Friday, December 29, 2006

Year-end roundup

As is customary, I will now list everything I did in 2006 and indulge in self-congratulation or self-deprecation as appropriate. On your marks, get set...

In 2006 I wrote:

- The first draft of a feature script

- The first through fourth drafts of a radio sitcom pilot with Piers Beckley

- The first draft of a one-act stage play

- Half of the sixth draft of a feature script I started years ago

- Most of a draft on someone else's feature script -- for money!

- A short film script that was drowned at birth

- A five-minute stand-up comedy set that I'll get out there and perform Real Soon Now

- A short film that I wrote and shot myself for the Nokia Shorts competition -- it didn't win anything, but other places to submit it keep popping up

- Gobs of comedy sketches for NewsRevue, The Treason Show, and Mixt Nutz. Sometimes with the aforementioned Piers, sometimes on my own. Some of the sketches even got performed.

- Gobs more comedy sketches for various radio shows, that sank without a trace

Low points:

- The Treason Show haven't used anything of mine in months. Grrr...

- Despite a fair bit of trying, I still don't have a radio credit. I feel like I ought to have cleared that hurdle by now.

- I'm not yet able to join the Writers' Guild of Great Britain. A radio credit would solve that problem. (Actually, the script doctoring work I'm doing now might also solve that problem -- must check.)

High points:

- Discovering I can produce a feature script from scratch in two months, while also working a full-time job.

- Pitching one of my feature scripts to an industry panel at Raindance, and getting shot down for the presentation rather than the content. I didn't see this as a high point at the time -- I still got shot down after all -- but the panel said nice things about my idea when they certainly didn't have to. The presentation I can work on.

- Becoming a paid script doctor. It's not a lot of pay by any means, but I still call that a result.

I suppose I should list my plans for next year. First and foremost, the feature script I started years ago and continue to re-draft WILL... BE... FINISHED. It's been almost finished for the best part of a decade, and this is getting ridiculous. After that, I'd like to do a few more drafts on my other feaure script. I'll also be working toward Mixt Nutz' Edinburgh show, submitting stuff to The Treason Show, and undoubtedly banging on the radio door some more. Who knows, maybe someone will let me in this time.

Happy 2007 everyone!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My cat has herpes

This post isn't particularly relevant to anything, but given the title of the blog I couldn't resist.

At the moment I'm in America visiting my dad, whose household includes two dogs and four cats. One of the cats is Cardinal Richelieu, who used to be mine but couldn't come with me when I moved to London. This morning His Eminence was off his food and had one eye glued shut with discharge. The vet diagnosed a viral infection, most probably herpes. Not the kind of herpes that infects humans, thankfully.

After a steroid injection and some eye cream the cat's feeling much better. Makes you wonder what he's been up to, though...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's that time again

That's right kids, gather round. It's time for Shameless Self-Promotion! Give it up for your host, the plugtastic Christine!

Ahem. Mixt Nutz show this Sunday the 17th of December at The Comedy Pub in central London. Follow the link and scroll down to the gig list for full details. Be there or... not.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Nothing to do with writing at all

I got my green belt in karate yesterday. Hi-ya!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Friends don't let friends write bad scripts

On Sunday Piers Beckley and I had a table read of a radio sitcom pilot we wrote some months ago and recently polished up. Basically, we invited actors round, handed out parts, stood back and watched, and then made everyone tell us what they thought. I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised at how positive the feedback was. I was all warm and fuzzy inside, and it wasn't just from the post-reading beer.

But being the paranoid person I am, the next day I got to wondering if people were being artificially nice about our script because they didn't want to hurt our feelings. This ties in with a conversation I had last night with some other writers (most of whom weren't at Sunday's reading). We were discussing the various writing groups in London, and I ventured an opinion that many of these groups are too 'nice', i.e. they tend to withhold valid criticisms of members' scripts in an effort to spare feelings. In my opinion at least, this is counterproductive. It's no good workshopping something if you don't find out what's wrong with it as well as what's right. Producers are unquestionably going to point out what's wrong, and probably not in a gentle or encouraging way either.

The counterargument, of course, is that writing groups are about supporting each other and creating a 'safe' and encouraging environment in which to develop. So am I being too harsh? I'm not advocating reducing people to tears or telling them to pack it in and sell insurance -- but I am advocating total honesty. Which is easier said than done when the members of the group are mates. Can I really expect friends to be as critical of each other as that?

Erm, discuss?