Many thanks to Lucie, Barry, Anya and the presumably Bart Simpson-obsessed Eat My Shorts for pointing out that I didn’t give you my thoughts on the panellists on The Long Distance Screenwriter Course. When promising a further update “tomorrow” (which has now become yesterday), I had forgotten I was going to Bournemouth to search for a house. Which I found, thanks, but more of that in a min.
So, Adrian handled the morning sesh before handing over to Marc Pye, Louise Ironside, Rob Fraser and Peter Hynes. All looked remarkably sane and not drunk, which was a plus since I’ve been led to believe that TV writers are often strung out individuals who need a top up of whiskey just to get them through the door of Wood Lane, Granada et al. ; )
So anyway: regular Bang2write Readers of Bang2write will know Marc from this post of the old blog, but also from such shows as Jimmy McGovern’s The Street, The Bill, The Royal and countless others. He’s now “well in” with the man Tony Jordan, so we’ll be seeing much more of him, yay. Louise Ironside is that lucky so-and-so who’s way too busy to find an agent (get her!!!) and has completed a whopping 19 episodes of River City to date and still found the time to have two small children. Peter Hynes has proved Kids’ TV needn’t make you go mad and cross-eyed and has written for the likes of Fimbles, Wombles and Balamory amongst others. Then there’s Rob Fraser, whom those of you at Adrian’s London class in March may remember Adrian calling the “hooorer” in that he’ll write anything, anything at all – and frequently does. Damn him!
So, petty jealousies and the urge to kill them all for their disgustingly huge successes aside, all four panellists presented a very interesting, human perspective of what it is like to write for TV. I was interested to hear Louise Ironside practices the same kind of childcare I do whilst script reading: “Watch CBeebies, Mummy’s working!” When asked how she can detach herself by a single Mum in the audience, Louise’s reply was “Fuck-off big earphones, the kind air traffic controllers have. You can buy ’em on eBay.” Quite a tip!
Marc Pye echoed Louise, talking about how he would take his many children out in the buggy round and round and round the block before racing back to write when they eventually fell asleep (I know how that goes!). He also talked about how he was once a manager in the photo shop at Boots the chemist and how he mows the lawn to get over Writers’ Block, much to the chagrin of his wife as he often treads grass through the house on his way back to the PC.
Peter Hynes regaled everyone with the fact he sacked four agents before realising the emphasis was on HIM to get his own work, not the other way round, which proved quite a revelation with the audience – many seemed to think that getting an agent equalled automatic work. Rob Fraser interjected here and said that though he agreed with Peter, he had been introduced to certain jobs that he would never have known about without his agent. There seemed to be a particular insight here: don’t rest on your laurels just because you have an agent, it’s still up to you to get “out there”, but it’s also a definite advantage still to have one rather than none.
All of the panellists, just like Adrian and Clare were very approachable and though I didn’t get to talk to Rob Fraser (just the way it worked out), I talked to both Peter Hynes and Louise Ironside afterwards and in the pub managed to buy Marc Pye the pint I’ve been promising to buy for about a year as he helped me with a lead about nine months ago. This is what I love about Mead Kerr classes: you needn’t skulk about, thinking you’re less important than anyone else (even if they’ve had a squillion hours of TV produced). There’s an atmosphere of understanding and encouragement, so rare in a lot of short courses where you can pay four times as much to get barked at by some guy you’ve never heard of.
So, that’s it for The Long Distance Screenwriter: definitely worth going to if you get the chance – and even if you live in London! There were plenty of Londoners there, though just I and the lovely Will (Hi Will!) had gone to the March class as far as I could see… Though if you did too, let us know what you thought about this one in comparison.
Waiting on a phone call this morning, so I have to go: put an offer in on another house. It’s the one I wanted all along (so glad the others fell through, since otherwise I would have had to confess to my hubby that his choice sucked! Whoops, now he knows), but of course this means I’m panic-struck at the thought of losing it because all though it’s got graffiti on the front of the house, the garden is a bomb site, the students who used to live there have left knickers and shoes behind (no shame I tell you!), it is PERFECT. You gotta have a little vision, but a year from us moving in, it would be an abject palace, the kind of house I’ve always wanted. So if we don’t get it, I will be gutted. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh – and one last thing: we found Lilirose a new Lamb of Love! Yay. Still feel guilty about the lost one, out in the world on his own, but feel sure he would have found his way to the WORLD OF LOST TOYS that my Mum told me about when I was a little girl when I lost my fave Herbie Hare: there are water slides, rollercoasters and cream buns for all…