SCRIPTWRITERS & CO WAS ESTABLISHED IN EARLY 2020
It's run by two scriptwriters who understand the business, as well as the struggles we all go through to make our mark. Our aim is to unite people studying or working in the performing arts, and offer opportunities to new and emerging scriptwriters as well as established playwrights and screenwriters.
In a nod to the TV series Suzanna would most like to have written: THIS IS US!
Armed with a helpful BA in Theology and Philosophy, Suzanna initially embarked on a career as an actor. While filming four episodes of Doctor Who, she chatted with Bonny Langford and drove Sylvester McCoy home, so that’s something. She's also been a bluecoat and a belly dancer. Yes, really!
Years ago, she did a stint of playwriting workshops at the Tricycle Theatre, tutored by award-winning playwright Bonnie Greer; trained as a journalist at London's City Lit; and devised, wrote and performed in plays and musicals for a touring theatre company in Wales. She's been copywriting ads and feature-writing for mags for two decades, composes complex rhyming verse and has published a salacious novel about people she knows, under a pseudonym she can't divulge. Obviously. There's more at Zanna C.
A Scriptwriting Master’s equipped Suzanna with a profound understanding of story, structure, character and the importance of collaborating; hence her starting Scriptwriters & Co. It also allowed her to develop a lot of exciting new work for stage and screen. Well, she's excited, anyway.
The first draft of her first full-length play reached the full reading stage of the BBC Writersroom and Papatango playwriting competitions and bagged her an agent, Joan Lane (and the 8th draft is much stronger!). More recently, her 2019 screenplay won Best Pilot Screenwriting at the Olympus Film Festival in LA in 2019, Best TV Series Pilot Screenplay at the New Renaissance Film Festival in 2020, and was officially selected for five others. Unrealistically ambitious, Suzanna aims to hone her craft and get things produced.
Caged Bird - a full-length stage play. A middle-aged woman finds herself online dating after her husband develops MS and becomes abusive and impotent.
Sprouts - a poem-play for older children in dark, metered verse à la Dr Zeuss/Tim Burton. A lonely teen boy whose head grows vegetables instead of hair takes leafy revenge on the cruel Citizens who taunt him.
Voyeuse - a psychological drama TV pilot with potential for a feature. When a vulnerable teenage girl falls for a narcissistic female film director, she becomes the unwitting star of an intimate and incriminating film.
Honeylove - a TV pilot reminiscent of 'Cold Feet' and ‘Catastrophe’, with a bit of 'The Office’ thrown in. By day, Honeylove employees sell sex toys to help customers ‘come together’. By night, they struggle to manage relationships as their home lives fall apart.
Suzanna doesn't just run and host S&Co's Scratch Nights, Workshops and Writing Retreats and Zoom Table Reads, but is gaining a reputation for delivering incisive, non-nonsense script consultancy to playwrights as well as screenwriters. Given half a chance, she will perform at S&Co Scratch Nights, so you can signficantly increase your odds of winning a laurel by writing a meaty role for her. Just saying...
She shoots from the hip but gets on with most people. And somehow, possibly via copious compliments, a vat of rum and tickets to see Liverpool at Anfield, she conned experienced screenwriter and script consultant Alex Hollister into joining her in this venture.
Bristol-born screenwriter Alex was snapped up by Zero Gravity Management in LA many years ago. That's what happens when you place silver at the Page International Screenwriting Awards. Since then, he's optioned and sold a number of screenplays, and worked with various Hollywood production companies on everything from adaptations of bestseller spy novels to high-budget comic book and Sci-Fi projects. This, he says, felt like some form of kismet, given his childhood love of crime novels, movies and comic books.
Inspired by 'Toy Story' in 1995, he bagged himself a BA (Hons) in Illustration and Animation, in a time when you had to remortgage your house to buy a computer that would actually render the frames. However, the process of writing scripts for animations - unshackled by the limitations of technology, permitting wild imagination - truly hooked him. From that point, he says, he became a screenwriter for life.
