I’ve just read a great piece about women in TV written by Emma Reeves, a show creator, playwright and WGGB award winner, into her research with the Writers Guild of Great Britain. Thanks to Philip Gladwin at Screenwriting Goldmine for letting me share it here.
Here are some headlines:
- Analysing data from the five main channels over a five month period, 70% of all prime-time drama credited to a single writer was written by male writers, and 30% by women writers.
- There was only 1 week when slightly more drama (55%) was written by women than men. But there were several weeks when 75% or more of prime-time drama episodes were written by men.
- Of 106 episodes of Eastenders, for example, 70 were written by men – almost exactly 2/3 of available episodes.
So, what’s going on? Click through (no commission or gain to me!) and have a read:
It was when I joked, “Yep, it makes me feel like a MAN!” and then the women laughed knowingly that I realised I’d surprised myself…
When I’m not doing fee-paying client work over here, I’m parenting or writing. Or researching for the writing. Or applying for grants, entering competitions…you get it.
This time last year I led the Rondo Writers’ Group in Bath. Babysitter ensconced (I’m on my tod), off I’d trot for the night. For single parents, getting out at night can be a pricey faff. But this year, as winter drew in, I knew I’d have to get out and went hunting for a regular babysitter.
Now one night a week, I night-write in a city comfy chair. Researching, scribbling, grinning wickedly in the dark. No housework, TV, or small person announcing a poo. Just the project in hand. It’s gloriously productive and weirdly liberating.
Writers who parent, especially alone, for 2-3h babysitting cash and the coffee or beer, I’d say it’s money very well spent. I work intensely, freshly, with a sense of having earnt it. There’s no waste and it’s a treat. If you try it, let us know.
Over on the Glitter Knickers Facebook page, we’re putting out a call for a theatre producer to join the team and get this baby on the road, out of Bath, to the big smoke and beyond!
Deadline 8 Dec – check it out & share it willy-nilly! (you can see a v short trailer for the show here, too)
Absolutely delighted to post this review in Bristol 247 from last week’s superb theatre trip.
This is a very special piece of theatre. It’s warm, entertaining, heart-swelling, cringe-making, shame-facing and packs a hell of a punch, staring 2016 in the face all the way from 1955. In short, you need to see it, because if you miss it, you’ll hear repeatedly how you missed out.
Dignity, race, power, privilege, wealth, sex, class, education. These “unspoken” currencies that fuel every human interaction permeate this excellent play.
What do you see when a famous white writer’s script about a Deep South lynching puts stereotyped dialogue and a “white saviour” plot in the mouths of a black cast? What happens when the cast – who need work and money, have ambition and dreams – know it’s unreal yet say nothing, or even defend it? What happens when you dare speak out? When a lynching isn’t just a story in a play – but when it happened, right there, in front of you?
I used to do a lot of theatre reviewing – when wed to a person I didn’t need to pay to look after our child! – and always wondered whether I should share them here. So, in a new departure, I thought I’d start. Last night I reviewed Nancy Meckler’s production (at Bath’s Ustinov Studio) of Half Life for Bristol 247. Here’s the article – happy reading (runs til 5 Nov- go!)
Phew. This summer had roller skates. Creatively, it was wonderful, and then whoosh! There I stood, messy making everywhere I looked, enough mucky creative output to dance in for months!
And so. Back to school, while devouring new drama on t’telly, in the wicked playhouses and yet more in those moving picture theatre halls. And here, in the imaginarium?
- Draft Two (caps intentional) of the spec TV pilot I’m obsessed with (an elite public school in the Scottish wilderness is the battle ground for parental titans, demolishing the society around them as they war over their dead son’s legacy.)
- Tour planning for Glitter Knickers in 2017 – a wee show I might have mentioned once or twice.
- Sleeve-rolling collaborations with writers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs.
There’s two tunes playing in my mind that I want to inject into yours: the beautiful clockwork of dramatic structure, and the joyous Play-Doh Barber’s Shop game that happens from generous collaboration.
First of all, I’m just loving learning how my craft makes my writing so infinitely better. PEGGY’s first draft grew from a well-critiqued treatment, and then ten pages (thanks to script editors Philip Shelley & Yvonne Grace respectively). I left it well alone (very tough) for 6 weeks and have gone back to edit like a mad editing monster. I could now see the problems, the (very) weak spots, the frankly cringe-making things that needed sorting. And then I set myself the kind of challenge I could never have done without (a) a lot of learning from cleverer people than I, and (b) that 6-week break. Eh? What? Or, yes, sorry – to solve the problems!
- THAT’s no good as an excuse for his behaviour – WHY?
- Oh, come on – his character is weak! What’s he up to? Make him work!
- Ah. Great antagonist motivation. But now your heroine is nothing by comparison! Even out the score – fight that fight!
The first draft’s OK…BUT, nowhere near good enough. But I’m confident enough to know it’s still like a wobbly clockwork thing. It needs several wheels taking out, binning, replacing, moving…. Heck, I might have to lay the whole thing out on the kitchen table and put it all back together again. But that’s OK! Because if this story is worth telling – and it is! – then getting it right is going to make it absolutely marvellous!
Now, the other thing. The magic pennies of the title. I;m going to save that for my next posy (a) because you’ve read enough and (b) there’s more stuff to do before school pick-up and this is the luxury!
All quiet on this south-western front of late, I know. I’ve been putting my 6-hour working days (school hours for small ones) to good writing use, then throwing in some extra after beddy-byes. All guns have been pointing at a new TV pilot, strengthening my screenwriting muscles and learning everywhere I can.
So, without giving anything away about boring old plot stuff (YAWN)* I thought it mght be handy to point any writers out there towards the
handy – invaluable – resources I’ve been using.
And my imagination, but you couldn’t afford it 😉
Anyway, this stuff is – combined with the other glorious sites on my blogroll (to your right, I believe) – seriously invaluable. It requires some spend of dosh as well as effort, but this is my career. I seriously recommend you check these out if you’re serious about screenwriting. We’re learning a craft and that takes more than just talent. It takes learning!
* So “not” yawn; I love this world I’m playing in. It’s been months now and I dream it. One of us just won’t let go of the other.