Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Day In The Life......

...of an insecure writer.

Is there any other kind?

So I'm up at 4 a.m for an early flight to a commission meeting. I'm thinking to myself, man if they really valued me they'd fly me up the night before and swing for a hotel.

Then I think, hell, the fact they're swinging for a flight must mean they value you.

Or do they? Are they just doing the least they can get away with.........


On the plane I dig out the 80 or so story pages I'd been sent at 6pm the night before and didn't look at because I was watching football.

They were commissioning 8 episodes in two seperate meetings. I was in the second meeting and the way the flight had been arranged I knew I had a couple of hours sitting in the canteen before my meeting to give the pages a going over.

But if they really valued me why didn't they arrange the flight so that I didn't have to get up at a godforsaken time just to suit their driver's schedule so I could be picked up at the airport?


So I arrive and meet and greet some faces. Three of the writers for the first meeting are there. Big hugs from storyliners, script editors, producers etc. The female ones that is. Apart from one who hugs everyone except me. What have I done?


I'm chatting to one of the other writers. Let's call hm X.

X tells me he has just been commissioned on a new show. I congratulate him. I hadn't heard of the show but that means nothing as my ear is so far removed from what is going on that it is a speck on the horizon.

Then I think, hang on, maybe I hadn't heard of it but my agents damn well should have, and I don't recall them saying they's put me up for it. Why not? Had they put other writers up and not me? What was going on?


I'm on my own in the canteen reading the material for the meeting and a writer/director I know comes in. We chat. We bemoan the state of TV drama. He says what he'd really like to see and I tell him about a new project I'm working on which is exactly that kind of thing.

After he goes I think, did I say too much? Did I give something away there? It is a good concept and highly snitchable at the moment.


I phoned my agents. Partly to enquire about this new show I hadn't heard about and partly to see if they had read the new spec I sent them a week ago. I chose this agency because they don't represent a massive roster of writers. So I figured the personal attention would be better.

I was told both my agents were out of the office.

Were they? Or were they just avoiding my call because they didn't want to say they hadn't read my script yet? Or worse, had read it and thought it was crap?


The commission meeting was the easy part of the day.

So I'm in the airport a few hours later and my agent's ring. I shoot the breeze then enquire about the new show X is writing for.

'Ah, that's prodco Y and they only use writers off Z shows.

'But X isn't off any Z shows' I respond.

'Ah but he wrote P for Q who is great friends of K''

'Well can you send something anyway?'

'Yes but prodco Y takes forever to respond'

'Maybe, but if you'd sent them something 3 months ago that would be forever minus three months'

'Yes that's true. I'll send something. I read your script by the way. I enjoyed it. It's in good shape for a first draft'

And I'm thinking, enjoyed, good shape? You didn't love it then? It wasn't fabulous?

But I say, any major notes?

' No, like I say it's in pretty good shape, but I want partner M to have a look at it before we get back to you'

'Okay, when will that be?

'Oh before the end of the week. By the way J at prodco B still wants to meet you and we know she is keen on your new project. Trouble is she is in now filming in Ireland until late September. I'm not sure we want to send it to anyone else at prodco B in case we step on her toes.

'Ummmmmm, fuck her toes.' I think, but say ..... 'Actually, technically C at prodco B was the contact before J arrived there so why not tell J that as she is busy for the next 3 months would she mind if we sent it to C who was our contact there before she arrived?'

'Good idea'

Nothing to do with insecurity here. Just.........Arrrrrrgh!

Except, why did I have to think of that? Isn't that their job? Have they got other writers they are doing much more for? Has he even actually read my script and this wooley response and waiting for the partner to read is just and excuse?


It's only because things happen that I'm paranoid.


Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Hey, ED maybe you could give us the insider snoop on what happens at these commissioning meetings. Would be interesting. SWU

English Dave said...

That will be my next post schmucks! I aim to please.