Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Project X part two

Okay, six storylines done and added to the bible. The package comes in at 10 pages. That seems about right.

When I say story lines I mean brief outlines, maybe half a page to a page on each episode, though I've done 4 pages for the pilot. I want to give as much idea of the tone and content of the pilot without actually having to write it.

However, I suspect I will write it anyway. Feedback is generally so slow that I'll be itching to get on with it before I hear anything back.

It's with my agents now. I'm slightly worried because I know they have a hankering for me to write this as a movie so the story lines will be under particular scrutiny.

We shall see.


Danny-K said...

Dave - Six story lines + the pilot you're about to write.

Which because of the encounters I've had today, leads me to the question of income.

You've submitted numerous proposals this year; and that's all time consumed. So, do you depend on A BIG SALE, (or two), each year? Or several little sales to survive?
What's the minimum you need to achieve in 'projects accepted', just to break even?

I was reminded of this today, when chatting to two acquaintances of mine, who knowing of my interest in screenwriting et al, mentioned someone they'd known for some years, (back in Wales), who was now writing full-time. Apparently he was happy, now that he had packed in his high-paying job, (computers, but bored with it), his wife however, was cracking jokes behind his back to the wife of my friend that, "You've no idea how far you can make baked beans spread". She admitted to getting quite upset about the lack of income. Her husband had shown no empathy towards her anxieties, leaving household management firmly in her hands, (she works full-time). I assumed he was unsuccessful but was quickly told he'd had work placed with the BBC. One a film or documentary he scripted, (or both), others, radio drama. Here's the rub: Both she and he, complained that the BBC were very slow payers, and as they were on their 'uppers', it was causing some hardship for them.

I advised my acquaintance's to inform him to at least take up a part-time job, in order to have several, 'irons in the fire', ie., although interested in screenwriting I've got a couple of magazine articles coming out this September and October. Ie., Hobbyist magazines, only £60 the pair, (hardly what you'd describe as income, but still).

So, do you rely on the odd big-hit or regular 'Journeyman' income? And, to your knowledge, is it true about the BBC being slow-to-pay? (He could be fibbing to his wife just to keep her 'sweet').

Krrisst...just previewed this comment before posting and found it's very nearly longer than your blog! Sorry, hope there's no band-width thingy restrictions.

English Dave said...

The BBC are pretty good as far as payment is concerned. No full time writer is on their uppers.

The definition of full time varies though. There is someone writing full time for money. And someone writng full time in the hope of money.

A couple of episodes of 'Doctors' in a year might pay for two weeks in Barbados.

But that's all.[B&B]

Journeyman income takes time. In writing ''Journeyman' is a position to aspire to.

susiesoap said...

Elegantly answered Dave. And right on the money.

Danny-K said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my long-winded multi-question posting Dave - From what you say, I don't think my friends are being told the full story. I suspect he falls into the latter category of the full-time writer you describe - which more accurately describes his predicament.

English Dave said...

Danny in most cases it takes several years for a writer to build up enough rep points to be 'in demand'

That means perhaps several years of writing before a credit. And a few after, building that reputation. [A reputation unknown to the general public BTW]

There are exceptions but they are few and far between. Most of the 'big name' writers you hear of now spent years in Brooky or Corry or The Bill or Casualty.

But credits breed credits. Your friend is doing well, though not perhaps financially. But at what seems is the early stages of his career credits are more important than money.

Not to his wife perhaps. But I also sympathise with her. Aspiring to a career in writing to the extent that you give up your day job is a huge gamble. Kudos to her for supporting him in his decision.

I hope it works out. I took a similar route myself.

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Hi Dave

Will your agent go out to a few select prod. co.'s with project X?

I suspect her work on your TV eps is fairly striaghforward and I was wondering how pro-active they are, or agents in general, in going out with spec projects.

Good luck


phatgirl said...

Hi ED-
Before sending treatments to your agents, do you ever register the material first?


English Dave said...

Schmucks I suspect it varies from agent to agent. I sometimes disagree with mine. What I call going out wide they sometimes call the scattergun approach and don't like to do it. Now some projects by there nature have a more specialised 'sent to' list but others, to my mind, should go out to as many people as possible, not necessarily to try to sell, but simply to remind them of your existance!

At those times I remind myself that my agents work for ME and tell them to get posting!

Phats! Nice to see you. I never register material. Anyone who nicks material from a writer will not last long in the industry. It's hard to be a producer with a baseball bat stuck up your arse.

But seriously, no, I don't register anything. As my stuff is coming from an agent it is

a] unlikely that my agent will send the material to anyone who would try to nick it. They've been in the business a long time and have their well established contacts.


b] Few producers would risk pissing off a long established agent by stealing material they had been sent.

c] I can't be arsed. Sad but true.

phatgirl said...

Thanks for the info. btw, I like your blog. It's informative and doesn't include the blabbering rambling ons like so many others ... oh wait, yes it does. Never mind.

Also, I just read that some tapes of the upcoming BBC1 family drama Robin Hood were stolen. I'm convinced you had something to do with it since you so deplore the state of Brit telly.

(Hi Schmucks.)

English Dave said...

LOL Phats.

Actually I've heard nothing about the upcoming Robin Hood series apart from the fact there is an upcoming Robin Hood series.

That can't be good.

But unless Robin Hood is female circumcision practitioner I'm not sure who the target audience is.