Wednesday, February 22, 2017


"You really should turn this idea into a feature."

Every writer has their favorite story, the one they spend months or even years developing, the one they still get a kick out of every time they read it. It's even better when others read it and fall in love with it too. But it's incredibly frustrating when the screenplay isn't optioned and ends up gathering cyber dust on the hard drive of your computer. Don't despair, no project is ever truly dead.

A screenwriting friend once described projects as roundabouts; eventually, they'll come around again. What he meant by this is that someone somewhere at some time in the future will be interested in that project and option it. It may not be today, tomorrow, or even next month, but at some point, the subject of your screenplay will suddenly be in vogue again. "Have you got anything with happy dancing, pensioner gnomes in it?"

That's why it's always worth revisiting your work now and again and bringing it up to date, so it's ready to go should the market change in its favour.

Then there's recycling your ideas. In a meeting with a TV company last month I was told they loved the sample of work I sent them, a pilot episode of a spec TV crime drama series. When they suggested the idea would make a brilliant feature I initially dismissed the idea. But the more I thought about it the more it actually made sense.

It's not the first time I've changed the medium of one of my projects. One of the features I was commissioned for has changed from British Drama to American Crime Thriller to British TV Crime Drama. The idea has been recycled, turned into something else, giving it more chances of being

So go and take look at your work and see if any of it could translate to another medium, whether that be a feature, a radio play, a piece of theatre or even a novel.

Happy writing!

1 comment:

Gill Kirk said...

Hear, hear! A gorgeously timely post for me.

I needed to submit anything rather than nothing for a fee-less and big theatre competition this week. A 6-year old script - which I had slaved over and then forgotten - came out of the dust and after a big rewrite, fitted the bill.

What's so interesting about this process is I found new respect for the project all over again. Just because it didn't find the light in the past didn't make it a failure. Now it's fresh and tugging at my sleeve....