THANKS FOR THE great feedback you sent me from yesterday’s piece. Clearly there are lots of creative, talented people in this community, and there’s an element of frustration at the fact that so much rubbish from obviously untalented people gets produced.
Well, I’m here with a message.
YOU CAN WRITE A TV SHOW OR NOVEL THAT MAKES THE CUT.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live.
Yes, the world centers of publishing are the UK and the US.
Yes, the world center of screenwriting is the US.
Yes, the world centers of music are the UK and the US.
And yes, it’s true that who you know and who you are connected with does count.
But you can achieve amazing things from a distance.
The questions that arose from yesterday’s piece about High School Musical were put very clearly by Caterpillerboy, who said yesterday: “How does a writer get chosen for a project? …For struggling wannabe writers it sometimes feel insulting to see something so brain dead (and know that the writers got paid for that product) while we are here churning stuff out that will never see the light of day. Not to say that the stuff I am churning out is any good but if I am going to be writing crap, maybe I can get paid for it too?”
Meanwhile, my correspondent Poppy sounded depressed. “There’s so much bad stuff on television. It seems so unfair that the financing goes to the crap, while good, creative ideas are born on kitchen tables and stay there.”
These are good points.
Not all of us can live in Hollywood and have aunts and uncles who run film studios -- and that’s one of the reasons why so much bad stuff gets made. There’s a great deal of nepotism in the creative industries. Have you noticed how the credits at the end of films always include people who happen to have the same surname as the director and / or producer?!
But I think I can best illustrate how to make the grade with the big guys by referring to a real anecdote involving real people.
A friend of mine living in Hong Kong had an idea for a children’s TV series.
She got a group of people together and they wrote scripts, wrote a story bible, commissioned artists to mock up the characters, and even got some 3D animation done. Some of this work they paid for. Other people did it for nothing, because she asked them so nicely.
She racked up large debts by flying twice to LA. The first time, she hammered on doors of professional TV people, showed them her material, and got their feedback.
Then she came back to Hong Kong and revised everything based on what she had been told. At that point, I came in as a co-writer and worked on the characters and storyline and dialogue.
A couple of weeks ago, she flew back to LA with the revised material.
I saw her two days ago. She gave me the good news: she’s sold the whole project to a major US television corporation.
And you know what they liked about it? They liked its Asianness -- the fact that it wasn’t like the normal stuff they get.
The moral of this story: all you have to do to make it is to be serious about it.
To be a success, you have to want success. How much do you want it?