We’re excited to announce the participants taking part in Convergence – our new programme for aspiring screenwriters.
In December 2020 submissions were invited from Scotland-based professional writers, filmmakers and creative practitioners from other mediums who were interested in moving into writing for screen.
After an internal assessment and selection process – carried out by the Short Circuit Talent Executives and course leader David Pope – ten participants were chosen to take part in Convergence and learn the fundamentals of screenwriting shorts and feature films.
The selected participants are:
- Andrew Thompson
- Anna Moore
- Catriona MacLeod
- Joanne Thomson
- Louise Oliver
- Miranda Stern
- Niloo-Far Khan
- Paul Sng
- Raman Mundair
- Sheila Duncan
Find out more about the participants and what they’re most looking forward to about the programme:
Andrew is an award winning playwright with work staged in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Newcastle and Sheffield. As an actor he has filmed for ITV, Channel 4, National Geographic and Ealing Studios.
“I’m most looking forward to getting to know people and being part of the community. I’m excited to develop my work and my craft with the expert guidance available.”
Anna Moore is a writer based in Edinburgh. Originally from New Jersey, USA, she has lived in Portland, Oregon, and London before settling in Scotland. She has previously worked in the creative industries as a graphic designer and freelance writer.
“I’m over the moon to be a part of such an incredible programme! I look forward to learning from David’s expertise and connecting with the other talented writers in the cohort. Thank you Short Circuit for putting together such a great course.”
Catriona MacLeod is a screenwriter/director and award-winning cabaret performer from the Isle of Mull. Her first solo show Cat Loud’s Big Night In debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015 to five star reviews and subsequently toured the UK. It was followed by blues fairytale Wayward and apocalypse cabaret To the End of the World!, which won a VAULT Festival Origins Award for Outstanding New Work in 2018. Her first short film, HOWL, starring Misha McCullagh, has been officially selected for Venice Shorts Film Festival in L.A. and shortlisted for the WhoUKnow Creative Festival award 2021.
“Writing is lonely at the best of times, and I’ve made the choice to change professional lanes in arguably the worst of times. I’m so excited to be part of such a dynamic cohort of writers from such a diverse range of backgrounds, and I am looking forward to learning from David and my peers. Having both guidance and discipline through the toughest stages of the process will only help me hone and shape my ideas so they’re ready for the next stage of development, whatever that ends up looking like.”
Joanne Thomson is an Actor, Writer and Director from Glasgow, Scotland. Since graduating with a BA in Acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she has worked across the UK in both television and theatre. Her theatre credits include work with the National Theatre of Scotland, Bristol Old Vic, Birmingham Rep, Royal Lyceum, Traverse, and the legendary Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.
“The wonderful thing about this programme is that we go through it as a team. We’re all from such creatively diverse backgrounds, I’m sure we’ll not only learn from David’s clear wealth of knowledge, but also from each other. We’re all coming at our work from different perspectives so I can’t wait to hear more about each person’s projects! David seems to have such a genuine passion for what he does and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to hone my ideas in such a supportive environment. Thank you for having me, Short Circuit!”
Louise is an actor, writer, activist and creative producer. She trained at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and got her Masters in Theatre Studies from the University of Glasgow. Louise is the co-founder of the Persistent and Nasty initiative, Associate Artist / Producer for production company Civil Disobedience and co-founder of NYC based theatre company The Blockheads Collective. Her resume is varied; from making immersive, activist, queer theatre to appearing in TVs Outlander.
“I am beyond thrilled to be part of the Convergence programme. I am already thoroughly enjoying the rigour with which we are approaching what is still a new creative practice for me. I am looking forward to the challenge of changing the way I think about some aspects of my creative process and unlocking new potential as a writer.”
Miranda is a self-shooting documentary filmmaker. She makes independent observational short docs and has worked on projects for BBC, Ch4 and National Geographic, amongst others. Her first zero-budget short drama Everybody’s Business came second place at the 16 DAYS 16 FILMS festival and was screened at the Channel 4 cinema. She is also currently developing a feature length documentary, funded by Screen Scotland, about all-female rock and punk bands (Play Like a Girl, working title.) She’s had films screened at London City Open Doc fest, Carmarthen Bay short film festival and came second place at the 2018 Mountain Bound Short Film Competition.
