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Monday, 8 December 2008

The Blank Page

Last week I had lunch with a very nice producer who expressed an interest in a sitcom idea I've had flapping round my head like a hyperactive budgie. We talked about things like television format rights, and I nodded sagely, thinking Oh my God he wants to buy the format rights hmmm this noodle soup is good. It was the first time somebody has offered me MONEY for something I haven't yet written. He was even nice about my inability to write a proper treatment. "I've never known a writer who could write a really good treatment. Go and write a few scenes instead. That's them best way of showing the telly people you can write." Oh no - that means I have to actually do something. I would have floated home on air, only there was that tiny little gremlin nugget of bollocks I have to write something now. Something funny.
There was nothing else to do but research all those wonderful software programs like Final Draft, and Script Smart, that make your pathetic amateurish ramblings look professional. They do all the formatting for you. It's wonderful. I've just spent at least two hours going 'wow' like a madwoman as TITLE appears in the centre of the page, and SCENE 1 goes zing!!! with a quick stab of the return key. Now all I have to do is write.


Speaking of the black hole of hopeless despair, I watched Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe last week which was all about writing for telly. Really interesting and useful. I'd heartily recommend it - inspiring and practical. And while you're watching you don't have to be writing - even better! He talked to Russell T.Davies, Paul Abbot, Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong and Graham Lineham. I was particularly heartened that Graham Lineham admitted to procrastinating like mad. Only he's Graham Lineham.

Back to the blank page. Quick cup of coffee first.


The Dotterel said...

Wow! Two great recommendations. I hope the software formats scripts for radio, as well. As for Charlie Brooker, I'm straight off to iPlayer! Thanks.

Jane said...

Hi Dotterel

Yes the Script Smart format works for radio too. I think when you're writing screenplays - Final Draft seems to be an industry standard but that one costs.

Don't do as I did and spend more time clicking buttons than actually writing . . .

Jane said...


Forgot to say, you can download Script Smart for free at the BBC Writersroom

Penny said...

I'm not a writer but I do work as a freelance and I know so well that joyful feeling of landing a commission, followed by the seemingly inexhaustible range of work-avoidance measures you go through before actually getting started! Good luck with the script but don't abandon the blog.

Kit Courteney said...

"I've just spent at least two hours going 'wow' like a madwoman as TITLE appears in the centre of the page..."

As soon as I read that I thought 'Wow, she got TITLE to appear in the centre of her page. Wow...'

Why is it the supposed 'little' things in life appeal so much...?

Antonia said...

Funny you should say that. I've just downloaded Scriptsmart and will soon be getting Final Draft.

I feel like Final 'Daft' though, because when I looked at Scriptsmart I still didn't know what the heck to do with it.