This is just a mini-blog following up on my earlier entry bemoaning the lack of manners amongst development producers. After spending the first 7 months of the year doing actual paid work, I am spending the rest of my year on development. It's a great luxury and I'm very lucky.
This week I started making a plan of action/works (I am ever the optimist). I went through all the pitches and submissions that I'd managed to make amongst writing on New Tricks and Midsomer Murders. And I got angry all over again.
I couldn't quite believe how many pitches had been initially been enthusiastically received and then utterly forgotten about. Producers who had urged me to write pitches and treatments and to come to meetings (all for free and without any offer of expenses) had simply not bothered to follow-up on my work. Some of them have flat out lied to me; promising that they won't be like all the others and that they value me and my work. So, why do they still treat me like dirt?
And yes, I am still talking about my writing life, not my love life. That's a whole different blog.
Now, it might be that the ideas weren't any good or were too similar to others on the slate. And that's absolutely fine. It happens. But to not even bother to drop me an email or make a call to say we're not interested is just damn rude and unprofessional.
But it's not only that, it is potentially detrimental to mine and other writer's careers. Those ideas are my currency, my product. And if you don't want to buy them, that's okay. However, by sitting on them you are limiting my window of opportunity to take those ideas elsewhere. And the more I thought about this the angrier I got.
So, here is my plan of action.
I'm going to follow-up on every single one of those pitches with a polite but to the point email or phone call. I'm going to make it clear that I want a yes/no answer and that I want it within a few days.
If the answer is no, then I'll take the idea elsewhere.
If the answer is maybe (because let's a face it, it's never a straight yes), I'm going to ask for a time frame. I want to know where they are taking the idea next and when I can expect to hear something.
I'm also seriously considering no longer abiding by the unwritten rule that you only pitch an idea to one person at a time. It considered bad form to tout your ideas around to multiple companies. Well, I say fuck that. They're my ideas and I'll show them to whoever I damn well please. If you like the idea then get your finger out and make me an offer. Maybe I won't take my idea 'off the market' until someone is talking to my agent.
It's time for a change of attitude amongst writers. They are not doing us a favour by listening to our new ideas for characters and stories and worlds. If writers stop bringing those ideas in, then it all grinds to a halt. And if they can't show us a basic level of courtesy then maybe we should stop pitching to them?
Again, I say all this on the understanding that not every development producer is rude and thoughtless. I have worked with some crackers this year. Producers who talk to you like a human being, keep you in the loop and push for quick decisions. For those wonderful people, I go the extra mile. But I'm no longer even going to put on my shoes for the other rude bastards.
So, if you're a producer and you're reading this; ask yourself which category you fall into.