“I’ve always been drawn to storytelling, but never allowed myself to believe I could write screenplays – as if saying it out loud might shatter the idea into a million pieces before it’s even fully formed! I’m hoping that by studying the craft I will be able to execute ideas with conviction. I’m keen to hone and nurture my own individual voice and write something that ultimately will translate well onto screen and resonate with an audience.”
Niloo is a Scottish female director and theatremaker of Asian and Italian heritage. She makes work with the aim of bringing a diversity of Scottish stories to the stage and screen; ensuring representation and inclusivity in these spaces; and strengthening our community through our shared stories and mutual understanding. She has a BA in English and Film, and an MFA in Directing from Edinburgh Napier University. Her recent works include currently Directing a research and development for Accelerator’s Thrown (by Xana Marwick/Imaginate, 2021); the short film Black Scots (National Theatre of Scotland/BBC Scotland/Hopscotch Films, 2020); the Fringe Premier of boxing drama In Her Corner (by Mikey Burnett/Fringe, 2019).
“Everyone says, ‘write what you know’. And it’s only since being close to my 30’s that I actually feel like I know myself well enough to write the stories I have been dying to tell, but I am without the tools or the knowledge to do so. As an emerging theatre director, I am absolutely honoured to be on this journey with such an accomplished group of writers and gain knowledge from them as well as industry professionals such as David, that I would never have been able to have access to without this course. I am very excited to find allies, being inspired by the talent in the group and finding out more about myself as a writer in the process.”
Paul Sng is a British Chinese filmmaker based in Edinburgh, Scotland, whose films are driven by methodical research, creative storytelling and a collaborative approach that strives for inclusivity and diversity in people and projects. In 2015, Paul founded Velvet Joy Productions to explore the lives and work of individuals who have been neglected, marginalised or misrepresented in the arts and media. Paul’s documentaries have been broadcast on national television and screened internationally and include Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain (2015), Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (2017), Social Housing, Social Cleansing (2018) and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (2021).
“In my documentary work I’ve aspired to amplify the voices of people whose lives have been affected by systemic inequalities, enabling them to tell their stories directly and represent their own truths as much as possible. Recently, I began the transition to drama in order to explore the storytelling constructs and indexes that narrative fiction offers, while staying fully committed to my concerns about identity, injustice and inequality. I’m relishing the opportunity to develop as a screenwriter with Convergence and learn from David Pope and my fellow writers on the programme.”
Raman Mundair is a writer, director and artist based in Shetland and Glasgow. She is an Ignite Fellow, NFTS graduate and her short film Trowie Buckie was shortlisted for Sharp Shorts 2020. She was picked as one of 8 writers to join the BBC Scottish Drama Writers’ Programme and won an opportunity to work as a scriptwriter to develop an original television pilot. She is the director of the digital and stage production of Things My White Friends Say currently in pre-production at the Tron Theatre. Raman has had artist films commissioned by Tramway, Edinburgh Dancebase and Oxford University. She is the award-winning author of Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves, A Choreographer’s Cartography, The Algebra of Freedom (a play) and is the editor of Incoming: Some Shetland Voices.
“I’m delighted to be part of Convergence. I have raw talent and lots of dynamic, iconoclastic ideas but I have struggled with intersectional access and gatekeeping issues within the industry. I am looking forward to furthering my craft and learning from the knowledge and experience of writers and filmmakers who have successfully navigated the industry. I hope that this is an opportunity to fine-tune my process and finally move past ‘go’ and get to the finishing line with a project rather than stuck in perpetual development.”
Sheila Duncan is an award-winning actor and the author of nine produced and/or published stage plays. These include: Growing up a Girl (1991), Tabula Rasa (1999/2014), A Solitary Choice (2000-2021), Umbrellas (2007), Going Down (2006), Why Muriel Matters (Commission 2010), Soft Edges (Commission 2013), Bird (2016) and Wyrd Song (2019). She holds a Master of Arts in Communications; a Master of Science in Playwrighting from Edinburgh University and a PhD in Drama from Flinders University. She is a member of the Australian Writer’s Guild and the Scottish Society of Playwrights. She lives in Fife, Scotland.
“Being part of Convergence will not only contribute to my screenwriting practice, but also allow me to connect with other professional-creatives in the Scottish film industry. Already after the first week, I have begun to rethink my approach to storytelling and I’m loving it.”
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