My thoughts on Screen Lab with Adrian Mead
As an aspiring screenwriter I have previously participated in screenwriting courses, but although I’ve enjoyed them and found them informative, they did not match up to Scottish Book Trust’s Screen Lab with Adrian Mead (pictured). It’s a bit like comparing the British 60 minute makeover program where they ‘do up’ a couple of rooms, with the American ‘Extreme Makeover’ where they come in and bulldoze your entire house.
From the minute our bums hit the seats Adrian Mead had us working, thinking and interacting with each other. We covered many interesting topics drawn from Adrian’s book on ‘Making it as a Screenwriter’ including the ‘Power of Three’ exercise and the ‘One Page Pitch’. (The book is available for download, with all proceeds going to ChildLine).
Adrian also enlisted some other experts in the field to help us get a broad overview of the screenwriting industry. This included a fascinating talk from Morag Kerr on how to use body language and eye contact when delivering pitches to production companies. We also got to see the process of ‘page to stage’ as Adrian invited some professional actors to come in and bring some scripts to life. We were able to speak to the actors and ask their opinion on how to be clear and communicate meaning in our writing.
Peter Hynes, the successful TV and film writer, also gave an invaluable talk on the industry. He made it clear that film and TV was extremely competitive - no sugar coating here! He was informative, frank and hilarious and let us in on a few industry secrets. (He also very generously gave us some fantastic contacts – thank you very much!)
Peter and Adrian went on to share some interesting anecdotes on past mistakes and experiences that really gave us all food for thought. Often when a mother tells a child not to touch something because it’s hot, it's only by burning themselves that the child understands – but hopefully the same won't be true of the valuable lessons we learned from some of Adrian and Peter’s ‘burn’ escapades.
So huge thanks to Adrian, Morag, the actors and Peter for all the advice, but special thanks to Scottish Book Trust for this excellent experience which made me question where I am with my work and motivated me to think about my future as a screenwriter.
During the Lab one of the other participants made an excellent observation:
"This course taught you things you didn’t realise you didn’t know…"
So if you’re looking at the Scottish Book Trust site and see new opportunities you are unsure about, then my advice to you would be to hurry up and apply! It can only be a matter of time before other writers catch on to how amazing these Labs are.
And finally - watch this space SBT – myself or one of the other Lab participants might be there next year saying how Screen Lab has helped us achieve success in our field!