Monday, September 01, 2008

A Plug

I always read Robin's blog over at Writing for Performance. [If I were more computer literate I'd have a link here, but he's on my blog roll thingy.

Always interesting articles pulled from the press, reviews, interviews, music. Very nice. Another one I read regularly is Dead Things On Sticks, Dennis McGrath's Canadian blog.

Don't get me wrong, I read and enjoy a heck of a lot more blogs, but it is interesting to see how sometimes a degree of synchronisity occurs.

Dennis has recently posted about the fear factor in blogging and how he feels people don't comment on his, sometimes shoot from the hip, blog, because they perhaps fear repercussions within the industry.

Lucy Gannon recently gave a scathing interview attacking the BBC and their commissioning policies. Robin has pulled a recent interview from the press where she plugs her latest project, The Children - a three parter for ITV.

When I read her initial attack I admired her bollocks. I knew about the 3 parter for ITV, but for a long term pro, that doesn't make a twinkle in the eye of daddy swallow in Africa, never mind a summer, career wise. So for a pro writer to openly come out and dis the Beeb, that was high cotton.

In Robin's Blog I notice the tag line that Lucy has recently become a writer on Coronation Street. Corrie writers have probably just about the longest shelf life of any soap. Tough to get on the show, but stable once you're in. Aha! The coming over the parapet to take a pop at the BBC makes sense. Or so you'd think.

But you know what, I respect her bollocks even more now. TV land doesn't like boat rockers. So yes she can give a rollicking to the BEEB knowing she's okay financially for the next few years. But someone of her experience also knows that some people have long memories. So it was a brave stand, because nothing lasts forever. She knew her position, she had a 3 parter and a spot on the premier soap for ITV and as such her criticisms could be spun by the BEEB as being a disgruntled writer whom they didn't want to hire. She knew that, and she still said it.

It's a bit like when Jimmy McGovern said everything on ITV at 9pm is shit. Okay he had his 'The Street' series coming out on BBC at the time, but he also had his one off 'Cracker' coming out on ITV at 9pm. Something ITV were keen to point out in their defence.

Not much was made of it at the time. But the more that established and talented writers come out and say something is rotten in the state of TV then the more the dunderheads might listen.


Jaded and Cynical said...


The lack of honest debate in the scrobosphere has surprised me.

Writers, after all, are supposed to be opinionated and outspoken.

Too many bloggers just seem to use the technology for shameless self-promotion.

And a lot of people swapping comments and links are engaged in a process that's one step up from mutual masturbation.

The really sad cases are the wannabes who don't even work in the industry, but who won't write a bad word about the Beeb in case it might cost them their one-in-a-thousand chance of getting a script commission for Doctors.

The good news is that, even if they're reluctant to comment, I'm sure plenty of people read the blog, ED.

Because at least your thoughts are worth reading.

Lucy said...

A blog not used for self promotion seems quite odd to me, J&C.

Sure, if you want to sound off about stuff under a pseudonym, go right ahead. But not everyone wants to use their blog for that.

I use mine as part of my livelihood. It would be unwise to lambast everything when I'm dealing daily with fragile new writers' egos. They'd take one look at my vitriol and think "Yikes! She's one of those Nazi readers!" Then before you know it my supply of specs for private reads dries up and me and the kids are in the poorhouse.

Similarly, there's a lot of writers out there who don't want to engage with the negative side of the industry - they've got crappy day jobs, they're getting lots of rejections. They want to hold on to their dream, so they make it as shiny and new as possible. Or maybe they simply can't imagine that the industry does have a negative side because they have little experience of it.

I've been a reader and a writer for a long time. Sometimes it really gets on my nerves when people are all hearts and flowers when I know full well there's all kind of shit down the line. I've been so bitter and twisted about several things that have made my blood boil in the way I've been treated. But way I see it, who does it actually help if I go on about it? Not you guys, because you already know the industry can be shit. Not me, because I need to just let it go. And not anyone who doesn't know because they won't believe it anyway!

So that's why I don't blog bitterness and damnation. I suppose deep in my heart is that tiny ember that belonged to the flaming heart of the new writer... Maybe by the time I get TV commissions like you ED that will tiny ember will be completely extinguished, lol

Always more than one side to the story! Arf

English Dave said...

Now chaps let's not fight! lol There is plenty of room on the scribosphere for all!
My blogroll has a mixture of pros and non pros. Because even my flint hard heart can be scraped by reading about the doggedness, enthusiasm and insights of those trying to break in.

And always at the back of my mind is that for most of those the only reason they are not pro's is that they haven't caught a break yet.

Yes there are those for whom it will never happen. Much like those poor deluded souls on the X factor etc who think they sound like Cat Stevens when in fact it's Cat Strangled.

There are those who can talk a great game, know every guru book backwards but never seem to manage to translate it to paper. They need more heart, less head.

There are raw talents who are structurally all over the place but you know they have something. Encouragement will get them there.

I've read scripts by a number of blog readers and I can honestly say I haven't read one that didn't show some talent.

I also know there are only 3 things you need to become a pro writer. Luck, Talent and Perseverence. Not necessarily in that order.

Writers work on confidence. If blogging about writing makes you feel more like a writer then hey go for it. Like buying Final Draft or attending WGGB functions. If it helps - do it. One of the reasons I don't completely slag off these 'How To' courses and seminars, many of which are pretty useless and only designed to line the pockets of the organisers, is that they can give someone confidence. If it does, and they write a great script then - fantastic. It was worth every penny.

This is becoming a post and I'm hungry so I'll quit here! lol

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