Emma Pitt, Screenplay Semi-Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020
-Can you please tell us about your daily life?
I work part time for the NHS so for 3 days a week I work at Kings College Hospital in London, and then for the remaining days I’m writing. Depending on what project I’m working on depends on how I structure my time – basically, if I have a deadline to meet or not!
-When did you start writing? How often do you write?
I did a TV Scriptwriting MA at De Montfort University, for which I achieved a Distinction, graduating in 2014 and have been writing since then. I’ve had a couple of TV commissions but the shows were cancelled before my script went to screen, I also have my own TV projects in development. I’ve had plays staged and also made short films. The short films were to showcase my writing, but I also directed and produced, all on no budget. My short horror ‘The Ballad of a Haunted Man’ won a number of awards. When you create something you never know how it’s going to be received and the response to that film was overwhelming and really helped boost my confidence. I’ve two films currently on the festival circuit, The Boy Who Thought He Could Fly, about family and grief, and My One True Love that is set and filmed during lockdown.
I try and write most days, I also find it useful to think about what I’m writing, I imagine scenes and stories in my head before I write them down, so when I’m not writing I’m usually thinking about my stories and my characters.
-How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It feels amazing. Like most writers, I struggle a bit with imposter syndrome so when I write something and it’s well received, it’s feels amazing. For an audience to enjoy your work – to make someone laugh or cry – is such a great feeling.
-What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
The best thing is the sense of achievement and having a script to showcase your writing. The hardest thing is finding the self-discipline to write it, and critiquing your own work. If it’s an idea you really love it can be hard to be objective so it’s always good to ask someone you trust in the industry to read it for you.
-How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected screenplay? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
I wrote Ever Changing Skyline in response to a Screenwriting Goldmine Competition where the brief was to write a short in 7 days and to include a bridge, a disgraced Politician and a first love. I almost didn’t enter, as I didn’t think my script was good enough – but it won. It then went on to be one of the winners of the Pint Sized Plays competition. I re-wrote it for a call out for short plays for Get Over It Productions and I changed the Politician from a man to a woman and also the story of whom she meets on the bridge. It was selected and I watched it performed on stage; I’m always in awe of how actors interpret my words. It had a great response. I then re-wrote that version as a screenplay for a couple of competitions, including this one.
Overall, I wanted to tell a story about how we can find hope in the most unexpected of circumstances.
-Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
How I approach it is once you have your idea, to have a beginning, a middle and an end, and a twist. You have a very short time to create a believable world and characters that an audience will relate to, so be clear about what story you want to tell.
-What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
If it has a brief, it can be useful to have a subject area to write about as that gives you a focus point. The best thing is they get you writing, they push you to put yourself out there and if you win it’s a huge confidence boost and looks good on your CV. Personally I’ve also made a lot of connections that way as well. The worst thing is rejection – but unfortunately it’s a part of this industry, and whilst it’s horrible, writing is very subjective and just because you weren’t successful in one comp, doesn’t mean another comp won’t think your script is amazing.
-Lastly, do you recommend the short story and Flash Fiction writers to give it a go on screenplay writing and LISP?
Yes, absolutely. Its well respected and well organised and a great competition to be part of.