That Was The Year That Was: 2014 (part2)
After the initial kick off, the year became a headlong rush towards the summer. A busy March followed by a quiet April with one momentous meeting and a packed May.
The third month began with my second writers’ room for a TV show, this time on the new programme, Go Jetters. I’d been working on the development of the show with producer Adam Redfern, producing a development script for the high-ups to get an idea of what the show might be like. The meeting was great, catching up with old faces from other BBC project and the Moshi Monsters writers room of 2013. Chief amongst these was Tony reed who is execing Go Jetters. He was the man who told me I’d won the BBC opportunity and has been championing Elf Stackers (the show I created for it) ever since. He asked me to prepare a new one-pager as its time might almost be upon us.
While still buoyant from this, I received an email that left me floating even higher! Hannah Nicholson, the script editor on the hit BB primetime show, The Musketeers, sent me the following: “Adrian [Hodges] has passed on your email address to me as he was really impressed by your work at the Writers Room workshop in December. We’d love to arrange a meeting with you to talk about the possibility of writing an episode for us in the future.”
It is always lovely to have your ideas and writing vindicated and this was a truly wonderful example and so unexpected! Naturally I responded immediately set up a meeting for April.
This month I was also writing one of my little Doctor Who books – this time A History of K-9 – for running press in the USA. They kindly gave me a pay rise on this new book, so happy were they with my work on the past ones. 🙂
Elsewhere I attended the BBC Medical Drama Q&A organised by the Writersroom and the Children’s Media Conference confirmed my session details. This was a great opportunity to pay back so many people I owe so cult invites Phil Ford and Tony Reed to be on the panel. Greg Childs asked that I include Claire Spencer-Cook from an animation company called Nexus on the panel and I was happy to oblige. A new contact is never a burden and we both soon realised we could be talking about matters away from the panel!
Finally, I was also asked to submit some ideas for the Doctors shadow scheme. I have watched the show on and off but sat down for a week to watch as many as I could and duly produced two or three story lines to be sent off by Alison, my agent.
A nice start to the month was an email from the BBC Radio 2 500 words competition informing me that one of my creative writers had made it through to the second round. This was the second time she had done so and I remain convinced that Izzy Comer will be a name to look out for in the future. 🙂
In a quiet month of mainly writing I got round to joining the Royal Television Society after hatching plans with Hayley November and Lisa Gifford to attend some events. It was also pointed out to me that the membership came with the added bonus of access to the Hospital Club in the West End.
Finally the big day came when I went off to Grafton House in London for my meeting with The Musketeers. I love this show and was an avid fan already. So preparing some ideas to pitch was no hardship and one in particular seemed to go down well. We spent over an house chatting about the show, where it’s going in series 2 and what a possible series 3 might hold. I leave highly elated but aware that this could take some time…
Following a serendipitous connection, I had my first visit to New Broadcasting House (noting almost painful comparisons with comedy W1A) to meet with The Dumping Ground and Wolfblood Executive Producer Lis Steele. We have a good chat but it will be a while before a new series of either will be in the offing as both shows are still in production on their third series.
Another connection at a major production Company I made out of the blue comes good with a lovely email saying how much they like a spec script I have sent in.
I received an invitation to the BBC Drama Writers Festival for the second year in a row and say “yes” without hesitation. It was amazing last year. And within a week or so I am back to Grafton House to be interviewed by BBC Writersroom.
Tragically, I heard via Big Finish that the lovely Paul Spragg had died. This is genuinely shocking because he was simply so young, so full of life and so funny! This once more brings into sharp focus the need to do stuff when you can, not when you think you should.
So, in a seizing the day style, I set up three things I might not otherwise have done.
First I wrote a semi-autobiographical short story for BBC Radio 4 and in the process remember that I saw a dead man in our living room at the age of eight or nine; something my subconscious had completely buried until then. Once again this writing malarkey proves highly cathartic!
Second, I invited Wolfblood creator Debbie Moon for tea and we head to Fortnum & Mason for white linen, cream cakes and lapsang souchong! We have a blast talking shop and what we want to do next and where life is taking we fellow BBC Writersroom winners!
The month ends with a wonderful trip to Cardiff to visit Wizards Vs Aliens and attend the end of block warp party. The sets at Roath Lock are amazing and Phil Ford and Derek Ritchie wonderful hosts. Briefly say hello to Dan Starkey and then in the canteen bump into director Steve Hughes (who is working on Casualty). Have a great chat with new Script Editor on Wizards and Doctor Who, Nick Lambon. A very nice chap who is as disarmingly frank as he is frankly charming.