Thursday, June 07, 2007


Years ago, while trying to catch a break as a writer I put gruel on the table by script reading. I read all sorts from HW A listers to first time bedroom scribblings in green ink. It was a great learning tool. Mostly in how not to write screenplays. But that is valuable in itself.

But the greatest lesson I learned from all the good scripts I read was that truly great writers [to me anyway] exhibited a confidence on the page. They knew exactly what they were doing, where they were going, how they were saying it, and most of all didn't give a shit what anyone else thought about it. There were no obseqious platitudes handed out. No flowery 'please like me' touches. Just a drive and determination to tell a story that they were 100% committed to.

Now I'm not one for screenwriting jargon. Probably because I don't know my MDQ from MDF and I'm sure USP has something to do with computers. But to me - that is VOICE. That is the writer speaking to you from the pages. You can feel the energy of the moment it was written.

From the carefully phrased line of dialogue or action that exquisitely captures the moment, to the pace and tone and love of characters. And that takes confidence.

The writer BELIEVES. Is IMMERSED. And has the TALENT and SKILL to get that on the page and suspend your disbelief.

So to me - confidence is a basic requirement of a writer.

Of course, the writer's career has more ups and downs than a streetwalker's knickers. One week you are lauded to the hills, the next told to take that piece of crap and start over. But through all that you have to retain that inner core of confidence. Because that is your voice. And it will come out in whatever you write.

On a show I write on I reckon about 6 out of 10 times I can guess who the writer is after watching 10 minutes. They have a distinguishable voice and the episodes are usually good. On the ones where I can't guess the writer the episodes generally aren't so good.

They lack that - confidence?

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