What a year it has been! The last general blog I wrote was back in March when I was beginning my full-time, freelance journey once again at possibly the worst time to be doing so. But, like all of us, I quickly learned to adapt and make changes and it has been a surprisingly busy and fulfilling seven months.
I spent most of the first lockdown writing two brand new sit coms, both of which are now in development. Working on original scripts with producers and directors again has been a great joy and something which never really feels like work, so a huge thanks in particular to Simon Lupton and Matt Holt. Getting notes and new ideas from creatives that you really trust, and respect, is truly the greatest feeling, as the script can then only improve. That’s not always been the case in the past, but this year has seen me being particularly lucky in that regard and long may it continue.
My work with schools around the world has had to change drastically for obvious reasons but I have really enjoyed the virtual sessions I have been able to lead with International Baccalaureate film students and teachers and I was particularly pleased to be asked to be an examiner on the I.B. Diploma Programme film course. I also greatly enjoyed my session with Praxis Preforming Arts students at Uxbridge college.
Not being able to go into Universities has brought about the biggest new way of working and has actually opened up a whole raft of fresh opportunities. My face to face talks on writing to film, media, creative writing and animation departments have all had to move online, but this has now meant that I am able to work across the entire country and have already enjoyed sessions in, amongst others, Glasgow, Huddersfield and Aberystwyth with many more bookings to come over the rest of the year and into 2021. The range of subjects that I have been asked to cover is really wide, which is hugely interesting for me and has included screen/scriptwriting, getting work in the industry, writing comedy, narrative structure, character development and my 26 rules of scriptwriting model which I know a lot of students and lecturers find useful.
I have also had a large number of bookings from writer’s groups across the country and have really found that everyone seems to have adapted to working on Zoom, Hangout or Teams without any problems. I am very much aware that budgets are tight at the moment so have adapted my costings to fit in accordingly and am greatly looking forward to leading workshops from the South coast to Northumbria. I also have two ticketed master classes coming up in London thanks to invitations from the London Writer’s Café and Sutton Writers.
Other work has seen me writing my first picture book, based on some amazing artwork by Horace Panter, the legendary bass player from The Specials. I have also reimagined an old CBBC script which was like seeing an old friend again after a few years. And I really enjoyed writing a number of observations of everyday life for Johnny Vaughn’s Kickabout radio show on his 'Mexican Handbags' slot.
I guess the most significant work has seen me writing on Have I Got News For You and I am already two episodes in, with one more to come on the current series. That has already been a fantastic experience, mostly working on the stills and videos openings as well as the missing words round so far.
And I know that teaching, lecturing and writing is particularly tough for everyone right now and I would love to help where I can. Please do get in touch if you think I might be able to help lead a session or give some one to one advice or consultancy. Even if courses, modules and groups are lead by experienced scriptwriters, I can usually cover different, specialist ground such as comedy or writing for children and I have had a number of lecturers say that having me lead a session really can help reiterate messages they have already been trying to get across. Having me come in and stress the importance of writing in a particular way, in relation to current industry demands, can often help focus the student mind on their immediate and future projects, as they know this might end up being one of their calling card writing samples for getting work.
Stay safe and I look forward to discussing collaborative possibilities with you.