Monday, 3 January 2011

2010 in retrospect / 2011 anticipation

Like most creative folks who don't yet make their living from their art I can get very down on myself - constantly thinking 'I'm not working hard enough, must do more, must do more'. The end of one year and the start of another is a good time to take stock and look back over the achievements of the past while. Having had a chance to draw breath I realised I'd been a lot more productive in 2010 than I thought. In the last 12 months I have:

* Written a 20 minute short horror film.
* Written a 15 minute sitcom pilot (co-written with the brilliant Ross Howie).
* Done two redrafts of a 10 minute short film, which is due to be shot later this year.
* Developed and plotted a well received interactive project.
* Produced and edited a short film that will be doing the festival circuit in 2011 (covered by The Guardian).
* Written three redrafts of a 60 minute pilot (which was a runner up in the 2010 Red Planet Prize).
* Undertaken two weeks of work experience with the TV drama department of BBC Scotland.
* Developed 5 radio drama ideas for the BBC.
* Developed another 5 radio drama ideas for the BBC (!)
* Worked up two synopsis of a 45 minute play for a radio Producer.
* Written 3 comedy sketches for a competition.
* Plotted my 90 minute final project for my screenwriting MA.
* Written a 10 minute screen adaptation of a short story by Ian Rankin (for

All of this while working a full time job, volunteering at a community project and undertaking an MA (with all the academic essays and hand-ins that incurs) - phew!

If I've learnt anything from all this taking stock it's a) I should go easier on myself and b) I'm doing as much as I possibly can to move my writing from being something I do in my spare time to being my career. I want to keep up this workload in 2011, while at the same time making sure I don't burn out - I want to be in this for the long haul.

At this point 2011 has some really exciting things in it:

* Mentoring sessions with Red Planet and Kudos.
* Writing a 30 minute drama as part of my MA.
* Writing a 90 minute drama as part of my MA.
* Lots of essays and networking.

Those things alone will see me busy until August but I am hoping to find space to keep knocking on the doors of the radio drama world and begin to look at finding an agent. 2010 has been a year of moving closer to the goal of becoming a working writer, I'm hoping 2011 sees that plan becoming ever more concrete.

Best get on with it! Back to the writing...


  1. I wouldn't bother looking for an agent this year. With the MA and RPP opportunities, you'll have plenty on your plate. Save the agent search for 2012. Unless you're a towering genius, you really need at least one professional credit under your belt to prove you'll make them money.

    You're making stellar progress, Chris. Keep it up!

  2. Cool, thanks for the advice David (and all the help last year :) )

    Yeah - the 2011 agent searching plan is dependant on whether or not my current radio opportunity takes off. If that doesn't happen I'll probably hold off what with everything else that is happening. I guess I was keen to strike while the iron was hot due to the RPP but do you think that it will still hold weight if I leave it a bit? Was afraid I might look sluggish to agents if I didn't move on it quickly. Unless the radio thing actually happens, I'll wait until after graduating to begin trying to get that elusive first commission in order to get an agent. Am prepared for that to take a while!

  3. RPP is brill, but it's an iron you share with at least a dozen others. A very useful CV point, but not enough on its own. How you use the opportunity is what counts. Play the long game, you'll get there. [Especially true of radio drama!]

  4. Cheers David - that makes a lot of sense (and takes some of the pressure off).

    I'll play it like the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe (you can call me Max). I'll try not to get blown up by the heating though...

  5. Wow. Well done on all the work, Chris. And you have to be one of the most hard working people I know, so don't ever try to convince yourself otherwise.

    Good luck for this next year, it should be an awesome one.

    Michelle Wilkinson

  6. Cheers Michelle,

    Hoping this year is great for you too! We should try and hang out sometime seeing as we're still in the same city!

  7. Thanks. We should indeed. I'm still down at my parents' at the mo but as soon as I'm back up, I'll let you know and we can go for a drink or something.