Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For moments like these you need Mentees

I think it's now safe to reveal I've been selected by the Scottish Book Trust's words@work scheme as one of three would-be screenwriters to be mentored. Starting in August Adrian Mead will be providing professional guidance for nine months to a trio of scribes all looking to make their mark writing drama for the screen. He knows what he's talking about, having written and directed a feature [Night People], several short films, and contributed scripts to several TV series including Holby City, The Last Detective and Where the Heart Is.

Adrian was a revelation when he came along to the MA screenwriting course at Edinburgh's Napier University last year with his production partner Clare Kerr. the pair were positive, encouraging and full of useful, relevant advice. I've since been to two of Adrian's one-day seminars in Edinburgh and can't recommend them highly enough. When I read about the words@work mentoring scheme, I put myself forward for it and rather cheekily suggested Adrian as a potential mentor. Happily, he's found a way in his busy schedule to mentor not one, but three scribes hungry for help and knowledge.

Still not quite sure how I talked my way into this scheme, especially after reading about the other two mentees Adrian will be guiding. Isabel Wright's been a professional playwright since 1998, with Scottish and British theatre companies including the Traverse, Boilerhouse, Frantic Assembly and 7-84. Now moving into writing for film, TV and radio, Isabel's short film script Vows was shortlisted for the BBC's Brief Encounter scheme. Heather Day's been a TV producer on factual and entertainment shows for more than ten years, but is now pursuing a career in writing TV drama. She was shortlisted in last year's Cineworks short film scheme and is one of 12 to have won through in this year's Digicult short film scheme.

Me? I've had one radio play broadcast, 16 novels and 14 hours of audio drama published, and have been making a living from writing and editing for 21 years. The vast majority of my creative writing has been with other people's characters, but that's probably an advantage - few people trying to crack TV drama get to work exclusively with their own characters at first. You require originality and a voice of your own to break in, but to make a living it seems you need the ability to write for characters created by other scribes.

The prospect of being mentored is both exciting and scary. Have I got the talent to make a living from this industry? Guess I'll find out over the next nine months.

1 comment:

Laura said...


I have seen his courses advertised and seriously thought about doing them, so it's good to know that they would be worthwhile!