Monday, November 02, 2009

Fiesta - Takeaway

So, it's been a few days for me to absorb the Screenwriters Festival, and in that time I've spent an evening scaring children at the scariest house in Carrbrook, caught a chill, drove to Leeds to spend a couple of hours at the Royal Armouries and FIASCO with all the family (bought lots of dice). Came home and went to bed for a few hours.

And that was just 24 hours.

Feeling better today. Went back to work to discover that the latest website launch had been - difficult. But they managed without me.

So, SWF.

One lesson that was reinforced this time was the fact that everyone in this business is scared, scared of getting it wrong. Weirdly enough the writer is the only one who has the power to inspire confidence. If making TV or a movie is a tent, then the writer is the tent peg.

They know this. They know they have to trust you - so be trustworthy.

But that's the same lesson as last year, but other people have been saying it.

So what's new? Stephen Moffat has never written for soaps (unless you count Press Gang as a soap) so the idea that you must is wrong. Which is just as well for me since my interest in that area is exactly zero. Stephen Moffat also writes for himself - what he wants to see on TV. (And Spielberg makes the films he wants to see. There's something to be said for the selfish approach.)

Misinformation floating about: I noted that the Sales Agents said "write what the market is producing" but then, they would. It is nonsense, of course. I was sitting in the room where a sales agent was saying that while the Head of Development was saying "don't try to follow the market, you're already too late."

So that's no help. What was new?

Ah yes, you need a champion. Whether it's film or TV, UK or US, you need a champion.

Actually what you need is PR, but in this business PR is best achieved with a champion. A champion is someone already in the business, with a reputation, who will stand up and say "this person is good". This has to do with the fear thing. It means that people in the business are essentially followers (because leading is dangerous - you can get shot). So if someone with a reputation stands up and says "this person is good" everyone will agree (because they can blame him if you're not) and you can inch your way through the door.

Of course you do actually need to be good, a champion can get people to listen but if you don't have the talent you'll be out so fast your posterior will not touch the floor.

So there you go.

What's on the turntable? "Night by Night" by Steely Dan from "Pretzel Logic"

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