Visible/ invisible writing


I’m writing a pilot for a period drama and I’m wrestling with the problem of whether I as a writer should be visible, or invisible.   By which I mean – should I write in such a way that the audience is made more aware of the writing itself, or should I slip into the background and disappear, and the drama transcends the script.  As an example …

A scene with a swordsman, plunging a sword into a pig carcass, smash cut to a dainty supper scene with a woman carving a side of ham. Ah ha … the two are linked, not just in storyline but in what they’re doing at that moment with the ex pig: sword and knife, stab and slice, anger and calm.  It hints at a deeper connection, it’s a dash of humour, it shows I’ve thought about the script but also … it shows me. The writing has taken the forefront.  I have asked for recognition.

…and what writer doesn’t what a whole pile of that …

But, after much thought and considerable pacing, I think it’s probably not going to work in this particular piece. It’s all fine and dandy in other scripts but here I want the reader to be transported – lost – in a different world.  And if I play too ‘clever’ then I’m at risk of taking them out of that world, if only for a moment. So I’ll disappear, drop the smart script points.


Spec script writing: always a joy

I recently set out to write a gritty, contemporary domestic drama … here are a selection of words I have looked up in order to write it:


Yup, the gritty, contemporary drama didn’t make it.  But – and this is a good point about writing a spec script– it is entirely, brilliantly fun to write.  I am loving living in this new world I have created, spending time with these troubled, fictitious individuals.   Real life keeps getting in the way but as soon as I can I’m back into 1799 and deciding what terrible things can happen to my characters.

If that spec script isn’t something I’m passionate about, and care about, then why would I write it in the first place?  And why on earth would anyone want to read it?

Al Pacino made an interesting comment about auditioning for parts (which is sort of like spec script writing) in that you just have to embrace it for what it is: the chance for your work, albeit briefly, to have an audience. Don’t focus on success or failure to get the part (commission), revel in the chance to rehearse, learn, improve.   Enjoy it.