Wednesday, July 03, 2013


You get yourself work, then an agent, then the money starts to roll in and you can sit back and relax... right? Wrong! Being a professional writer is harder than you think.

Three feature commissions down, one spec optioned, possible TV work lined up and you would be forgiven for thinking I've made it. I don't think there is any such thing as 'making it' to be honest, unless I was to suddenly morph into the genius that is Steven Moffat. And that's not me being negative, it's just a fact of the writers' life. Once you've had some success the pressure is on, it doubles almost over night, not only to keep the work coming in but also to make sure everything you do is top notch. You can't afford to rest for a second! You have to make everything work!! Failure is not an option!!!

The three commissions I've had so far have paid me a few thousand up front with the remainder as a deferred payment either when the budget funding is in place or on the first day of principle photography. Making feature films is quite often a lengthy process, so while I'm waiting for all that lovely money to finally make its way into my bank account I still have to look for new work.

But you have an agent? Yes I do, but I still look for my own work through the contacts I have made over the years and people still come to me direct asking me to work on their projects. My agent sends out my work, gets me meetings, negotiates my contracts and collects my money, and she's very good at all of that. If I didn't search for my own work though I would be forever worrying where the next cheque was coming from. Besides, I still have to build a name for myself. Three feature commissions is a great start but none have gone into production yet, or hit the cinemas. When they do I'll become a more viable prospect for producers, especially if the film makes a shit load of money. Producers like money! Everybody likes money!

So yes I still agonise over ever word in my screenplays, dread the possibility I might never work again, fight the paranoia I'm not any good, worry endlessly over up coming meetings and constantly fear failure... but by jingo it's still the best job in the world.

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