I’ve been thinking again about issuing a small book of my previously published short stories and poems. It would be more or less a labour of love because I doubt that it would sell widely. However, a lot of my friends have shown interest in it.
If nothing else, as a testament to small magazines that featured work over the years. I challenge anyone, for example to find issues of that Sudbury, Ontario SF magazine that I had two short stories in during the 1990s. Don’t know whether I will or not. It could be a fun project to get me into the big world of Amazon and how to do a future novel or series.
So pleased to announce that I am a Finalist for the Writers of the Future, Vol 39, Quarter 1, 2022 competition!
It’s the highest level I’ve achieved, and means I was in the top 8 for this quarter.
–> WOTF blog
Excellent news! LCPA and my profile have combined to get me noticed! I’m part of Coverfly’s excellent Pitch Week program. We had an information call this week and then the invitations were sent out. I’m really excited to have a meeting as only about half of those chosen get actual meetings. They do a lot of work to interest industry professionals and get our materials in front of them.
For more information on Coverfly click here.
News: At last, the new story is out and available in print:
This features my story “Night Market” as well as the stories of Rob Boffard, Holly Schofield, Nicholas Jennings, David Wright, Elisha Betts and Alban Goulden. This was edited by up and coming SF/F editor Ellen Michelle. The front cover art which is terrific is by Elisha Betts.
- My advice is twofold:
1. Look for a day job in film.
Anyone interested in film and TV should work in it even for a short time – in any capacity! Look for ways to get onto a film union list, starting as a PA maybe even? There are many jobs, too, not all of them on shoots. This includes the behind-the-scenes stuff or animation, distribution, etcetera. That way you really get a feel for your field & make contacts. I’m not a hugely successful TV writer, but I’ve sold over 15 scripts and all of them due to personal contacts – not the 2 agents (!).
2. Sell what scripts you have in the best way possible. I often use a real estate metaphor, because it is the same, believe it or not. As I learned the hard way, a local agent here like Integral or Characters won’t ‘sell’ your big script or new TV series idea. They’ll offer the ‘houses’ they have at their level – think Surrey. If you have a Shaughnessy mansion of a script, go to an LA agent. Many of them will look at new stuff from young writers. I will say that even a Vancouver agent would be good to start your talks with any producer though.
In this light, check out the Writers Guild of Canada. You can’t join until you have a credit, but they sometimes have open events and checking the website for good materials and references is good. WGC is the Canadian version of the WGA, in fact we have sharing $$ agreements with them.
So, for example, if you are ready to look for an agent, look at the public list on the WGC site: http://www.wgc.ca/resources/agents.html
It’s usually possible to meet with Canadian agents if you have a project. I’m currently not agented, due to the fact that I had to turn down the last 3 offers in a row (for bad reality shows that pay poorly).
All my work’s sold solely due to industry contacts but having an agent may have gotten me ‘in the door’. I have had 2 agents, both Canadian and neither earned me a cent I didn’t find myself. However, if you have a fantastic script, ready to go, for a movie, for example, you should try to get an agent to help you sell it.
I usually write TV episodes, so my work’s differently focused. If it’s a huge script – the Hollywood style ones have to be agented in the USA – our agents just don’t have the contacts to sell huge scripts. Check out the Hollywood Screenwriting Directory for ‘who to send it to’. https://www.writersstore.com/hollywood-screenwriting-directory It costs $29 US but is worth it.
TO film list – good for applying to current films. These are often updated: https://www1.toronto.ca/static_files/economic_development_and_culture/docs/currently_filming.pdf
BC file list – from the DGC site
Unions to check out:
Vancouver: ACFC is the easiest to get into. They don’t have ‘all’ the productions but they usually have something and are more willing to train. See http://www.acfcwest.com/become.html
ACFC also has a list of great links for beginners in film: http://www.acfcwest.com/industry.html They have a Production Office area and it’s good if he wants to get some local experience. Pay rates are lower than IATSE and hours sometimes longer but it’s a way in. Most ACFC members eventually join IATSE.
IATSE: This I’d recommend only if he’s going the ‘office’ route first. https://www.iatse.com/ Local 891 is Vancouver. It’s more or less a route to get into an office and see production and work from there.
DGC: This is where locations starts, also directors. But I never have seen Locations lead to writing gigs, they’re too far from the office and the writers. If directing is your interest, though, it’s good. They have offices in Vancouver and TO.
The TV and film world can look like a jungle, but I’ve had some great experiences and earned a lot out there at times!
p.s. Below is from http://thecollectortv.com/36.html and is the listing for 1 of my Collector tv series episodes. Producers: Larry Sugar, Showrunners: Jon Cooksey and Ali Marie Matheson. The Collector is a wonderful show – a dark fantasy & I thoroughly enjoyed writing two episodes for it!
It’s spring weather here in Vancouver. Time to get focused for the writing year.
I have put a lot on my plate, but for me this is the way to do things. I never really know what’s gonna turn out the very best, but if I concentrate on one project, sometimes that one goes nowhere. It’s better to have several ongoing. I think this also helps me to create excitement in my own head.
The novel needs to be done and rewritten. I’m now aiming for the end of the first draft, hard. Then I need to get to the rewriting.
I have one or two short stories I want to write, too. I currently have 4 stories out doing the rounds. There are markets I’d love to be published by – from On Spec in Canada to TOR.com and F&sf or Asimov’s – but I’m pleased to find a fair number of new markets. It’s been a really long time since I wrote short stories and I’m loving it at the moment. It gives me a real feeling of satisfaction to complete a story and email it out.
I’ve finished the Blake Snyder book ‘Save The Cat’. It’s intrigued me enough that one of my next possible projects is to follow his method along to see if it really can help me to write a big movie script. I liked the book and felt like I was learning, which is great.
I’m starting the preparation for the big day – Christmas Day when I cook like I’m expecting a whole army but get only a small platoon.
What’s the ‘writer’ career up to during holidays? Especially vaca time away from busy corporate writing job?
So far, I’ve worked on changing a short story into a movie idea. It’s for a contest looking for dark SF, fantasy or horror shows. I normally don’t / can’t enter contests as they’re for people who haven’t sold yet or aren’t members of the WGC or WGA. But this one is a good excuse to adapt a story I have.
Also, I cook and see friends. No one does any real business this time of year in tv. Or film.
I’m also reading. I love books on writing. My newest acquisitions are kobo versions of Save The Cat by Blake Snyder and Max Adams updated version of one of my favorites The New Screenwriter’s Survival Guide.
Max Adams’ book is mostly for full-time movie writers but there are great tips for all of us.
I wish I’d re-read her chapters on agents before continuing with an agent who absolutely couldn’t sell me as a writer. Nice guy but not for me. I was too involved in trying to make a living and developing my day-job career as a tech writer to think about it.
To be fair, too I also didn’t generate the number of scripts needed per year to become a movie writer. The third time I turned down a gig from him, he dropped me which was expected, too. But the gigs weren’t totally ‘writing’ and not good enough to replace the day job.
Now I think I’ll be working on the prose and tv/film and only look for a new tv agent when I have a good portfolio built up.