Thought I would post a little about what it's like writing for episodic TV. I'd been told to expect notes on a draft all week. Today I was supposed to be having lunch with gorgeous blonde. Hopefully followed by rampant rumpy. But I got notes late last night with a deadline for 3 o'clock today.
The notes weren't good. They showed a complete lack of understanding of pace, tone and character motivation. Given the time constraints I blew off gorgeous blonde to get the script done, and handed in the best job I could out of the piece of crap I had been handed.
Half an hour later I get a call saying an entire story strand is being inserted over 12 eps. Two of which I have written and one of which is the one I've just delivered at 3 o'clock. Kinda makes you wonder why there was such a big rush to turn in that draft overnight?
Kinda makes me pissed off I blew gorgeous blonde off to do it.
But that is the nature of the beast. The schedule rules. A mate of mine and I worked out today that on a particular show we both write on there is about six weeks between commission and the script going into production. Fuck knows what production do for the next 3 months. But out of that six weeks the writers have about ten to twelve days of actual writing. The rest is waiting for notes.
And here's why. Very few people in this business understand writing. They understand timetables and schedules and deadlines and have career ladders to climb. That's a difficult thing to do when you have no discernable creative talent. But that it what you as a writer have to deal with. And I mean that seriously. I pray for the time when non arsey writers get together in a writers room and create magic. The BBC should be doing it now. ITV should have been doing it years ago.
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5 years ago