Graduate spotlight: screenwriter, author and inspirational writing coach Stuart Wakefield
19 April 2023
We sat down with Stuart to see where he is now.
What has your career journey been since graduating from Falmouth University?
I’ve started my own book coaching business, The Book Coach, had a book reach the 2021 BookLife Prize Fiction Contest semi-finals and had micro fiction and a novelette published. I recently finished writing three episodes of a forthcoming Channel 4 comedy, too.
Right now, I’m working on expanding my business, developing a new TV show with a producer I worked with at Turner (now Warner Bros. Discovery) and completing two new novels. It’s beyond busy, but I love every minute. Having said that, I’m getting up at 4.30am to keep on top of everything!
It’s not just about discussing what needs to be improved in your work: it’s about understanding what it means to be a writer.
How do you think your course help you to develop the skills you needed for a career in writing and broadcasting?
The course taught me how to look at my work objectively - and that’s harder to do than most people realise. I think it’s true for all creatives, because it’s so difficult to separate ourselves from our work. Now I have my own business coaching writers, learning to provide constructive critique has been invaluable. It’s not just about discussing what needs to be improved in your work: it’s about understanding what it means to be a writer.
When studying on the course, I most enjoyed the camaraderie of my cohort. We critiqued each other’s work before each submission and that process drew us closer. Writing can be a solitary craft, so a feeling of community can be beneficial.
Are there any projects you’re particularly proud of?
By far, it’s the Channel 4 comedy I worked on. I worked with RDF Television for the production, and the whole experience was incredible; from the first meeting with the producers to the final scripts being signed off. I can’t wait until it airs this year! (I wish I could tell you the name, but a pesky Non-Disclosure Agreement won’t let me. Still, my name will be in the credits so look out for me!).
The biggest challenges on the project was time: any rewrites had to be completed in 24 hours. That was tough, especially when a rewrite came through on my birthday! I knew from working at Turner that this was how things can turn out, but it’s a whole lot different when you’re on the receiving end of those requests.
Plan strategies that will help you stay motivated and kick imposter syndrome to the curb, commit to continuous improvement so your creative practice thrives, and believe in yourself.
It was unexpected, but I rose to the challenge. If Channel 4 commissions a second series, they’ve asked if I’ll go back and write again. That has to say something, right? I’m really proud of that.
What advice would you give to students looking to enter the industry?
Plan strategies that will help you stay motivated and kick imposter syndrome to the curb, commit to continuous improvement so your creative practice thrives, and believe in yourself. If you’ve graduated then that’s proof you can do it!