‘Door slams and inane advice’: An emerging writer shares his experiences
I’ve only been writing a short time by industry standards, after spending 10 years on strategy and technology for the resources sector and consulting for other industries.
In between, I spent the last five years knocking out two Masters degrees, in International Relations and an MBA.
I’m not currently working full time and am looking for a new gig. I’ve written mainly spec scripts and have a couple of feature scripts in development and one completed. I’ve also engaged in general arts advocacy through personal or official channels.
To date, I have:
• Had heads of departments’ proactively offer to read my work but after a year and a half of follow ups, there are just more promises to get around to reviewing or handballing to the EA/university graduate. ‘I’m just terribly busy.’
• Approached agencies for representation, to be told, ‘No one wants to know you unless you are referred or have created a produced product with a viral or cult-like following.’ Wonderful.
• Attended events to network with writers, actors and producers. More door slams and inane advice, ‘Maybe you should do my writing course, or a degree at AFTRS?’ Yeah, like my two Masters degrees aren’t enough.
• Looked at other avenues like advertising and getting put through the wringer presenting ideas (which they then steal). They finally choose past creatives who have a ‘solid track record.’ Ah good, good. More of the same daily rubbish.
• Supported the system for increased funding indirectly through pro-bono non-executive directorships in the arts.
• Played around with social media to build presence. What a dumpster fire. I’d rather spend the time creating quality work.
I’m not bitter, nor do I fear rejection. Like many passionate creatives, I am just frustrated by the state of affairs, the seeming acceptance of its status quo and thus, a cliché inability for anyone to change it.
It’s as if the industry wants you to fail, but in the interim, wear rejection and the cold shoulder like a badge of honour. You have to keep fighting Matrix-style agents for a look-in if you don’t come from traditional sources. I get it, it’s the same with every industry.
So really, the only other thing you can do is enter competitions, hoping they are legit because half of them are as dodgy as f—.
I’ve recently entered an American Dad spec into the Nickelodeon Writing Program and am writing another, just in case I win it out of the 7,000 or so other applicants.
Michael Dixon penned his article in response to an IF story which quoted CJZ executives Nick Murray and Matt Campbell lamenting the shortage of TV writers in light of the ongoing talent drain overseas.