I feel trapped.


I write TV drama and I’ve had big success in the past so I know I have talent. The trouble is that for years now I’ve had only a tiny percentage of what I write made. The rest I get paid well for but it’s not produced and it languishes on a shelf somewhere. The industry is like that – I heard that 1 in 8 scripts get made – but it’s probably even lower. Also I often write to order – which means a producer comes to me with their idea and then I write a pitch and a pilot episode. I get well paid for it but it often doesn’t work out because it’s their dream not mine and I fail to produce what THEY imagined – or we have different tastes… It’s a minefield. When I don’t write to order and come up with my own thing the obstacles are huge because I have to get a producer interested and they are busy doing their own projects – plus commissioners have their own agenda etc. etc. Sometimes I get things going (that are mine) but then the exec I was working with leaves the company…. or gets ill… or someone else gets a similar project going at a different company so mine gets dropped. There are a million ways it can go wrong which is nothing to do with the quality of my work.

I feel trapped in this because the money is so good and I need to support a family. I really want to be a writer whose work actually gets out there. The obvious way to escape is to go back to novel writing (which I have done in the past with success) but the up-front money is nothing (or tiny). Yes a novel CAN end up making a lot of money but that would be years down the line.

For years now I’ve been thinking I should write a novel alongside the screenwriting but I don’t seem to be able to do this. I only have so much writing juice in me…

I don’t know what to do.