Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, Peaky Blinders, Locke) provides an insightful and honest analysis of his craft, speaking about three specific craft areas in relation to his works: structure, dialogue and protagonists.
I recently submitted a screenplay for a supernatural comedy series based on my Pembleton, PhD stories. Here’s a bio I wrote as part of that submission:
Part-time school teacher and full-time writer, I’ve written stories, audio plays and poetry since I was a young boy, preferring to tap away at my small blue children’s typewriter rather than play football in the street. Whereas the endings of obligatory school sports matches were influenced by other people, I could craft every detail of those stories to my liking. Control freak? Possibly. But mostly I was driven by a heightened sense of reality — the mundane drove me insane; I longed for heroes, magical worlds, larger-than-life characters and epic battles.
As I grew up, I maintained that enthusiasm for the melodramatic, but also came to realise that there can be magic in the simple, seemingly ordinary moments in life. I trained as a secondary school Spanish teacher and taught full-time for six years before I began to feel suffocated by bureaucracy. Not, I want to stress, by the teaching itself, which I still love.
I’d started writing my first novel (The Destiny of Ethan King), but set it aside due to the demands of the job. At the end of 2011 I made the decision to drop down to three days of teaching in order to make space for creativity in my life once more. Since then I’ve published The Destiny of Ethan King and its sequel, K A R A, as well as developing the premise for the supernatural comedy series presented here, Pembleton, PhD.
Screenplay writing offers an immediacy and sense of urgency in communicating the story which I particularly enjoy. A novel generally burns slowly, lingering for periods of time within the heads of the main characters, but a script is driven by visual cues, action and dialogue — all of the elements we focus on when we tell stories verbally — a tradition as old as language itself and as such ingrained within the human psyche.
I appear to be in danger of completing the first chapter of a third book here and so I will just thank you for taking an interest in my work and for taking the time to read this. Who knows, perhaps you will feature in some way in the next chapter of my story…
Really captivating mixture of interview, lecture and performances with Emma Thompson.
If you’re a writer, I defy you to not do a fist pump and yell “Yeah!!!” after listening to the last part of this pep talk from screenwriter Dan Harmon.
For the 12 Days of Christmas, J.K. Rowling has been treating fans with new Harry Potter stories on the fan site Pottermore.com, and Sunday was no different. Today, Muggles were rewarded with a Christmas treat of two new Harry Potter writings from the author.
George Clooney and Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men), Jonas Cuaron (Gravity), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) join THR’s roundtable.