CREATIVITY FOR SCRIPTWRITERS 1 day course London Sunday Feb 7th 2016
A course for scriptwriters in all media – TV, film, radio, theatre – designed to help you generate exciting ideas and characters, and give your creativity a boost with a day of fun, stimulating writing exercises. Run by TV drama script editor, producer and script consultant PHIL SHELLEY with guest speaker REGINA MORIARTY writer of the award-winning MURDERED BY MY BOYFRIEND (BBC).
THE TWO PHILS GUIDE TO WRITING AND SELLING A GREAT SCREENPLAY
Weekend course London March 19 – 20 2016
A course for screenwriters of all levels of experience. Run by script editor / producer / trainer PHIL SHELLEY (runs the Channel 4 screenwriting course) and writer / script editor / screenwriting guru PHIL GLADWIN (Screenwriter, script editor, runs ScreenwritingGoldmine comp). With special guest speaker, literary agent MATTHEW BATES (Sayle Screen).
BEST SCRIPTS OF THE YEAR 2015
For my final newsletter of 2015, a look back at my (viewing) script highlights of the year – the scripts that have really stood out for me.
As ever, this is a highly subjective list – and it would be great to hear some of your script highlights of 2015 so that I can share and compare them in future newsletters.
I watched this straight after watching 4 episodes of a particularly dull UK TV cop series. The contrast almost blew my mind. This is an epic, cinematic, hugely entertaining opening episode. So much energy, imagination and story-telling flair.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
I caught up with this series rather late in the day. Again, the opening episode is great – an object lesson in how to grab an audience in your opening episode. TV story-telling at its best.
MASTER OF NONE
Another series that I caught on Netflix – which has dominated my viewing over terrestrial UK shows this year. Wonderful characters who you enjoyed spending time with, a great sense of humour. And a very light-touch examination of questions of race and identity. I binge-watched all 10 (30’) episodes over a couple of days. Pure pleasure. The best of these US Netflix shows set the bar very high!
If you want to read more on this show and the issues it raised, Vinay Patel – an excellent writer from 4Screenwriting 2015 – wrote brilliantly about it –
HOUSE OF CARDS Season 3
Another compellingly addictive Netflix show. And another fascinating blog from the BBC Writers Room by HoC writer Laura Eason that will help explain why the scripts are so damn good .
NURSE / DETECTORISTS / CATASTROPHE / W1A
There’s been some great TV comedy this year – and these are my 4 favourites. All are to some extent genre-busting, they all had lessons for drama writers – about story, character and brilliant dialogue. W1A is probably the most out-and-out comedy of these 4 – while the other 3 shows all had strong drama elements as well as being very funny. NURSE made very little impact on the critics but was outstanding (written by Paul Whitehouse and David Cummings, with a wonderful central performance by Esther Coles).
THE EICHMANN SHOW
A really powerful one-off BBC2 film about the filming and televising of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, written by SIMON BLOCK.
LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX III
Sneaked in at the start of 2015. SALLY WAINWRIGHT is just the best story-teller in UK TV drama. Touching, funny, wonderfully rich, complicated characters, completely involving – and not a cop or medic in sight.
Adapted from her own novel by EMMA DONOGHUE, I saw this at the London Film Festival. It’s out in January and it’s great. If you know nothing about the story, and haven’t read the book, keep it that way before you see the film. This has memorable scene after memorable scene, will keep you on the edge of your seat, and really packs an emotional punch.
BURN BURN BURN
…as does BURN BURN BURN, which is also extremely funny. A brilliant British road movie, one of the best British films for a long time, with a tremendous script by CHARLIE COVELL – another super-talented 4Screenwriting graduate. Not sure if this has a release date yet (another film I saw at the LFF) but have a look here for a sneak peek that will whet your appetite
Wonderful, moving, thought-provoking documentary about a fascinating character. Great piece of story-telling by Asif Kapadia.
Another cracking UK film, a hugely enjoyable rom-com written by TESS MORRIS.
I try to get to as much new theatre writing as possible, knowing that my hit rate is not that high. I have to admit to having left early from the last 2 shows at the Royal Court Upstairs, for instance (and neither had intervals!). BUT when theatre gets it right, there’s nothing to touch it.
RULES FOR LIVING by Sam Holcroft (National Theatre, Dorfman theatre)
This was great – apart from anything else, very, very funny – but also a brilliantly observed study of families at their very worst. Look out for Sam Holcroft – she will go far!
A FURTHER EDUCATION by Will Mortimer (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs)
Will Mortimer deserves double praise – as writer of one of the best new plays of the year, and as literary manager of THE best new writing theatre in London – the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs. He was asking for trouble having a play produced at the theatre where he is literary manager – but he got away with it in style. A FURTHER EDUCATION was warm, charming, touching and thought-provoking.
And it was great to see two of my favourite Hampstead Downstairs plays of 2014 – THE WASP by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and FOUR MINUTES TWELVE SECONDS by James Fritz (who was also a 4Screewriting writer in 2015!) – both enjoying runs at Trafalgar Studios.
I hope you will all be suitably appalled by all the great shows that I’ve somehow managed to leave out – and will email me to put me straight. Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org
As this is my last blog of the year I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to the very many wonderful people who have contributed to my blog this year, namely –
Have a great Christmas and I wish you a highly successful Writing New Year.
AND please let me know your favourite scripts from 2015 –
Email me at – Philip.email@example.com
The newsletter will be back on JAN 15th 2016
All the best
Dec 18th 2015