Screenwriting (part 1)

In 1997 I wrote a short film, Magic Moments, which actually got made. By then I’d been writing (unpaid) screenplays for 5 years, getting a little better each year. The short was shot in Glasgow just as Tony Blair was elected and I duly thought, in tune with the D:Ream anthem: Things Can Only Get Better!
I got an agent (thanks to Vadim Jean and my own ingenuity) and in the first year, 1998, she sent out my work to everyone, with the result that I got 5 commissions. The first was a Kavanagh QC, which turned out to be a spare quickie in case another script, by a better, more established writer, didn’t arrive. But of course they didn’t tell me that. The morning after I delivered it, I was so excited to get a phonecall from Chris Kelly (the producer and ALSO the presenter of the ITV’s Clapperboard!) that I got out of the shower and took the call in the kitchen, wrapped in a towel. Only to be told that the better-known writer HAD delivered after all; mine was mothballed. Less than 24 hours ago I had still been putting the finishing touches to the script, dreaming of the BAFTA it might win… Now it was scrapped.
Kelly cheerfully put the phone down, leaving me dripping. I went for a forced march along what I called the Woodland Walk but was in fact (inappropriately) called the Parkland Walk, an ex-railway line. (In those days we lived in a top-floor flat in what estate agents called ‘the Miltons’: the Bermuda Triangle between Archway, Highgate and Crouch End.)
On the plus side, however, I got paid: £7,000 for one month’s work!
I thought this turn of events was just beginner’s bad luck. It turned out to be an accurate guide to my future career…



Published by


I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s