London Screenwriters' Festival

London Screenwriters’ Festival Guest Blog: Are We There Yet?

Posted on: August 5th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay No Comments

by David Bishop

David BishopI bumped into a friend earlier today who congratulated me on getting my second script commission for Doctors. “You’re really getting there,” she said. I immediately disagreed, but thanked her for the kind words and hurried away.

Setting aside the feeble inability to accept a compliment, my reaction left me pondering. Am I really getting there? Am I there yet? Where is this mythical land of milk and honey called ‘There’ that so many writers strive for?

Three years ago I finished an MA in screenwriting at Edinburgh Napier University and set a bunch of goals for myself. Get an agent. Secure a second radio drama commission. Get my first TV drama screenwriting credit. Write two new calling card scripts. Get some work experience in storylining or script editing. Get into another script workshop scheme.

And I’ve achieved all of those. The lovely Katie Williams at Blake Friedmann is now my agent. My second radio play’s on BBC7 later this month [6.30pm on August 29th in fact]. My first Doctors ep broadcast in February [2 million viewers and an 80+ AI, thanks for asking], with my second due November 18th. I’ve written two new calling cards, had some storylining experience, and was part of the Lighthouse TV team writing scheme.

Am I there yet? No. There’s so much more to discover about writing for broadcast drama, be it on TV, on radio or online. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the wealth of things I don’t know, how infinite the journey ahead seems.

But I’m getting there. Two more eps of Doctors and the BBC considers me experienced, at least for contractual purposes. I’ve discovered the joy of writing for younger audiences thanks to a scheme run by CBeebies Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust. Somebody even called the script I wrote on the scheme adorable. Adorable! After a lifetime of writing stories full of thwarted hope and bleak nihilism, that was an odd moment.

Best of all, I’m enjoying my writing. Some days staring at the computer screen is like watching paint dry while being whipped with barbed wire. Others days it’s really bad. But sometimes, just sometimes, the light bulb shines and the words pour out.

Five years of hard work are starting to pay off. Am I there yet? No, of course not. I’ve got plenty of fresh goals and ambitions I’d love to achieve. I might not reach them all, but I’m learning to enjoy the journey. Onwards!

David Bishop’s work displacement blog Vicious Imagery can be here.

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