Welcome to the fourteenth of our Creative Challenges. In our third week of Creative Challenges, we’re exploring what producers and commissioners actually need from writers: WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 14 is about production scheduling calendars.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece about:
Ideas for films or TV shows that would be ideal for people to watch on each of the year’s big public holidays where you live – New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to production scheduling calendars.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC14”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC14 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
Maintaining cash flow as a producer or TV network is likely to mean having a range or products hitting the market at different times, to soak up different potential audience windows. TV networks can’t just leave blank slots, so they need shows that will collectively tick all the right boxes, filling all the slots 24/7 all year round, so they can continually sell slots for commercials – which is what they actually get their cash flow from. Scheduling all of that while maintaining any kind of quality control and brand identity is a big ask. Film cash flow is even more uneven for producers because they usually can’t keep a continuous flow of new productions available to audiences at all times – they might only get a number of films (or one!) every few years to generate their revenue to keep them going.
So, it’s good to take the time to understand what makes for the seasonal differences and occasions that create special opportunities for writers. And there are things we watch, and feel like watching, at certain times of year that we don’t at other times. How many of us go back to IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE every Christmas? Why does it work and appeal so much at that time of year in particular? How can we take the themes and emotional effects that make a film like that so successful, and draw them from new audiences in new ways?
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!