This fortnight, I want to tell you about three courses I will be running in the next few weeks / months –
CREATIVITY FOR SCRIPTWRITERS Sunday June 18th in central London.
A one day course. This will be the first time I’ve held this course since 2019 and I’m delighted to be running it again, it’s always enjoyable. The day is all about generating ideas, creating stories and characters in a collaborative, supportive and fun environment. No preparation is required – it’s all about the conversations and insights on the day.
The course is about dramatic writing (rather than specifically about screenwriting) ie I hope it will also have applications for theatre, audio drama and comedy – in fact for all storytellers.
We will be joined for an hour by writer LISA CARROLL. Lisa was one of the 12 writers on the 2021 Channel 4 screenwriting course and has a brilliant new play, THE MISANDRIST, opening at the Arcola Theatre in May
Lisa will talk about her own writing and teaching, the things that inspire her, her processes and ideas, and about dramatic writing more generally.
As ever, the day will be rounded off by a visit to a local pub to continue the discussion about dramatic writing and for the writers to share experiences in a more informal setting. Numbers are limited to 20.
Thursday May 18th INTRODUCTION TO SCRIPT EDITING
Run with training organisation, ‘Think Bigger’, my now semi-regular one day script editing course. This will take place in Spitalfields, central London. For anyone with an interest in script editing, script reading, script development and the principles of dramatic storytelling for the screen. This will be the 3rd time I have run this new course. Attendees so far have been a mix of people already working in the industry and freelancers.
Tuesday May 9th 6-8.30pm on zoom SCRIPT READING & DEVELOPMENT Q &A
Another semi-regular session , this is also for anyone interested in working in script reading, script development and script editing – whether you’re trying to break into the industry or if you already work in it and are looking to advance your career. I think this will be the 6th time I have run this session; and I invite all participants to join a dedicated, exclusive facebook group so that you can carry on the conversation after the session and alert each other to upcoming opportunities. I also regularly post opportunities I hear about to this facebook group.
(I think this connectedness, the chance to meet new people with similar interests and ambitions is one of the most important aspects of all of these courses.)
Last Thursday I went to RYE LANE at my local cinema in the afternoon and then caught up with ep 3 of S4 of Succession in the evening (what a lovely day that was). The previous evening I’d watched COLIN FROM ACCOUNTS ep 1 on BBC iplayer, having just rapidly binged the whole series of BLUE LIGHTS.
I’m blown away by how much amazingly good content I watched in such a short space of time. It makes me think about how high the bar is set for writers, particularly in light of reading projects where I get the sense that the writer has compromised and diluted their script before it’s been seen by anyone, in a misguided attempt to make their script more attractive to broadcasters. This feels miscalculated when in a single week I’ve seen so many shows that feel so distinctive, so clearly the product of an unfiltered, idiosyncratic, distinctive voice (even when all of these shows to some extent conform to many of the acknowledged characteristics of a particular genre).
A little bit on each of those shows and what I took from them –
One of the things I liked about this is that it felt like something of a throwback, a conventional police procedural series of the sort that doesn’t often get made anymore. At the same time though it was very much its own thing, defined by its Belfast setting and a sense that the writers had really done their research. But it was reassuring to be reminded that it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. This was just an excellent example of a genre show, an outstanding example of its type. Great to be reminded that a relatively conventional show like this could still cut through and compare very favourably to so many of the other conventional TV police shows that in comparison feel derivative and unconvincing (no names!). A great example of the strengths of TV series drama, in that with every episode I became more and more invested in the characters. Series 2 is a treat to look forward to. It was doubly impressive that it is created and written by quite new writers – Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, who had previously written the BBC factual drama, The Salisbury Poisonings.
While this conformed to many of the conventions of the rom-com, it still felt utterly and specifically like its own thing, a love letter to South East London and to the cultural specifics of this place in this time. The storytelling was great – so many brilliant rom-com set-ups and pay-offs. Overall just a delightful film. And short! Only 1 hour 22 minutes! So much care and so many good decisions had gone into every scene and every shot. I grinned my way through it. Written by Nathan Bryon & Tom Melia.
SUCCESSION S4, Ep 3.
Even though I’d stumbled across a spoiler on Twitter (grr), I was still completely transfixed by this episode. In fact, I’d go as far to say this is one of my favourite episodes of any drama series at any time, ever. At times, deeply moving and then suddenly hilariously funny – the way Jesse Armstrong pulls that off is extraordinary. And the show had an immediacy and intensity that was absolutely gripping.
COLIN FROM ACCOUNTS
Another rom-com (of sorts), an Australian TV comedy drama series. The two leads come together when one of them hits a dog in his car – and both have to then take responsibility for the dog, who they name COLIN FROM ACCOUNTS (the title and the idea behind it was one of the main things that made me want to watch this – and I wasn’t disappointed). It’s brilliantly well-observed and at times very funny. Co-written by the two lead actors, Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall.
The next newsletter will be on Friday May 5th.
Friday April 21st 2023