Good afternoon Gartholomites and random travellers of cyberspace!
As you know my challenge is nearly up - in a month and a half one word is going to be scrubbed from the heading of this blog. Either I'm not going to be aspiring any more, or I'm not going to be a screenwriter any more.
So, when I saw an opportunity to attend an industry pitching event at my local university I thought - this is it Garth - this is what you have been waiting for. They are going to hear your idea, and be so overcome all hands are going to migrate below their lofty panel table, launching an almighty wank fest.
Didn't quite go according to plan.
Firstly, the morning kicked off with a chat by a producer on the pitfalls of writing. Actually, the day didn't start like that, the day started with everyone piled into the uni cafe for networking teas and coffees. So, lots of us enjoyed that. There's nothing a group of writers enjoy more than being in a room with other writers who we don't know. I believe the collective noun is a fucking awkward silence of writers. Or a twitching collective of angles. That doesn't work because it doesn't include the word writer.Anyway -
Then we were treated to a couple of hours of chat by a couple of professional TV writers, who were lovely, but churning out the same old shit everyone had heard before on auto-pilot. I guess when you have a group of mixed abilities there are only so many truths you can spout and only so much wisdom you want to impart to potential competition.
Only my social awkwardness made it memorable. If someone mentions something taboo, or whatever, in a public space I act like I'm guilty. I remember being in school and the headmaster called a special assembly because someone shat themselves and smeared all the poo over the walls. Looking back I can admire the early pioneering spirit of the inventor of the dirty protest, but anyway, when we were all sat there and the headmaster said - who amongst you wiped defecant all over the toilet walls? - I went bright red - so much so he singled me out - was it you, Jenkins? I feverishly shook my head in denial, but by then I had pooed myself with fright and anxiety, which wasn't really the best defense. In a similar vein, the TV writers said 'write about what you know - unless you're really perverted', at which point everyone laughed, except me -my arm twitched moronically, slapping myself in the face. That's everyone behind me now alienated.
Then we all put our names into a hat with three to be chosen to pitch an idea at the industry panel, boasting film-makers, writers, commissioning editors etc.
Three? Just three? That's a bit shit, isn't it?
So we're all told to network again for half an hour and meet in a lecture theatre for the pitch event. I grab a tea and run outside for a smoke.
Back in the pitching room and we're all expectant, with the panel sat on a long table at the front, like the head table of the British royal wedding.
The host grabs the hat 'so who's it going to be?' I feel like it's time to pick teams at school P.E. again.
First name gets called - it's not mine. Doesn't matter - two to go.
Next one - some student - what's the fucking point of that?
Last name called out - not mine again. Shit! I want to get up, stamp my feet and call the person a cunt - but she's a wheelchaired lady to my right and, as it turns out, she was the best pitcher.
The first couple get up to pitch and I'm feeling forsaken. They start to talk- it's about child abuse- great - my fucking syndrome kicks in again and I've jerked my cup of tea all over myself. That's the rest of the room alienated.
And their idea was shit, as was the other one. I had to sit there, with what I knew was a great idea, watching a couple of bozos fumbling around like disaffected teenagers at a Playboy party. Everyone in the room knew they didn't have a sniff of a chance. In another fucking universe I could be making a pitch that changes my life, but not in this one, oh no. This is not my universe, this is some cunt's universe, who doesn't even know my name. There's no-one looking out for me - I'm on my own, we all are.
So I'm not leaving it to chance any more, waiting for my name to randomly get picked out of a hat, because it fucking ain't - I'm taking taking charge of my destiny - it's the only way.
I'm off to kidnap the head of Channel 4, whoever the fuck that is.