Monday, March 19, 2007

The Insider's Guide For Writing TV

Saturday 17th March 2007. With three hours sleep (I worked Friday night) I found myself on a train to Waterloo at 6.30am. I was looking forward to it, meeting up with my blogger chums, and listening to what Adrian Mead had to say. I was so eager I arrived an hour early. Damn, I could have had an extra half hour or so in bed.

And there they were, the motley crew of bloggers; Lucy, Lianne, Good Dog, Pillock and Potdoll (hope I haven't missed anyone). Lucy and Lianne I remember from university, and it was good to finally put a face to the other names. I'm not surprised that Potdoll and Lucy get on so well, they're both as mad as March hares and lovely with it. Their enthusiasm for everything was infectious.

I was tired and worried that I would start nodding off during the seminar, and I didn't want to drink coffee because it's not pretty when I'm on coffee. I didn't need to worry about snoring in the seminar because it was so riveting I didn't feel sleepy once.

Adrian was very open, friendly and more than willing to answer people's questions even during the breaks. He even came to the pub afterwards, something that surprised me. Other industry professionals at festivals can't wait to get out of there, so it was refreshing to see that Adrian was happy to help us in any way he could. His enthusiasm during the day washed over us and no one felt embarrassed to ask questions or network during the breaks. My only regret is that I was too tired to take best advantage of this and I'm sure some people thought I was a mentalist when I zoned out and was staring into space while they were talking to me. I was paying attention, or at least trying my hardest to do so.

So what did Adrian have to say? A lot as it turns out and all of it useful, as my seven pages of notes can testify. Here's what Adrian covered.

- Researching the industry is important if you're going to be a part of it.
- Play nice. Be generous with your information. Be polite, helpful and above all open to other people's suggestion even if you don't always agree with them. Maybe you can come up with another way? Being negative is only going to bring you negativity.
- Why do you want to write? Looking at your motivations to take on the world of writing.
- Your voice. Plot or character? Current topics and how interesting is your particular slant on it?
- Your spec script (which will probably never get made but will get you work) should be what you want to write and shouldn't be constrained by budget concerns.
- Lose your fear of having your work stolen. It doesn't happen. Putting the copyright symbol all over your script screams of amateurism.
- Feedback, follow up contacts and meetings. People like it when you thank them for their time.
- The biggest reason for rejection is your script not being ready for sending out. The Power of Three: send you script to three people, get their comments and rewrite. Do this again twice more with three different people each time. Hopefully your script should be ready after this.
- Regional schemes. Get on them, they're there to help you. Don't be worried if you don't live in that region, find a producer who does live in that region and submit it through them.
- Writing discipline. Have some. A writer writes or they die.
- How to get an agent.
- How to handle meetings.
- The one page pitch; an important document so get it right.
- Raising your profile. You are a writer, not a new writer.
- The importance of ringing people to find out who you should send your work to. Don't be shy.
- Selling yourself. Enter competitions, regional schemes, find a sponsor within the industry and blog.
- Are you doing enough? Constantly check that you are doing enough to get yourself noticed. Don't slack off.
- How not to get fired. The main reasons writers get fired from shows.
- Rejection; how to handle it.

There you go, lots to think about but all good advice. I really enjoyed the seminar and would heartily recommend you attend the next one; I know I will be.

And if anyone out there in blogland wants someone to help them with the power of three I am officially making myself available to read your work. Feel free to contact me.


potdoll said...

Mad as March hares! How VERY DARE YOU! :)

You did forget one rather naughty person - that Riddley Walker from News Sluice. Probably for the best that you blanked him out - he was having some very dark conversation about badgers.

Great meeting you Dommo!

Pillock said...

Likewise on the reading thing.

Great to meet you.

Lucy said...

I second Potdoll - we're clearly NOT mad as MARCH hares, rather June or July hares...What??