16 Jun ONLY CONNECT – MAKING CONTACTS IN THE TELEVISION INDUSTRY
Writing is a solitary exercise. But the business of getting your writing read, talked about and appreciated is just the opposite. You need to be a focussed solitary scriber, and then morph when the time dictates, into a sociable, approachable type who is more that happy to talk about your work and ask questions of those that are experienced and able to help you get in and get on in the industry.
Even if you have a writing partner; someone with whom you work to create and construct your drama scripts, there is always that point in the creation process where you must turn the collaboration switch to ‘off’ and get on with making your part in the writing process your own. You need to get your head down and start writing.
If you work solo, (like most writers in my experience do) then it can be really hard to put on a convivial face and go off to rub shoulders with, most likely, writers like yourself, who work alone and then feel they have to socialise for the good of their work.
But I think its important that you do this.
The television industry dictates that writers be both disciplined (in terms of getting the pages done in a structured, accessible time frame) and also able to turn on the sociable charm when the time is right.
I have had the pleasure of working with some great writers who are now at the top of their game and showing by the sheer calibre of the work they are now producing, the way forward for lesser experienced television writers, making their way up. Writers like Russell T Davies, Sally Wainwright, Jonathon Harvey and Tony Jordan. If you were ever in a position to ask any one of them if they, as they were starting out, had a champion, or if there was a person they felt they could point to that helped them, when they needed it, I believe each writer could come up with more than one name.
I had my champions too.
We all need at least one.
So where do you find your champion? The person(s) who may turn out to be the people you, when asked the question, sometime in your future you happily name as the individuals that helped you most?
There are many ways you can potentially meet like-minded writers and also connect with professionals that can either champion your work themselves, or suggest others that can.
I suggest you spread your area of connection wide.
Initially, I would encourage you to join a good writer’s group. I run a very good one on Facebook. My members come from all over the globe and represent all levels of writing experience. Many are professional writers who, like myself, genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge of the industry. It’s a great place to start.
The Script Advice Writer’s Room:
Another good way of opening up communication with others in your chosen field, is to use online forums. Phil Gladwin runs a great one here. His organisation the Screenwriting Goldmine also runs writing competitions and workshops:
In general, the BBC website for writers is a good place to bookmark. You can download scripts and keep up with the initiatives they run.
Attending workshops on writing and those that teach the skill base needed to work in television as a writer is a good way of making contacts and building useful friendships with other writers.
I run workshops for the Indie Training Fund regularly and throughout the year.
Euroscript is very good for writers wanting to connect with others and they also run courses throughout the year:
Engineering meetings between writers and Producers, Commissioners and key players in the Industry is a central aim of the Rocliffe Forum:
Attending festivals and specific events aimed at networking and sharing of information related to screenwriting is a great way of building your connections and making potential key connections with useful to know people.
The London Screenwriters’ Festival is a brilliant, exciting, informative and genuinely friendly event run by people passionate about the business of writing for the big and small screen. This link takes you to the page showing some of the speakers of this year’s event. You will notice I am there and very pleased to be so!
Raindance run both a film and television festival:
My book attempts to bridge that gap between you, the solitary writer who wants to get in to Television and stay there, and the Industry itself; comprising of important people you need to get to know and to make them aware of your existence.
Here’s a lovely review on Amazon by writer Mark Davies. I add it here because he highlights my intention when writing it, which was to metaphorically hold the writer’s hand through what can be the labyrinthine nature of the Television Industry.
‘Rather than a dry how-to style text book, reading this book is like being invited to spend the day with an expert and having her take you by the hand for a tour of Television Centre, and being introduced to everyone you could ever need to know in the process. Then imagine someone following you the whole day with a camcorder and giving you all the footage afterwards so you can rewind to your favourite sections and live them all again. And again!’
Follow me on Twitter: YVONNEGRACE1. Here too, it is almost too easy to hook up (in cyber space) with a whole new strata of writers, producers, script editors and agents who may well take up a big space in your future.
You don’t know who’s out there till you get your sociable coat on and venture outside…..
Check out my website for my script reading and script development services and to access my blog and find out what I am up to over the year.
I hope to be able to help you in the future.
Good Luck and Happy Writing.