Deborah Davis’s foreword to UEA’s 2022 Scriptwriting MA anthology, published by Egg Box and available HERE
I am honoured you have invited me to write the forward to the UEA Creative Writing Anthology 2022; I owe my creative writing career to UEA.
I remember:The excitement of being accepted on to the MA in scriptwriting on the back of a spec script.
The excitement of arriving at UEA to discover its awe-inspiring campus.
The excitement of being assured by Val Taylor – our inspirational course leader – that here at UEA we would be taken seriously as writers.
The excitement of developing our creativity through structured creative writing courses.
The excitement of meeting other scriptwriters and the privilege of learning from them.
The excitement of exploring UEA’s academic courses – Vic Sage’s ‘Postmodernism and the Contemporary Novel’ stands out as the front runner.
The excitement of writing my first stage play – I’m still trying to get it staged!
The excitement of being invited to join a BBC Radio scriptwriting course, thanks to Jessica Dromgoole, external visitor to UEA and New Writing Co-ordinator for BBC Drama.
The excitement of receiving my first commission to write an afternoon play for BBC Radio 4.
The excitement of writing five more radio plays for Radio 4.
The excitement of riding the rollercoaster from the Venice Film Festival to the Academy Awards via the bifas and the baftas with the favourite, which started life as the spec script that secured me a place on the UEA scriptwriting course.
The excitement of being commissioned to create a TV series – MARIE ANTOINETTE – which has just been picked up for a second season.
And two decades after graduating from UEA, the excitement of reading YOUR scripts – hearing the diversity of YOUR voices – and seeing YOUR images fly off the page.
There is no straightforward path into scriptwriting and no clear rules of engagement.
William Goldman explained the movie industry in three words: ‘Nobody knows anything.’
His advice serves as a reminder to every scriptwriter to stand by your ideas – you can never predict what will be a hit.
I was inspired to become a scriptwriter by an idea about a female triangle in a royal bedchamber that wouldn’t rest until it became the movie that transformed my career.
I urge you to fight for your ideas and to work with people who share your view of the world.
UEA was the first step for me. I have no doubt it will be for you.
Keep writing, keep exploring and NEVER GIVE UP!