Scriptwriting: Inside Track

On Saturday I spoke on a panel for a scriptwriting conference:

The St Hilda’s College Media Network put together four good sessions on radio drama, radio and TV comedy, TV drama, and film.  Some great professionals there including producers Karen Holden, Marion Nancarrow, Harriet Rees and Sioned William, and writers Lizzy Edmondson, Juliet McKenna, and Jean Buchanan.

It was the TV drama session, rather than the comedy, that was especially giggly – Sarah Pinborough and Katherine Way to see the funny side of the business.   Katherine had an anecdote about a script that had had so much rewriting that they’d run out of different colours of paper for the changed scenes.  Actually that’s not funny if you’re the writer.

The audience loved hearing about Tina Pepler’s radio play involving a chiropodist whose left foot talks to his right.

Lawyer Roger Kirby and screenwriter Whit Stillman got a real deadpan volley of humour going.  I’m a fan of Whit’s films; he’s a quiet guy who gives the impression he’s listening carefully to everything.  Roger was a subversive Chair, and kept us not only on our toes, but seemed to bring out the areas in which we disagree.  Does everything need to be solidly in genre nowadays, or can you still make an idiosyncratic piece?  Can you just send your script to a producer or actor, and will this get better and quicker results than sending it to an agent?  Is there any funding out there any more?

I’m hoping there’ll be another one next year, although it must be a hell of a lot of work.

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