Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Write Course

Last week had dragged itself to a sorry end with me sitting at the desk spending more time staring at the shelves of DVDs across the room, wondering if I should reorder them, than adding to the still incomplete Word documents open on the monitors directly in front of me.

At least there wasn’t the opportunity to while the rest of the day away in a near vegetative state. With Work Buddy taking The Governess to Luton Airport to pick up her car, after the flight back from a business meeting yesterday had inconveniently been diverted to Stanstead, I grabbed a train from across the road and met them there so we could eventually continue on up to Leicester for the weekend.

Booked on De Montfort University’s one-day Television Scriptwriting Workshop, Work Buddy had decided we should head up the night before rather than have to wake up in the early hours of Saturday morning and tear up the M1 – with all the fun that entails – to get there on time. And of course a Friday night in a different city gave us the opportunity to... wander around the town centre checking out all the different architectural styles before having dinner at the hotel.

I’m in two minds about screenwriting degree courses. Rather than getting bogged down in argument and opinion, I’d concede that an MA is better than a BA because by the time you enrol on the former as a more mature student you’ve probably been out in the real world and lived some, which is more important.

Of course, having letters after your name isn’t worth a fig if you haven’t got a passion for writing and don’t respond the same way that Vicky Page responds to Boris Lermontov’s initial query. But that’s more or less the same for every discipline.

According to all the speakers, an element of luck was also required, which didn’t really come as a big surprise. Everyone in turn, describing how they broke into the business, mentioned that a degree of luck was a factor, but there had to be talent and determination.

Anyway the day started with coffee and pastries to give everyone time to arrive and register. If, as some folk believe, it’s all based on who you know – obviously the people that tip you the wink and usher you in through the back – then I’m well and truly screwed. Almost as soon as we arrived the MA in TV Scriptwriting’s 1st Year Tutor came up and shook my hand, asking how I was. Initially, I drew a blank, until his prompt reminded me we had only met a couple of weeks ago, in the NFT’s Green Room after the Troy Kennedy Martin interview. Yikes!

The Workshop was neatly divided into a comedy keynote speaker, a drama Q&A, a sitcom Q&A, and a drama keynote speaker, broken up by coffee breaks and a buffet lunch, and then rounded off with an evening reception.

Each of the guests was remarkably candid, certainly opinionated, and didn’t pull any punches. We made extensive notes, were pleased to discover we were pretty much on the right track, and picked up a few tips that can only prove to be very helpful.


At 8:45 am, Blogger Brian Sibley said...

And, hopefully, they sent you away with your own gift-wrapped, personally validated, indefinitely bankable chunk of LUCK! Mind you, if you make your own, you get double bonus points...

So, G... L...!

PS: Of course, I'm only writing this drivellish comment because I'm trying to find something to do other than crawl across the arctic whiteness of the blank Word document open on my computer screen... ;-)

At 5:02 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


It was wrapped, it comes with a certificate, and it's nice and shiny. Sitting on the edge of the desk, when I pat it, it glows!

I hope you've managed to blot out the big white rectangle on your computer.


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