As I left RTÉ last week at the end of another long run there I was very aware that I hadn’t a gig lined up to go to anywhere else anytime soon.
— Pat O'Mahony (@patomahony1) June 30, 2016
It occurred to me so that this might be the perfect time to stop and reassess my life and maybe, y’know, after long and deep contemplation, go off in a totally novel direction.
Perhaps now was the time to try something completely new; something that might even be a tad more predictable and regular.
When you’re a freelancer you constantly live in the knowledge that the next gig might never actually turn up.
You do your best to negate this possibility by pitching your own ideas in case the phone doesn’t ring offering work as often as you – and your bank manager – might like.
But occasionally when work stops and there’s nothing on the immediate horizon, surprisingly you don’t panic.
In fact, as the end of your contract approaches you have that peculiar, incongruous feeling of in fact looking forward to it.
You know from previous experience that you’ll get restless pretty quickly and won’t enjoy watching your bank balance deteriorate anytime you check it online but you don’t let that worry you.
Not for a while anyway.
I have this rare and agreeable feeling right now.
I’m putting it down to a pleasantly unusual combination of factors.
As I’ve written here before, freelancing involves managing the quiet periods in between the busy ones.
Thing is, as I’ve also written, I’ve been really lucky to have worked almost non-stop for the past few years, even if this has been to the detriment of generating and pitching as many new ideas as I’d like.
So right now, I’m not broke.
And I could do with a break.
I’m not in any great rush to go away on an actual holiday – certainly not after last year’s March debacle in Tenerife where the weather gods decided to have giggle at my expense.
— Pat O'Mahony (@patomahony1) March 19, 2015
— Pat O'Mahony (@patomahony1) March 22, 2015
— Pat O'Mahony (@patomahony1) March 29, 2015
But I want to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in an age, get some things in the flat sorted, play a little tennis, have a dental check-up…you know, the kind of stuff you put to one side when you’re flat out.
In the meantime, a bunch of us are waiting to hear on a funding proposal for a series that would kick off in the autumn if we get the green light in the next few weeks. I won’t say we’re confident – you rarely are – but we’re quietly hopeful.
If it happens you’ll be the first to know…well, you’ll be in the queue, somewhere around the middle…
I’m also thinking I should do more TV work.
Not that I would ever claim to be in charge of what direction my career has ever taken, and over the years, while I’ve worked in both television and radio, they seem to come in alternate waves so that I end up doing a lot of one or the other for lengthy periods.
I’ve mostly done radio since I came back from London in 2009, having got mainly TV gigs during my 11 years there.
I’m thinking I’m maybe due a change.
Not that I’ll ever turn down a good radio gig, just that right now I fancy something different.
Also, RTÉ radio have just taken on a bunch of shiny and bright new radio producers, fresh from a 10-week training course – that yours truly applied for but failed to get…them’s the breaks, kids – so they’re unlikely to be shorthanded anytime soon.
Bet the phone’ll ring in a second with an offer of radio work so.
Contradictorily, I’m already booked for a quick blast of radio producing in the coming weeks.
And the project we’re waiting to hear if we’ve got the necessary funding for is, yup, a radio one.
And I’m in discussions with someone else on another possible radio series.
So to make this change happen I need to kick a little TV ass.
I need to be proactive by throwing the CV judiciously around relevant television folk; by arranging a few coffees with those I’ve worked with in the past and those I’d like to work with in the future; and probably most importantly, by coming up with some half-decent new television ideas that I’ve been too busy to for the last while.
This last bit is undoubtedly the hardest but ultimately if and when anything comes to fruition, the most rewarding.
So no, for the moment, sorry to disappoint but there’s no great life-transforming change of direction to report.
Not yet anyway.
Just hopefully more of the same media madness that’s got me this far.
If that changes, well you know you’re in the queue, somewhere around the middle there…