Friday, 2 February 2007

Mine's a glass half empty, please...

So, twelve days ago I and another twelve writers got an email inviting us to pitch radio drama ideas for Radio 4, which would then be discussed at a meeting in which we would be assigned producers. That meeting was a week ago on Thursday, so I emailed yesterday just to see what outcome there might have been, if any. Today, I've found out that I have apparently been assigned a producer, and they're currently reading a play of mine. That sounds fine and rather dandified at first, but then sets me wondering...

The only play they the BBC currently has is one I believe was felt to have insufficient character development for broadcast (it's my fault, it's about someone trying to avoid personal development), a play I don't think much of myself. I can only assume this means the producer is looking at this not very good play to see if it suggests I can possibly deliver on any of the pitches I proposed, which is ominous, or, more ominously still, my pitches were felt to be so below par the feeling was there might be more mileage in attempting to rejig and salvage the not all that hot play!

This is what's known as writer's paranoia- in the absence of anything much concrete we pick away at what little evidence we have until we can construct something from it. It's what we do after all, we look for meanings, structures, subtexts and ultimately, make things up.
What makes it worse is the spin and weight you start putting on sentences that look innocent in print but can easily carry vast swathes of foreboding.... "probably the most ideally suited of the producers for you", "horribly busy at the moment", "I'd give them a week or so".

I'll give it a week or so, but the shift from urgent desire for pitches, to silence and then the re-reading and the busyness, sets me up for another gradual let down with this one, to be honest. I'd rather be wrong, but I'll take up this position and hope I'm capable of snapping out of it if proven wrong.

I'm sure outside the loop this looks like pathetic maundering, and loads of other writers would love to be in this situation, but I think what I'm trying to say is you always feel outside the loop as a writer, because, where ever you find yourself, the loop is always just that bit beyond where you currently are, and the decisions that effect you are always, quite rightly, taking place somewhere else behind closed doors.

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