STEPHEN POTTS - 10 Questions
10 Questions from the April 2014 Television Screenplay Winner.
1. Why should your script be made into a TV show?
We've all seen medical dramas. Some even show psych consultations in ER or on the ward . None are centred in a psych department of the general hospital. This allows a much greater range of clinical settings, dilemmas and conflicts, while still running with a small core group of characters.
2. How long have you been writing screenplays?
Twenty years in total, beginning as a medical resident - but seriously for about ten.
3. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Blade Runner. Now more than ten times. I loved the spectacle, the music and the mood when it first came out. I still do. Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet is the only movie where I have left the cinema at the end and gone straight back in to see it all over again. The energy he brought to the old story, the music, and the soaring tragic romance are all unforgettable. The English Patient: I've not seen it that often but I remember every image.
4. What artists would you love to work with?
Directors: The late Anthony Mingella, Paul Greengrass, Ken Loach
Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Spacey
Actresses: Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren, Judy Dench
Musicians: Brian Eno, Clint Mansell
5. How many stories/screenplays have you written?
I started out writing children's adventure fiction. After publishing seven books I moved into screenwriting. I've had one feature produced, three previously optioned, and I'm currently contracted to four projects in various stages of development. One is an original horror-adventure, one's an adaptation of a WW2 novel, one's a true story dramatisation and the last is a biopic. I've tried to cover all bases.
6. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?
Fully retired from my day job (in a department just like that portrayed in Shrink Proof), and earning enough from writing to keep a sailboat on the West Coast of Scotland (where my last boat was wrecked three years ago.)
7. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?
No set routine, though day job and family commitments have forced me to become more disciplined over the years. On writing days I have exactly six hours between dropping my daughter off at school and picking her up. If I don't have an external deadline to hit in that time I give myself one. On one occasion I got so involved I forgot to collect her.
8. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Sport. (rowing, as a former oarsman: and football - ie soccer - as a longstanding Manchester United fan)
Music, especially Brian Eno. Spiritualised, Tindersticks and Kraftwerk
Scotland's wild places, both at sea (where I got married) and on the land.
9. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?
I keep an eye on script contests, and have won a few. I wanted somewhere to submit Shrink Proof, which is close to my heart, and into which I put a lot of work. WILDsound offered that opportunity. I'm glad I took it, and delighted to have got this far. Who knows how far further?
10. Any advice or tips you'd like to pass on to other writers?
Get a dog. I live in Scotland's border country with two lively labradors. If I get stuck on a plot outline or a scene, rather that sit staring at the screen I take off intp the hills, with my dogs and a note pad. I'm sometimes spotted by fellow walkers, acting out a chunk of dialogue, or mumbling to myself. I don't care because I nearly always return unstuck.