OK, so if you read my last post you would be aware of my wish that when the name ‘Daniel Peak’ is googled, my paragraph about him might appear. I decided to check if it would and – hooray! – it’s already the 31st result on google! So that’s nice. But googling the inane culture diluting fuckwit reveals some horrible things….
an interview with him. with some hugely illuminating answers!
It turns out he is a graduate of the BBC’s ‘New Talent’ scheme – something I’ve been highly skeptical of for years. Under the same umbrella of ‘Writers Room’. it is a box ticking exercise in keeping bad writers occupied with each other rather than bothering the executives. If you have an idea for the BBC you can go straight to them – you don’t have to fanny about in the writers room creche. In this interview he states he ‘I spent 10 years trying to be a TV writer with no success’ TEN YEARS? It’s not THAT hard. Then, presumably, just as he was on the cusp of realising maybe his lack of success is due to his lack of aptitude, the BBC name him New Talent of the year (can you imagine the standard of the runners-up?).
On this page…
…Peak offers advice for aspiring writers. In the video clip, he offers his top 3 tips…
1. Watch loads of sitcoms. He cites George & Mildred as being ‘very very funny and cleverly written’. George & Mildred is of it’s time and fine but only a really bad writer would view it as aspirational.
2. Enter lots of competitions. This is TERRIBLE advice. Most screenwriting competitions have entry fees and, although you might be awarded first prize, it means nothing – there is no guarantee the script will get made or shown to agents or production companies. It’s generally a profit-making scheme by shady companies. When institutions like the BBC and C4 run such things, the small print is generally terrible – by entering, you are giving them an option on the material for free. Any professional writer will confirm that you should get PAID for the option on your work. By entering it, you deny the project the chance to be set up anywhere else for a substantial period of time. Meanwhile, the BBC and C4 are still looking for good scripts! So why not avoid the competition, take it straight to the relevant department and have them pay to option your script if it’s any good. I’d love for people to inform me of anyone (apart from monsieur Peak) who has gone on to success as the result of a screenwriting competition.
3. – and this is amazing – ‘don’t be afraid to steal from other people’. If you watch the clip, he says this with a nod and no hint of a smile or irony or jocularity. The transcript on the BBC page incorrectly adds an exclamation mark where none was implied. He offers this a piece of calm, honest advice. Don’t be afraid to steal from other people. There is an old showbiz phrase ‘steal from the best’ – which is better advice, if you think about it.
It’s just a shame he can’t be bothered to steal from anyone good.
Still, his career will progress. That’s the sick thing about the industry. Once you’re ‘BBC NEW TALENT WINNER’, that’ll get you a gig on Two Pints of Lager, and once you’ve done that you’re ‘WRITER OF BBC TV’S TWO PINTS’ and then you’re ‘WRITER OF PRIME TIME BBC SITCOMS TWO PINTS AND MY HERO’ and – on paper – you’re a bankable investment.
I spoke this afternoon to my old writing partner Andy – an incredibly funny guy – who had read my earlier post and wanted to discuss it. We’ve both pursued different avenues with our lives now. We both turned our backs on the notion of a screenwriting career. Although in the few years we did write, we were INFINITELY more successful in every way than Peak was in his wilderness DECADE. Neither of us really have any ambition any more and that’s a shame because we were pretty good. Every single thing we did was better than anything Daniel Peak has ever written. It came from a reason, it had fuller characters, it was more sophisticated yet more accessible, it was more tightly constructed and it was funnier. Everything we wrote was funnier than anything Daniel Peak has written. Even the serious stuff. I wonder how many great writers gave it a shot, shrugged their shoulders and walked away because the broadcasters seemed to just not have any agenda for new quality programming.
I feel a bit bad now for calling Peak a cunt. Especially seeing him on video now. I do take it back, he’s not a cunt. He’s not an evil cynical guy trotting out lazy crap – that’s obvious now. He’s just an insignificant talentless chump who has fallen upwards thanks to a ludicrously-run BBC.