Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Writer has two faces

Actually the smart writer has several. Bear in mind I'm not writing this as a smart writer. Unfortunately with me, wysiwyg. But pretend I'm a smart writer and the advice holds good.

This is a very small industry. The smart writer is a good reader of those in the business who make decisions. Be it at script level like editors or producers, or at commissioning level way up in the ivory towers.

The smart writer then tailors their demeanour to suit those personalities. Compliant? Whacky? Scholarly? Take your pick. Give those people what they want and you will have a long and golden career.

Though having thought about it I should be talking about the super-smart writer. All writers are smart. The ability to create interesting characters and stories from scratch is proof enough of that. Something no one else in this crazy business can do.

One of the reasons I play internet poker rather than face to face is because if I were across a table the dumbest player there, apart from me obviously, would see whether I had pocket aces or bluffing on a straight draw on the river. I'm a heart on the sleeve kinda guy.

The super smart writer would clean up. He'd catch the tells. Know when to push and when to fold.

There's a helluva lot more to writing than just writing. Like in poker there's a helluva lot more to winning than just having the best cards.

But never forget why you wanted to write in the first place. If you go too far towards the corporate mentality your bank balance might be black but that little voice inside you will wither and die and you'll end up writing the likes of Rock Rivals for people who don't give a shit about writers, or care about quality. Yep it's those Shed girls again! I still haven't forgiven them for paying a writer half the PACT min. when one of them is a board member!

See, the super- smart writer wouldn't even bring that up in a blog. Aaaaaah Fuck' em. I never claimed to be smart.


Anonymous said...

Ever wonder why your career has stalled? Us decision makers you pour scorn on know who you are.

English Dave said...

A smart decision maker would never have posted that comment. 'fess up, you're a script-ed wannabe producer.

Writers write. You come and go on the share price.

Anonymous said...

Excellent smackdown.

A comment worthy of an anonymous little twat.

BTW Anonymous, no such thing as an anonymous comment on blogger :) Double-edged sword, asshole :)

English Dave said...

I'm torn between not answering comments and let them play out or the smackdown. Sometimes the smackdown is too easy.
But that was such an ignorant comment it deserved it.

Jaded and Cynical said...

We need to reinvent the British television industry and do it fast. Otherwise, the only great drama will be made in America.

That's a quote from a recent Observer article by Will Hutton. It reflects the way many of us think.

He made the point that Mad Men is in a different league to similar UK programmes.

He could just as easily have compared the Terminator spin-off to the shite that passes for science fiction here. Or compared 30 Rock to our current batch of humourless sitcoms.

British television has become an unwatchable fucked-up mess.

There are lots of reasons why.

One of them is that some producers aren't paying agreed minimums for scripts. (And it's not because the minimums are extravagant.) They get what they pay for.

Another reason is that there are too few critical voices pointing out the truth.

You're one of the few within the business to do that, ED.

If that makes you a 'twat', then British broadcasting desperately needs a lot more twats just like you.

Uncle said...

Dear Mister English Dave,

I assure you that I am not Mister John Yorke - I believe that he is a lowly executive at the British Broadcasting Corporation?

I, on the other hand, am the owner of the Homeward Broadcasting Corporation. My word is law. That is not to say that I am autocratic - I am always willing to listen to those who want to improve on my ideas.

I am presently working on an idea for a series the like of which we have not seen on television for many years.

It is the life story of a multi-millionaire tycoon. His rag to riches story, his early struggles from lowly origins.

As a youth I was much inspired by 'The Power Game'. Sadly, it did occasionally depict great men of power in an unflattering light - but where is this kind of television now?

Unlike modern programming we shall not be afraid to tackle politics. Not, of course, in the way that the BBC did in the seventies - with all that left wing propaganda.

No, this series will depict the continuing battle of our hero with a group of anarchists bent on bringing down the establishment.

It will also emphasise the importance of civic duty and charitable works.

I am always looking for good writers, who can follow a brief, so feel free to send me your CV.

There is a spare room going in 'Lonely Tower' for only 6d a week.

The pay is commensurate with the low cost of living here - £24 5s 6d per script, plus, of course, all the peanuts you can eat.

Yours Faithfully


Dave Anderson said...

Why so hostile, Anonymous?

English Dave is one of the good guys. He shares his professional knowledge of the craft and the industry with us wannabes, and he does it for free.

I don't understand why you feel the need to have a pop at him and, if you dislike him so much, why you bother to read his blog.