Adrian Mead Interview
Posted on 29 December 2005. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to screenwriter Adrian Mead, whose first film, Night People, is due out soon
Tell us something about your background.
I love working as writer and I have written on a fairly wide range of drama for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, everything from the medic shows like "Where The Heart Is" and "Holby" to Comedy Drama such as "Paradise Heights" and "the Last Detective'. Like most creative people I would hate to find myself pigeonholed. At the moment I am writing a Rom -com, a Comedy-Horror and researching a big historical drama. No fear of being pigeon holed just yet.
I've also written and directed four short films and a feature film, which was completed this year and has me hungering for more.
How did you start writing?
I was 33 years old, living in New York and stressed out after 15 years working in the pressure cooker world of hairdressing and fashion shows. On the weekends I was helping out downtown in a gang's projects, persuading kids to give up their guns. I'd travelled the world, been in some VERY strange situations and people were constantly telling me that I should write about it all. A kid from Kirkby in Liverpool becoming a writer? Surely you needed a degree in English Literature to be one of these rare and exotic creatures?
Desperate for a new career I moved to Edinburgh with a plan. I would become a criminal psychologist! So I signed up for an Access course at Edinburgh University. Then that strange phenomena that I have come to love and trust kicked in. You instigate change....and totally unforeseen events begin to take over and carry you forward...in a different direction.
I was asked by some students to be a stuntman in their no-budget short film, as I had a background in Martial Arts and, more importantly, I owned a suit and tie! Once on the film set I realised that THIS was what I was meant to be doing. I'd always sketched, dabbled with music, LOVED films and was never afraid of hard graft. Making films and TV combined all those elements. I was smitten.
Now absolutely determined to to be a writer/director I planned it like a military campaign, visualising every step.
Step 1. I needed training and a calling card. I would make a short film. But first I needed a budget.
I worked 5 days a week in a Salon, 1 day a week at the Access course and 6 nights of the week as a bouncer. I snatched any time I could to write, five minutes here and there but every day I would write. On Sundays I would take out all my scraps of paper, write them up into a script and then pay a student £20 to type them into a screenplay format for me (I didn't own a computer and couldn't type.)
In nine months I'd saved £7,000 and went back to New York and made a short film on 35mm. I passed my Access course, the short won some awards and my two short scripts and feature (written mostly on the toilet in work ) secured me an agent at ICM London. I was off.
What would be your dream writing job/opportunity?
The job is everything I had dreamed it could be. I love the chance to work alone in the quiet. When I direct it is the polar opposite so I have a perfect balance. If I start to feel the slightest bit down or pressured I go and look through a salon window or watch a bunch of bouncers outside a club and I'm instantly cured. NOTHING about this job is anywhere near as tough and stressful as what I used to do.
How do reviews/audience reactions affect you?
Are creative people ever entirely happy with anything they've done? My goal is always to enjoy and improve and it's about constantly reminding yourself of that and that any criticism is of the material, not you. As a result I can honestly say that I make the most of positive reviews and am completely untouched by negative ones. I can always learn something from them (after I've killed the punchbag in the backyard)
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