Thursday, 17 July 2008


A belated post from behind the scenes of The Screenwriters Festival 2008 - It already seems so long ago. It was a blast again, and even harder work than last year! I was a volunteer group leader in charge of parking and transport (or Transport Manager for the sake of brevity and the CV.) Or as Danny put it, I wandered round with a clipboard telling everyone I had a PA!

I ended up working from 9AM till near midnight the Monday, then 7AM till 11 at night on the Tuesday - I had so much to catch up with on Monday (a lot of the runners had been there setting up since Saturday.) then a lot to deal with Tuesday. Running the driving for the VIPs especially is very reactive - you can only plan ahead so far, and the plans often fall through - people don’t show when they said they would (I heard “my PA‘s off this week” a couple of times!), or suddenly want transport when you haven’t got any cars.

To give you an idea how manic it was, I phoned the Girlfriend Tuesday evening to apologise for only texting her once the whole day (which she wasn’t pleased about.) Whilst I was on phone, I had 5 calls on the radio, 2 phone calls on my other mobile (!), and someone come up to me with a problem! (BTW, The Girlfriend was even less pleased after that. Women, eh? Who can figure them?!?)

So I had a PA on Wednesday! - I say a PA, I had a runner assigned to help me. But PA sounds better. Part of the problem the first day was that we were quiet bottom heavy. We had a lot of runners this year - about 35 compared to the 25 ish last year - but we had too many of them standing round, even though we added the strand of group leaders (7 people were doing what 1 did the year before!)

The last two days, it calmed down a bit. I even got to see some of the talks, and speak to me fellow bloggers for more than 5 seconds at a time! I may have mentioned to a few of them that I had a PA. (I had to get in the Jag we had for VIPS (like TV‘s James Moran) with my PA, and I told Richard the Chauffeur to drive slowly until I saw someone I knew!)

Despite working ridiculous hours for no money, despite the occasional minor conflict, I had a wonderful time with a great bunch of people. And I came away inspired to write more. Writer-Mountain Adrian Mead said that most of us spec monkeys* don’t do nearly enough, and he‘s right. I worked more hours in the first day for the Screenwriters Festival than I had spent in the previous two weeks working at my own writing. This is not good. If I have the drive and motivation to work that hard for someone else, then I can do it for myself. If I can do 36 ½ hours of the day job, then I can work a few hours for myself.

Last week, despite having man flu and recovering from SWF, I did 18 hours of writing (and more on networking and blogging and other vaguely writing - related activities.) Not bad, but not good enough - I was aiming for 20. (I‘m working on the next draft of my metlab script, and it‘s coming along very nicely thank you for asking.)

So I’m going to post on here what hours I do every week. Which means a post (at least) once a week! And stay tuned for an important announcement about what‘s already being called** the social event of the year

Later

* he didn’t actually use the term spec monkey.
** admittedly, only by me

4 comments:

Elinor said...

That's a good idea, posting progress. I'll have to aim for 20 hours a week if I'm to make that deadline. How's it going BTW? Mine has turned into a lesbian cannibal comedy which may well be a genre too far.

martin said...

What a coincidence - mine has turned in a lesbian canibal comedy too!

Maybe this is something to do with Lucy's notes?? ;)

Piers said...

Dammit. Now I want to write a lesbian cannibal comedy too.

Michelle Goode said...

I was just wondering, do you know if the Screenwriter Festival organisers look for any specific things in the volunteers' CV's? I'd love to volunteer for next year but when I heard that they wanted CV's I wasn't sure I'd have the right sort of things on it that they want...?