The following is a transcript that was freely available on the web but since removed. I have kept this document since 2008 and regularly sent it to all my diverse media friends because of the positive mission statements Mr Henry was making. Weirdly the same statements are now being said but from a greater numbers of people in the BAME community.
It struck me over the weekend as to one thing that really needs changing for these established UK production companies/ commissioners….
Meetings with the little people! Not just for the exclusivity of the industry talent/ players.
I have spent the last five years emailing/ contacting every conceivable person in the industry for advice, information, even a foot in the door and all of it has come to nothing. If i actually get a reply, it’s some junior giving me some “not ready for primetime” guff and interestingly some of them (when i check their background) have merely done a chintzy media course and have this job straight out of college… hardly a long career in taste-making comedy. Every site says you should approach the producers but my friends and I have done that and still nada. I understand there should be a minimum standard of quality to look for but how can one judge upon an introductory email?
The problem is that unless you are established, nobody wants to give you the time of day, in fact for me, the only person who made the kind effort to meet up (in a Soho Starbucks!) was a feature producer who gave me expert wisdom which i have used. Just to be in their presence was a major achievement and has kept me going in terms of knocking on doors (very Death of a Salesman). I understand there are a large amount of us writers knocking on doors but read the next paragraph as another vision.
Now the flip-side is that a friend’s wife ,who is a writer, was in Los Angeles and ended up having meetings with select industry folk. Simple, no having to hack through the system. Whether anything comes of it is one thing but you get to see a face and talk about the ideas you have. I know the US is a meeting orientated culture and the UK people are busy but really, they should have a culture of setting time aside for meetings to scout new talent. They honestly don’t know how big the talent pool is. I do as i am networked with the most talented people still “hitting the bricks”
Personally as i am a comedy writer i have met indie producer/ directors who have said they will forward me to the established companies (of which i shan’t name!) but i hear nothing back. Even just a sit down chat with someone can be enough to keep the spirits up.