Today I made my way along to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh to hear a talk by Rona Munro. She’s a prize-winning Scottish writer who has written for radio, television (she wrote the last Classic Doctor Who story, Survival, back in 1989) and films, most notably Ladybird, Ladybird.
In her role as Senior Playwriting Fellow at the Trav, she held a masterclass in Surviving Film and Television. While I did want to hear what she had to say about her experience in the world of fim and telly, I also had an ulterior motive for attending…more of which later…
The event took place deep in the bowels of the theatre with a chair, table and glass of water waiting for Ms Munro. There were only about 20 of us in the audience, and it started pretty much on time.
She explained that she had information prepared but that she’d probably divert from this substantially. She then ran through her own background in the business (reminding that it is just that – a business) with a few milestones such as Doctor Who and the process of having her film script bought and made given a bit more detail.
A few points that stood out for me were:
- love what you write – don’t write without passion
- give your work status – set aside a time and place to write
- get something out there, be it a radio play, theatre script, short story
There was more, but a lot of it was common sense. She had some strong words about the way that writers are treated by producers and hates (make that HATES) the trend for treatments being needed for anything to get commissioned.
All in all a fascinating hour-and-a-half in the company of a highly respected, funny and self deprecating woman.
And my ulterior motive for going along? Well, I remember watching that Doctor Who story in my bedroom when it first aired back in 1989. It was winter, it was dark outside, it was scary. So I asked Rona to sign my Survival DVD cover, thinking I’d be thrown out by security.
But she kindly agreed and had good memories of the show and her time working on it. Then I had to leave…somewhere my tea was getting cold…