With a penchant for good stories, from crime to action adventure, Alex's work leans towards the mainstream; he twists genres and executes high-concept ideas. After ten years in the industry, pitching and creating outlines, treatments and lookbooks, he feels he’s learned enough to pass some of that knowledge.
He joined the Scriptwriters & Co team from the onset, initially as part of the judging panel tasked with reading and grading entries for our monthly Scratch Nights. Now he co-hosts and provides invaluable feedback on screen (fact is, we can't stop him). The good news is that Alex also offers expert personal script coverage, using experience and skills originally honed on Fiverr, where his reviews glowed so brightly that they now light up our site:
- Wow. I am so pleased with the coverage I received from Alex. I can tell he read every single word of my script. His attention to detail and his notes are unmatched.
- Alex is truly a talented writer, understands structure and story development. Very honest and his feedback is thorough, I would recommend his services over and over again.
- @AlexHollister_ recently gave me EIGHT pages of superb notes. His insights blew me away and I'm currently working on a major rewrite that will ditch about 60% of what's there but I hope will result in a much better story. His scripts are also among the best.
Since S&Co's inception, Alex has garnered a reputation for highly critical, constructive and honest feedback that allows clients polish their scripts with confidence. A self-proclaimed Simon Cowell figure (minus most of the sociopathic egomania, but with the same shock of dark hair and devious smile), he doesn't sugarcoat his notes. Neither does he concentrate on what clients want to hear, but on what they need to do to move their writing up a level, and carve out a living in this volatile, sometimes unforgiving industry. If you’re up for hearing the truth about your script, what have you got to lose?
ELLA CROWSLEY (aka ZIZZ!) - INTERN
Originally from Bath, Zizz is a third-year English Literature undergraduate at the University of St Andrews. She's always loved reading, and decided to study English because she enjoys discussing others’ work. That said, she's already founded her own student lifestyle blog, The World of Zizz, and aims to encourage creativity and innovation. 'If a writer can make you feel something about their writing - whether it’s love, hate or anger - they’ve done their job,' she says.
After attending the first virtual S&Co Scratch Night and noting the calibre of winning scripts and actors, she asked if she could get involved. Not surprisingly, with a mountain of admin and scripts to plough though, we snapped her up. Within seconds of her appointment, Zizz set up a site in the Cloud so we didn't have to email all the submissions to one another! Imagine! That's when we knew she had to stay. She also demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for recognising good scripts, so now helps to read and sift entries while quietly organising the team.
'If I’m completely honest, I don’t like a lot of the scripts we read,' she told us recently, taking us by surprise. 'Not every script can be to my taste, so I've been angered, shocked and repulsed by some of them, yet amused, delighted or moved by others; and that’s exactly what I'm looking for. I want to see characters come to life and stories lift off the page. I can’t wait to continue reading more incredible entries and couldn't ask for a better way of learning about plays and screenplays. Suzanna and Alex are amazingly talented and super cool.'
Alright, we made up the last sentence. But we're pretty damned sure she thinks it.
HELEN TOMPSON - READER
Helen lives on the edge of Exmoor and somehow manages to juggle working as a school business manager, studying for a part-time Master’s degree in 'Writing for Script & Screen' at Falmouth University, and script-reading for S&Co.
Some would say this is brave. Others might say exhausting. We say it's HEROIC!
We were impressed by Helen's comprehensive notes on the sample set of scripts we sent her, and lost no time in snapping her up as a valuable asset. Our newest recruit enjoys working with writers of all ages and across all mediums, helping them to develop their passion for the written word. Or, in some cases, words. She's already tasted the success of having a series of short plays produced, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing, producing and recording a radio play, adapted from 'A Christmas Carol', which aired on West Somerset Radio in December 2020.
When it comes to scripts, Helen's key passions include the female voice; mystery; sci-fi; high-concept stories; and the medium of audio drama. After graduating, she intends to work as a Script Editor. Until then, she says she's delighted to be part of the team, and we're similarly delighted that she's chosen to support Scriptwriters & Co as part of her journey into the industry.