Students from Cardiff Met's second year scriptwriting course were able to put theory into practice by visiting a network TV drama in production. London-based Hillbilly Television was extremely supportive as they welcomed scriptwriters from Cardiff Metropolitan University to their set on location in Ealing.
Hillbilly Television is a BAFTA award winning company with a reputation for making award winning TV drama & comedy as well as feature films. Production Manager, Adam Knopf, gave students full access to the set, green room, make up, wardrobe and art departments, the production office and key members of the production team. Producer, Jane Dauncey, and assistant script editor, Beth Aynsley, discussed with the students the scriptwriter's role in the development.
Second year scriptwriting student Monica Martin said:
'From the get-go we were talking to extremely important members of the Hillbilly team and they were ready to educate us on their roles. We seemed to meet everyone; from runners to actors, sound workers to make-up artists. Most importantly we spoke to the producer and assistant script editor about how the script is created and morphed throughout the filming process.
"They focussed on the drive for audience and the changing impact of viewing patterns on production. Catch-up TV, for example, can have a big impact on ratings figures. Cast and crew gave us tips and tricks about their job and their personal experience in this show and others.
"Assistant script editor on ITV's production 'The Level', Beth Aynsley encouraged us to 'Experience as much as you can and Take in every opportunity.' Some great advice that really takes perspective when you can see each department working hard on their own projects and collaborating together to create the show. I am so grateful for the opportunity to talk to these professionals and experience being on set."
Daniel Anthony, Lecturer on Cardiff Met's BA creative writing programme accompanied students on the trip. He said: "We cover scriptwriting as part of the creative writing programme. We aim to give our students a broad experience of different forms of writing, and scriptwriting itself is a very big subject.
"I arranged this field trip at the end of the course because I wanted to illustrate to students the importance of actually getting things made. A production in process is a very different environment to our classroom, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but if it excites and interests individuals, there are opportunities for them to get involved.
"Access for student writers to large scale, network projects at this stage in the production process is rare and of great practical value. Scriptwriting is both a theoretical and a practical discipline. For those interested in working in the creative industries, opportunities to experience productions at first hand and begin developing a network of contacts are invaluable."
Similar field trips for creative writing students are being planned for the future.