Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Keep On Keeping ON

"The blog is a great reminder to keep on keeping on, so more power to you." Rob Williams - 07/07/2008

This was never a truer statement, more so today than ever. I found out one of my old scriptwriting course buddies made it on to the BBC Sharpes course with his first script since leaving university seven years ago. I'm not jealous, I'm really happy for him, I'm just feeling a bit exhausted with this writing lark. Seven hard years I've been writing for with little success, so Rob's message was very welcome.

I never thought of my blog as an inspiration for others, as a guide on how to keep going in the face of rejection. But looking back maybe it is, and maybe I meant this subconsciously. So what better way to explore the "keep on keeping on" theory than taking a step back in time and looking at my journey from shop assistant to writer, and all the hard work and effort I've had to put in to get where I am today.

Oxford 1996: I was working for a shit wage of less than £10,000 a year in Radio Rentals fending off the annual swam of students in September and the obvious hatred of my female assistant manager. She really hated me and made my life a living hell. I decided I had had enough and was going to go back into full time education at the age of 27.

But what to do? I thought about Information Technology as a career, but decided I wasn't really cut out for it. So I opened up a copy of the UCAS book and looked at the Bournemouth page, as I had a friend who lived there. I opened the page right on the Screenwriting for Film and Television BA (Hons) degree. It was fate.

I'd always loved writing and a few years before when I had been unemployed for eight months I wrote a feature script. It was shit, but it gave me a taste for writing more. So Bournemouth was were I decided I was headed.

So what did I have to do? A university access course at the local collage was the obvious choice, but as I felt it was a bit basic I decided to do an English Literature A level too. A year later I passed the course and got a grade D in the A level. But would Bournemouth university let me in, would they heck as like. They wanted me to do some GCSE's to prove I was academic enough for the course. So back to collage I went. A year later I came away with an A in English, a B in Maths and a grade C in the resit of my English A Level resit. Then I got an interview with the university. A few weeks nervous waiting and I got the yes I had been hoping for.

Three years of university followed and I came away with a 2:2, only just missing out on a 2:1 by 0.6 marks. Bugger!

When I left I started writing a comedy feature script (still hasn't been finished) which was a mistake. Even though I could write reasonably well I had no idea about the industry. So I wandered for two years not really writing much and not getting anywhere. Then I decided I needed to learn more about the industry so I set about researching it as much as possible, reading books, web pages, etc. Then I got back to writing, a sitcom this time.

I was finding it hard to write in the evenings after working all day, my brain was dead when I came home. So three years ago I decided to do something about it and took the plunge. I moved from working days to working evenings, starting at 6pm and finishing at 2am the following morning. This was great and allowed me to get up at about 11am and write for most of the day in peace and quiet with a fresh head. It started to pay dividends and I got a production company interested in a feature I wrote in those first six months of working evenings. They eventually dropped the script, but it was a signal to me that my writing was getting better and I was making progress.

Last year I wrote a short for a Norwegian production company which has since been transmitted on Norwegian TV and is also due to be show in Norwegian cinemas later this year. Nice!

So here I am now still plodding away, trying to write while looking after my ten month old son fighting against all the odds and keeping the dream alive. I will make it one day, it's just a matter of right script, right person, right time. Easier said than done.

1 comment:


Good for you Dom!

Here's hoping all that dedication and hard work pays off soon, mate!