An interesting year for me, 08. I started with high hopes: I did a trial for a well-known TV show last November and was told in January I was successful. This is it! I thought - Now the commissions will roll in. Then... Nothing happened. Still, nothing has happened. But apparently something *will* happen eventually, so watch this space. Talking to one chap who's done much of the TV circuit "off-Beeb" as he calls it (ie. any channel except Aunty), he's had to wait two years or more before now. Two years! Yikes. Still, done one I guess. What's a bit longer? And if nothing else, it was an invaluable experience that taught me a lot about the realities of TV writing and what is expected of writers.
Contest and initiative-wise, 08 was a complete wash out: for the first year ever I managed to not place or get an interview for a single one. I wasn't too concerned however; I had plenty to occupy me, though not getting an interview for the BBC Writers' Academy for the third year running really stung. However, an action plan for this year's application has been hatched and put in place. Whether they take me in 09 or some other year, they WILL TAKE ME WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. ; )
I got commissioned on an internet series which never got made, though apparently that one's not dead in the water quite yet. Collaborated with three producers on two features and another internet series. Progress is slow because of our other commitments, but heartening. Got called in for a pitching session with Eon Screenwriters: they eventually passed on my idea, but I learned a lot in the course of one day and the subsequent rewrites they asked of me before that.
I managed to miss the SWF for the third year in a row due to too much work and not enough time to sort out the necessary life and family stuff, though the festival's move to the much more sensible October means I WILL be there in 09. I started a novel and fell at the first hurdle, just fifteen thousand words in. I did my first full read-through of one of my specs with professional actors. Wrote a couple of virals and a plethora of magazine and website copy, including New Me TV and Moviescope.
Two prodcos came sniffing around a spec and a treatment of mine, but both eventually passed. I got rejected twice from Digital Shorts this year because there was a "last chance" call for 07 as well as the actual 08 round and I didn't make it through either. I did however find someone to make one of my applications instead - and that's first on the list for the new year ahead: we should be meeting Friday this week to discuss casting, logistics, etc.
Another spec of mine got picked up by a producer with a view to revamping it and entering it for the Microwave initiative next year. Had a scrap with another outfit who should have known how to treat their writers better: have put a hex on them forever. Entered for this, got through the first round - still waiting to hear if I'm successful or not.
Portfolio-wise, this year I did some spring cleaning of my specs. I wrote a new feature spec for the first time in just two years this year and initial feedback is good. I also revisited my very first feature script in its TWENTIETH DRAFT and initial feedback is not so good, though some illuminating advice has meant I have already rewritten 19 pages since yesterday. My second ever feature got a new beginning and now works much better. My sixty minute drama series I entered for Red Planet has been canned for the time being due to very confusing feedback: some love it, some hate it. At the moment, I hate it, though there is a niggling feeling its tone is wrong for the audience I'm targetting a re-alignment of its central idea may just be what it needs, so I suspect I will revisit it sooner rather than later.
Script reading/editing wise, my career this year has gone from strength to strength. I started the year script editing for Act of Grace and ended it with more on Trail of Evil, which had its initial table reading last week (though I expect it's no longer called "Trail of Evil" anymore after a, shall we say, discussion by the two leads!). The credit crunch has unfortunately claimed Metlab for the time being, but I got some other new regular script reading jobs including Initialize Films and met plenty more interesting clients and people, reading for more individuals than ever before.
My best year ever? It seems strange writing that, especially given at the beginning of December I was living in total rejection city and literally climbing the walls in disappointment. But it actually was: Best. Year. Ever.
But here's to 09 being even better.