The First: No alarm and no surprises

THE FIRST -- Sean Penn leads an ensemble cast in this near-future drama about a crew of astronauts attempting to become the first humans on Mars. Under the direction of visionary aerospace magnate Laz Ingram (Natascha McElhone), the crew contends with peril and personal sacrifice as they undertake the greatest pioneering feat in human history. Denise Hagerty (Anna Jacoby-Heron) and Tom Hagerty (Sean Penn), shown. (Photo by: Paul Schrimaldi/Hulu)

Beautiful shot and thoughtful, The First ultimately hits all the beats you expect it too, with no surprises. The First is a futuristic drama documenting the first manned mission to Mars. It’s set in the near future – the latter part of the 21st century – and as a result feels very contemporary, albeit with… Continue reading The First: No alarm and no surprises

Week seven: Screenwriting culture in the digital age

Writing is an odd beast, both influenced and unchanged by technology. On the surface, the outcome of writing is for us exactly what it was for previous generations: print on a page. But in addition to that we have other ways to disseminate work: online, self publishing, podcast, etc. This carries with it an unprecedented… Continue reading Week seven: Screenwriting culture in the digital age

Week six: first draft

First Draft It’s been perfect first-draft-writing weather. Nothing to tempt me from the keyboard except to make more coffee and watch my dogs play in the snow for a while. Things I have learnt about writing my first draft since I started my screenwriting journey: Get it all out. Don’t get hung on bits. If… Continue reading Week six: first draft

Let women tell their own stories

When I saw the list of new drama commissioned by ITV this year I was heartened to see the focus on female characters seems to have shifted, but confused to see that all these female led shows are being written by men. This is dissatisfactory on several levels. Firstly, female characters written by men do… Continue reading Let women tell their own stories

Dark River

Ruth Wilson in Dark River

I’ve just come back from watching a preview of Dark River, Clio Barnard’s new film, and hearing Clio speak about the making of the film and it’s pretty much all I can think about. I love the look of this film. The score is sparse with the sounds of the landscape making up a great… Continue reading Dark River

Week three: Moving things on

Embarking on this course was with a couple of objectives in mind. To develop a creative practice where I am writing regularly, and collecting and reflecting upon ideas. Deadlines. I’m a classic procrastinator and without a deadline I will never finish anything. Praxis. Learn through doing: the best way to get better is to write… Continue reading Week three: Moving things on

10 ways to make ideas happen

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I’ve spent 15 years working in creative industries, a shortage of ideas has never been an issue. This is how I make ideas happen, and keep happening: Observe the world around you. The news, things you overhear at the supermarket, something that happened to someone you know. The best stories are rooted in truth. Write it… Continue reading 10 ways to make ideas happen

Why I write

I have always been obsessed by storytelling. As a child I had a writing desk and a favourite pen and a notebook, and I wrote. I had to write. Pretty much nothing has changed. I write every day. I have to write. It’s a compulsion. Recently I heard the glorious Sarah Lancashire talking about acting… Continue reading Why I write