I met John Sweeney from METLAB on Thursday afternoon at London Metropolitan University. The best way to describe John I think is ‘irrepressible’. His enthusiasm is hugely infectious, and besides – how can you possibly dislike someone who greets you with the line: ‘The only problem with Universities is that they’re full of students!’
If you haven’t heard of METLAB click here – suffice to say, as a ‘scheme’, it sounds massively exciting. John takes on the role of ‘studio head’ (“Like Harvey Weinstein,” he said, “but with ten times the ego!”) and with the assistance of various script editors (of whom Lucy is one), attempts to hone and polish (or in my case hack, slash and decapitate) your script until it resembles something that can be successfully marketed. The whole process takes about nine months, with a meeting once a month – a little like a truncated MA course, but with the emphasis very much placed on having a finished ‘product’.
A couple of days before the meeting I finally managed to get my script over to John in a format he could actually access – and he liked it. Even so, he spent some time riffing on a possible opening scene which was about ten times better than the one I have in there currently (John: “I’ll take a credit for that!”). This to my mind is the essence of METLAB: if you’re precious at all about your writing, this isn’t the place for you. As John said, if you can justify it, fine: if not, out it goes. If I get on, it looks like being an interesting and informative nine months...
Oh, and John signed my book as well...
Anyway, I’m on the shortlist, so more news as it drops into my inbox.
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