fightingthecage: (Gene - LoM Team)
[personal profile] fightingthecage
...(on which I blame the photo of elephants with wigs on, omgIaminpainfromlaughing), I bring all us aspiring pro- writers out there some words of encouragement, courtesy of Paul Abbott. That might not mean anything to people outside of the UK, but anyone who's seen State of Play, or Shameless (long-running series over here) - yeah, he wrote them.

This was from a Q&A he did, being asked questions from a big noise in the Commissioning Drama department of the BBC. And I love it. Because every time I read what a top writer has to say, I love it when they come out with (and they all do): If you're good enough, you'll make it.

PA: Well, one of the writers who is sitting in the audience I have mentored for 2 and half years. The whole thing
about mentoring is it isn’t about teaching someone how to write, you can’t do that. Too many people think they can
write, with you having to write it for them. That hard bit is actually getting out of your spleen and finding out where
you find stuff that you believe in to talk about, and it doesn’t matter what that is or what philosophy that contains.
The minute you do that, the minute you speak for yourself in all earnestness, I swear that you can’t not find work.
The writer in the audience has got a script he’s written, which two people I know don’t want to make but they’ve
offered him an open commission on two projects and I’ve never heard of that in my life. This script is written to the
highest of his ability and you can’t take that away from him. You want to write for stuff you want to do. That’s all
you have to do and one writer I’m working with has a project that he wrote seven years ago that hasn’t been made
yet. He earns a lot of money and it doesn’t matter that the project didn’t get made because it got him the work and
that about him speaking with his own voice. He didn’t write a script for Doctors or The Bill or Holby and a lot of
courses teach people to do that. You should be encouraged to write with your own voice first, because your voice
will get you all the Doctors scripts in the world, all the Cracker scripts, or your own series, that’s what, happens. If
you aim at the highest drawer you could get to at the time you are writing your script, you can’t not get work.

'...the minute you speak for yourself in all earnestness, I swear that you can’t not find work.'

Love it.

ETA: Also, this. I love this.

'Honestly, we need about seventy percent more writers than we’ve got in this country, because it’s getting
boring now and the ones who wrote really well are still writing way they wrote twenty years ago and that’s just

Date: 2011-05-10 02:07 pm (UTC)
dynastessa: peter parker } the amazing spider-man (uh ... hey there.)
From: [personal profile] dynastessa
This is both inspiring and intimidating advice, honestly. haha.

But thank you for sharing it!

Date: 2011-05-10 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Intimidating? You mean about the amount of self that has to go into it, or the bit where someone wrote a script seven years ago and it hasn't been made, or...? *curious*

Date: 2011-05-10 02:40 pm (UTC)
dynastessa: peter parker } the amazing spider-man (act of the apostle.)
From: [personal profile] dynastessa
Yeah - the amount of self that has to go into it.

Because then, once you've done that - if it's good, it's good. If it's not ... D:

It's really my own writerly issues that make me feel intimidated; I always think I'm a crap writer.

Date: 2011-05-10 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, you most definitely are not a crap writer!

I intepret that as the amount of time put into it, as much as anything. Because a first script could be a sci-fi thing, or anything! But it just needs massive attention to detail, and proper plotting with characters we care about, and three acts, and points of crisis and minimalist writing - all of which require application of the self. I think all that massively differentiates between people who just fling words at a page, and people who obviously care.

And man, if you look at some of the crap that gets made then you realise that they really need people who care, and put in effort, and take time. If you do that, and have a strong story to tell, then your script would immediately be lifted above the MASSIVE pile of people who can't be bothered to format it properly/use spellcheck etc (<-- *has heard that from agents and editors in the flesh*). So take heart!

Date: 2011-05-10 04:33 pm (UTC)
dynastessa: peter parker } the amazing spider-man (rockin' the 80s.)
From: [personal profile] dynastessa

That does make me feel better, thinking about it in that way. I just immediately thought in terms of pass/fail and - yeah. Then I get all, 'ughhh' about it.

But you're right; and he's right. There definitely needs to be more people who care, put effort in what they write, and make it their very best.

(By the way, are you interested more in script-writing? Or novel/prose-writing? Just wondering. :) )

Date: 2011-05-10 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Heh yeah, I did too the first few times I heard it. But I've heard so many lecturers say it now, and editors/agents/other writers online and in person, that it can only be true. A lot of crap gets submitted - and it's not just people who don't take care with the writing, it's a lot of people who can't write well either. So! Of all the stuff out there, that's a lot of things that'll automatically be in the 'fail' pile.

As for what I'm interested in - gah, I waver. Some ideas I have would work better for prose, some for scripts. I just started a radio play as well. So - well ideally, I'd like to be able to do a mixture of the two, but we'll see how it pans out. I think the thing for people starting out is jusst to write as much as they can, really.

Also, I love your icon! #Asheslove

Date: 2011-05-10 05:59 pm (UTC)
ceitfianna: (Jane thoughts consume me)
From: [personal profile] ceitfianna
This is wonderful and inspiring. It makes me wonder what do I really want to be writing and I find my answer that I want to be storytelling. Vision and creativity is so complex.

Though I do keep wondering about posting my various fics up on AO3 and then worry who else will find them interesting. Self doubt is such an unhelpful thing.

Date: 2011-05-10 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think self-doubt is something every decent writer has, or has at least experienced. I mean, if you start from the very beginning thinking you're amazing then you're very probably not. And you see people like that! Fourteen year olds who call themselves novelists and turn out massive epics of crap because a teacher once told them they had promise. Which is fine, but if they don't take the time to put effort in and learn stuff, then they'll keep on thinking they're great when really they're not.

So, yeah. Self-doubt + perserverance makes us better, I think. And if you have fic to post that you're happy with, then I say POST. Feedback can only be a good thing, right? /two cents

Date: 2011-05-10 06:48 pm (UTC)
ceitfianna: (a writer's life)
From: [personal profile] ceitfianna
I agree, doubt is what makes us better as we question and improve.

Thanks, I'm thinking since I have more time this semester, I'll post more things.


fightingthecage: (Default)

December 2011

4567 8910

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 12:05 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios