I’ve just heard that my dear pals, two writers who work together, have had their fantastic script and series turned down by the a broadcaster. That’s the writer’s life. You pour yourself into a project, have meeting after meeting, go to draft after draft, spend a whole year of your life living and eating the damn drama (and, by the way, produce the best script that I’ve read in 20 years) only to have some bloke who’s paid over two hundred thousand pounds a year ( and has taken 6 weeks to read it) decide that he wants a story about a man, not about women, or he wants a series about England, not about Ireland, or about 1963, not 1964…. or about apples not about oranges.
And there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s the hardest bit. It doesn’t help that the rest of his drama development people love it and want it and are distraught to have it turned down; the main man doesn’t. If he wakes up with a hang-over, or dyspepsia, or a boil on his bum…. it’s a year’s work down the plughole. It isn’t about fairness, or excellence, or creativity, it could be about one man’s yen to have two or three big events in every episode, or a twist and a turn every 7 minutes (however unbelievable) or it could be about him being tired and reading five scripts in a day and not really taking any of them onboard.
Who knows? So all the writer can do is say ‘Thanks’ to the producer and let them get on with selling the script elsewhere. That’s the only consolation – there are many many drama outlets now, more forward looking and certainly quicker on their feet than the one that rejected this script. And a script as good as this one, as rich and funny and insightful, will have a home waiting, and people eager to snap it up.
Because it’s a blazing hot and glorious day, but I have a house with no garden, no views and only high windows, I was thinking this morning about contentment, trying to come up with a definition that sums it up for me. I finally ran the word ‘contentment’ alongside ‘peace’ because you can’t have one without the other, and this is what I came up with: Peace and contentment are the submitted acceptance that God will not give you what you want, unless it’s good for you, and that what you have right now is the feast you need, right now.
Bearing that in mind, I believe that the script would have been ill served if this broadcaster had accepted it, and that there’s a better home waiting for it. I believe that going through this disappointment will, in the end, prove to be a good experience. But I won’t be saying that to the two writers in person, because I don’t fancy two pokes in the eye. Timing is the secret. I’ll whisper it to them when the script has been green-lit and they’re plunged into the madness of their first one hour drama series.