Back in the classroom.
One of the things I have most enjoyed about my return to the freelance world has been being able to work with students and teachers again. It is something I have always loved doing and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to share my thoughts on script and screen writing with young people. Over the years I have picked up great tips from amazing producers, script editors, directors and other writers and being able to pass those on to writers at the start of their journeys is a real privilege. I have also made plenty of mistakes over the course of my career and I am always happy to share those pitfalls.
Over the last twenty years or so, I have also been lucky enough to travel the world working with students at International Schools as well as running workshops and master classes for their teachers and this has really allowed me to build up a number of practical exercises to use. That has made a huge difference to the workshops, as otherwise being taught scriptwriting can tend to take the form of quite a dull lecture. Over the last few years I have worked with film teachers in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur and that has meant that I have been able to effectively pass on my knowledge to large groups of teachers at a time, who have then been able to take everything back to their classrooms. They often then share their student work with me, and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing something I know to have been a tip of mine replicated in a short film. The basis of my workshops centre around my '26 rules of scriptwriting.' These used to be called guidelines but after a while I decided that they really needed to be called rules as I have never managed to find a film that did not have them all in. The list started at about fifteen rules but I have slowly added to them over the years.
Recent teaching has also included working with A level English students at Carmel College in St Helens which was a real pleasure and they were kind enough to tweet afterwards: Screenwriter, Ian Pike delivered a fantastic workshop to our English students. Ian has worked on Hollyoaks and for the BBC and gave our students some great advice. The workshop was about screenwriting and employment within the industry. Thank you Ian!
Then I was asked to take over a final year scriptwriting module at Edge Hill University. Just for the last few weeks but I have to say I really enjoyed working with third year students in small groups, workshopping their final scripts and hopefully helping them towards both a better mark and an improved calling card script for work in the industry.
And finally I was able to put together some online workshops. This was in response to requests from schools around the world, affected by the Corona Virus. Unfortunately my plan to film actual sessions of me working with students fell victim to the virus too so the final result just sees me talking directly to camera, but these are already out there in schools and getting great feedback.
Hopefully it will not be too long before I am able to get back to working face to face with students and teachers but until then do please get in touch if you think the online sessions might be useful. Stay safe and keep writing.