British writer of film, TV, radio, comedy, comics, anything. Love film, NCFC, AS Roma, Italy, Morrissey, UFC, Doctor Who and life generally. Just a place to share my stuff and thoughts.
A selection of answers I provided in a recent interview. The full interview can be found here: www.whohub.com/kristhescript
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I remember having The Enchanted Wood read to me as a child. I also remember being really into sci-fi and loving Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who and reading all I could about them. The Hobbit had quite a profound effect and I think all this helped open my mind a little.
I came to writing (screenwriting) late. I did a film-making course and hated the directing and producing side, luckily enough I was good with the words and it stuck. The first piece of work that gained attention was Audition which was the film I made on the course. It has subsequently been optioned a few times over the years by various production companies. It’s a cracking low budget, character driven short that I am still proud of.
I used SimplyScripts forum for feedback on my work so I suppose them and my wife Kelly were the first people to read what I wrote.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I’ll write in any genre that interests me and I have a good idea in. I don’t think any writer should box themselves off at an early stage in a career. I like to be able to adapt and allow my writing to be flexible.
I enjoy clever, intelligent writing but I’m not sure if this is a genre yet. There is lots of intelligent writing in science fiction but I’d never disregard any other form of writing, it is all relevant.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
My creative process is great. I am constantly coming up with new ideas and have a very large bank of references that I can pull from. In that way I am lucky, I can never imagine the moment I go blank. Sadly my downfall is procrastination, in fact I am doing it right now by answering these questions. I’ll do anything to avoid sitting down and writing. The irony is I when I do sit down to write I love it. Go figure.
So in answer to the question, before I sit down to write I’ll: swim, read, play games, go outside with the cats, hoover, shower, sort, polish, browse, sleep, tweet, walk, drive, work…you get the idea…
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Reading doesn’t really inspire me to write. I enjoy the common blockbuster, the classic sci-fi epic and anything in between. I read scripts to pick up tips and learn from them. A great movie will inspire me to write or to be better. But I can get inspiration from anywhere.
Your motivation to write can come from anywhere.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
The obvious answer would be a beginning, middle and end but I think there are important additional aspects. Making your writing flow and having dialogue feel natural is key. Your idea must be able to tell a story a different way, an interesting way and in an intelligent way.
For me though the most important aspect to any great story is conflict, if you have conflict between characters and situations it starts to make a great read. It allows your protagonist to go on a journey and to make a change. It already starts to sound interesting…
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I’m a screenwriter so I hear voices. The simple answer is first person.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Aaron Sorkin, Ursula Le Guin, Michael Crichton, William Goldman, Tolkien, Douglas Adams, John Wyndham, Robert Towne, Alan Bennett. I could keep going, a good mix of playwrights, screenwriters and authors. Anyone who gets anything published or made deserves respect. However I have an enormous amount of admiration for Douglas Adams for writing so well in so many different mediums.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
A character needs to have depth and to be able to move around the story with emotion and purpose. I create characters and am lucky enough to hear their voices when they are in the story; how would this type of person react? It is good to have in mind a before and after characteristic, this allows for the conflict, the journey and the change.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Part of screenwriting is pitching so you have to be good at getting your story over clearly and concisely. Do I enjoy it? No not really I prefer to write but given me 5 minutes to talk about my story and I’ll do it with a smile on my face and hopefully do it well.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
My legacy…how cheap. Sorry.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Yes and yes. I don’t think anyone working on something creatively can NOT put something personal to them in it. For me conflict drives story and I try to take from personal experiences, make sense of them, and use it as a force to create. Sometimes it does feel very theraputic to get things down on paper but I wouldn’t say it is the main thing that makes me want to write.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Of course. If you want to get published or see your story optioned for a film then it has to be liked by someone. You won’t please everyone but those initial comments you get from the first sets of feedback are incredibly useful. They’ll tell you if your narrative structure works, your characters do what you intend them to do and most importantly if it is good. Don’t get too carried away trying to please everyone but take the feedback on board and make it work for the story.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Comfort. No TV. Music without words. Lists. Blank paper. Plans and notes in Moleskine notebook. Cats. Water. Art deco lamp. Cushion.
Name three contemporary directors or producers that you admire.
I love questions like this, so much scope and the choices have to be worthy. Firstly I’m going with Werner Herzog, he’s a director who is still relevant after many working years. He has directed some of the most intellectually challenging films and in Fitzcarraldo a complete classic in every sense of the word. Secondly I’d pick John Lasseter for making Disney relevant again, making the breakthrough in digital animation, for putting story first and for not settling for second best in any part of the film making process. Finally Christopher Nolan for making films outside of the box, for proving superhero films don’t have to be dumb (even though I’m not a fan of his Batman films) and for doing things his way with though.
My fourth and fifth would have been John Carpenter and Cubby Broccli.