Michael Lee Richardson: Annual General Review 2014

5 things I wrote

  • Monster, another half hour comedy pilot, that didn’t exist until someone asked for it, and then – it did
  • A decent chunk of Blackout, another hour long drama script that I’m hoping to start sending out in 2015
  • ‘Last Night’, a short story adapted from a script I wrote for my MA (which was, incidentally, adapted from a script I wrote to get onto my MA)
  • ‘Wendy’, a short story
  • A pitching document and episode breakdown for My Mad Family, an idea I’d originally pitched at a CBBC development lab

4 things I achieved

  • My comedy script Monster was shortlisted for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Forum
  • Won the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award after having been shortlisted for the past two years – third time’s a charm!
  • The Last Will and Testament of Alistair James McKay, a short play I wrote a while ago, was part of The Progressive Playwright at the Tron Theatre – the cast were amazing, and I got a lot out of seeing it up on it’s feet (and learned a lot about actually reading something over before you submit, because there were some clangers in there!)
  • My short story ‘Last Night’ was published in Hide It, an anthology of short stories for Young Adults

3 things I did (writing)

  • Helped secure some money to run a conference for early career TV writer’s in Scotland – watch this space, it’ll be on in May!
  • Got a bursary to take part in LOCO’s Kickstart Your Comedy Career programme, and met some super cool dudes in the process
  • Expanded my horizons by having my first prose short story published, and working on comic book scripts and sketches

2 things I did (life and other stuff)

1 thing I learned

I learned a lot of things about writing in 2014 – about how I write, about the shape of stories, and about writing for a living – but I think the most important lesson I’ve had has been to pace myself.

I’ve been ill for much of the back end of 2014 – turns out, I had hepatitis – and ended up in hospital for four days in December.

I think a lot of that had to do with taking on too much work, not saying ‘no’ often enough, and trying to prove that I’m superhuman.

I think a lot of my writing suffered in 2014 from being too rushed – from being (metaphorically) written on the bus ten minutes before I went in – and from me not having the time or the focus to make sure it was as good as it could be.

That’s not who I am, as a writer or a person – I’m dependable, I’m a finisher, I want to do the best job I can.

2015 is a bit of a flagpole year. It’s the year I turn 30, and I want it to be the year some of this writing stuff starts paying off. As part of my coaching last year, I said I wanted to be the bride, not the bridesmaid, before I turn 30. I’d said I wanted a sign that I was moving in the right direction – to stop being shortlisted and start winning the opportunities I was applying for – and I’ve already had that, so I definitely feel like the start of 2015 is a good place.

5 things I want to do in 2014

  • Finish Blackout, make a start on Station Road
  • Make something funny for the internet
  • Keep revisiting my scripts and stories to make sure they’re the best they can be at that moment
  • Do something live
  • Continue my concentrated effort to get an agent
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