We all know the old adage ‘no man is an island’ well that goes for women too.
The phrase is over used no doubt, but it is especially true when it comes to the business of writing and truer still, when it comes to the business of writing for television.
Once upon a time, back when Ross Kemp had hair and I had 20/20 vision; if you wanted to write for television there really wasn’t the courses or information on writing available to help you. There were books on screenwriting (film) but certainly precious little to help you write for television.
It was a definite case of combining passion for the craft, with determination to get through the door and naturally, you needed talent too.
You had to write letters. And add stamps and post them in a red box and hope that one of the guzzillion introductions you had penned to people in the BBC who’s names were mere letters formed in the Radio Times and who’s faces you couldn’t picture; might get back to you.
Nowadays you still need the talent, but there’s social media – Twitter and the like and a heck of a lot of information from people (not unlike myself) out there, to access if you want to get to grips with writing for television.
There are now more television hours being produced on more platforms than ever before. The industry needs fresh writing talent coming forward all the time. Most producers I know will say at some point in the conversation – ‘we need to find the next Sally Wainwright’ or words to that effect.
And I know; before you do a Spartacus and shout at me from cyberspace ‘I am the new Sally Wainwright’ I realise that having talent is not enough and I also realise that finding the people out there, in that ever expanding landscape of social media who might possibly be able to give your writing a leg up is very, very hard.
Everything worth doing – apart from possibly scratching an itch – is hard. So that’s a given.
But take heart. The social media landscape may be expansive but it will only take a connection with one right person, to facilitate your connection with many others.
I talk about the need to make connections a lot as part of the work I do with writers via my workshops and training programmes. Check out my two day workshop on Shaping and Pitching for Television for the Indie Training Fund here and Shaping and selling the Television Treatment from my Writers’ Barn I am also running a Treatment Writing for Television Lab at the London Screenwriters’ Festival here
The process of story lining for television is a lot like the activity you will engage in when you network on social media, or how you may behave in a group scenario at a festival like the London Screenwriting Festival.
When constructing a television drama series, I encourage my writers via my consultancy www.scriptadvice.co.uk to connect the story arc of characters with another character or group of characters in order not only to prolong the narrative arc across the episodes, but also increase the dramatic impact and story weight on screen.
We are not an island. We affect and effect each other all the time, by what we do and what we say. Our text (what we do) is actioned by our subtext (what drives our decision to act in the first place) and this in turn affects those around us; those with whom we share a bed, or a car, or a desk. Or a Facebook group or a Twitter account.
In May I am teaming up with Phil Gladwin to run a Writers’ Day at my private members club in WC2. The day will consist of one on one script editing the first 10 pages of your script in a convivial atmosphere and from the security of a small but perfectly formed group of 10 television writers. Three industry guests are coming to give a Q and A and then we will all have dinner after the workshop at the club.
I designed The Writers’ Day to deliver professional editorial assistance to those keen to take their television writing to the next level and also to help you meet and possibly connect, not only with like minded writers but also Industry people who could potentially give you just the leg up you may need.
No hard pitching, no banging on doors, no stamps or walks to the post box required. Just your talent and being in the right room at the right time.
Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or from my website to find out about the next Writers’ Day we plan to run in November 2016.
And here is my book; all you need to know about how to shape your ideas, structure story lines and deliver cracking television scripts.