reviewed Michael Boyd (former RSC Artistic Director)’s new show, The Open House, for Bristol 24/7. You can read the review here.
Then I popped on a train, feeling all intercontinentally high-flyin’, wrote my review on the tracks & when I woke up (some sleep happened somewhere), I was in King’s Cross on my way to the C21/Script Angel WritersRoom, which ran as part of the International Drama Summit at Content London 2017.
Very merrily, my latest TV pilot spec script – written in a 10-day deadline frenzy in September – was highly placed in the C21/Script Angel Drama Series Script Competition. And this is how I won a place on this full and excellent day. In three groups, we developed a new show from concept to pitch. Each worked closely with an experienced show-runner: Versailles’ David Wolstencraft; Follow The Money’s Jeppe Gjervig Gram; False Flag’s Maria Feldman and Shades of Blue’s Adi Hasak.
The 9-6 day seemed like it was eaten whole in one big bite: Have we finished? Where did it all go?!
That’s in no small measure due to a cracking task-led structure, but also a bally marvellous working group. So often, writers work in holy isolation but here we had to listen, respond, respect and hit a deadline with a goodie. (What do you mean, “did we?” Of course we did!).
Anyway, it was yet another of those weeks where I stand, grin and kalloo-kallay my lucky stars to be able to do the stuff I do. I saw and reviewed great & thought-provoking theatre (heading to London in the new year, I believe) and worked with a great international group of merry writers and producers. And we all learnt from our group’s ace showrunners, Jeppe Gjervig Gram & Adi Hasak, with the sharp and steady Hayley MacKenzie of Script Angel’s hand on the tiller.