Helen Jacey (Writing)
What training have you received?
I studied the MA in Screenwriting at the LCP. It did a brilliant job of honing our skills while preparing us for the reality of creative compromise which is screenwriting. I try to do a few short courses each year. The best were McKee’s Story Seminar, Chris Vogler’s The Hero’s Journey Seminar, and the Emotional Toolbox seminar by Laurie Hutzler. Attending project development workshops is fantastic for boosting a project: I was lucky to do Arista’s Adept 3 and The Mediterranean Film Institute’s MFI Script Workshop. Forging professional networks internationally is really beneficial.
What themes do you like to explore in your work?
Love, loss, liberation and salvation of the self. The dark sides of humanity’s complex morality fascinates me. I’m also interested in mother/daughter themes and female friendships. I like to explore themes across a range of genres—for instance, love and loss in a comedy.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a writer?
Something that Tim Bevan of Working Title once said to a group of writers I was among: “Tenacity is one of the most important keys to success.” When I finish a screenplay that I feel works, it is like a one hundred page monument to blood, sweat and tears. You have to force yourself to stick out an analytic process that requires more mental dexterity than rocket science.
Most significant moment in your career so far…
Writing A RICHER DUST CONCEALED for Gareth Wiley. It’s a historical and epic love story about the true nature of love, but also explores dilemmas that are faced by contemporary women. Another great thing is that it’s told from the female character’s point of view, which is still rare for the genre.
You’ll die happy when…
My time has come. ■