We catch up with our former scriptwriting student Amarjit Bassan, whose work has gone from strength to strength since taking Frazer Flintham’s Scriptwriting course.
From wanting to give his passion a try, to winning national competitions and starting to write professionally, Amarjit tells us about his experience on the course and his work since.
I had been an actor for over a decade and in all of that time I wanted to write and produce new work. I was always told that 'writing is hard to get into' or 'it's a bit of closed shop'. I didn't know where to begin really. How to start, or how to translate ideas in my head into a script. I had read many books but not produced much, actually anything.
Starting the Scriptwriting course at City Academy Frazer immediately eliminated that fear and initial block. He was very succinct with how he taught. He established the class as a safe space to express ideas. He encouraged and inspired new ideas. His questioning provoked me to think about the core of my story. I still utilise many of his exercises when producing work. I took away a strong framework to create new pieces.
It was a glorious day. To see your work come alive in front of an audience felt electrifying.
The first exercise we did really stayed with me. I won't say what it was, as anyone thinking of doing the course should do it without prior knowledge, but it immediately dismantled any idea that I couldn't write. The work we did on structure and form have made me look at stories differently; why they work and sometimes don't.
When you take on a role as an actor you have an arc but when developing a character it was fascinating to think about where you first see the character; which bit of the arc in their life story do we begin from.
In our final session Frazer explained about how to go about gaining employment. I have taken his advice and always sought to apply for submissions where I can. I feel the course really gave me the first strong footing to step into the world as a writer.
My first script was about an Indian immigrant father who goes to extreme lengths to 'fix' his son. Essentially, it was a story about misguided love. It was shortlisted by Film London for funding which gave me a huge confidence boost; I learnt a lot in the process about funding, assembling applications, interviewing and putting together a strong team of creatives. I am currently working with a producer at the moment to make it.
Writing takes an immense amount of dedication so I have put aside quality time to focus.
My script was also selected by the British Urban Film Festival to have a professional staged reading at Channel Four HQ. It was a glorious day. To see your work come alive in front of an audience felt electrifying. The response was fantastic. I met many people who gave me wise advice and guidance about making the next steps as a writer.
Since taking the course I have been writing and applying for competitions and open submissions. Having been an actor for a long time, I am well aware of the rigours of the industry; it's imperative to always be moving forward tenaciously. Writing takes an immense amount of dedication so I have put aside quality time to focus.
I recently submitted a pitch for a new idea to the RIFCO theatre company. It was part of their new scheme to develop new writers and creatives. I was pleased to say that I won. My first a paid writing job! There will be a 15-minute scratch performance at Watford theatre on January 22nd 2016. They are offering dramaturgy support and guidance which is incredible. Their aim is to nurture new talent which aligns nicely with where I am right now.
To find out more about Frazer Flintham's Scriptwriting courses, click here.