Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Maybe I Actually Want to be a Script Editor

There's dozens, probably hundreds, of blogs by professional screenwriters and wannabe scribes. You can get a flavour of a few by clicking the links down the right hand side of your screen: sample the humour of sitcom writing legend Ken Levine; find out about life with Doctor Who and Robin Hood scribe Paul Cornell; have a look among the links on Ken's blog and they'll lead you to dozens more. But there are very few blogs out there written by professional script editors and even less by wanna script editors. [A few by script readers, but that's another branch of the same tree.] Perhaps it's one of the unglamorous jobs to which people don't aspire, they simply stumble into it. That's how I became a comics editor. I was a daily newspaper journalist, used to writing copy that was read by a million people a day. By chance I ended up doing an unofficial apprenticeship [thankfully sans TV coverage or Sir Alan Sugar] to become a comics editor.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing and I doubt the urge to write scripts, stories and fiction will ever leave me. But I also thoroughly enjoy working with other writers, trying to find a better way of telling a story - whether it's my story or their story. It was one of the joys of being a comics editor, working with writers like John Wagner, Gordon Rennie and Robbie Morrison. [Of course, in John's case he'd already been doing the job professionally for 20 years, so hardly needed my help.] Doing the MA Screenwriting course is giving me the chance to collabroate more with other writers, offering them what help I can to make their scripts better.

Maybe that's what I want to do.

Here's a scary thought - maybe that's what I do best.

Unfortunately, there ain't many Script Editor courses out there I can tackle. MA Screenwriting courses may be sprouting at universities around Britain but script editing is one of those arcane disciplines that doesn't have a great academic basis yet. Learn on the job vocational training seems to be the limit, mostly. The BBC does run a two-day introductory Script Editing course for £700 and an advanced two-day course for £1170. Ouch, says my wallet. Are there any other script editing course out there I might like to try? If anybody reading this has any insight to offer, please leave a comment...


Optimistic_Reader said...

Hi David,

One of the "established" ways of getting into script editing is by starting off as a script reader. I've done some script editing purely on the basis of the reading experience I have. As for courses, TAPS have a two-day course one that I'd like try - keep an eye on the website for more details as I think they will announce the next dates soon - there's a link on my blog, can't quite remember the address now. Other than the prohibitively expensive BBC course, I can't think of any others, though the Script Factory/National Film and TV School PgDip in Script Development covers Scipt Editing, and there is an MA at Westminster in Scriptwriting and Producing which also has a script editing module. Hope that's helpful and let me know if you decide to do the TAPS course! Oh, and thanks for adding to the discussion on my blog!

Lucy said...

Oh OR, you pipped me to the post again - and you're so nice with it. A blog like "vicious images" really needs my unique brand of belligerent vitriol!! ; )

What I really want to know is how you survived the plane crash near Tasmania David?? And where are Lilijana and Serena??

Oh crap, confusing Neightbours and reality again... it's HORMONES i tell ya!

David Bishop said...

Tasmanian plane crash? That was easily avoided. The tough part was getting rid of Lilijana and Serena's bodies...

Oops, me and my big mouth again.

Forget I mentioned anything.

By a freakish coincidence, I was reading thewriteway yesterday as research before toddling along to Adrian Mead's TV Drama seminar in Edinburgh this Saturday.

What a small world it is online...

Piers said...

I went on the BBC script editing course a few years ago. Although it was a reasonably good learning experience I didn't have the contacts at that time to parlay it into a script-editing job. Someone more outgoing than I am might be able to.

Having said that, at least one of the people from that course has gone on to be a development executive.