Previously… the Red Planet Prize could’ve been made for me – but it wasn’t. Not this year, anyway. I got to the finals, which was without question the single most affirming thing that’s happened in my writing career. I mean, stage plays, yes, Radio Times, no doubt. But Red Planet wanted one-hour TV drama and that’s my bag. That is the reason I am a writer at all. (qv Lou Grant.)
It was so affirming that it was practically enough to just be a finalist. I was disappointed not to win (and overdue congratulations to Mark Wilkinson who did) and in fact it was quite measurably disappointing: I’ve entered many contests where I didn’t give a monkey’s if I placed, I just used them as a deadline. I’ve entered some where to this day I have no idea if I won, though one has to assume they’d have mentioned it to me by now. Red Planet Prize, being so perfectly made for me, was more disappointing than anything else has ever been.
Except, you know, I couldn’t and I can’t shake that sense of affirmation I got from being a finalist: here are people whose work I admire, saying that I’m doing work they like. Moreover, I’m doing the work: that’s all that ever matters to me, getting my hands dirty and doing the work: doing it for this contest and getting into the finals is doing the work, it’s no longer playing at the job. What could be better? Well, winning, obviously.
But there was also a further issue, a second thing that made the Red Planet tingle. You know that some number entered, right, you know that so many were finalists and that one was the winner. But a selection of those finalists were also going to be invited to a workshop with Tony Jordan at Red Planet. I’ve no idea how many finalists would get this, but certainly not all, I was specifically told it wouldn’t be all.
I’m one of them.
I just heard this afternoon. Punched the air, somehow accidentally caught a Radio Times PC right in the reset button and had to contain myself long enough to make sure their computer was okay.
Jason Arnopp is another on the course, and I’ve read his Red Planet script, he’ll be winning it next year unless I can spike enough drinks, and so is Dave Turner. Haven’t read his script, will bring arsenic just in case and if necessary I am willing to tickle him during the serious bits of the workshop.
So. I have not the faintest idea what the workshop will entail, but I get to find out next month. Just after I return home from New York City.
May’s looking great, isn’t it? Especially when I calm down and find a way to get my radio series recorded then too.