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19 September 2014
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Advice

Writing for Television

EastEnders

Rob Gittins

Rob has written for a large number of successful TV and Radio programmes including EastEnders, Casualty, The Bill, Emmerdale, Solider Soldier, The Archers and over 1000 episodes of Pobol y Cwm.

Rob's work has won him a Writers Guild Award and he was a part of the BAFTA award winning EastEnders writing team in 2000.

In part one Rob talks about his writing career and here he offers advice for new scriptwriters.

Q5. What do you think is the most important characteristic a writer has to have?

A big thing is persistence. I think that carries you through. I know a lot of talented writers but it can take years to make it and the problem is that people just give up. The ones who hack away and just crack on tend to come through.

 

Q6. What makes a good story?

Particularly in the field I operate in, which is mainly TV drama and an awful lot of drama series, I think what makes a good story is really simple; 'what happened next'. That's all anybody wants to know, it doesn't matter what the story is. I think when writers lose sight of the fact that 'what happened next' is what an audience is interested in, that's when it becomes a bit pretentious. The thing about writing is that it is actually incredibly simple and it's very difficult to realise that.

 

Q7. What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the industry?

I think it goes back to persistence. I don't hold myself up as any kind of example but what I did was simply bombard the producers and the editors of shows I wanted to work on until eventually they said OK give him a go. They just got worn down. I would like to say they recognised my amazing talent but they didn't, they just got pissed off and thought ahh give him a commission to get him off our backs.

 

Q8. What is the best writing tip you have been given?

I think Simon Moore the film writer has got this thing about perspective; taking an idea and putting it down in the middle of the room and walking around it. So in fact if you think the idea is about a 40yr old man and a 20yr old woman try reversing it. Try it with different age groups, different sexes. Simon Moore has actually taken that perspective idea, to its logical conclusion because I think the last time I spoke to him he was writing the oldest story in the world - the nativity, but from the view point of the animals and actually the minute you say that you think that's obvious. That's a great example of taking a very, very old story but actually telling it from a brand new perspective. I think when you get an idea and you twist it and twist the characters, you can get something fresh with it.

 

Back to part one



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