We’re catching up with another of our WriterSlam winners, Michael Wiafe. Michael is a London born avid reader and writer. In 2013 Michael wrote his first feature film, a sports drama titled ‘The Paper Champion’ which gained him a place at the National Film and Television School. On acceptance, he was awarded the Toledo Scholarship established by Producer, Duncan Kenworthy and Toledo Productions in support of diverse new British voices and talent. He’s still studying at NFTS and entered the first WriterSlam competition in June, winning the Tiger Aspect prize of a shadowing opportunity with a writer on one of their renowned dramas with his script ‘Keep Me Company’.
Where did you hear about WriterSlam?
Initially through Twitter. I went onto the TriForce website which had all the information about the competition.
What made you decide to enter?
I felt confident about the pages I had and only had to submit 10-15 of them so I did. I haven’t written for TV before, but it’s where I’ve been focusing more of my attention.
Is the script you entered something you’ve been working on for a while or is it a new piece for the competition?
‘Keep Me Company’ came from a pilot I had written two years ago. I wanted to finish it this year so just weeks before I even knew about the competition, I decided to completely change the whole narrative, but I kept the characters and the setting.
Tell us a bit about your script.
It’s about fourteen year old Ami Wild who finds herself on the run after slaying her parents in a seemingly unprovoked fit of rage. With no other family ties, all Ami has in the world is a neighbour twice her age, Dean. Dean offers to take her to an old friend of his where she can hopefully figure out the events that led to the death of her parents. The authorities quickly catch on to the murders however and draw to a conclusion that Ami is victim of someone else’s crime – this isn’t far from the truth. Under pressure, Ami undergoes a phenomenal change at which point we see her become a ferocious werewolf and begin to realize just how her parents died. In the pilot Dean and Ami have to find a place to stay whilst the authorities try and track them down. As the series goes on questions such as, how did Ami become a werewolf? Will she ever be able to integrate back in society? Will her friendship with Dean last? And how will it all end?
What was the WriterSlam experience like?
Brilliant! I met the four other finalists for the first time a few days before the actual event. Producer Michael Jacob ran a workshop for the five of us. We read each others scripts out loud and it gave us a chance to really hear what was being said in the actions and the dialogue, and as a result we could see the strength and weaknesses in each of our scripts. Michael then gave invaluable feedback and tips to help us all improve them. Next came the day of the event. The actors read and performed our scripts to an audience of industry folk, friends and family. Not only did the actors do an incredible job of bringing the material and characters to life with Director Fraser Ayres, they also managed to bring drama that’s intended for the screen to a theatre setting. With the presenters, DJ and live music, it was an all out entertaining night.
Were you surprised when you won the Tiger Aspect prize?
Yes! I thought everyone’s piece was as equally as engaging and entertaining as my own. It could have been any of us.
Are you excited about working with Tiger Aspect?
I genuinely cannot wait. I was able to speak to Iona and Maria from Tiger Aspect on the night and there were just smiles all round. It was said that they were looking for a writer that they could see themselves having a long-term relationship with so I’m thrilled that they chose me. I’ve been awarded a fantastic opportunity that gives me a great advantage in starting out as a new writer.