As film and television become more interactive, I’ve become increasingly involved in projects that bring old media and new media together.
When a TV channel commissions and broadcasts a live-streamed interactive detective drama on their Facebook page, is that TV or something entirely new? Whatever you call it, the creative process still drew on my old-fashioned skills as a screenwriter.
So did my work on Sherlock: The Network, Wallace & Gromit in The Big Fix Up and Bulletproof: The Interrogation – all of which took established film or TV heroes and gave their stories a fresh interactive dimension. Hollyoaks: DocYou and Emergency SubNET gave two very different Channel 4 TV shows an online element.
My screenwriting experience started at university when I co-wrote a 16mm short film called ‘The Rose,’ which won a Fuji Film Scholarship, and I worked on a few other shorts as a board member of the University Film Foundation.
When Richard Attenborough was the visiting professor of drama for a year, I had the opportunity to shadow him as an apprentice during production of In Love and War (directly inspiring my first radio play, Olivia’s Line).
I later worked as a script reader for The Script Factory and Little Wing Films and carried on writing, directing and producing short films. One of them, Portobello, picked up the JVC Sharp Shooters Award and won ITV’s Whose London? competition, leading to a primetime television broadcast and a big-screen premiere in Leicester Square. Not bad for a film with a £100 budget.
I’ve taken two of my own original TV series ideas into paid development at Channel 4 – one factual and one drama – and I helped the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks tell a very ambitious storyline that bridged TV and the web.