Monday, 7 November 2011

To research or not to research...

A couple of links to start the week. First, an interview with Jez Butterworth about his play ‘Jerusalem’:

I was particularly interested in what he says here about how he researches (or doesn’t research) his work. I certainly agree that researching a play is very different to researching a piece of journalism. And maybe this thought links back (see my post of 28 September) to a difficulty I have with plays that try to ‘prove’ certain political or scientific theories. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s helpful, or even legitimate, for writers to set themselves up as ‘experts’. I’d argue that great writers reveal truth by exposing the cracks between people’s value systems, rather than by proposing solutions of their own.

Over the weekend, my friend Samantha Ellis also drew my attention to this article on the BBC’s Writers Room website (an invaluable resource if you don’t already know it). As the author himself says, he’s really just restating the old idea that to succeed you should ‘write what you know’. But he brings a fresh clarity to that idea here, with respect to the commissioning of his first TV drama ‘Death in Paradise’:

And still with TV, here’s a final link to an E20 episode, written by a second year Westminster student. Really impressive as a first piece of TV scripting - precise storytelling and characters drawn with maximum economy:

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