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The International Writers Magazine
Careers in TV

Marc George

My name is Marc George. I am you fourteen years from now, the you who has graduated and has left university full of vim and vigor. I am the writer who has the talent and the skill but for fourteen years has had nothing to say, nothing to give.

That’s now changed and part of that change is thanks to TAPS.

Seven months ago TAPS invited me to audition for a place on their Nations Course. It came at a time where life had stopped me flat and made me assess what the hell I was doing. Time and again I kept coming back to my writing, time and again I walked away. But then TAPS wrote to me…out of the blue. To this day it is still a mystery how I got onto their contact list. Even to TAPS.

I didn’t bother keeping up to date with contacts, the industry low downs, the movers and the shakers, nothing - in fact seven months ago I was abstaining from television altogether (literally not watching the crap being aired) so I had no idea about TAPS and was shocked that they even knew me.
No idea. Nada, Zip. Nothing. What the fuck?

What I now know is that TAPS (Training And Performance Showcase) is a platform and opportunity for a new writer. They say themselves ( that their main objective is:
…seeking out, training and showcasing emerging talented writers by putting their original voices in front of leading drama and comedy producers and script executives’

That equates into a competitive process of elimination, an ongoing assessment of you as a writer. Not just your work but you as well; your attitude, your professionalism, everything about you. Ultimately, are you as a writer, employable?

I do not believe in writing courses. You can waste your money attending every course out there and still not get anywhere, still not improve your writing. In short, writing courses serve only one purpose – taking your money by massaging your ego about ‘being a writer’.

I do not feel that about the TAPS Nations course. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of a typical writing course present but they soon dissolve once the seminars and exercises start.

From the start of the course you get a sense of professionalism and competitiveness. You’re playing with the Big Boys now. It’s natural. You’ve just been selected from hundreds from all over the country for one place in sixty. From that sixty only ten are selected to go onto the next round and from those ten only three will have their play filmed. I was one of the three whose play was filmed.

I won’t write about the exact details of the two-day course, suffice to say it was educational and did improve my writing. Of note the writing exercises with Bill Lyons (if you don’t know the name it’s worth noting) was amazing. What struck me about Bill was the huge gap in skills and experience between us: Us being an industry titan (Bill) and new writers (the people on the course). I now know I still have a lot to learn but only experience can give me those lessons. It was a lesson Bill gave freely and without scorn.

Another invaluable experience that TAPS also gave me was seeing my play being filmed professionally. I don’t have the words to explain (without being too gushing) how it felt, the range of emotions that you go through when the words and actions you’ve written are spoken and acted out by real people.

It was mind blowing, especially as it was filmed on the Emmerdale set in ITV Leeds. Yep, I got to sit in the café for the afternoon soap fans!! It’s very surreal to see people off the telly walking around and saying hello to you while you’re queuing up for lunch.

Without a doubt TAPS has been both an experience and an opportunity. Already I have had meetings with the Head Of Drama in ITV Wales, I’ve been invited to pitch program ideas for a local production company and some agents are expressing an interest in my work and me.

The best part of it all is that the whole process hasn’t even finished yet. There’s still the Showpiece to go and the meeting of industry professionals to meet and hopefully impress. The play is in the final stages of postproduction and we are expecting it in the post at the end of March at which point a date will be set and the final stage will commence.

I am aware that I have a lot more hard work to do before ‘I make it’ but that’s the choice I made fourteen years ago that was the choice way back when. You know, when I was but I’m not you. You are here and now. You are the writer with the talent and the skill.
Question is:Have You Got Anything To Say?

For more information on the TAPS Nation course please write to:
TAPS, Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 0QD

© Marc George March 15th

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