Last Friday, a group of Year 2 Film Production students were given the opportunity to talk with Dennis Kelly over Skype, specifically focusing on script-writing. Dennis shared his writing experiences with the group, and gave tips and advice on how to better their writing skills.
Here are some of the notes I jotted down from the conversation:
- I'm not interested in what other people want me to do.
- Part of the (scriptwriting) process is not doing anything and messing around.
- If you sit in front of a piece of paper for two hours, eventually something will appear on it... I think.
- I tend to hear character's voices. I don't know a character until they start speaking. Sometimes the situation determines who the people are. Each character needs to be bespoke, not stereotypical. You write accordingly to what the characters say.
- The trick is not to panic.
- Fear is a big thing in writing - you're putting your thoughts onto a page only for people to tear it into pieces. But within that comes useful information.
- Before doing a second draft talk to other people, and get feedback.
- If you write by hand start with a new page. If you start with a brand new document all the things that need to be on it will appear.
- I don't like to know too much, but just enough to know where the story's going. As you're writing, ideas come up that might be useful in the future.
- Forget your future, what are you writing now?
- I like to do research, but only after I've written something.
- My perfect writing environment is where people can see me, but don't know what I'm doing.
- You can't wait for inspiration; you make inspiration happen.
- Find out what you want to write most in the world, and write about the things that matter most to you.
- You have to be brave and not be too worried about what people are going to say. We make decisions to be scared, but we shouldn't. It's better to fail at something because you tried, rather than fail because you were to scared to try.