Friday, 27 June 2014

Breaking In

This is not an instructional post, nor is it a cautionary tale. I mean, you know spamming creatives with "will you read my script?" Tweets/emails is a dickwad move and potentially damaging, right? You also know there is more than one way to get your work seen. There are many (better) blogs covering this. No, not talking about that today.

Following a Twitter discussion with the wonderful @MysteryBritExec about the quality of scripts delivered to her by UK writers, it made me think of my own career strategy as a British writer. It doesn't involve the UK. At all. I've been told by other British writers that I should be writing pilots and submitting them to the British production companies who accept unsolicited material, because that's another thing - I don't have an agent, and I should be entering British screenwriting competitions because that's how I'll get on.  It's true I've known writers who have launched their careers exactly this way. 




So, why do I think that's not for me? What makes me so bloody special?

Nothing. Nothing at all. I've submitted to British companies and landed a bullshit British option out of it. I've been asked to submit further work to the BBC Writers' Room as "solicited;" I've won the 50 Kisses competition organized by the London Screenwriters' Festival and have an IMDB film credit to my name (and a lovely award), but since wanting to really give my writing career a proper shot this past couple of years, my target has always been, always remains, America.

Yeah, we all want to write in Hollywood (yes, even you denying it there), but it is more than that. I believe in the American system. I think the Manager culture there is fantastic. A person who discovers raw talent, nurtures it, gives it the kick up the arse it needs and when it thinks it's ready? Introduces it to the system. To people like @MysteryBritExec who are crying out for talent. Safe in the knowledge that the Manager is staking their reputation on the writer's talent and the Exec on the perspicacity of the manager.

I've listened to British agents offer soul-destroying lectures on breaking into the industry: The requirement you have a track record before taking you on (that makes fucking sense, doesn't it?), the idea that you have to write a particular type of thing, that it is a tough career, etc. 

Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for a healthy dose of reality, but how about a nice cup of "shut the fuck up?"

This is why when I'm finally "out there" (I have nothing in circulation because I don't have anything I feel is good enough), I'll be primarily querying US Managers and looking at opportunities like The Tracking Board and The Black List.

The avenues to progress are there. I prefer to listen to somebody inspirational like Brian Koppelman :

"Write something undeniable."

I'm working on it, Brian. That's all I'm trying to do.

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