Friday, June 16, 2006

Being paid

Just on the off-chance that there's a single person remaining on the internet who isn't bored silly of me whining about my expensive consumer electronics, it looks like it was the dodgy memory card (an official Apple product) that was making my new iBook go all wobbly, and now I've taken it out, and erase/installed, it seems fine.

Also, the trackpad on my old iBook (the one on which I'm writing this one on on) has suddenly flickered back into life (I had to use a optic mouse thing before). Clearly Little Stevey Jobs has realised he can Push Me No Further. Ha.

The money from the GW series one repeats just came through, and as I haven't actually been paid anything since January (not counting an advance from my agent), it was a joyous moment, so could the nice lady who sits next to the other nice lady at C4 who does the writers' payments please say thank you from James.

The great thing is, I didn't have an agent when I wrote for Series 1, so not only do I not have to give ten percent of it to Agent Matt (not that I normally begrudge it, he works jolly hard etc etc), I was also able to send a joyous email to the other writers, telling them that the money is now ready for collection, and if their agents hadn't said anything yet, they were clearly sitting on the interest (ouch) and should be taken behind a wall and smashed up immediatement (don't know if that's an actual word).

A goodly proportion went on paying off my overdraft and credit card over the counter at NatWest, although the counter lady clearly wanted me to hand over even more.

COUNTER LADY: Now, once that sum's gone out, there's still a fairly healthy amount just sitting there, so do you have any thoughts on what you'll be-

ME: Hookers*

In fact all that 'healthy amount' will be gone very soon, what with tax coming up, and having to be a sensible self-employed person and putting some aside for next year's tax but still.

Also, Falmouth hookers = no, you really wouldn't. There was a brothel in Penryn at one point, but eventually the disadvantages of being directly opposite the police station outweighed the advantages.

In other news, my mate Constable Trout** went for an interview to be a qualified Hostage Negotiator. Apparently it didn't go that well, and then he came straight over to play Runepaw (AKA my Viking Mice roleplaying game). If I'd stopped to think about it, having a plot point in the game where some evil rats kidnapped the village's mice children was an iffy choice. Judging that the player characters had arrived just slightly too late and having the rats kill the first mouse child even as they burst into the room was possibly going to far, although I could argue that Constable Trout's character (a samurai lizard who washed up into Midgard on a twig) then going beserk and killing all the rats with the steely vengeance of an avenging avator of Justice Itself was probably good therapy. Maybe.

Sorry Trouty.



* I didn't actually say this. But if I had, it would have been reasonably funny.

** Who works nowhere near Penryn Police Station, let's make that very clear.

Double soz Trouters.

32 comments:

felinity said...

I always find it quietly comforting that whenever you start describing the razamatazz glitzy events of a TV writer's life (royalties, parties, celebs), you often temper it with references to RPGs and other *cough*geeky everyday pursuits. Much appreciated.

patroclus said...

*Tries not to consider whether the advantages of being located opposite the police station included regular patronage by Constable Trout*

smoo2 said...

Glad I wasn't the only one to think that, Patroclus. I wasn't going to say it though...

katie__pillar said...

It is a word. You missed the accent off the e but I won't mark you down for that.

james henry said...

Ooh it's 'pate' all over again.

cello said...

Will you got enough left over to have a ice-cream? It would be sad if not, what with you being in Cornwall and it being summer and all.

Actually, I suppose they don't advertise it as 'Cornish' ice cream in Cornwall. that would be silly. Do they call it 'Herfordshire' ice cream if it's Tesco's own label though?

cello said...

Could you correct my typos please, James.

james henry said...

Oh if only comments were editable, what a world it would be.

As it is, the clear evidence that someone's had tee many martoonies must, I'm afraid, stand for all to see.

patroclus said...

Err, deepest apologies to Constable Trout, who by all accounts is a fine, upstanding member of the community. Must learn not to type before I think...

katie__pillar said...

Sorry James, it's my inner linguist coming out. I'm not even a teacher!

occasional poster of comments said...

Fine, upstanding member ?

Is that the sound of a hole being dug ever deeper somewhere in West London?

cello said...

How very perceptive of you. It is Friday after all.

But I thought I had only made two errors, whereas I now see it is in fact a string of typos, barely held together by any shred of an idea.

patroclus said...

Help, I can't get out!

patroclus said...

Excellent - me and cello are trashing James's blog with smut and drunkenness.

cello said...

And your point, Patch...l?
My WV is fkzmn. Honest!

stuckeyangel said...

Screw the tax! Buy more computer stuff but not Apple this time. It doesn't seem to work for you.
I nearly bought the iBook because it was so beautiful. Luckily I got scared off by the horror stories, you know the whole armies of iBooks on their arses...

occasional poster of comments said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
occasional poster of comments said...

