Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year in the Life

Here's the 25 words or less review of the year:

Started off quite stressfully but gradually improved; earned more for writing than script editing, a good turnaround, and feeling positive about the year ahead.

Here's the slightly longer version, if anyone's interested:

2006 was shite for all sorts of reasons. 2007 couldn't get worse, could it? Not if I had anything to do with it. The early months of the New Year were quite stressful as I chased a couple of projects down dark dead ends, causing some bruises of resentment and ill-feeling with the producers who had led me there.

The first positive turnaround came with the pilot of Sofia's Diary, the new interactive teen drama, for Sony and Bebo. This opportunity was thanks to a contact I met in Cannes, so the trip to the south of France was certainly useful.

Then, through the blog, I had an idea for a new screenwriting competition and I took it to a few people in the industry. Basically the pitch was that there should be a script comp where it's not just about the prize but it's what happens afterwards. In short, help the winner with their career. Some nibbled with curiosity and an official proposal was written up and sent out. One particular writer/producer leaped on it immediately, Tony Jordan, and came up with an amazingly generous prize: 5k cash, a commission on one of his shows and agent representation if you didn't already have it. Wowzer! The competition became the Red Planet Prize, which we launched at the Screenwriters' Festival in the summer (the finalists will be announced in January). Surprisingly, setting up the competition happened very easily and quickly, but I'm secretly proud of its inaugural success.

More work came with Sofia's Diary, which nabbed an on-line commission (in a similar guise to Bebo's Kate Modern). Interactive wave of the future, Jack. Get with it. I also wrote an animated corporate short film: why not, the cash was good. I script edited a few things, more notably Kings, the Irish language feature which was released to some acclaim, also a sci-fi flick and a radio play. And then, just before Christmas, a commission for a new kids' series came completely out of the blue, and so am working on that as I type.

So, all in all, a good year mixed with the usual stresses of work uncertainty and rejections, some more disappointing than others (came very close to a Hollywood movie deal but after the biggest pitch of my life, it didn't come to pass).

Overall lessons learned from the year: just when you think you can't push yourself any further, you have to work harder. Keep writing, keep learning, don't stop; don't be good, be great.

2008 is going to be bigger and better. Bring it on.


Lucy V said...

You've had a v good year by the sounds of it, Scribo-Dad!

Happy New Year x

Unknown said...

Yay! 2008 is going to be wonderful. Happy New Year xxx

potdoll said...

Happy New Year Danny. Have a good one. x

Gareth Michael Turpie said...

Best wishes for 2008, Danny

Lianne said...

Happy New Year Danny!

Danny Stack said...

Thanks! Here's to lots of success for us all in 2008!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with 2008. The most disappointing thing was not getting through to the next round of the Red Planet prize. It was the first time I was faced with rejection.

Onwards and upwards.

Sorry to hear that your pitch didn't get you a Hollywood gig. Did they go with someone else?

James Moran said...

Good on you, sir! Here's to a big, shiny 2008 for us all. Nice!

Anonymous said...

Happy New 2008 Danny - best year ever!

Eleanor said...

Happy New Year!

Lucy V said...

I know you can't live without my feedback Danny on your logline, so it's up on my blog right now. I've said all the nice things you forced me to and look forward to a cheque in the post. Though if it bounces I'm sending Him Indoors after ya. With pliers.

Pleasure doing business squire.

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny - you had a good year, inspired me for sure, I am though to the next round of Red Planet, so thanks for inspiring the contest. Getting though so far has boosted my confidence and helped the ideas and writing to flow whilst I wait for the final results.

I'm all of a tingle !

Have a great 2008.