05 July, 2007

Red Planet Prize Project - 1

So we've got two months to get our scripts in. I'd prefer three months but if that nice Mr Jordan says it should be done in two then I'm sure two is the right number.

I think that if you want to write for television this is the perfect opportunity to get started on a really good spec script. It might be difficult to motivate ourselves with all the flurry of rejections flying about the place but it can be done. Hopefully. Let's be inspired by Pill and Piers' recent success. I mean, if they can do it anyone can. That's a joke. There's no jealousy or bitterness here. Not much anyway.

While networking and keeping up with what's going on in the industry is useful, I think priority has to be on learning our craft and writing that killer spec. And then writing another one. And another one.

I'm going to try and go through what I've learnt about creating that killer spec over the next few weeks. It's what I've used successfully in the past for myself and others to get through the writersroom stages. This does, however, involve pre-writing. Some writers refuse to do it which is fair enough but writing for television requires pre-writing.

Should you be successful in the Red Planet Prize and yet manage to avoid pre-writing in doing so, Mr Jordan will not say "Can I have an episode of Echo Beach please? Write anything you like, I'm not too fussed, to be honest. It'll be a nice surprise when we come to film it." But that's just a guess.

For those of us with writers block or writer's impotence a deadline always helps. But if you find that other commitments are getting in the way then don't sweat it. They'll be another contest next year. And another Writers' Academy next year probably. And the writersroom is open for submissions all year. As are certain production companies. But I think we should at least try if it's really what we want to do.


Tony Jordan at SWF 2007.

Tony Jordan, creator of Eastenders and Life on Mars, announces the Red Planet Productions Screenwriting Competition. (c.8mins)



hotzappa11 said...

Do you know if this prize is allowing any type of genre writing?

You know, can you either do drama, or comedy, maybe even a thriller, etc?

Robin Kelly said...

Interesting you've said that because I've assumed drama but I've seen nothing to say it has to be. Good writing will out no matter what the genre, I suppose.

Pillock said...


Jaded and Cynical said...

Hi Robin

As you know, I appreciate the work you do here. You're one of the good guys. I'm sure many of those entering the competition will find your advice helpful.

To be honest, I'm a little sceptical about this particular event. It feels like a PR stunt to me. If you go to the Red Planet website, half the links connect to pages 'under construction'. If they can't get a simple website functioning properly, you have to wonder whether they'll be able to assess fairly the many thousands of scripts they're likely to receive.

More generally, sadly, I've come to the conclusion that it's so hard to break into the business here that it's not worth the time and energy even trying.

But good luck to the 3000(?) writers of a more optimistic nature who decide to take their chances in the competition.