Looking back and looking forward.
Updated: Jan 11
And so, the end of one extraordinary year comes to a close and passes the baton to what is already shaping up to be another weird and wonderful twelve months. Over here in the UK, in the very first week, the country went into full lockdown and yet again life threatens to become a mixture of Zoom quizzes, walks and clapping for carers. Reflecting back on 2020, I cannot say it’s been all bad. It has certainly been a fantastically interesting year of work, despite having to adapt a great deal, thanks to the global changes that have been sent to trouble us all.
Highlights have been writing on Have I Got News For You. And the good news for me has been that after working on three episodes of the last series I am being brought back to write on the next one, starting in April. Well, unless global circumstances force changes to filming, as happened during the first lockdown. It’s definitely harder doing it remotely but as I cannot see things getting back to normal by April, I imagine it will involve trying to be topical and funny at the same time on Zoom once again.
2020 did see competition successes and there is nothing nicer than getting an email saying that from 1000 applications you are down to the last ten and then ultimately the last four as happened with the TriForce Creative Network HIGNFY opportunity. And then something similar happened after being shortlisted in the Kickitdown Production’s Screen to Screen callout for short films.
I also continued to send in observations of everyday life to Johnny Vaughn’s Kickabout show on Radio X and he continued to select them for his Mexican Handbag slot and even inducted me on to the top table of contributors. Which, in the words of The Fast Show, was nice.
The year also saw the completion of two brand new sit coms which are currently working their way through the development process. This is a very slow flowing river, but I have been extraordinarily lucky to already have been able to work with some great producers and directors on redrafting them and getting them into the best shape possible in the hope of getting them across the line. The process goes on and the scripts are being constantly reworked as things change and the commissioning ground shifts yet again.
My work in Universities saw a drastic shift in direction as students stopped having access to face-to-face teaching. I therefore lost out on the ability to deliver talks to film, media, animation and creative writing departments in campuses near to me, but with that shift came the newfound opportunity to expand and remotely visit Universities all over the country. And so it was that I found myself delivering workshops to both BA and MA students in Glasgow, Huddersfield, Ormskirk, Aberystwyth, Leeds and Surrey. With many more booked in for the coming year.
And the same logic applied to writer’s groups who were suddenly able to invite me to lead sessions online, with many of them happening hundreds of miles away. I also really enjoyed being the speaker at two ticketed events in London thanks to the Sutton Writer’s Group and the London Writer’s Café, the latter enjoying their biggest take up of one of their events to date. Next year I already have bookings from Yorkshire right down to Devon and am really looking forward to helping newer writers through the exciting process of improving their scripts and fiction. I have now, thanks to some invaluable digital marketing guidance, launched a Facebook page for all the workshops: https://www.facebook.com/ianpikeworkshops and also started to offer one to one and small group consultancy.
Other really interesting developments saw me recording a podcast on my experiences during lockdown back in June for the Co-existing series: https://pod.link/1517874874/episode/YmFkOGMwYTQtOWFmMi00ZmY3LWE2YTEtYmRjMTczOTk0ZWJm
As well as signing up with an actor’s agency and subsequently having my first castings in over 15 years. I am now proudly repped by the wonderful CiekaBailey Associates and am very much looking forward to a return to the world where it all began for me.
And then finally I have been really fortunate in being able to work in schools right across the world. Something that I really thought would be not be possible at the start of the year, but which turned out to be more than viable without ever leaving the office. My last face to face talk on scriptwriting happened at Carmel College in St Helens, just before the first lockdown, followed by an online talk with the Praxis Performing Arts students in Uxbridge and then towards the end of the year I was delighted to be able to return to Frankfurt International School. This was a project that involved working with their Grade 10 and 11 Performance Theatre students. Taking a well-known children's story and transforming it into a Covid friendly radio play for 4–7-year-olds via Zoom. And I am delighted to be able to say that this has now been rolled out internationally with another 16 schools booking me to work with their own students in 2021. I am also putting together a similar project for International Baccalaureate film students and was thrilled to be invited to become an I.B. film examiner.
So much to look forward to during some very difficult times but thanks to the current lockdown, there are still plenty of opportunities for exciting collaborations, so if you are interested in chatting about any of the possibilities above then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
All the best for 2021.