As a UK script consultant and script writer for hire, the last decade has seen a seismic shift in the film and TV industry. For a start, this website didn’t exist ten years ago, and to hire me, as BAFTA shortlisted TV and film writer, you’d need to contact my agent, and negotiate my fee first.
Now you can get access to my services online–just Google ‘script writer for hire’ and there I am.
So, my agent kind of acted as a gatekeeper. Well, that gate is wide open now, and lots of other gates have opened too.
If you have the skills, the technology is now here to write and shoot a film or TV show to broadcast quality on a very low budget. This technological breakthrough has been promised for decades, but it’s here in 2020. You can use the same editing suite as Spielberg for next to nothing– and even the most basic DSLR shoots footage at 4K.
What about distribution? There’s still gate keepers to the audience isn’t there? The answer to that is ‘NO’.
If you shoot something that’s good enough it’s pretty straightforward to get your film onto Netflix or Amazon Prime. YouTube which has been around for well over ten years is now really one of the biggest broadcasters in the world (and believe me, it will get bigger, YouTube hasn’t even really got started yet…)
What about traditional broadcasters?
The BBC, ITV and CH4 are slowly sliding into irrelevance. YouTube, Netflix and Amazon offer a global audience. In the UK the licence fee looks unlikely to be granted again beyond its current remit. But, as great as BBC,ITV and CH4 had been in the 60s,70s,80s and 90s …nothing lasts forever, and they have been mismanaged and run into the ground since the 00s. Their time has already past. Nobody is watching anymore. The broadcasters might not have noticed yet, but they are already irrelevant… and it’s too late to do much about it.
Is this all good news or bad? Time will tell. For me as a UK script consultant and script writer for hire I’m now, as of 2020, full time employed on work coming into this website. Full time. I get a lot of varied and interesting script writing commissions, so many more than I got when I had an agent.
Alongside the full time writing I’m also, finally launching my directorial career – firstly with my feature length debut as a director, the horror thriller Markham – which will be released online in February this year.
Markham has been self financed, it’s been shot and edited on my own equipment, and I’ve had total control. As I move into distributing Markham, I’m going to keep that same level of control.
These things would have been unheard of 10 years ago, and impossible for me to do. But now, as Marx talked about (Karl– not Groucho) the means of production for filmmakers at least, are now in the hands of anyone who wants to pick them up. That’s the seismic shift.
In 2020 anyone can make and distribute a film/TV show without permission from gatekeepers.
Of course, this also means a lot of dross might get made, but the old systems didn’t protect us from rubbish (see Cats and endless other crap). People will still need talent, and a good script, to give their work the best chance of a big audience (if you need a good script–hire me!).
After Markham, I have other projects already in development for me to write, direct and produce – AND DISTRIBUTE MYSELF… The world has changed. The traditional film industry will be ringing the bells very soon and bringing out of the dead.
The planet has turned. We need to accept it, and bring in the new blood.
Happy New Year.
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour
His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020.