>>Excellent - me and cello are trashing James's blog with smut and drunkenness.<<

And now you're talking about wood on your own blog as well...



(well, sort of... [sighs] sorry).

Sal said...

You've only just been paid for the Series 1 repeats? So you haven't yet been paid for Series 2?

james henry said...

Ah, now you see, this is how it works:

I was paid to come up with a certain amount of material per week, which included workshopping with the actors, rewriting on the strength of those workshops and so on.

Then, when the stuff's all shot and edited into a series, and delivered to Channel 4, someone sits down and works out how much each writer contributed to each episode (so nothing for series 1 ep 1 as that had pretty much been done before I started, but then a massive 24% of series 1 ep 4, woo hoo). There must be a bit of guesswork involved, as we all fiddled about with and rewrote other people's scenes and so on, but it all seems to work out.

I then get a sum of money proportional to how much material I've got in the show, but this does buy UK first repeats (so I don't get anything from the Saturday night showing after the Friday night one, if that makes sense). You then really don't make anything (well, maybe a bit if it gets shown in Finland, but only about a tenner) unless the show does well and Channel 4 decide to repeat it again, which happened in April with the first series.

They're still working out who wrote what for series two (it was still being edited right up until the last minute), so they might be giving me an advance on the minutage.

Then there's DVDs - I get a smallish advance (a few hundred quid) soon, then every six months they work out my proper royalties. The writers' pot of this isn't that much, and it's divided between seven of us, so it's even less, although it is free money, so I can't complain too much.

If you're confused, join the club.

Kid's telly is rubbish for this sort of stuff by the way: for Bob the Builder I got a flat fee for writing an episode, and that was it. They made a book out of one of my episodes, and I got nothing. Of course, if you're the one who came up with the concept, you're laughing.

I'll stop now, before I get the flowchart and pointer out.

Sal said...

So the long and short of it is that if you have contributed to a brilliant TV series such as Green Wing, as brilliant as it is you can be left pennyless for a very long time. How fantastic that must be! Thanks for explaining it although I don't think a flow chart and pointer would have made it any more straightforward. 24% on Ep4 - brain storm episode!

Sal said...

I was also wondering - did you ever go to the filming of Green Wing or were you solely associated with the actors workshops and the writing?

Terri Nixon said...

Just watched series 1 ep 4 the other day actually - it occurred to me that many of the most memorable bits from series one are there in that episode. (Marteeeyah, Boyceeeyah; Minestroney-y; the Homo sticker/balloon) And I'm not just saying that now, honest - I said as much to Spence in the pub last night. Did you write the bit with Caro asking Angela if she wanted coffee, and then muttering "what did your last slave die of?" ? (does that require 2 question marks?) Am I rambling? Anyway, hope you didn't cough too hard after eating all that cooking chocolate, and good going on the iBook resolution.
I'll stop now.
Oh, one more thing; Cello - yes they do advertise it as Cornish Ice Cream. Mad as buttons.

Helen said...

thanks for letting me have the use of the Romey loves Jules script, I have sent you an e-mail, It was meant to be a nice formal letter type thing but it didn't quite work as I don't 'do' formal I scrapped that idea when I couldnt think how to start it and ended up saying "Hi James" and then couldn't think of any long words that I didn't quite know the meaning of but look good anyway. *sigh* oh well, hope you don't mind too much.

james henry said...

Well I didn't write any of those bits. Was four the exam one? I did lots of those (the dance bit and mascots, but not the acronym bit, which was great), and am sitting behind Martin when he takes his exam.

Which answers Sal's other question: yes we all went to the set every now and then, to get in people's way (and occassionally do Hollywood-style on set rewrites).

Being around the set is fun for about five minutes, then it's just people hanging around fiddling with cameras and lights, and people saying 'shush' to you rather crossly when you ask where you can get a coffee.

I'm off to get a sandwich now. This concludes this part of the lecture.

Sal said...

I think Martins exam is Ep7 I think. Thank you for the lecture - much appreciated.

Sal said...

I lied. It's Ep6.

Sal said...

Yes it is. Ep6 and if it's you behind Martin then yay you wear glasses. Gotta big up the people who wear glasses. Too many contact lense wearers nowadays. Tut.

leonie said...

wasnt ep 4 the one with the beauty charts (arses, who's a babe, etc), and "did you just throw your breast at me?"? - ahh, lovely.

sorry about the constant quoting but i honestly can't stop. ask my friends.

Sal said...

I like Ep6 when Guy looks at a nurse and just says 'stop flirting with me' Absolute classic!

BiScUiTs said...

Ah the memories!

Anonymous said...

Off topic sorry. does anyone know a Zoe Bolton from Penryn? I need to contact her to say she shouldnt rip people off, return the £420 or send the TV! You will not get away with this!
Thanks, winobie@hotmail.com