Sunday, 10 June 2012

Back on track

Over the last couple of years, I've been writing, as much as I ever have. I wrote whilst I was ill, and it was the only thing that kept me sane. I wrote as I recovered my strength and my confidence, and I wrote when I began full time work after thirty years of having no boss. (Now THAT was a shock to the system!)

In the last five months, since I started working, I have managed to complete a stage play, polish two more which have been accepted for publication by Lazy Bee Publishing, and polish and edit two screenplays which I've entered into screenplay competitions. I've now started work on the next screenplay.

All of which proves to me that I can work a full time office job with overtime, and write. Of course, the dust is building in the house and my friends don't see so much of me, but hey! I am only human.

However, what I would really like to do, no, make that dearly LOVE to do, is write for my living. I'd love to have enough money from the scripts each year that all my bills are paid from that. Which is not to say I'd give up the day job. I enjoy the job. I like the people I work with, and I feel I make a difference in peoples' lives. But the gilt does chip away from the gingerbread somewhat when I'm there because I have no choice. How wonderful it would be to be able to say I am here because I wish to be, and the salary is of secondary importance.

I have come to realise that the only way that is ever going to happen is if I get an agent. Someone who will represent me, show my screenplays to those who can turn them into films. Indeed, without an agent, selling a screenplay is next to impossible, as so many film companies and producers won't even look at an unagented script.

I made a start. I sent a script out to an agent. Now for the hard part. Waiting for them to read it and reply, hopefully positively.

Wish me luck.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Freebies for whom?

Some years ago, when the statue to Conan Doyle was erected, Crowborough town council had a bit of a bunfight to celebrate. They invited the great and the good from across the globe to eat, drink and be merry. The taxpayers of Crowborough were, of course, not on the guest list. We just paid for it.

I remember wondering if our councillors would have been so keen to attend if they’d had to pay for themselves – not from their expenses, since, apart from the Mayor and possibly the deputy mayor, it was hardly essential that they attend.

This year, to celebrate the Olympic torch coming through, there’ll be another shindig. We will feed and entertain visiting VIPs. Again, you and I, the ordinary people, aren’t invited to the feast.

I wonder. Who’s paying for it this time?

I have no objections to entertaining visitors to our town. I don’t object to the costs coming from my council tax, provided their visit is pertinent to the occasion, and of course the mayor and deputy mayor should be there to greet them. Perhaps others, too – Crowborough sporting representatives, perhaps, or some of those who have volunteered to help with the Olympics.

I’m less happy to pay for others. Those who are known as “Local Dignitaries”. Local, they may be. A Dignitary, even. But are they essential to the Olympics, or Crowborough’s involvement with the Games? If the answer to that question is no, should the taxpayer pick up the bill for them? Or should they pay for their own ticket to the table? 

At a time when we’ve stopped raising the flag to save money, and when our District council wanted to charge for collecting grass cuttings, surely all “Dignitaries” should lead by example and refuse to take council money when it’s not absolutely vital?