Michael Lee Richardson: Annual General Review 2015

5 things I wrote

The first draft of Station Road, which will be my new one hour drama ‘calling card’ once it’s been through another wringer

Station Road was one of those passion projects, the ones where you have a lot to say about a lot of things – it’s The Walking Dead meets Benefits Street, and draws on everything from poverty porn to austerity to the refugee ‘crisis’ – and I wrote it in such a flurry of spit and verve that everything in it feels vital – which is a good problem to have, but it definite needs a bit of trimming!

Another couple of shadow scripts for soaps, so watch this space

The better chunk of The Spaceman, my second ‘novel’ and the first thing I’ve ever written for middle grade readers
I put ‘novel’ in inverted commas because novels feel like something that proper writers (ie. prose writers) write, and I still can’t quite commit to thinking of myself as a prose writer

‘Lesbian Activities’, a sketch-y short film I want to direct in the new year

An episode of ‘W.C’, a web series I’m working on with my bud, Philip

4 things I did (writing)

Helped run a conference for aspiring and early career TV writers in Scotland, which was a lot of fun and – hopefully – something that can become a bit of a regular feature
I met a lot of good people – and made a lot of good connections that are already starting to pay off – and actually felt like part of a community of writers for the first time in a long while

Travelled to glamorous Leicester for Wolves & Apples, a children’s media conference
I met a lot of cool dudes – including the lovely Debbie Moon, writer/creator of CBBC’s Wolfblood – made some really good contacts, and got some really good feedback on The Spaceman, and finally felt comfortable with ‘writing for children’ being a string to my bow

Went to Cove Park, was frightened by highland cows and learned a lot about my own ‘process’
As someone who writes around a part time job and a bunch of freelance projects, my writing is usually done in short ‘bursts’ of protected writing time, so I had no ‘context’ for a whole week of nothing but writing. It took me a couple days to get my head around the idea that, just because you’ve got 24 free hours of ‘writing time’ in the day, doesn’t mean you have to be writing for those 24 hours – I got an outline, the first third of a novel and a short story out of the week, and met some really nice people while doing it

Finished a course on ‘Script Editing for Film & Television’ with Creative Skillset, run by Grand Scheme Media and a fellow called Philip Shelly
And learned more about writing really good scripts than I’ve ever done before

3 things I did (life and other stuff)

Travelled – a lot
From Dublin to Barcelona, to Leicester, Aviemore, Birmingham, London, and several places in Fife, this year has been more about traveling than ever before

Took the sleeper Megabus, because it’s important that this Annual General Review touches on things I will never do again
I managed to bugger my travel arrangements for a trip to London, so had to sort things out at short notice on a strict budget. Traveling on the sleeper Megabus is sort of like sleeping on your friends couch, if your friends couch was a coffin being rolled down the motorway at 100 miles per hour. I was surrounded by a group of – very sweet – teenagers, but couldn’t sleep because I was aware that videos of me snoring and/or farting were going to end up on someone’s Snapchat

Went part-time
I asked to go part time in June, to really focus on my writing and my freelance stuff, and now work part time at LGBT Youth Scotland; I managed to keep the part of the jobs I really love – running Trans Youth Glasgow and coordinating LGBT History Month Scotland – and, even though it’s been challenging, feel much more of a balance at this point

2 things I didn’t do

Drink, throughout the whole of November
And even managed to enjoy three club nights and a couple of networking sessions doing it; there will be more ‘not drinking’ in 2016

Facebook
For 90 days, and they were – inevitably – 90 of the most productive days in 2016

1 thing I learned

That my opinion is important, and sometimes people want to hear it.

But I don’t need to have an opinion on everything.

5 things I want to do in 2016

  • To finish and find a home for The Spaceman
  • To write a second draft of Station Road and get it out into the world
  • To direct something
  • To make something for the internet
  • To spend more time doing good things with good people
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