Next Thursday, On October 8th, I’ll open the doors to the Fourth Screenwriting Goldmine Awards. I’m very much looking forward to all the entries.
It’s been 18 months or so since the third contest launched, and that seems like a lifetime away. During the last 18 months I’ve worked 60-70 hour weeks as script editor on two shows, The Dumping Ground (BBC) and New Tricks (Headstrong/Warner Brothers), and I’m just coming to the end of a nine month stint as acting head of development at a London indie (Bentley/All3 Media). I’ve even taught a week’s writing course on a Greek island. (Could that have been my favourite bit? Hmmm.)
So, poacher becoming gamekeeper, I’ve been hiring writers and developing new ideas to a strict schedule for nearly two years now. In that time I’ve script edited 23 episodes of broadcast, (or soon-to-be-broadcast) TV drama, and I’ve helped get another returning series commissioned to script by a major broadcaster. In the last two years I’ve had an in depth refresher course on exactly how the system is working at the moment.
I’m wondering how best to pass this experience on to help you, as a writer wanting to get deeper into the industry.
Some opinions I held two years ago remain true. The split of the thing into two halves still feels real to me: writers still need to spend time alone creating a great script that makes the reader feel something powerful, and then they still need to get out into the world and sell themselves and their work.
Some opinions have turned out to be misguided, or out of date. The shows by which new writers stand the best chance of getting hired have changed. I’ve revised my opinions on the need for agents. I’ve revised my opinions on what it means for a writer to be ‘good in the room’. I’ve revised and updated my opinions on where the ownership of a show should morally lie, how aggrieved writers can legitimately be, just how pragmatic you should be when you are considering what to write. And a lot more besides.
Over the life of the competition I intend to be writing more weekly blogs and newsletters to pass on what I’ve learned.
If you are keen to learn more about how to become a working writer, and you’re NOT already a reader of the Goldmine Newsletter then use the form on this page to sign up, as over the next few weeks I’m going to be giving you some very real, very up-to-date information about the business.