Meet the Lecturers: Part 3

28th January 2022

Welcome to part 3 of our Meet the Lecturers series, where we hear from the talented film professionals who we are fortunate enough to be able to call upon for their expertise and industry experience.

In Part 2 of our ‘Meet the Lecturers’ series we heard from the brilliant Milda Baginskaite from Screen and Film School Manchester and also the world-famous Production Designer Ollie Hodge, who manages Screen and Film School Brighton’s Brighton Film Studios. We’re changing things up this week, as we run through a Q&A session with our multi-talented lecturer Sarah Drew from Screen and Film School Birmingham, and also chatting with a third Brighton lecturer in this series, Polly Wrenn, a scriptwriting specialist.

Both of our featured lecturers today are experts with the written word. For all you budding screenwriters out there, at Screen and Film School Brighton we run two Screenwriting short courses. These are aimed at both beginners and intermediate level writers, and if you have a spark for storytelling then these will be perfect for your development. As these two professional writers can attest to, the next big plot line is ready to be told.

Sarah Drew is a screenwriter, producer and musician. After spending over a decade in the music industry, she decided to turn her attention to writing. Here is what Sarah had to say when we posed our questions to her:

Sarah Drew

How would you describe your role at Screen and Film School Birmingham?

I teach Creative Industries and You, as well as Screenwriting. It’s varied, sometimes challenging, but always enjoyable.

Could you tell us about some of your proudest achievements in the industry  and some  of your well-known  credits?

My most well-known credit to date is Justine, which was nominated for a BIFA in 2020 and was made on a shoestring budget. I think my proudest achievement though was having my first screenplay optioned. You never really know if what you’re writing is any good, but when someone tells you they want to make it, it can feel like a pretty big pat on the back!

How would you describe the environment at Screen and Film School to any prospective students?

Being in a place filled with creative people is exactly what any prospective filmmaker wants. Talking with fellow film and TV enthusiasts makes for a lot of engaging debates and conversations. The course is also very practical so there’s always someone working on something exciting and getting others involved.

What is your  favourite  recent TV show  or film and why?

Power of The Dog by Jane Campion blew my mind. A truly intelligent, captivating and moving piece of cinema. I’m still thinking about it weeks after watching.

What is your best piece of  filmmaking  advice?

Be kind, brave disappointment and always give 100%.

From the Midlands we’re moving back down to Brighton now, to speak to Polly Wrenn. Polly started her career working on story lines for television, and then went on to write scripts for a number of big prime-time dramas, such as Eastenders and Bad Girls.

Polly Wren

How would you describe your role at Screen and Film School Brighton?

I have several roles within Screen and Film School. I’m a lecturer, I’ve taught an MA workshop in scriptwriting, I’m a tutor and I also oversee the short courses.

Could you tell us about some of your proudest achievements in the industry  and some  of your well-known  credits?

Probably my proudest industry achievement was writing a 90-minute special episode of an ITV show called Bad Girls, for Shed Productions. One of their main characters was killed off in this episode, so it felt like a big responsibility. I also enjoyed writing for Eastenders.

How would you describe the environment at Screen and Film School to any prospective students?

The School is a very supportive, welcoming environment and students are encouraged to explore their areas of interest and expand their creativity right from the outset.

What is your  favourite  recent TV show  or film and why?

My favourite recent TV show is Call My Agent, a French series set in an Actor’s Agency. The setting is original, the characters are brilliantly thought out and portrayed, the script is fantastic – it really was faultless. I always think that if you end a series feeling a sense of loss – as though these characters have become a part of your life – then the show has done an excellent job.

What is your best piece of  filmmaking  advice?

Work to your strengths and your interests. There’s no point trying to write or produce something that you have no interest in – just because you think the genre is popular – you have to have a passion for the project.

Thanks to Sarah and Polly, who are both masters of their craft. We’ll move from wordsmiths to another faculty of filmmaking next week, in Part 4 of our ‘Meet the Lecturers’ series.



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