Monday, September 18, 2006

Project X first pitch

Okay so I had my pitch meeting. It went better than I thought it would bearing in mind my first two pitches never even made it out the bag as her first words were 'I don't do cop shows' Yoiiiiks!

Fortunately Project X seemed to hit the spot. I left the Bible with her. It will now either die an immediate death, struggle up the chain until some one takes pity and finally smothers it with a pillow or cling on like a whelk on a rock in a North Atlantic gale.

The odds are heavily on options one and two. But since when did odds bother a writer? If you thought about them too long you wouldn't even switch on your computer. I don't do the lottery. I figure I need all my luck for the writing process. But consider this, every pro writer out there once started with nothing but an idea and a hell of a lot of hope.

Hope is what keeps the writer going. Hope he sells something. Hope he'll be commissioned. Hope his ideas don't suck. Hope he'll create something he's actually really happy with. Hope a director, actor or producer isn't going to screw it up. Hope that as a writer you may actually be appreciated.

Because make no mistake, there are plenty in the Biz who look on writers as a neccessary evil. We're the Castor oil to their indigestion. I've worked on a number of different series, and rarely do you ever lose the feeling that you are very much an expendable item. Hell they could make a call tomorrow and replace you with any number of eager fresh faces. Writers in general don't have a lot of power. It's just a fact.

Unless you come up with a sure fire winner idea and have several producers competing for it. Then you can screw 'em!

I've never been in that position. As a result I've had to settle for option agreements that I wasn't entirely happy with, like the writing fee, no guarantee on number of episodes I'd write, reversion payments etc.

One day I really would like to be able to screw 'em. That might not happen, but there is always hope.


wcdixon said...

"...if you knew the odds, you'd never even turn on a computer..." -so true. A part of me often says I wish I was me old naive self...the days when I'd get an idea and just start working on it. Now it seems I work more time on figuring out the odds and or that its been done and deciding it isn't worth it --- oh, also the ladies were prettier....

Glad you left the room somewhat empty handed, as in the bible stayed behind...

English Dave said...

Thanks Will

I should have left a Koran and a Talmud just in case. lol

At this pitch meeting it was mentioned that the boss's
Motto was 'There's no such thing as good writers, only good writing'

I wasn't sure quite how to take that, so I kept my mouth shut. But I did have a sneaking suspicion at the time that he meant 'good writing only occurs after my producers and editors have gotten a hold of it' Though I suspect it was meant more as ' Names mean nothing, it's the quality of the writing that counts'

Who said writers were paranoid? lol

Loved the article in your Bro's mag btw.

Good Dog said...


Do you not think there is a certain envy involved? Sure, good directors, actors, and producers are necessary. But the writer is still a pretty vital component.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me their “great ideas”, but when I show interest and ask them to elaborate, there is a very long awkward silence. Which is odd really, because they all seem to think that writing is a piece of piss.

Good luck with your pitch. Hope they bite.

English Dave said...

That's a great question good dog. But I don't think it's so much envy as the lack of understanding that occurs in the whirlpool of art V commerce.

Producers in the main have an entirely different agenda from writers. They want 'product'
They need writers to supply that product. A lot of times they don't understand how the writer supplies that product. But they know that if in their mind the product isn't what they wanted they'll find another supplier.

Good Dog said...

I was working with someone a while back and they were like Eric Morecambe at the piano; except they were writing all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order.

I think everyone thinks they can do it. Hell, they've written postcards on holiday or messages inside greetings cards. How difficult can it be?

When it comes to product -- because you're right, everything is product -- hopefully they want a Harrods food hamper rather than a basket of Sainsbury's own brands.

English Dave said...

''I was working with someone a while back and they were like Eric Morecambe at the piano; except they were writing all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order.''

lol.. One of my favourite sketches.

Some producers want the 'Iceland Christmas dinner for a fiver' offer.