Tuesday 16, October 2012
Face to face with Sally Wainwright
UP-AND-COMING writers were given the opportunity to meet with one of the UK’s leading TV dramatists in a question and answer session at the University of Salford’s building at MediaCity.
As part of the Manchester Literature Festival , the BBC organised this face to face talk with award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright and BBC Creative Director of New Writing, Kate Rowland, to give all budding scriptwriters an insight into the industry and how to get started.
Before the talk Kate Rowland also held a workshop for students
on how get their scripts produced.
Sally Wainwright is the creator of BAFTA and Emmy-nominated
series At Home with the Braithwaites
and writer of ITV detective drama series Scott & Bailey.
Her career also includes soaps such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale and the drama Unforgiven, for which she received a Royal Television Society award in 2010.
The talk began with a short video of all the shows that Sally had ever worked on, to give the audience an idea of her work.
Sally described her childhood, how she had wanted to write
since she was young and how she and her sister would write plays for each
other. She disliked reading, thinking of it as a chore not a pleasure, which
made her want to write stories for herself.
Sally then talked about the process by which she starts her stories, beginning with a character and then working on the rest. She often writes from personal experiences, about people or places she knows. She said you need to “trust what goes on inside your own head, and not let others tell you how to do things when it comes to writing”. She also said “stories are hard work and you need to work at them so that you not only know them but are excited by them”.
Sally said her biggest tip for anyone wanting to get into screen writing would be: “Don’t take no for an answer, annoy everyone with your work and just stay persistent”. Also, “Believe in yourself, if you have the compulsion to write and you believe in your own talent then you can convince others of it as well”.
University of Salford lecturer in Creative Writing, Jennifer Tuckett, said: “This is a unique opportunity for our students to learn from one of the most senior figures at the BBC. The BBC have been impressed with our facilities and used our Digital Performance Lab for both events, so we hope this is the start of regular collaboration”.
Sally is currently writing a new television show called ‘Happy Valleys’, whilst also working on her first play with the Manchester Royal Exchange. She also admitted that her next big aim for the future is to direct, but stated that she would only want to direct her own work.
By Francesca Stephan
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