STEVE COOMBES: THE 5 GOLDEN RULES OF SCRIPTWRITING
Sunday 16 June – 10.30-11.30
The Queens Head, 78 Harbour Parade, Ramsgate CT11 8LP
In his talk at the 3rd Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival, Steve Coombe will share his secrets about what makes a good script and a winning script.
Steve began writing stand up, comedy and plays and spent a large part of the 1980s touring Britain and Europe with the ‘Keen But Nervous Theatre Company’ which he also managed. They performed regularly at the Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury.
His first television commission was to write an episode of Jake’s Journey, a series created by the legendary Python, Graham Chapman, for CBS/FOX. Ever since, Steve has written episodes for a host of comedy and drama hits, including 6 series of Lovejoy with Ian McShane, Birds of a Feather, Frank Stubbs Presents with Tim Spall and Ashley Sharpe, Roughnecks, New Tricks and Hustle. During which time he has been nominated for various awards including RTS, BAFTA and the British Comedy Awards. In 2005 Steve won the Society of Authors’ Imison Award for best new radio play for Mr Sex.
His first feature film, What Rats Won’t Do, a romantic comedy about lawyers, was produced by Working Title Films in 1998, starring Natascha McElhone and James Frain.
In 2004, Steve’s original 12 part television series Outlaws, starring Phil Daniels as an ambulance-chasing duty solicitor, was shown on BBC3 and repeated on BBC2. The series was praised by critics, enjoyed by audiences and was nominated for a BAFTA award. The Guardian described it as ‘darkly brilliant’ and The Sun said it was ‘brilliantly dark’.
Outlaws was followed in 2007 by ITV1 comedy drama Sold, with Kris Marshall starring as a corrupt estate agent.
Steve is currently developing a number of projects, including Rusk, a 120 minute film for Kudos/Sky; and Clubland, a 5 x 1 hour crime series for ITV studios. He has also been commissioned by the BBC to write Cu_ts – a six part medical series about the worst A&E in the country.
Apart from screenwriting, Steve has a modest history as a researcher and teacher. After a First in English & Philosophy at York, Steve spent 3 years at Warwick doing post-grad work in critical theory and the philosophy of science, and teaching modern lit. From 1985-89, he was the political advisor and researcher for the quango that ran Social Work, contributing various chapters to a number of official Inquiries and Reports into Child Abuse.
The background research document on criminality and criminology for Outlaws was picked up and adapted by various organizations as a basis for their own publications, including both the Prince’s Trust and the Sun.
The background research document for Outlaws 2 on drugs and society was incorporated into the Home Office response and rebuttal of John Birt’s report on the same subject.
Steve was a keynote speaker at the Law Society’s annual conference in 2006 and has delivered lectures and seminars on a variety of subjects, including screenwriting, at universities such as Warwick, London & Newcastle.
Steve also sporadically reviews books for various magazines and journals, including the New York Review of Books where he was asked to respond the factual accuracy of James H Jones’ hostile biography of Alfred Kinsey.
Improbably, Steve has even been the subject of academic scrutiny himself and is one of the authors considered in the recently published Law & Justice on the Small Screen ed. Robson & Sidley.
Steve is represented as a screenwriter by Amanda Davis at Curtis Brown.