Tuesday 30 September 2014, 13:39The Secret Art of Script Editing
With long-running series like EastEnders and Coronation Street gracing our screens several times a week, writers have a tough task in keeping the story fresh and maintaining the audience's interest. So what role does the script editor play in the process?
Henry Swindell, Development Producer from BBC Writersroom, and Ellen Taylor, former script editor and current writer on ITV's Coronation Street, give us some invaluable insight into the process. Having both spent many years script editing various shows, they share their views on the crucial role of a good script editor.
"You are a diplomat... You have to deliver bad news and help to make somebody understand another's point of view."
– Ellen Taylor
They reveal how the script editor represents the interests of the writer and the script across the production. They have to be ready to have difficult discussions and hold their ground when necessary, so must be passionate and supportive, while analytical and critical.
Henry and Ellen discuss the best...
Tuesday 23 September 2014, 14:43
In all my most recent shows – Exile, Talk To Me, The Street and Accused - I have created lead characters that are morally complicated. Lead characters that walk the fine line between good and bad, their behaviour is sometimes appalling, but in the next breath they are charming, funny, likeable. These characters are interesting to me – I don’t do good guys - I like characters that are difficult, characters that tell lies, characters that keep secrets, characters with flaws. So when Jim Poyser and myself came up with the idea for The Driver – a taxi driver who starts driving for a criminal - I instantly knew I had a character I could write.David Morrissey stars as Vince McKee in The Driver.
The idea came from a lunch we had together one day. We were just having a laugh and shooting the breeze, as friends do, when Jim told me of a half idea he had about a guy who works for a crime boss in his spare time. He’d imagined a comedy. But something chimed with me. I’d read a story weeks before, in the Manchester Evening News, about a taxi driver who had been done for carrying cash for a local gang. And suddenly, as these things sometimes do, an idea started forming.
Monday 22 September 2014, 12:55
Editor’s note: Marvellous is a new film about the extraordinary real-life story of Neil Baldwin - a man who refused to accept the label of learning difficulties and confounds all expectations. It will be on BBC Two, at 9pm on Thurs 25th.Marvellous, BBC Two: Toby Jones as Neil Baldwin
I was sitting in rolling fields in brilliant sunshine outside Stoke On Trent. An unlikely sentence, I know, but it gets unlikelier. A few yards away the industrious hum of film making could be heard. Sitting next to me was Neil Baldwin. He had an oversized clown’s shoe on his lap which he was signing for a charity auction. So did I. I wasn’t sure who the clown’s shoe was for but Neil seemed in no doubt it was for something important. It was then I realised that I had spent two years gently preparing Neil for entry into my world of scriptwriting, filming, editing but what had actually happened was that he had willed me and an entire film crew into his world. It is what Neil does.
I first encountered Neil Baldwin through a newspaper article in the Guardian. A man tagged at school with the “learning difficulties” who then went on to become a Circus Clown, Lay Preacher, unofficial student greeter...
Friday 19 September 2014, 14:21
Editor's note: Our Girl returns to BBC One on Sunday 21 September 2014 for a five part series. This follows a successful one-off episode broadcast in March 2013 which explored how Molly Dawes (played by Lacey Turner) came to join the army.
Lacey Turner as Molly Dawes
What was your ambition for the series?
I wanted to write a drama about what it was like being a foot soldier in Afghanistan and looking at the issues from their point of view. There’s a big chain of command in the army so I thought it would be really interesting to write about the war from the perspective of a new recruit...
Tuesday 9 September 2014, 13:39
Editor's Note: Matt Charman talks about how he discovered the story behind the creation of Chester Zoo, the responsibilities of writing about real people, his research process and why George Mottershead is his favourite character in the drama.
He also talks about his next project, a currently untitled Cold War thriller, pitching this to Dreamworks and subsequently meeting with and getting notes from the director, no less than Steven Spielberg! The film starts shooting this month in New York and Berlin.
Matt also shares his tips for new writers and his Desert Island DVD choices.
Wednesday 3 September 2014, 12:31
Editor's Note: Katie Hims' recent radio work includes Listening to the Dead, The Martin Beck Killings, King David and Lost Property which won the 2012 Audio Drama Award. Her stage play Billy the Girl was produced by Clean Break at Soho Theatre in 2013.
Katie was the the lead writer for the first series of Radio 4's epic drama about the First World War, Home Front, which began on the 100th anniversary of the start of the war on 4th August 2014 and reflects events which happened exactly 100 years ago in each episode. Producer, Lucy Collingwood, spoke to Katie about the challenges and rewards of...
Thursday 28 August 2014, 11:50
As one of its readers it’s a nice feeling to be able to contribute something to the Writersroom Blog. I hope some of this might be useful just as I hope it’s not too stultifyingly self-indulgent. I thought I might write a bit about my experiences of writing for radio, couched more widely in a bigger picture of my near constant struggle to try to find the right story to tell. What I’m not going to do is write a list of dos and don’ts for radio. Other much smarter people have done that, like this blog.
I’m here because I’ve written a new play that will be broadcast on Radio 3 at...
Wednesday 27 August 2014, 12:01
Editor's note: Boy Meets Girl is the UK's first transgender sitcom and has been commissioned as a full series on BBC Two among the channel's raft of new commissions. Created and written by Elliott Kerrigan and Simon Carlyle, the Manchester-based comedy was discovered through the Trans Comedy Award – a BBC Writersroom talent search in partnership with Trans Comedy, which offered aspiring writers up to £5,000 for the best script that promoted a positive portrayal of transgender characters.
First things first, thank you for taking the time to read this. Second, I’ll try not to keep repeating...
Wednesday 20 August 2014, 15:24
Editor's note: Luke Barnes is the writer of two plays at this year's Edinburgh Fringe: Beats North (a double-bill with Ishy Din) and Bottleneck, returning to the festival following an acclaimed premiere in 2012. He explains why the Fringe has meant so much to his career and why it is a uniquely exciting destination for new writing.
I’m writing this as I’m packing my bag to return to Edinburgh for the first time since 2012. Back then I was really lucky and won sponsorship from IdeasTap and Old Vic New Voices to take Chapel Street up to the Fringe and, even more luckily, Bottleneck was produced...
Thursday 14 August 2014, 14:02
Editor's Note: The Our World War Interactive Episode accompanies the BBC Three series. The interactive episode is set during the attack on High Wood – part of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The writer of the interactive episode, Marco Crivellari, explains the process of writing an episode in which the viewer is put in the position of a young corporal and has to make critical decisions to keep his men alive.
Our World War Interactive Episode
2 April 2014
Would you mind doing some of my work for me? I’ve been asked to write the online accompaniment to a series on BBC Three...