I recall some time ago I said I'd post about writing for movies in the U.K. The reason I haven't is mainly because I haven't even tried to write a movie for about six years so I am a little out of the loop.
When you have a family to support, TV writing is the only reasonably steady source of income you have. In this country not just steady, but in financial terms way superior to writing movies. I'd say that in the U.K at most there are maybe half a dozen movie writers who make more in a year than a reasonably established TV writer.
But money aside, and in a perfect world that is how it should be, here is my current thinking on the U.K film industry.
There isn't one.
It is getting there, but has some way to go.
When I first started there was no real spec market. That is changing. And that is a good thing. When I first started there were no lottery franchises but we have them now. And that is a bad thing. Lottery franchises only served to give dolts who didn't know what the hell they were doing piss my lottery quid up the wall. Anyone remember Janice Beard 45wpm? Didn't think so.
The U.K film industry is divided into three. Art House, Commercial, and Tax Monkey.
Art House producers do the rounds of regional film funding, private investors, the EEC and all those other well meaning bodies. I don't mean that in a bad way. Writing is art. If it's done well. And artful writing needs support and encouragement. A Theme Park movie provides an experience that lasts as long as the ride. Art House can change the way you think and feel. providing enough people bother to go and see it. And that's more down to the producer, distributor and publicists than the writer - If the writer has something worth saying.
Tax monkeys. U.K tax laws being what they are it is quite easy for a producer of a complete flop to still make a wedge of dosh. I'm sure there's a musical or movie in there somewhere! Tax monkey films are quite easy to identify. The idea is commercial enough to suggest there might be an audience to those funding it but what ends up on screen is enough to suggest the first draft was shot.
Commercial - there aren't that many prodcos in the U.K who are making movies that make money. There are definitely not many prodcos in the UK who you can make a living from as a writer. But..... and here is the big but. As a writer you have a story to tell. That might be a movie. If it is then get it out there because writers who write from the heart will always garner a fan club. Same for TV. Heart is what makes us different from the suits, and should be celebrated.
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5 years ago