Tilly Lunken’s foreword to the 2020 Scriptwriting MA anthology, published by Egg Box
When I lived in Norwich I lived in a box. In a tiny dorm room in Norfolk Terrace, looking out over the UEA campus and the lake, spending a lot of time thinking. I thought very hard about writing, was homesick and made the best living in a very small box, with a very small world. Almost my entire social sphere was my flatmates and my MA course and I fell hard for them all – such a lovely bunch, thrown together and looking after each other through the year. Time stretched and even then, it felt like a gift.
Still, there were times when I wanted to escape and whilst some of that was watching re-runs of Lewis there was also a lot of reading. Words, writing, language give us all the means to experience something other. They let us escape into a world, into another place.
We might read a thrilling escape set on a boat; we sit in the absurd moment at the edge of a waterfall – we are right there with the decision to not uncover the body and to smoke that last packet of cigarettes. We watch the shoebox that holds memories and build new ones digging carrots. All of these dramas. All of these moments and experiences wrought into scripts that are here for you to escape into. It was such a joy to teach briefly and meet this year’s cohort and then to read their work in this anthology.
It feels impossible to write something introducing this work without acknowledging the importance of the people as well – and on top of that the unprecedented context that they are writing in. 2020 is going to be a memorable year far beyond nostalgia for the grad bar quizzes, finding coins for the washing machines and the five ways Tesco. This is a big year.
My time living on campus at UEA was good preparation for these strange times we find ourselves in. A bigger box, certainly – but still a green view, good company and a small world that can be explored on foot (socially distanced). With this new, weird elasticated time. It stretches but it is different. It does not feel like a gift.
What does though is this bunch of scripts landing in my inbox from these writers. Not only because of how I was transported by their words but how it made me reflect on the 2011/12 year. Isolation, connection, thinking – all words that have now, new, deeper understanding. I spent such a lot of time on my own looking out of a window then. I do so now again.
We all do. And even if we are lucky enough to be safe at home, sometimes we all want to escape – to live outside of our own currently (very) limited experience. And here! Right here you have a chance to do that. 15 different snatches, extracts and shorts that will take you beyond.
So come, open it! Keep on reading and dream outside the box with us.