Tuesday 2 September 2008, 20:44
Last time I looked it was the beginning of the summer holidays. Tomorrow the kids go back to school. Where did the time go?
During the wind and the rain I've managed to notch up a couple of drafts of my current Casualty episode, been to a Holby planning meeting for my next episode, didn't manage to sew my summer frock, or wallpaper the bathroom - oh, but I did manage a week away in Ireland.
I was determined not to have to take my iBook away with me, I wanted a clear window of holiday time so I started the negotiations a few months back. Once the commissioning process for Casualty was underway I had to email and memo in triplicate that there would be one week at the end of August when I would be away, non contactable, unavailable for script amends.
After most note sessions and phone calls, I'd remind the team about the week I would be away. I almost adopted ... Remember end of August - holiday time! as my email signature.
They don't mind writers going away, having time off unshackled from the garret, but they do like to know in advance. It's understandable - all those deadlines, all that scheduling beautifully engineered to a nanosecond, god forbid I cock it up by disappearing just as my production draft needs amending.
Which is exactly the time I did disappear.
Spontaneously going away is rare and I find I cannot commit to anything. It drives friends to distraction. I appear to come over all wishy washy - 'I may be free next week, there's a possibility I may have some time at the weekend, all depends how things are going..'
At the Academy we were reminded to hit our script deadlines on time, a missed deadline can throw a huge spanner in the works and producers don't like writers who cannot get stuff in on time. Fair point.
But deadlines move like shifting sands - editors go away on holidays, substitute editors are drafted in, draft 4's languish on someone's desk for a week or there were too many notes to compile and the promised phone meeting moves from Tuesday morning to Tuesday afternoon, to Weds morning with an email promising contact by Thursday teatime honest.
These days I have stopped sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring, I do tend to go out now, do stuff and pick up calls later. It takes a long time to erase the feeling that you are somehow skiving.
My editor and I did manage to synchronise everything so that I could fly out to Ireland and not have to think about the script. It was brilliant.
My only dip into the sea of Continuing Drama was to watch two episodes of Fair City - RTE's answer to Eastenders (not to be confused with River City, which is a Scottish soap I believe, or indeed Holby City .. )
Now I am home and facing my production draft notes - quite a chunk of them too. Hopefully by production draft you'd want to be tweaking as opposed to re-writing, but this episode is proving tricky. 'Shifting serial' this time as opposed to shifting deadlines. And my guest stories are proving a little complex - overwritten. I have a sign on the wall that says 'Keep It Simple' (one sign of many, my writing space resembling some sort of Writer's 12 Step haven).
So with juggling and dovetailing all happening this week - I am commissioning for Holby on Thursday - my iBook is once more plugged in and purring sweetly and I am ensconced, looking out at the rain.
No word on the title yet (see previous post).
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