Saturday, 15 August 2009

Screw the World, I Want To Get Off

There was a large manila envelope waiting for me on the dining room table this morning. I recognised it immediately. I’d addressed it to myself a long time ago.

Rejection is like holding a conversation with yourself, only with a matter of months separating the reply from the question. ‘Will they like your work, Dick?’ I asked back in May when I sent the script for a radio comedy to the BBC’s Writer’s Room. ‘They bloody hated it!’ came the answer, written in my own hand, today.

Since I sent this script way, I’ve written a dozen sketches for NewsJack, dozens of jokes and one-liners, which were all ignored. The standard opinion within the BBC is that I’m not funny. So, I suppose this package shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet I don’t know how to take more rejection from the BBC, who only seems to exist in order to torment me. I haven’t the heart to open the package and, thankfully, Judy hasn’t asked me about it. It’s her belief that my next project should be in my own name. She doesn’t see the point of my writing and submitting work in the name of my alter-ego, Gus Scrottee.

I suppose I really should open it...

Rejection letters come in many forms. I’ve had compliment slips that read ‘Not this time’ (a favourite phrase of editors and agents as if to imply that there might actually be a time). Then there’s the formal letter which is sent with every manuscript that doesn’t take their fancy. When I say ‘their fancy’, I mean the fancy of the eighteen year old trainee who they’ve hired to open every envelope in their slush pile and tip the contents into the Self-Addressed Envelope. I figure most agents are off cosying up to the next Z list celebrity to whom they’ve offered a book deal. This week, we’re told that £1.5 million has been offered to Peter Andre for writing a cookbook. A cookbook!

Meanwhile, in the world of Gus Scrottee...

Okay. I’ll open it.

It’s a form letter, only this one actually grades my sense of failure. In the case of the BBC’s Writer’s Room, they receive 10,000 scripts a year and less than 10% get through the first sift. I didn’t make it past the first sift. They didn’t bother to read more than the first ten pages. They thought it was rubbish.

What am I to do? Accept that some other would-be writer out there has read this and doesn’t like it? But who is it? Some hack who produces the usual crap I listen to on Radio 4?

Or do I have to question my own sense of self-worth? Was it really so bad? Is it so much less than every Radio 4 comedy out there? Am I really than unfunny?

Screw them. Screw the lot of them. They’ll never understand Gus Scrottee. Never.

Meanwhile, I’ve put the script in ‘the vault’ where those in the know can read it and wallow in the misery of another poorly written script.

[NOTE: Not that this has anything to do with anything but I fail to see the point of projects like this.]


Josh said...

The Northern Laughs clearly don't know anything about writing things. They've got a picture of a felt tipped pen. What kind of idiot uses one of those tools for anything other than writing the day of the week on the bag of bread as part of their mould-busting system?

Dame Crusty Gusset said...

Crusty is outraged!! How dare the BBC suggest you - or your alter-ego - are not funny when we are constantly subjected to their own painfully unfunny comedies, such as Eastenders! I for one adore your humour and often, after reading your blog, find myself with leakage in my downstairs area; I’ve just laughed so much!

I think the problem is the BBC in all its stuffy nonesenseness simply do not understand the complexities and comedy genius of Mr. Gus Scrottee and, quite frankly, that is their loss. They are too busy sitting in their board rooms wrongly assuming the nation wishes to watch the skin-crawlingly vile Nicky Campbell on a Sunday morning with the Big Issue or some such fancy.

Be strong poppet! Señor Scrottee’s talent is swelling like an angry ocean and it is only a matter of time before he splashes onto our screens.

Crusty x

Anonymous said...

Now look here, Madeley. I've not got a lot of time (I've finally got a lead in my search for the people who are hiding John Pilger) so I'll be brief.

My brief dalliance with Blogger has come to an end. Over the few weeks of our all too brief relationship I have discovered that it is a pain in the hole. À propos of which, I have migrated, like the swallow as days begin to shorten, to Wordpress.

I have also undergone what is known to marketing experts such as you and I as a rebranding.

Henceforth I shall be known by my true sobriquet, Lucien de la Peste, and Hogan's Goat will rejoice in the title, "He's Spartacus".

That is all. As you were.

Anonymous said...

Today's mot du jour....


Rattling On said...

What is this morbid fascination with the BBC? Pearls before swine, mon Oncle.
Put yourself about a bit. The commercial channels may seem like thinly veiled career-prostitution but what the hell.
By the bye, I am disconcerted to see you refer to Gus as your 'alter ego'. I thought it was merely a nom de plume. Be careful, you wouldn't want to be fingered for identity theft, even if it is your own.

Anonymous said...

Stupid Southron fucks, pardon my French.

Hip Priest said...

Try BBC3, I hardly think they have a sifting process there.

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

Josh, you're so right. I've thought that myself about the BBC Writer's Room. What writer writes with a crayon?

Dame Crusty, thank you for your kind words. I couldn't agree more and only wish you were on the board of the BBC's governors. I'm beginning to think that need help from the inside.

Hesspartacus, I've now made the adjustments and I'm following your new blog. I've never had a problem with Blogger but I'm not that technically proficient.

Rattling On, the BBC have an open door policy towards new writers. Their Writer's Room has a system for spotting talent. I am clearly deluding myself that I have any.

Elberry, as normal, you are happy to say what I am thinking. Do you think we're cursed by being Northern?

Hip Priest, that has been my conclusion after witnessing the dire efforts of Horne and Corden. To think I'm less funny than them is almost enough to have me reaching for the hemlock.