All this stuff flying about at the moment about how the good old days of drama commissioning does make me feel I rather missed out on the Golden Age, where apparently, one just wandered up to the office of a pissed bloke called Ken, said something like 'Crime-fighting cheesemakers, anyone done that?' and wandered out with a commission for two series of eight fifty-minute episodes, and a Threshers gift voucher for a hundred quid.
These days, of course, you have to jump through nine flaming hoops just to get your outline read by someone with the key to the petty cash, then even if she says yes, there are some dirty great longueurs between stages, while you wait for the script editor to run your work past a focus group of pissed thirteen-year-olds (if it's BBC3) and a lawyer who needs to make sure you haven't accidentally accused any national treasures of murdering prostitutes, even if you know Bill Oddie wasn't where he said he was that night.*
The truth is though, I quite like these gaps, where your script hovers in some Schrödinger's inbox, untarnished by reality, budgetary constraints, or Oddie's solicitor. Especially if you're working on a few projects at one; you can do a bit on one, lob it back, start something else, lob that one back, then wait for the first one to come with notes on, as though you were playing tennis with quite a slow octopus.
Which is why this blog post of Stephen Gallagher's, about writing for US television (sourced via Piers) SCARED THE BEEJEEZUS OUT OF ME.
"So it's taken roughly seven weeks to get from first conversation to the start of shooting."
*I am not actually accusing Bill Oddie of murdering prostitutes.