WRITER'S ROOM ARCHIVES
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At the September Writer's Room champion of homegrown storytelling Gaylene Preston (Bread and Roses, War Stories, Perfect Strangers) spoke to screenwriter Graeme Tetley (Ruby and Rata, Bread and Roses, Out of the Blue) about her work, her thoughts on storytelling, and about what drives her to make films.
Internationally acclaimed development consultant Stephen Cleary talked to screenwriter Shuchi Kothari (Apron Strings, Firaaq) about the writer / producer relationship at a special SPADA Writer's Room last November about what writers should look for and expect from a producer.
In a special Writer’s Room UK screenwriter, teacher and development consultant Rob Ritchie (Who Bombed Birmingham?, Blown Apart, McIvor’s Share) talked to Marilyn Milgrom (the NZFC’s Head of Development). Rob used clips from films Glengarry Glen Ross (David Mamet) and East is East to talk about the challenges writers face adapting stage-plays for the big screen.
"As a writer, I look for that when I'm telling a story - go underneath the smooth surface and examine the rough landscape below, letting the audience dance along in the tension between those two things - cinema gives you an opportunity to do that." - screenwriter Graeme Tetley at the June Writer's Room with producer John Barnett, NZFC Head of Development Marilyn Milgrom and writer Ken Duncum.
Louis and Mark collaborate beyond the page too, co-directing The Six Dollar Fifty Man on set. Film crews are used to responding to one person calling the shots and Shuchi asked how the duo divides the roles on a busy and stressful film set. “I have made documentaries where I’ve directed, shot and edited the whole thing,” said Mark. “When creating drama, Louis is a co-director. There are no rules when it comes to making films. It’s all about making the film you want to make."
“Sometimes a director can barely understand a script...Even the actors don’t get it...As a writer, you may have lived with that story, those characters or that scene for months or years but a director comes in and lives with them for the amount of time it takes to read the script.” Director Mark Beesley at the May Writer's Room with writer Rachel Lang, development exectutive Jo Johnson and MC Christina Milligan
"Normal is the lie, sane and logical is the lie...To do comedy you just need tell the truth...Drama helps us dream of who we can be and comedy helps us understand who we are." - Steve Kaplan at the Auckland June Writer's Room
Listen to a podcast of this Wellington Writer’s Room with Paula Boock, Thomas Robbins, Dave Armstrong and Bevin Linkhorn talking about writing and directing for TV.
'I was born after the war and always had an interest in my parent’s war stories. As a kid, I’d hear things but it was really all a big mystery. The war was part of a shared experience that wasn’t shared. Everyone’s Mum and Dad lived through the event but there was this big silence surrounding it. Children hear big silences very acutely. Collecting these stories is rather like collecting the big silence, the big secret.' Gaylene Preston talks to Leanne Pooley at the Auckland Writer's Room
“..I come back to the inspiration, return to the core, the first thing that turned me on. That could be an idea, a theme, or the essence of a character. What is the film about? Later on, that understanding will help me make choices about what to leave in or take out. So much of what we write will be cut because it does not fit the original vision, the core" Tom agrees “If you can get one sentence of what the story is about, always come back to that.” And how easy is it to find that one perfect sentence? “It can be very hard to find,” said Tom, “and that’s where the story bashing comes in!”
“Whether you make films or TV shows, these are the people most likely to review them,” said Writer’s Room MC Gavin Strawhan as he introduced an evening of lively discussion with Peter Calder (NZ Herald), Sarah Watt (Sunday Star Times), Chris Philpott (On the Box – Stuff.co.nz) and Helene Wong (The Listener).
“The writer and I are fundamentally connected, the two processes are inter-related, but when I am working in the suite, that ends. It would be like inviting a thoroughbred horse into a slaughterhouse because what is going on in there can be mercenary and seemingly destructive.“ Editor David Coulson, The Invisible Storyteller, Auckland Writer's Room, 24th April, 2012
A trio of Auckland-based film makers had their feature films selected to screen in this year's New Zealand International Film Festival and the July Writer's Room was fortunate enough to capture them for some candid conversation with MC director Briar March (There Once Was an Island, Smoke Songs). Alyx Duncan (The Red House), Adam Luxton and Jeremy Dumble (We Feel Fine) spoke to Briar about the constraints of micro-budgets, keeping stories close to home and capturing some truths about the world we live in.