Wednesday 22 June 2022

The Feeling That Never Goes Away

The writing world is full of it – not least because the real world is full of it.

If you’re in the business of writing sitcom scripts, you’ll feel it a lot. The feeling is this:

Why are other people doing better than me?

Why was my script not shortlisted in that competition?

Why did that other writer getting representation?

How did that half-arsed, average comedianhack end up with their own sitcom?

In my case, it is more like when someone you used to work with writes a big show which is critically acclaimed and recommissioned. In your head, you’re saying:

Hang on. I used to be in a writers room with that bozo. And I was more experienced than them. And now they have an highly-acclaimed streaming series? In fact, I think I once paid for their lunch. They owe me money…

and so on.

Naming It

You could call the feeling Girard’s theory of mimetic desire. Or you could just call it what it is: the green-eyed monster of envy.

It’s not a pleasant vice to own up to because it so bitter. A line attributed to Gore Vidal, but not original to him, sums up this sentiment: 

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

You experience envy. I experience envy.

So, here’s are two bits of advice for those experiencing envy, so this is for me as much as for you:

Knock It Off

Stop it. This constant feeling of bitterness and envy is going to eat you up, like some creepy, soul-sucking Gary Gygax creation from Stranger Things. Resentment and envy might make you productive for a while. The whole 'I'll show them!' feeling might give you a burst of creative energy. But the feeling will never go away, especially if you feed it. So take action. And here's one way you can do that:

Take Control

You have control over what you write, and over how you improve your craft. Focus on that.

You have to focus on that because you don’t have control over anything else, like what’s fashionable, what networks say they are looking for (something like last year's show that worked), what networks are actually looking for (a funny show that just works) and how producers are going to second guess what networks are thinking the audience might want to watch next year. Chasing all those variables is a mug's game.

You are in a boat being tossed around by the wind, waves and currents. You just control your rigging, rudder, sail, outboard motor or whatetver. (I’m obviously not a sailor.)

But take control of the controls in front of you: your keyboard; what you're reading; what you're developing and writing; what you're rewriting and what you're sending out.

Focus on your craft, your ideas and your scripts. And if you want to do that, I can help you with a really clear and simple 12 Lesson video course. And it's even better if you take action before 4th July - like a couple of session with me.

So go on over and have a look and how you can write a sitcom script you’re actually proud of.

1 comment:

  1. So glad I don't feel ugly envy like that, only a kind of 'lucky them/good on them' envy. It can be a bit annoying that people with a foot in the door will get crap on TV because of who they are but that's to be expected.