Friday, September 21, 2007

Life is sweet

I've just handed in the draft I was on deadline for. I've got a spec going that I really like. My bank account has been significantly bolstered this month. Gorgeous blonde phoned to arrange a steamy weekend and I've just cracked open a cold one mid-afternoon.

Does it get any better than this?

Pretty sweet. No wonder writing appeals to so many people.

Now before too many people say 'Fuck off you smug git' let me paint a slightly different picture.

I call it 'What the hell do I do now?' Oil on canvass. Note the brush strokes tinged with a hint of desperation. The artist is clearly staring into that singular inferno known as the valley of commissions.

In a nut shell, I have no idea where my next commission is coming from. That happens on a fairly regular basis. Okay thus far I've survived for 10 years or so, made a good living even, but is this the time when the work suddenly dries up? When those big cheques you were used to disappear leaving you with a mountain of commitment and a teaspoon full of cash?

It can happen. So, so easily. And perversely, it seems the longer you are in this game, the more you think about it. At least until you make the 'A' list where you can actually make 'fuck you' money.

I've heard would be writers say stuff like ''I want to write cos I hate my job and want to be my own boss''

Then seriously, I'd say write novels. That's possibly the nearest you'll get to it. Screenwriters always have bosses. The guys with the power and cash who dictate what gets made. Films and TV are incredibly more expensive than book publishing.

or ' I love the idea of working from home'

Ain't all it's cracked up to be. And I refer to ''I hate my job'' above.

This job, for the VAST majority of writers tends to be feast or famine. If you are someone who wants or needs a regular paycheque then you really should think about doing something else for a living.

Sweetness in life is all relative. Writing has it's great moments. But also involves a lot of self doubt, financial uncertainty and possibly a degree of insanity.

But after all that, what is actually foremost in my mind right now is a promised scenario involving gorgeous blonde and a couple of silk ties. Because to me, for a writer it's not about the money, or success, or fame [fame?] Though I'm not daft enough to crap on how to get there. Deep down, where it really matters, it's about taking the infinite experiences of life and trying to make some sense out of them.

Those may involve silk ties.

Or the death of a loved one.

Or a conversation on a bus.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

''Deep down, where it really matters, it's about taking the infinite experiences of life and trying to make some sense out of them.''

There's a quotable quote. Great post.

Dave Anderson said...

I like the idea of the 'gorgeous blonde'. This aspect of the screenwriter's life has never been mentioned by Robert McKee, Linda Seger or even Sid Fields. Does one have to be a member of the WGGB to get one specified in a contract? Would having an agent help?

English Dave said...

lol Dave, I believe in contracts the term is a ''rider''

Anonymous said...

Fuck you! I just spat beer all over my laptop.

Your pal,

Dublin Dave

Anonymous said...

So true. Every time I deliver the last draft of a script I have this overwhelming sense of well being. A day later I'm pacing the floor, panicking about the next job. And it gets worse year on year. Why is that?

English Dave said...

''And it gets worse year on year. Why is that?''

My conclusion, derived after a lot less crap than some have to deal with, is that writers have to be emotional sponges, emotional reflectors, sheep and shepherds.

The more you know the more you get confused. And that is no bad thing.

Lucy said...

So tell me: are the silk ties on the blonde or on you?

I vote you. You need to be dominated every now again I reckon.

Did I just write that?! Good grief. I'll give myself a spanking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

What do you think of what's happening at PFD?

C P

English Dave said...

lol Lucy - and no comment!

C.P I don't know much about the internal workings of PFD, but from what I understand the situation goes back a few years when most there were railroaded into being taken over by CSS Stellar. A sports management company.

Not a popular move amongst the grass roots. Now they are getting payback, epecially after CSS turned down a MBO for 4 million.

I think it's an interesting story but not one that affects writers a great deal, unless you are a PFD client, in which case you have 3 choices.

Stay with what remains of PFD

Go with your departing agent to the new proposed set-up.

Use it as an excuse to find new agents.

A lot of that decision making will depend on your existing relationship.