Monday, 3 May 2010

Bang up to date...

Ok. So, last time I was on the brink of major superstardom. One of my ideas had been taken on by BBC NI Radio and put into the pre-offers round. The Radio 4 commissioner was pouring and purring over it, half-demented with excitement.

Or something like that.

He said no.

A very nice no ("really liked the idea... just doesn't fit in with the current mix..."), but a no nonetheless.


Now this is where I tell you that it's all ok and we learn from these things and it's all good stuff and... blah, blah, blah. Fact is, I was gutted. I had to wait a couple of weeks between the idea going into the pre-offers round and getting a response. Officially, the producers (with you) write up very short version of the idea (about 200 words) and a blurb on the writer and put it into the RAP system, which is some BBC online commissioning system. All those ideas (and I mean ALL of them - Afternoon Play, Woman's Hour, Saturday Play, Classics, etc) wing their way magically to the Commissioner and he sifts through them, God love him. That way, if twenty-five different writers think it would be so original to write a radio play about an Alaskan chimney sweep who buys a hot air balloon in order to impress his wife and woo her back from the local undertaker, but he ends up floating off to the moon, and...

Actually, that might work. Anyway, he can see that that's not going to work and choose just one. Or tell them all no, cause it's a silly idea.

In practice, from what I can work out, he also seems to back this system up with visits to the various drama departments all over the country, meeting up with producers and finding out what they're working on and who they're working with, and talking through what they put in to the system or want to.

So, in my case, the commissioner had just been over, had a meeting with the team there, and talked through the ideas, which is where the "He did like your idea. Honestly!!" comes from... Yeah, he still said no, though...

I'm not bitter.

That was all a couple of weeks ago. C'est la vie. And actually, with a bit of time and distance from the whole thing, it was great to have that chance. It was great to see how the whole system worked. And it was great to know that at least I'd got that far. I've only been doing this a couple of years. Tiny steps forward. But I am going forward.

I am, aren't I?

Finally, the producer stressed that the important thing to try to remember is that I'm now in there. He knows who I am ("Really? Thousands of ideas and writers coming in through the system and he's gonna remember the ones he rejected? But, hey! If you say so.....! I'm going with that. He knows me!!") So, her thinking was, the next commissioning round is in September - we just have to make sure that we put something in for then that he can't possibly pass on.

I never thought when I started this blog that this "little" story so far would take so long. But there you go, wittering on.... The title proved prophetic...


  1. I think, Mr F, that you should twist your arm around uncomfortably and give yourself a pat on the back. You're a long way down the road already! Just keep on keeping on and you'll be well in.

  2. Thanks, Mr T. I've now got a pain in my arm and a stitch in my side, but a satisfied little smile on my face...!