The aptly-named Greg Keen is an aspiring sitcom-writer, whose latest offering, Thicker Than Water, forms part of the Channel 4 Sitcom Festival. Despite this success, he is not yet ready to give up the day job as a freelance media-sales training consultant. "If I were just a writer, I'd starve." He is not untypical of the thousands of wannabes up and down the country. He started because he saw the standard of most sitcoms and thought: "I could do that. Gissa job." "Only when you come to write it do you realise it's harder than it looks," Keen admits. Over the past five years, he has sent scripts to more than 80 production companies, most of whom didn't even send a rejection letter. Yet Keen has ploughed on, fitting the rest of his life around his writing. "When I started about five years ago, I wrote in the evenings after work, " he recalls. "That took a lot of discipline. I confined my social life to hectic weekends." His first script was turned down by the BBC who nevertheless recommended that he join The London Scriptwriting Workshop. "That was the best thing I ever did," Keen declares. "You can spend so much time not knowing what you're doing and getting demoralised by rejections. The other writers give you honest feedback.
Joining a workshop is like a support system. You know very quickly if you're barking up the wrong tree." Now that Thicker Than Water has been accepted by the festival, the 35-year-old Keen has got the writing bug bad. "You're always reading stuff in the paper or meeting people and thinking, `Is there something there that would that be funny if I worked it up?' You ferret away, always trying to nick stuff."
Greg Keen's `Thicker Than Water' is in the Channel 4 Sitcom Festival from 16-19 July