Somewhere around the beginning of the year, I got through to the 2nd Round of the Red Planet Prize and my head has been spinning ever since.
February I think? Yes, I think it was February everything has been a bit of a blur since then.
When the email landed in my in-box I think I went into a state of shock. I definitely lost count of the amount of times that I re-read the email and then questioned it, Really? I got through? Really?
The thing is I spend a lot of time talking to people about dealing with rejection. I’m very good at talking people through rejection, making them see how they shouldn’t take it personally, how it’s not a sign of being a failed writer, how it’s best to take it on the chin and move on, and the thing is I’m good at helping people deal with rejection because I’m brilliant at dealing with it myself. I have years of experience at it, I’ve had lots of rejections but thing I realised this year was that I’m not very good at dealing with acceptances, I’m not very good at making it through to the next round because it doesn’t happen very often. So yes, frankly I went into shock. And then I got on with writing the rest of the script. I wasn’t one of the forward thinking ones who’d submitted an already finished script. I looked jealously at various tweets about polishing scripts. Polishing? No I was a long, long way from the polishing stage.
The thing is I can admit that without the Red Planet nod I wouldn’t have ever got on with writing anything beyond the first 10 minutes. The script was always a passion project for me. An idea I’d had and filed under – one day I’ll write this.
It was always there in the back of my head though, the world of the script shaping itself, ideas being added, thoughts on character journeys.
It has a large budget, larger than most things on UK television at the moment. I have no idea what channel would be interested in it, I have no idea what current slot would be suitable.
But as I wrote it - and realistically with my vast experience of rejection and knowledge of the skills of so many writers trying to get through to the next stage – without anything beyond a vague hope that it might get through, I realised how much I was really enjoying writing it. Every day was a joy to sit down and write it. Yes, there were the usual battles and frustrations of trying to achieve what I wanted to achieve with the script but above all else it was just bloody good fun.
Lesson learned for the future for me is definitely to stop thinking about it all too much. Stop thinking what scripts show my voice the best, what scripts make me more marketable, what scripts are more likely to be picked up and just write the scripts that I want to write for no other reason than I think they’ll be fun.
The point is to have scripts that are the best possible scripts that I can write and so surely that can only happen if I’m having as much fun as I can possibly have writing because they’re the scripts I’m really passionate about writing.
So for a while now I’m going to stop thinking about budget, genre, market, trying to second guess a million things to work out which is my best idea and just got on with writing the scripts I really want to write because I think they'll be fun.