What seems to be a long time ago, in 1997, I started working as an assistant for a director and producer based at Pinewood film studios. The company I started to work for had an 'open submissions' policy, which basically meant that anyone and their uncle could send in an unsolicited script. Being at the bottom end of the food chain, it was my job to read them all, while still continuing to juggle the hectic life of a producer's assistant.

At first the idea of it was quite fun, I had already read a few scripts, having worked professionally in the film industry since 1992, but I was in for a shock. Most of the scripts I had read before were written by professionals and many had already been made into films. The quality of open submissions, were, quite frankly, dire. Some sent hand-written, unbound epics that were unreadable, some were in strange typefaces and layout, weird paper, weird language, some made no sense at all, some sent novels, drawings, diagrams and many included a three page letter telling you they had written the latest Hollywood blockbuster... when they sadly hadn't in fact.

My bosses praised the accuracy of my coverage, which was echoed by several top producers. My confidence grew and rather than get bitchy and vitriolic at these abominable attempts at screen writing, I decided to do something positive with my new-found talent and help them improve... and thus, A Rough Guide To Screen writing was born.

It started as a three page mini instruction manual, which had grown to seven pages when I started my website in 2001. I soon started writing myself - it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I was in for another shock - screenwriters get treated worse than runners! But are they not in the holy trinity of Writer, Director, Producer, as I had always thought? In theory, yes, but some Directors and Producers don't seem to like the Writer's to know that, so new writing talent faces the hardest challenge to get established in the industry, and in Britain it's even more difficult.

I believe that the greatness of a movie starts with the greatness of a script, so I have set up Screenwriters' Friend to share my existing, accumulated knowledge that I have collected over 14 years. My aim here is to not only improve the quality of screenplays and screenwriting, but in the long term I hope to make a positive difference to a writer's lot in the industry.

Wish me luck!


p.s. I am still at the beginning of my journey of establishing myself as a professional screenwriter, so don't just blindly follow my advice, do your own research. There are plenty of great screenwriting sites out there. See my top links: