Saturday, October 23, 2010

In which I post an idea given to me by my daughter, in the style of The Apprentice

I don't watch The Apprentice, although Patroclus does occasionally, because she enjoys the enormous disparity between its vision of Business World, and her own experience of it. I usually go and have a bath when it's on, and try and read an RPG rulebook or something, but I can still hear it in the background, even when I'm actively trying to drown myself to avoid it.

The worst part is, of course, the bit where they have to go and pitch something, which is the only point where The Apprentice crosses over with my own life experience, apart from the bit when they they sing the theme from Superman to Alan Sugar, although this may not actually have happened, I was trying to drown myself, and sometimes you hear voices.

I occasionally have to pitch ideas to producers, which is only fun if you actually know and get on with the producers, in which case you're essentially just having a pleasant chat about stuff you're enthusiastic about, with the possibility of someone agreeing to give you money at the end, which is always nice. If you're pitching to someone you've never met before, it's a horrible experience, which is why I've decided next time I'm in London and have to pitch summat, I will take ideas given to me by my daughter, and pitch them in the style of a contestant from The Apprentice.


I kick the door in.

ME: This is a one-time offer, it expires in ONE MINUTE'S TIME, and if you don't go for it, you are LITERALLY MAD.
PRODUCER TWO: Pitch me. Pitch me now and pitch me hard.

I glare around the room, establishing dominance until the producers are sweating and farting, audibly parping with fear.

I look down at the notes from my story conference with my daughter.

ME: There is a duck. And a poo. And (whispers dramatically)... a bear.
PRODUCER ONE: (nervous) Is there a location?
ME: Did you not hear 'bear' and 'poo'?
PRODUCER TWO: You're talking 'Ext' 'Woods'.
ME: I am 'Ext'ing all over the 'Woods'. Like a great Exting bear.
PRODUCER TWO: (urgent) Can we get an owl in? It's just that owls are so in right now.
ME: I don't see an owl, it's not that kind of show.
PRODUCER ONE: Could we compromise on a pellet?
ME: 'Compromising on a pellet' is LITERALLY my middle name.
PRODUCER TWO: I think we're in business.

Freezeframe on everyone laughing. That is how television is LITERALLY made.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm clearly doing something very very wrong.

From this this guardian article:

"I'm a self-employed television script writer, sharing the care of two children and grossing about £300k."

*jaw drops to floor*

I am also a self-employed television script writer, sharing the care of two children. However the most I've ever made in a year is about a fifth of that, and more usually I make around twenty to twenty-five thousand a year. So not bad compared to my old job working in a bookshop, but not swanning about in a glass carriage money by any means. I suspect 'WireDuck' works in continuing drama (soaps), where the hunger for new scripts is insatiable, and being able to turn in decent scripts to tight deadlines is (rightly) highly rated.

Soaps aside, this isn't a great job for financial stability. One friend of mine made eighty grand one year, and eight the next, despite working equally hard on scripts both years. And the tax system isn't really set up to deal with that sort of fluctuation, so you always need as big an amount as you can manage put aside for scary bills from the year you were doing well, which always arrive in the year you're not doing so well.

Christ though. £300k!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bear in mind I don't go out much.

Also that the most 'dressing up to go out' people get up to in Falmouth/Penryn is putting on a reasonably clean fleece.

I'm at a two day Aardman workshop, which involves staying at a hotel in Bristol. Some of the other writers and I meet up in the foyer for a drink. Also in the foyer are a group of young ladies in dresses that can only be described as 'short' and 'flimsy'.


RICHARD: Erm, I think it's just a group of young women going for a night out.

ME: Oh.

A (more sensibly dressed) young woman sitting across the foyer gives me a funny look.

Later I realise my flies are undone.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I think work might actually be bad for you.

As if deliberately adding to the list of embarrassing things she likes to shout out in public my daughter has a new catchall word for food in the biscuit/cake/muffin arena. It is this:


And then the increasingly intense "TITS! TITS!"

So we haven't been to Caffe Nero for a bit. Still, meeting other dads on the way to nursery is fun, as we're now moving beyond going 'cuh' at each other, and I got into a conversation with one dad today during which it turned out he used to be a Soho-based director (not like that), which lead to a discussion on how you balance a self-employed creative type job with having a small child. OH YES PENRYN IS THE NEW CHISWICK.

DAD: You must be like me, spend a lot of time working until three in the morning just to get some peace.
ME: Oh god yes.

Two minutes later, after we have said our goodbyes.

ME: (quietly, to self) I don't even work past three in the afternoon.