Monday, November 05, 2007


Thank you Light&Shade for keeping us alert to the non-opportunity that is The Pilot scheme.

Maybe they should rebrand it Pi-loss, since that's what it amounts to. And shame on WGGB for not jumping on Channel 4, SS and HIE's heads for coming up with this tawdry, ill-thought and totally exploitative scheme.

Even worse, Pi-loss has got fuck all to do with cheap telly, it's about grabbing 12 properties for a pittance - you only have to look at the rights that you, the writer, have to give away even to take part in this bag of shite. And sorry Lucy - (see comments on my post 4CryingOut Loud) - I hate to piss on the parade here, but to say that the scheme gives a leg-up to Scottish writers is bogus. Only rich kids looking for a wee jolly up north need apply.

They might as well mug you in the street. Don't fall for it folks.


Blogger David C said...

What am I missing? I looked at the terms and conditions of this scheme and it seems that to take part you don't give up any rights to your work whatsoever -- you grant a 12 month option IF you're accepted onto the scheme. And if you win, you give up rights, but in exchange for cash, which is what this industry is all about (or should be).
The bit that boggled my mind is that they develop 9 projects at 3 companies, then pick 1 project from each company. Not the 3 best projects overall, just the best from each outfit. That alone tells me they're not seriously looking for good television, they're just conducting this as a box-ticking exercise. But since most execs genuinely DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY LIKE, I guess they'd always prefer to tick boxes rather than use their own judgement.

11/09/2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger Leanne Smith said...

Don't disagree with you on the narrow thinking on the final selection for this scheme. It's a spectacular error of judgement on the part of those who dreamt up the Pilot.

As for the rights issue, since it's common practice for skint producers to option work for a nominal sum say, a quid, how much are the 12 lucky finalists getting for their work, I wonder? Or is it included in their £100 quid a week - or to be precise - £20 a day deal (assuming a five day week) with the three companies involved?

What kind of turnaround is written into this for the eleven losers? And how much does the winner get when the option gets exercised? And does that include the other five series?

If not, on a 90 grand production budget, minus the £100 a week for a year, which is roughly £5000 (which may or not be counted as an advance against fees) the writer might end up owing Channel 4 around £2300, depending on whether they're getting paid the standard 2-3% of the overall budget.

Even if that's not the case, it's still a crap deal for the writer. Besides, a year's a long time to write a commercial half-hour pilot.

It's us that should be striking, not the Americans. Hmmm...

11/09/2007 7:51 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

No need to be sorry Leanne, we're all entitled to our opinion. And actually, I won't be entering Pilot. I don't have the time anyway but even if I did, I can't summon up the enthusiasm for this one (tho I did think about it, but the more I found out, the less enthused I became).

But I do however subscribe to the school of thought that says: any opportunity is still an opportunity, even if it's a shit one. Plenty of writers out there who have no other way of getting in on this stuff except through comps, many of which are dubious, some of which are genuine. And if nothing else, they'll get something finished and a bit of hope into the bargain to go with their crushed dreams ; )

11/21/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Leanne Smith said...

Thanks Lucy,

You're right, of course. Anything that gives a writer - aspiring or otherwise - a wee bit of optimism can't be all bad. I just wish the people who set up these schemes would think it through. Even though Pilot favours Scottish-based writers, it's still off-putting for most of us here - unless you've got a private income. The T&Cs are too damn tough...

Keep smiling!

11/21/2007 5:18 PM  

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