The WGI (Writers Guild Ireland), with the support of the BAI (Broadcasting Authority Ireland), organised two days for women writers to polish their feature films and TV dramas. There was lots of creativity and origination at work. A great fun atmosphere in the room with a collection of writers eager to take centre stage, to get their voice on our screens. I’m really interested in how the shape and form of story for the screen will change when women and the stories they want to tell and see become the norm.
In the past ten years the advent of streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc.) has fundamentally altered episodic story structure. Proceedural drama with a story of the week has been sub-planted by the long character arc. TV dramas now are anything but predictable. Central characters are killed off, series jump backwards and forwards in time, episodes are of varying duration within a series and season. Narrative hooks are almost flattened. In essence, the shift away from traditional TV scheduling to audience driven, on-demand, access to content has changed the form. And as the form changed the space for variation in writing and story-telling has exploded.
TV is now the most exciting place to be for storytellers, writers, directors and actors. Artists have reclaimed the form and the form has become more creatively driven. This shift has also altered the power base away from executives to the creatives. Audience now has access to broader, more diverse universes of stories, character types and emotion.
Just as, the streamers have changed the content and form of TV drama, the new shift in the market toward female centered content will again change the form across all screens from cinema to mobile devices. Content originators, writers and commissioners must be encouraged to experiment, explore the possibilities and play with, story structure to develop and create something new.
Looking at films like THE FAVOURITE winning over conservative Hollywood, FLEABAG scooping the Emmys and landing Phoebe Waller-Bridge a multi-million output deal it is time to take courage, follow your story idea, be brave and original and break through. I for one will be watching...
Phoebe Waller-Bridge inspires us with the "out-there" brilliant, series that breaks so many "rules"