My Quest To Become One of The Best Black British Screenwriters
No one said it would be easy…
So you want to become one of the Best Black British Screenwriters?
Every now and then we reach a point in our lives where everything becomes crystal clear. For some, those moments are fleeting and rare. For others, they are blessed with an abundance of clarity. I just had a rare moment of perfect clarity. The goal is not just to be noticed/discovered, oh no baby! I want to be the very best to ever do it!
The Best Black British Screenwriter? That’s it?
Why do you only want to be ‘The Best Black British Screenwriter’? Why not the very best British Screenwriter, or the best in the entire world for that matter?
These are fair questions. Firstly, I am proud to be black and I understand the importance of representing my heritage. I am also, a 3rd generation immigrant. My grandparents came to England in the 60’s. Pops came by boat and Grandma by plane a year later.
There’s a saying a lot of Jamaicans will be familiar with, “Dance a yard before yuh dance abroad!”. Essentially it means you should get your house in order before you start advertising your success outside of it. Be ready before your chance arrives is also a passable and very relevant translation. I want to be the very best from my culture/race, the best in my country (regardless of race) and finally the best in the world! When the universal level screenwriting threat appears, I will be the one to defeat it! I’m sorry; I got carried away with that last bit…
You Think It’s That Easy To Be The Best Black British Screenwriter?
It is no small fete to be recognised unanimously amongst your own people as the best to do it! Check out the MJ vs LeBron debate in basketball. That is a truly global debate which transcends a lot of parameters. This is a little more straight forward.
Big or Small Screen?
Why can’t it be both? It might sound greedy, but I believe I possess the skill necessary to do well on both mediums. I have won awards for both Film and Television scripts. Setting high targets is never a bad thing. Do I have a preference for one over the other? Perhaps, but I honestly think both could do with shaking up. Nothing beats a trier but a failure. I’m nothing if not a trier! Also, I am not scared of failing…
Are You Actually Ready?
There is another thing I have learnt in my moment of clarity. It’s not boastful to stick your chest up and own what you’ve done. I’m more Ace than Mitch from ‘Paid in Full‘, I like to go about my business quietly. No attitude, no hype, no flossing. What tends to then happen, people mistake that for a crisis of confidence. It most certainly isn’t! You have some people who like to talk and others who say what needs to be said. Personally, I let my pen do the talking. However, after training in the hyperbolic time chamber for so long (Dragonball Z/Super reference), it’s time to enter the tournament and show the world my new techniques.
What’s Your CV Look Like?
Tree House: My first ever screenplay (TV Drama) and the first to win awards. Named the best coming of age TV Drama Pilot and best un-produced screenplay to name a few titles. This story is very close to my heart. It chronicles the coming of age story of two separate generations. Abraham Gayle the father (Past) and Nathan Gayle the son (Present).
This story has the potential to rewrite the book on the representation of Black people on screen in Britain. It’s been given the playful title of ‘Mini Godfather’ which always brings a chuckle out of me. You get a complete telling of the Black experience. From immigrant to citizen and finally what comes next… It’s not a perfect Britain and they’re not perfect people. See how they make sense of what is going on around them and what needs to be done to survive. Oh and there’s the small matter of an underage casino of young Nathan’s design…
Feminunity: My first foray into feature length script writing (Crime/Thriller/Action). I’ve been plugging away at this diligently for a while. It is my imagining of very painful experiences that lead women to considering abortions. Not a very happy topic of discussion I will admit, but a very relevant piece of storytelling which gives a free roaming experience to 7 pluralistic lead female characters. They’re not just different because of a diversity campaign. They each bring something different to the table. Then of course the catharsis that follows is women kicking the you know what out of their abusers. Must see! It’s like the love child of an Alm0dóvar and Tarrantino movie.
The Boys Are Back
The Boys Are Back: My first attempt at TV Comedy. I wrote this when I was in a terrible place. Fresh off a painful car accident, crappy working environment and other personal dramas. This is what I call mental alchemy. Taking the vibe and feelings of your circumstances and transmuting it into something positive. Four male friends, three of whom come together to help the fourth back onto his feet following a rough estrangement from his childhood sweetheart.
It doesn’t go off women bashing, before you start assuming the worst. It’s more about the power of close friendship and how the squad helps one another grow in a multitude of ways, while having an absolute blast. What do you get when you mix a Scotsman, Welshman, Irishman and a Englishman? TBAB! It has done very well on the awards scene, particularly in America where US shows of this ilk are in huge demand. That goes to show just how underserved Britain is when you would struggle to think of anything like it on a current run…
What Else Are You Working On?
The Answer (Working Title): My first attempt at writing specifically with an American audience in mind. I’m taking my talents to south beach! Haha, not really but cool reference for the hoop fans. This is a sport centric coming of age drama based in Uncle Sam’s back yard. The American sport loving fans should definitely appreciate this one. A lazy summary would be, A fully fledged drama which resembles ‘my career’. Only this one doesn’t cost you VC to enjoy it fully 🙂
On The Job (Working Title): Short gangster film based in London. Can’t say too much on this, apart from there is some serious action here for fans of the genre. Would love to find backing to turn this into a feature length project.
Untitled: This one is also under wraps but I will say it’s a sci-fi game changer!
What Do You Need, To Become The Best Black British Screenwriter?
Thoughts and prayers? No, “Aint nobody got time fo that!”. Inert well wishes without genuine support is not going to get the job done. Fingers coming together form a fist! I’ll put in the work to be the best, but, without YOU, it means nothing. I am pretty self sufficient sure, but I can’t write, commission, act and direct. It’s a collaborative process. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of a journey saturated in attainment and telling unique stories confidently, step right up! No ‘ratchetness’, no controversy, just building on this journey.
Let’s grow together. That means sharing things like this plus other posts, supporting Written Mirror productions and giving your honest feedback when things don’t connect. – JM
What’s In It For Us?
If you’re Black? Representation! Black British? Even more so! A trail will be blazed that opens the door (*Kicks it clean off*) for future high calibre storytellers. They will no longer be forced into becoming clones of each other. Actual variety! How cool would that be? No longer just Gus sweeping streets or Gus with the street sweeper! Range!!!
What’s In It For Everyone Else?
For most, the chance at experiencing a new culture. It’s a chance to learn, get familiar with experiences/circumstances outside of your own. If you’re familiar with the culture, it will be entertaining to see it in all of its glory. Some actual verisimilitude, not just a lifeless unrealistic rendition which serves no purpose. Then, you get to see how blending this culture with others like your own, can lead to new narratives on screen. When it’s simplified like that it truly makes you wonder why this isn’t already happening. Seems like a given in the modern civilised world. Especially in a place like Britain…
I’m In, What Now?
You can make a start by signing and sharing this petition, (click here) there is nothing to pay. All that is required is your name and email address. You can even choose to sign the petition anonymously.
On social media? Following also costs nothing, yet it sends a powerful message of support for this quest. Apple News: Written Mirror Facebook: Written Mirror Twitter: @Writtenmirror Instagram: @Writtenmirror Google+: Written Mirror
Want to support my past release? This project was honestly not just for me. Maybe you also have a goal which does not currently have a linear route. I wrote the ideal companion for building and sustaining the courage/motivation to relentlessly attack your goals. You can pick up a signed and inscribed first edition hard back of the Thought Book here. It is also available in America and Canada via Amazon (Do be sure to double check the merchant is Written Mirror for the best price and most reliable condition).
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