Stupid Precedents

I find it quite difficult being me.

Not in general terms, my life is generally pretty easy and moderately fun; but in specific, scriptwriting terms, I find it a struggle to live up to people’s expectations.

And it’s all my fault.

I’ll explain.

Through some furious typing, a smidgen of cheating and a sprinkling of propaganda I’ve acquired a reputation for being an extremely fast writer.

Some people recognise this as a talent and think it’s amazing. They make jokes about my ability to pitch on the fly or reminisce about the time I re-wrote a scene with one hand whilst making dinner with the other.

It’s not a bad reputation to have; but it does lead to two problems:

  1. Any story which is told and retold inevitably ends up being exaggerated out of all proportion. These people now believe I’m twice as fast as I actually am, or was when I worked for them.
  2. They come to expect this ludicrous level of speed from me as a matter of course.

Other people I work with, here in the shallow end, are too inexperienced to know any different.  When they’re in a rush to get things done and I achieve a seemingly impossible deadline, they just assume that’s normal behaviour for a writer. They don’t seem to have any concept of how long it takes to write anything … and it’s my fault.

Again, I’ve created a rod for my own back.

It’s getting ridiculous.

If I say I’ll start to write something on a particular date, people assume I’ll also deliver it on that date. If it’s a feature script, they’ll probably expect it within the week.

You know this concept of finishing a script, sitting on it for a week, re-reading it, correcting it, expanding sections you’ve had better ideas about … basically re-writing which is what writing is supposed to be?

Never happens to me.

It’s always: type ‘THE END’, hit send.

No waiting, no read throughs, barely even any spell checking.

The weirdest part being, no seems to mind. I can’t remember the last time someone wasn’t happy with something I’d written.

Okay, so sometimes they’ve had new ideas and want to take it in a new direction; but I’ve yet to have someone turn round and tell me the last draft was a bag of shit.

Maybe they’re just being polite?

The point is, I don’t know how to get off the merry-go-round. When I explain to people that it’s not possible to deliver the script in the time frame requested, they think I’m joking.

And then I go and ruin it by doing it anyway.

It can’t go on much longer, I must be reaching the limit of what’s feasible for me. I know there are writers who are much faster than I am, but I really feel like I’m running on the edge. Every script I write is a mad panic to get it done before the deadline.

I even (gulp) miss deadlines.

Not by much, you understand, just a minute or two.

The problem, the real problem, as Mandy frequently points out, is I don’t ever really say no. I don’t want people to think I can’t do something, it’s all part of Operation: Cuckoo; which I will blog about at some point.

If I can do it without making myself sound like a megalomaniac control-freak.

Or at least, more of a megalomaniac control-freak than normal.

So here I am, saddled with a reputation which is partly my own creation, and wholly my own fault, with no hope in sight.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

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Categories: My Way, Random Witterings, Sad Bastard | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Stupid Precedents

  1. Yes.

  2. Congratulations, Lucy.

    You win the prize for the most succinct comment ever.

  3. You know you’re ruining this for the rest of us, don’t you? Did you think we got into writing because we had a work ethic?

  4. Ahhhh, c’mon! Speedy Phill Barron ain’t the worst nickname out there… People call me Jason Ardnob…

    Oh no, hold on, wait, that was Kirkley High School, two decades ago.

  5. Eleanor

    Hey Phil, you can alway take on/invent a writing partner who slows you down to mere superhuman levels? 😉

  6. Mr Ardnob, I should introduce you to Jonathan Sothcott, guess what he was called at school?

    Now there’s a buddy movie I don’t want to see.

    It’s not the nickname I object to , it’s the expectation I’ve allowed others to have which is the problem. It’s getting out of hand and I can’t live up to it.

    Eleanor: I’m already slower than people think I am, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

  7. js

    ‘brilliant’

    ‘witty’

    ‘dashing’

    ‘full of promise’

    oh and barron, you’re fired

  8. Again?

    From which project this time?

  9. Pingback: He’s taking the piss? « The Jobbing Scriptwriter

  10. Pingback: Back to work « The Jobbing Scriptwriter

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