Thursday, January 04, 2007

Return of the Infinite Monkey

Josh Friedman is posting again

Good stuff. Even if I didn't understand half of it.

My own sincere thanks to those kind enough to visit my own humble tome which to my astonishment has just passed the 10,000 mark.

I went back the way over my posts and realised I'd neglected the tale of Project X, my spec project. As you may recall a producer at a Major Prodco wanted to do it but it was nixed by her boss on news of a couple of other projects with slightly similar premises already being developed by the networks.

Disappointing, because I know what those projects are. One of them has already been shown! And they bear no more resemblance to my project than Born Free does to The Ghost and The Darkness. They both have Lions. That's about it.

Anyhoo, at a meeting just before Christmas I pitched it to another Major. They liked the pitch and asked for the two sheet. My agents also sent it to another biggee at around the same time. They like my work even though I made a total tit of myself the first time I met them some years ago.

I was into writing movies at the time. I had no real inclination to write for TV and all I had written to that point was spec movie scripts. That got me an agent and that got me this meeting. It was in Soho House. Plush leather armchairs, the gentle hum of lap tops and people trying to look like they they were doing important business rather than trying to justfy the £600 membership.

So I'm sitting with this vastly experienced head of development of this prodco with several hit shows to their name, and she asks if I had any ideas I wanted to write for TV.

And Twat that I am I answered blythly ' Not really, I want to write movies, I don't think I can earn enough money writing TV'

To her great credit she didn't snort her cappucino out her nose. She took a moment and then explained reality to me. A writer/creator of one of their shows made £250,000 the year before. Worst case scenario he'd probably make £100,000 in the current year. Bear in mind we are talking about 1995 or 6 here. She patiently pointed out that if you live in the UK, the only way to earn any real money on anything like a consistant basis is writing for TV.

See, the problem was I'd read William Goldman, I knew movies paid millions of dollars.

Dream On! Those A listers with the million dollar deals are the lottery winners. The average income for a WGA writer is something like $70,000 a year. Seriously. The average income for 'working writers' in the WGA [ie more than one hit wonders, because selling any project to a WGA affiliated prodco automatically means you have to join the WGA. You may sell nothing else, ever] is around $100,000 a year. No small potatos, but hardly the million dollar deals so beloved of the press.

So I listened carefully to what she said. Then being the Twat that I am I promptly moved to LA.
And that's a whole 'nuther story. And one for the memoirs when I'm too old and frail for them to bother jailing me.

But I digress. Project X has still got its nose above the waterline. Hopefully I'll hear this month from the two interested parties. The chances are obviously that it will be 'No' but the important thing is I'm out there. I'm in their faces, and that is where you have to be.


wcdixon said...

Nose above the waterline...

Love it. Continue the good fight.

English Dave said...

Cheers Will. They'll give up before I do! lol

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Ha! Ha! Funny stuff. Yeah we were all sucked in by that bidding war stuff weren't we? Oh, how little did we know ;-) Great post - come on Dave - out with it! Let rip on your LA experiences ;-)

Schmucks with Underwoods said...

Funny in' it. Josh Friedmann seems to be worshipped as a God in the screenwriter-sphere. Even John August announces that Friedmann has posted. Ring them bells! He posted! Yet according to JH's blog he's still treated like he's bottom of the food chain by the Hollywood industry. Strange but true.

English Dave said...

I loved his first few posts when he was brutally honest about his own career. I hope he gets back to that. It was just about the funniest thing I'd read.