Screenwriting


My writing always had a visual style but it needed polishing. Not as bad as polishing a burnt cake but it needed extracting, smoothing down, pointing in the right direction, ready to mingle and become noticed. Do not get me wrong. The talent is there but I needed the hands of professional talent polishers cloistered in a University - experienced professionals guiding a supremely keen aspiring writer.

And boy where they good!

My degree revealed that in addition to writing prose and poetry, I had a natural ability to write screenplays, radio scripts and stage plays. I relished them. I understood them. They thrilled me. And a thirty-minute television film produced that ‘distinction’ – a noir-type crime series based on a real dusty town in San Diego.

Why are you writing this, my lecturer asked? In this style? In this setting? Well, Dr. Lecturer, my two major influences in film and fiction are Quentin Tarantino and Elmore Leonard. Quentin quotes Elmore as one of his influences too. Nevertheless, what I want, Dr. Lecturer is to blend the two and create a Copperstone style. 

Therefore, in thirty minutes I created a beginning, middle and end with emotion, drama, a satisfactory ending, believable characters, a plot and a subplot and made it as original as Copperstone could. If I had a little more time, I could have probably dreamed a soundtrack for it too. Now, who is … cocky? I was high. I visualized it, now I had to write it and allow other people to see those images.

Students writing a television screenplay for the final exam and one set in the USA were very rare. There was some doubt, but one of my other lecturers said, if anybody can carry this off then it is Neville. My reputation began spreading.

Thank you MS SW for your earthquake-proof confidence in me. And huge thanks to my wife, who had been and still is a major contributing factor.

Now I relish attending networking events and talking shop, such as the four-day CrimeFest in the UK, an event for agents, publishers and writers of crime fiction and the three-day Story Expo in Los Angeles attended by Hollywood screenwriters, producers, directors and teachers.


‘Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.’ - Virginia Woolf