Though relatively new to scriptwriting, I’m not new to the industry. Armed with a helpful BA in Theology and Philosophy, I initially embarked on a career as an actor, often devising scripts as well as performing. While filming four episodes of Doctor Who I chatted with Bonny Langford and drove Sylvester McCoy home, so that’s something. I've also been a bluecoat and a belly dancer. Yes, really!
Neither am I a rookie writer. Years ago I did a stint of playwriting workshops at the Tricycle Theatre, tutored by award-winning playwright Bonnie Greer, and trained as a journalist at London's City Lit. I've been copywriting ads and feature-writing for mags for two decades, write complex rhyming verse and have published a salacious novel under a pseudonym I can't tell you. Obviously. There's more (though not on my pen name!) at Zanna C.
A Scriptwriting Master’s has given me a profound understanding of story, structure, character and the importance of collaborating; hence starting this group. And I'm lucky enough to have teamed up with experienced screenwriter and script consultant Alex Hollister, who's an incredible asset to the team.
Things are happening – slowly. In 2019, my full-length tragicomedy Caged Bird (a middle-aged woman finds herself online dating after her husband develops MS and becomes abusive and impotent) was described as ‘a wonderful piece of writing’... by my tutor! The first draft reached the full reading stage of the BBC Writersroom and Papatango playwriting competitions and bagged me an agent (and the 8th draft is much stronger). I've recently adapted 'Sprouts', my 620-line cautionary poem – dark, funny, strictly metered verse à la Dr Zeuss/Tim Burton – into a play for children.
My drama/thriller screenplay's doing well in competitions. 'Voyeuse’ (when a vulnerable teenage girl falls for a beautiful but narcissistic film director, she becomes the unwitting star of an intimate and incriminating film) won the Best Pilot Screenwriting category at the Olympus Film Festival in LA in 2019, Best TV Series Pilot Screenplay at the New Renaissance Film Festival in 2020, and has been officially selected in three other international events. Currently, I'm working on a brand new TV drama series - think 'Cold Feet' meets 'Catastrophe' - as well as two short films, one of which is about to go into production.
I shoot from the hip but get on with most people (would draw the line at Jacob Rees-Mogg). I’m interested in real-life protagonists in thorny relationships. Also, of course, the 'what ifs'. Unrealistically ambitious, I aim to hone my craft and get things produced. I write drama and love travel, music, monologues, chocolate, family, friends and wine. Not necessarily together or in that order.
We all need encouragement and trustworthy critical appraisal. People who'll tell us what’s good about our work but also point out what's crappy (and trust me, there’s plenty in mine). That's why the announcement that I'm a finalist in three categories of the 2020 Creative Bath Awards has blown me away, whether or not I win anything. And it's why the Scriptwriters & Co community is important, too.
Let’s join forces and support one another’s journeys!