What I learnt from the first Scriptwriting Weekend with Rebecca Gould…
I’ve been meaning to get around to writing all my notes up for months now. In typical writer fashion, I’m choosing now to do that. Yes, I am well aware that I should be writing my Script Analysis essay but procrastination is so sweet when it’s productive.
The first scriptwriting weekend was intense and started very early (9 AM? Really?). Even so, it was well worth the loss of sleep thanks to Rebecca Gould, Creative Producer at the SOHO Theatre in London.
From 9 AM – 4 PM, Becky filled us in on her “story,” plied us with tips and put us through our paces with writing exercises designed to switch of our inner critic. I left the Atrium that day utterly drained but unable to switch off…which is funny considering I can’t actually remember what I did afterwards.
Here are some of the things I learnt from Becky:
- More likely to produce work with a cast under 5 and minimum (almost no) stage directions.
- Big fan of conceptual.
- More chance of getting into the SOHO 6 if have had work put on.
- Make each character sound different. If all the characters sound the same it’ll be incredibly boring. The way the characters talk could capture the audience’s attention.
- It’s important to make the work appeal to actors as well as directors. Minimum stage directions will help with the directors, leave gaps. Complex, well-written characters will intrigue actors.
- Start thinking about the audience because once you start writing for a living, you’ll always be writing for an audience.
- The audience’s understanding of the character MUST be different to the characters understanding of themselves.
- It’s harder to sell an audience on monologues when the character is talking to themselves and in essence the audience. Better to have the character talking to another character.
Selling your work tips:
- Write the logline on the front page.
- Practice talking about your work. Perfect practice for when you have to pitch your work in 30 secs.
- Always refer to the checklist and think ‘is it….coherent, plausible, empathetic?
- Always think beyond the one piece of work. Come up with multiple ways in which the world you have created can be reused. Becky used Bryony Kimmings’ ‘Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model‘ as an example.
In an audacious and provocative protest against the world’s flagrant attempts to sexualise and commodify childhood, award-winning performance artist Kimmings and her 9-year-old niece Taylor decided to take on the global tween machine at its own game. They invented Catherine Bennett; a dinosaur loving, bike riding, tuna-pasta-eating pop star and vowed to make her world-famous to prove that an alternative was possible! Bryony became Catherine Bennett and Taylor her manager. So far they’ve been invited to Parliament, become friends with Yoko Ono and featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.
I hope that I have and will be able to apply a lot of this as I write my play, Coping Ugly, and develop future projects.