Conference calls are a weird & wonderful thing. Especially when there are seven people on the line, based in the UK, New York and Los Angeles, all trying to have a conversation at the same time. I should give some context; BAFTA have kindly set up some fantastic calls with industry experts in the lead-up to our trip. The aim is for us writers to get an understanding of how the industry works in the US, and to ask any question we have in mind.
On Tuesday we spoke to Terrence Gray, he's the Executive Director of the NYTVF (New York Television Festival), which we're attending in less than 3 weeks. I found our chat with him hugely beneficial; Terrence really took the time to explain what the festival is all about, and what we should aim to get out of it as writers. A myriad of writers, actors, directors, producers, network executives and agents will be in attendance, and there are daily network meetings, screenings and events for us to attend.
Each American network functions as a brand, with its own distinct brand identity, and should therefore be approached as such when pitching.
The main event for us is on Thursday 22 September, when our scripts are performed in front of an audience of industry insiders. A feedback and Q&A session will follow, lead by a hugely influential writer and producer (whose name I'm not sure I'm allowed to reveal, therefore I won't). Terrence explained that our focus as new writers should be on getting representation, and by the sounds of it, all the top talent agencies will be there, watching, which fills me with equal measures of fear and excitement.
Next up was another call with Val Boreland, Seth Cohen and Gary Man, who are all VPs at Comedy Central. Again, they were very helpful and took a great deal of time and care in answering our questions. One of the key points made during this conversation is that each American network functions as a brand, with its own distinct brand identity, and should therefore be approached as such when pitching.
I could be wrong, but I think there's a specific writing style and brand of humour that runs through all of my scripts, and although I certainly don't want to limit myself at this early stage, it would be interesting to see if my work would indeed fit certain networks/agents and not others. It sounds clichéd, but I think it's important to find your unique 'voice' as a writer, and pinpoint exactly what it is that you feel you have to say about the world, regardless of whether you're writing a comedy or a drama.
My first TweetsFinally, I was encouraged to join twitter in order to stay in touch with everyone involved in this wonderful project (the picture at the top of the page is my profile picture, in which I'm pulling my hair out, trying to get to grips with the meaning of hashtags).
My name is @gregderoeck
and you are very welcome to follow me. N.B. views are my own and not those of BAFTA or Rocliffe. I feel compelled to write this as I've noticed that in the space of just 13 tweets I've already managed to slag off Nadine Dorries and Peaches Geldof. I promise to try and be less bitchy in the future.