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Writer Stuart Wright

Stuart Wright
Writer


     
 

   
   

Interviewee: Stuart Wright
Job Title: Writer
Credits Include: Fallen, Tabloid Terry, Out of Hours, A Roadie's Tale
Interview Date: December 2013

Q. Hi Stuart, give us a little background on yourself before you became a writer? (degree, relevant work experience, interests, etc)
A. I'm a professional journalist turned screenwriter with over sixteen years experience writing about art, film and music: my work has been published by Dazed and Confused, Channel Four's website, Rocksound, Flux Magazine and Quietus.com.

Q. And how did you first get into the film industry and become script writer?
A. My real career ambitions to become a screenwriter were ignited at the start of 2009 with a five week long Introduction to Screenwriting from Raindance. By the summer of 2009 I was a member of two writing groups and developing my screenwriting craft through hearing it read by actors and the feedback of my writing peers. This gave an early indication of the collaborative nature of filmmaking and how being open to ideas can positively grow your story with the input of others. The next twelve months were spent honing my skills and branching out into feature length scripts. While holding down an office job, I attended writers’ workshops at the weekend, City Lit College at night and kept writing and re-writing my own work in any free time.

Q. Is writing a feature film very different to writing a short film aside from the number of words? If so why?
A. Yes it's very different. In terms of linear, narrative story telling. A short film can be like a skit. All set up is paid off in the final moment without needing to explain or completely understand every aspect of what the story has introduced you too. Whereas a feature length script tends needs a much bigger story, usually about one or two people, with sub plots and character development to really work.

Q. Why is it important for scripts to be formatted correctly? (i.e. Courier font, font size 12, correct line spacing / indents, etc).
A. Industry standard is industry standard. Who am I to want to present a script differently.

Q. Typically how long does it take you to write a short film script and how long for a feature?
A. How long is a piece of string? How long have you got? This is not an exact science.

Q. What is the value of doing live script readings with actors when you have a finished draft of a script?
A. The value of a script reading is to hear how a third party understands how your dialogue should be spoken. Quite often they'll interpret it quite differently, drop words or phrases and add in stuff that they feel make it more natural or appropriate for that character.

Q. What are your top tips for someone writing their first feature film?
A. Consider and scrutinise your idea. Is it the best one to be moving on with and spending so much time writing? Or is there a better idea lurking beneath your early thoughts. Then outline the basic beats or moments of the story as you see it. Then flesh that out into a fuller outline. Keep growing your idea for as much time as you can before starting to write the script. I remember seeing Graham Linehan on a Charlie Brooker show about writing. He advocates - ideally - living with an original idea for six months before you start to write it. Oh, and know your ending. Makes getting there much easier no matter how far your story telling seems to want to deviate you from that path.

Q. What is the best bit about being a writer?
A. You can do so much on your own without relying on anyone but yourself. You work when you like, where you like etc.

Q. What is the most challenging bit about being a writer?
A. Facing the blank laptop each day. But leaving it full at the end of the day is easly more satisfying than any other days work I've done in the past.

Q. Is the writing process a painful or pleasurable one? Or both?
A. I am in the Michael Arndt school of writing. When I heard him describe his process as get up, read the paper, drink coffee, read the paper, drink coffee and procrastinate until I hate myself - I looked to the heavens and thought thank god I'm not the only one. I'm sure many writers would concur.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration and script ideas from?
A. Everywhere and anywhere. As a writer you're never not thinking about potential or existing ideas. The important thing is to live a life to create experiences you can reflect on in your work.

Q. Do you have a special room, location, and routine in order to write your scripts?
A. I have an office at home. I like spending time at the British library. I have no routine as such beyond every day.

Q. What tips do you have to become a better writer? For example people often say write 10 pages every day, or read 1,000 scripts, what’s your advice?
A. Just write. Every script started with an acorn of an idea. Your job is to work that idea up - one sentence at a time. Accept some of what you write with be rubbish, that you are your harshest critic and that other writers you get on with should be a maintain stay of your extra curricular activities - so you can talk some more about scripts and ideas.

Q. Which writers, screenwriters, playwrights or novelists do you most admire?
A. Paul Schrader. Taxi Driver is a work of art. It was one of the first screenplays I read and still one I can go back to over and over. Plus he wrote Hardcore - one of my favourite films.

Q. What is the best screenplay you have ever read or seen as a movie and why?
A. Drive by Hossein Amini is a very recent favourite. What was done with a fairly solid pulp fiction novel to adapt it to screen surpassed the book. The relationship between Driver and Irene is a sub plot at best. Whereas in the film they saw the potential for centering the story on those two. The result provided the blueprint for Nicolas Winding Refn to make a wonderful postcard to the city of LA too.

Q. Which directors would you like to work with most or direct one of your screenplays?
A. Nicolas Winding Refn. I think it would fun and I would learn a hell of a lot.

Q. Should people think about how saleable a script will be when they write it or just pen it from passion whatever the idea? What do you personally do?
A. I think you need to be aware of the market place your script is entering. Helps with expectations. If you're going to write the summer my stamp collection drowned because it's dying to get out of you then do it. Just don't surprised when your potenital audience shrinks in comparison to a solid, recognisable genre film. However, a good script is a good script. So that stamp collection story could get you noticed through other routes than simply trying to sell it.

Q. From watching so many films so often what trends have you noticed with current cinema and DVD releases? Do certain genres or sizes of movie dominate the market?
A. I don't think you need to be an avid movie goer to know that sequels, adaptations or world famous novels and comic book hero movies dominate the cineplexes. Investors in film like a sense of certainty attached to the projected returns, just like other business people.

Q. How important is it for a writer to promote himself or herself and their work or is this best left to their agent?
A. You are in charge of your destiny. You know what's important and what you really want. Why place all your faith and ambitions in a third. Of course you've got to promote yourself as a writer. It never stops.

Q. How important is it for a writer to have a social media presence?
A. Personally, I think it's very important. I also enjoy it. It's my water cooler on a bad day. But I don't think it's a necessity.

Q. Is it important for writers to attend film festivals such as Cannes? If so why?
A. if you really want to understand the market place then where better to go than where films are bought are sold. Equally, as a fan and writer of horror, Frightfest provides an annual snap shot of the genre from across the globe. So festivals can be a good place or explore your own niche or writing too.

Thank you Stuart, we look forward to seeing more of your scripts on the big screen soon :)

 

Writer Stuart Wright

Stuart's Contact Details:
Contact: Stuart Wright
Website: http://leytonrocks.wordpress.com/
Britflicks.com Podcast (Soundcloud): https://soundcloud.com/stuart-wright-3
Britflicks.com Podcast (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/britflicks.com/id724955683
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5577888/
Twitter: @leytonrocks

 

   
     
     

 

     
     

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