In November, RTS Futures caught up with a first-time writer and director of a bittersweet romcom – and the experienced executive producers who assisted them.
Writer Samantha O’Rourke and director Nadira Amrani are the creative duo behind Mincemeat, one of three half-hour films in series three of Channel 4’s On the Edge anthology.
On the Edge, which has been developed in conjunction with the 4Stories new-talent initiative, offers new writers and directors the opportunity to work with BlackLight Television executives Philip Trethowan and Ben Bickerton.
“The aim is to find voices that are under-represented in the industry,” explained Bickerton. “It’s also about bold ideas and exciting writing. We tend to look for things that have some substance and meaning, but we always want to entertain as well.”
Trethowan said On the Edge was “unique” in that “something actually gets made”. He added: “It’s only at the coal-face that you really learn your trade.”
Bickerton said that he and Trethowan liked to have “a loose theme that runs through [all three films] and this year it’s about mental health and family”. The duo receive “thousands” of spec scripts and then interview 50 or so of the most promising writers, who are asked to bring ideas with them. “We had a lot of ideas in and around mental health,” noted Threthowan.
O’Rourke recalled: “I applied... and then tried to forget all about it.... Somehow I made it to the final three. What I’ve found so special about this process, considering I was brand new, was that I always felt so trusted.”
Amrani reached the interview stage for series two of On the Edge. “I got some really good feedback about working more with actors,” she said. After gaining more experience directing a play, she reapplied and was successful.
The director was sent the draft scripts for the three films in the series and “fell in love with Mincemeat.... It was funny, sad, it looked at class, race.
“Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t get it the first time because I don’t think I would have been ready to do this.”
The three On the Edge films aired earlier this month and are now on All4.
The RTS Futures event was chaired by Caroline Frost.