Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DON'T BE A DICK

It's only the second week of 2018 and already I've had reason to be frustrated/angry/utterly fucked off with other writers' attitudes.

I requested to join a screenwriter's Facebook page called SCREENWRITERS WHO CAN ACTUALLY WRITE last week. The arrogant title alone should have set the alarm bells ringing, but like the optimistic and sometimes nieve believer in humanity that I am I went ahead anyway. My request was approved two hours later and I logged in to have a look at the topics they were discussing. One caught my eye straight away.

The Admin had decided to take a screenshot of a member's post giving advice on copyrighting work in the UK and used it to slag her off, laughing at the advice, using the label 'Screenwriting Guru' as an insult and arrogantly announcing to everyone this member knew absolutely nothing about copyright law. He reinforced this by stating he was a lawyer and personally knew of fifteen examples of work being stolen from members of his Facebook page, yet in an article he wrote for ScreenCraft it was clear he couldn't even tell the difference between a WAVER and an NDA. I couldn't believe what I was reading.

As I continued to read the comments the insults increased, not only from the Admin who boasted of his fifty-six competition wins in an attempt to prove his experience, but from many others in the group too. Disbelief turned to anger and anger rapidly evolved into disgust. Not only were they dismissing what was very sound advice, they were happy to go even further and shamelessly assassinate the character of the lady in question, aggressively challenge her experience and achievements, proudly and smugly declaring she had none and should be ignored. They seemed perfectly happy to ignore her two feature credits as a producer, her years as a reader and script editor, her three published writing guidebooks and two internationally successful novels.

What she had to say was in direct contradiction to their limited knowledge of the industry, so instead of debating with her and questioning her on why she believed her advice to be true, they delighted in dismissing her as an inexperienced wannabe, an idiot, ignoring what she had to say and her experience. I was a member of that Facebook page for less than five minutes... I think that might be a record.

It seems I post blogs about this subject at least twice a year and it dismays me that people still can't grasp the basic fact that being nice, polite, encouraging and helpful are the basics of not only a long and successful career but also the basic requirements of humanity. Just because you think you know more than others, even if you actually do, it doesn't make you better than them and excuse you for treating others with contempt.

My message is simple... don't be a fucking dick! Be better! Make the difference!

Happy writing!

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 REVIEW AND 2018 GOALS

2017 has been a mixed bag of success and disappointment... just your typical writers' year then.

On the upside, I've created and written several new projects, my writing has done really well in competitions and I've had the opportunity to pitch ideas to some exciting companies and writers I'm looking forward to working with in 2018. On the downside, this was the first year since becoming a full-time writer that the work I lined up didn't come to fruition. Every year since 2010 when I became a full-time writer I've landed work, even if it was only a small project. As a working writer, it's always tough when you have a barren spell. It happens to us all and it can easily erode your confidence. Not me though, it just makes me more determined that 2018 is going to be my most successful year to date.

Don't get me wrong, 2017 hasn't been a total loss, in fact, it's been a great year overall. I've made progress. I have some fantastic possibilities lined up. I've worked extremely hard to get myself in a position where 2018 is shaping up to be quite awesome, with multiple projects ready to go. I now need to ensure I keep that momentum going. So what are my goals for 2018?

It's important to set yourself goals for the forthcoming year. Some writers even advocate adopting a five-year plan. However, I think a one-year plan is sufficient as things can change quite quickly in twelve months. More importantly, those goals should be achievable.

For 2017 I set myself the goal of writing a new screenplay and rewriting an old one every month for twelve months and a lot more besides. It was far too much. I should have set myself a more realistic target. My goals for 2018 are as follows...
  1. Earn a TV drama episode commission.
  2. Finish at least four new projects - two feature and two TV drama.
  3. Have a feature optioned.
  4. Have a TV series idea optioned.
  5. Win a screenwriting competition.
  6. Finish my novel.
  7. Watch more TV drama including keeping up with my favourite continuing dramas.
  8. Watch as much of the programmes recorded on my Sky + box as possible and get it down and keep it below 25%.
  9. To make more of my YouTube channel and social media in general.
  10. To read more.
Just ten goals and after all the hard work I've put in this year they are all achievable.

What were your 2017 successes and what are your 2018 goals? Let's share them.

Happy writing!