As one of a relatively small number of Scottish screenwriters who has had a film or two produced, my own experience with previous bodies was less than happy. Twenty years ago, British Screen told me my scripts were too commercial and had the potential to make a profit. A frightening thought. Scottish Screen were much more enthusiastic and welcoming but unfortunately lost my script behind a filing cabinet for three years.
In despair, I went to America. I sold my first script within three weeks. Two months later, I pitched a story about Edinburgh's criminal underworld to Madonna's Maverick Pictures. They bought the idea and rewrote it for a Miami location. That summed it up for me at the time, but in retrospect I should have stuck my ground in Scotland and not succumbed to the mighty dollar. We should be making films by ourselves, about ourselves. Digital technology has given us the means to do so relatively inexpensively. We have the finest locations and remarkable talents in all departments. Not least, we have stories from our past and our present.
We cannot compete toe-to-toe with Hollywood but if we can focus less on bringing expensive foreign productions to Scotland and more on the worldwide distribution of well-crafted Scottish films, we'll have the mindset to succeed. And perhaps make hefty profits too!
Dunbar, East Lothian