November 20th, 2007
(NB: a call to my agent, not to be confused with a call from etc etc.)
Lengthy chat with Diana at MBA about the current state of play. She remains optimistic, despite the dearth of commissions. We are going to talk to producers at BBC Radio in an attempt to replace the wonderful Janet Whitaker who has directed all my radio scripts to date, but who has now retired. Lots of experience writers are getting their scripts turned down. Jeremy Howe is in the firing line. A few years ago I was at a meeting in Broadcasting House where Jeremy Howe was on the other end of things. He was in charge of R3 drama and spoke with barely controlled fury at the proposed cutbacks in the station’s drama output. As ever they are looking for new blood and new voices. I may have heard that somewhere before. I have a proposal for an adaptation of The Lodger as an Afternoon Play. What I don’t have at the moment is a hot little hand to put it into.
I have been warned to keep my eye on the soaps – Casualty and the like . I also mentioned Kingdom, but Diana thinks that’s pretty well sewn up. Given my initial success with The Street – I was down to write an episode for series One, but it was dropped when the series moved from Ch 4 to the BBC – she thinks I should work up a storyline. And there were other things mentioned in passing. Whether anything comes of all this remains to be seen.
Most writers I know complain bitterly about their agents. I’m very fond of Diana who has trekked out to Norfolk to watch touring productions of my plays in drafty barns, put me up at home when I’m in London, and always treated me as if I was a serious writer, even when the evidence seemed against it. Apart from the 18 months or so when I was writing for telly full time, and earning what seemed to me absurd amounts of money, the agency has hardly grown fat on what I’ve written. Part of me always thinks the first thing she’ll say when she next calls is that it’s over and we’re getting divorced.
November 20th, 2007
The first draft of Bentwater Roads – my fourth play for Eastern Angles – has been delivered. Or rather a kit for the first draft of Bentwater Roads. There are stories from four different time periods which have to be woven together to create the biography of a place. We’ve still no idea if the thing will work. Four different sets of characters (lots of doubling in true Eastern Angles style), four separate beginnings and of course the same number of endings. It shouldn’t work at all. But that said, there are some wonderful echoes working through the different narratives and I have moments of absurd optimism when I can see a rich tapestry on stage that says something important about our relationship to the past and to place. These live happily alongside moments of pure panic.
I have a meeting planned with the Director, Ivan Cutting, for the 29th. We plan to put the scenes on separate cards, shuffle them and drink wine. Before then I’m also heading for Edinburgh for the Bailongo tango festival, flying up on the Friday and back on the Monday. Which mean I have a few days in which I should be working on something else. Instead I’ve invested in a copy of Dreamweaver (largely so we can take over our tango website) and I’m trying to get to grips with it. This blog too, is part of the same process. The plan is to create some kind of web presence for my writing life in order to convince myself that I exist.