What I learnt from Rob Gittins…
Back in December, Rob Gittins – writer of EastEnders and Stella to name but a few – spent a day talking to us about his experiences, offering advise to develop our careers and writing.
Rob agreed to read 31-10 and provide feedback before I send it off to the Ustinov Award in a couple of months time. Having since received his wonderful approval and feedback, I think it’s time I share my interesting but limited notes from the session.
- Don’t break taboos when your world is severely based in reality. Also, don’t use traumatic events which are too vast for your world to deal with. It may never recover.
- Walk around an idea to find another view point. Find news way to tell the same story.
- Find stories in everyday life. Listen and watch.
- Remember that when you sell a radio play, you are only licensing the radio version. Adapt the same story into other mediums.
- Look to existing story archetypes if you struggle with structuring a series. Rob and Ruth Jones used the Wizard of Oz to guide the first series of Stella and look how well that did?
- In long running drama, you can bury secrets for YEARS.
- Commissioned work will allow for honing your craft and financing your life so you can work on your own projects.
- Have a calling card available.
- Always get contracts vetted. Writers Guild of Great Britain vet their members contracts for free.
- Lastly, writing four episodes of EastEnders is DEFINITELY worth dealing with the potchy logistical elements. You not only get paid per script but per rerun. Although, writing a series for Sky is EVEN better.