BAFTA David Lean Lecture: David O. Russell

January 8th, 2016 by

From an event in London on December 19, 2015:

For more BAFTA lectures and interviews, go here.

Video: David Hare meets Thomas Eccleshare

October 26th, 2015 by

BAFTA has a new series called Guru Encounters in which established writers meet with younger writers to share their wisdom. Here is David Hare, whose film credits include The Hours and The Reader, in conversation with playwright Thomas Eccleshare.

“One of the things you’ve got to do in the cinema
is write something people want to act and direct.
You’ve got to make it delicious.
And you’ve got to make the director feel,
‘Oh, this will be wonderful.
He [the writer] is leaving me space to do my work.'”

For the other Guru Encounters videos, go here.

Interview [Audio]: Steven Knight

October 11th, 2014 by

BAFTA (The British Academy for Film and Television Arts) has for several years hosted an annual series of screenwriter lectures. I have featured pretty much all of them here. Recently Steven Knight, whose writing credits include Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises, Locke, and Peaky Blinders, gave a notable presentation. Here is the audio.

You may download a transcript of Knight’s speech here.

For this year’s BAFTA Screenwriter Lecture series, go here.

Interview [Audio]: Emma Thompson

September 24th, 2014 by

BAFTA (The British Academy for Film and Television Arts) has for several years hosted an annual series of screenwriter lectures. I have featured pretty much all of them here. Recently Emma Thompson, whose writing credits include Wit, Pride and Prejudice and Nanny McPhee, gave a a wonderful presentation. Here is the audio.

You may download a transcript of Thompson’s speech here.

For this year’s BAFTA Screenwriter Lecture series, go here.

Interview [Audio]: Tony Gilroy [BAFTA Lecture]

June 9th, 2014 by

BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts) has been hosting a wonderful lecture series the last few years, featuring some of the best screenwriters in the U.S. and U.K.

If you go here, you can listen to 72 minutes of Tony Gilroy (Bourne Identity, Michael Clayton) talking about the craft (recorded September 2013).

You can download a PDF transcription of his lecture here.

Stephen Fry’s 2014 BAFTA Awards final comments

February 26th, 2014 by

For a fleeting moment in time, there was a video on YouTube with the entirety of this year’s BAFTA Awards ceremony. But alas, the YouTube gods yanked it away. So we will have to make do with this:

And a transcript of Fry’s closing comments:

That’s all from the EE British Academy Film Awards 2014

Thank you Your Royal Highness and thank you everybody who has come and contributed and congratulations to all those who are nominated or involved in any of the films that have here been recognised.

After nine outings as host of this event, I can only speak truthfully and say that I think this year has presented the greatest variety of captivating, compelling, but always utterly watchable and engrossing stories.

There are new stories being enacted in the world every day, and there are stories that always need telling in new ways. There are stories being born in the minds of imaginative writers the world over. And maybe there is a story that you have fermenting in your mind.

Everyone in the film world starts out somewhere, and contrary to what you may think, it is not a closed world.

Everyone is welcome.

So to the established masters of the form – Good luck with your next story –

and to anyone out there who knows that they can tell a story in film, too – Go for it. I mean it.

Yes, the odds against achieving financial success as a writer and storyteller are significant. This path is not for the faint of heart.

But Fry is absolutely right: The film business is not a “closed world”. Maybe years ago, but now with the Internet, managers who want to read new writers, manager email addresses, and scripts as PDFs, anyone anywhere in the world has access to Hollywood.

Moreover there are sites like the Black List script hosting service which provide a go-to online platform for writers, buyers and reps.

Which means you can focus on the writing and learning the craft.

So by all means, go for it.


HT to Trish Curtin for sending me the link to the BAFTA Awards video, alas gone with the virtual wind. But Fry’s message lives on!

Written Interview: David Hare

September 1st, 2012 by

English screenwriter, TV writer, playwright and director David Hare (Strapless, The Hours, The Reader) with a presentation he made in association with BAFTA. An excerpt:

On The Hours, when Meryl Streep walked into the room in which she, the principal character lived, we had to stop filming for six hours to completely re-dress the apartment. Stephen Daldry is the most assiduously collegiate of directors. He’d had endless meetings with her about what it was going to look like but at that moment when the abstract becomes concrete everybody realises that they are making a subtly different film in their heads. And the job of the director is to align everyone’s views and to make everybody understand the degree to which they are making the same thing.

The screenwriter’s job is to begin that process. To be the first person who does that. I am the first person who imagines what it will be like at the Everyman Hampstead in 18 months time or two years time when the idea becomes concrete. So when people ask what I do for a living, mostly I think. I spend most of the day thinking – a posh word for thinking is imagining – but I do whatever you call that. Dreaming what the film is going to be. That’s what I do most of the day. Most of the day I balance out the implications of one thing being one thing, another thing being another thing, and how that will work.

When I recently delivered the film I’m hoping to make next year, the person who paid for it said to me ‘Oh my goodness me, this is dialogue to die for.’ I didn’t like to say to her I usually write the dialogue at about 4.30 in the afternoon and it usually takes me about 20 minutes. Actually, writing the dialogue is kind of the easiest thing that a screenwriter does because if you’ve thought it all out right then the actual job of writing the words is just incredibly easy, because most of what you’re doing is imagining.

For the rest of the interview transcript and the video of the presentation, go here.

Thanks to Shaula Evans for sourcing this link.

2012 BAFTA winners

February 12th, 2012 by

The 2012 BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay goes to Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist.

The 2012 BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay goes to Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The Artist takes most of the major awards. The entire list of winners is here.

UPDATE: @opedr Tweeted this quote from Hazanavicius from the BAFTA event:

“I’m very surprised because so many people thought there was no script because there was no dialogue…”

This goes at the heart of the general population’s ignorance about what screenwriters create, the perception that what we do is write the dialogue. In most cases, the dialogue is the least important narrative element compared to characters, sequences, scenes, theme and all the rest.

In fact the screenplay for The Artist is 42 pages long and comprised of 124 scenes including all the silent dialogue as title cards.

To check out the script for The Artist and many other movies that came out in 2011, you can go here to download them legally.

BAFTA Nominations

January 17th, 2012 by

2012 screenplay noms from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts:


THE ARTIST Michel Hazanavicius

BRIDESMAIDS | Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig

THE GUARD | John Michael McDonagh

THE IRON LADY | Abi Morgan



THE DESCENDANTS | Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

THE HELP | Tate Taylor

THE IDES OF MARCH | George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon

MONEYBALL | Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin

TINKER TALIOR SOLDIER SPY | Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan

Video Interview: Guillermo Arriaga

January 8th, 2012 by

BAFTA (British Academy for Film and Television Arts) ran a series in 2011 called “Screenwriter Lectures” featuring some of the world’s most renowned film writers. Here are highlights from a lecture given by Guillermo Arriaga whose screenwriting credits include 21 Grams and Babel.