Thursday, December 10, 2009
Yesterday on Twitter, I was reminded that BAFTA treat their Best Screenwriting award with considerably less fuss than certain other categories, placing it in the craft section. I even made a comment on it last year at the top of this post.
From Twitter discussion, it emerged that BAFTA were adamant that the writer's award belonged with make-up and sound. This annoyed me, so I moaned about it a little, targeting BAFTAonline with a few comments. However, I felt the complaint needed to be expressed in more than 140 characters. So, here's an open letter to BAFTA which express my feelings on the matter (copy also sent to their offices). Feel free to agree, comment or share.
As a screenwriter, I am always surprised and disappointed at the lack of time and attention given to the Best Screenplay award at your award ceremonies. Whilst screenwriting is indeed a craft, it does not belong in the craft section alongside make-up and sound. Every year at awards season, we are treated to the same lip service (from actors, directors et al) that “a good script is the most important part of the process”. Anyone involved in production will agree. Without a script, you don’t have a story. Without a story, you don’t have a film.
So, if you follow that obvious logic, it doesn’t make any sense for the Best Screenplay award to be sidelined in the craft section. Last year, Best Visual Effects got higher billing than screenwriting. Come on BAFTA, if screenwriting is the most important part of the production process, which it clearly is, then give it the attention it deserves. I would politely request that you place it in the main awards, alongside the high profile categories. Let's celebrate and promote screenwriting rather than treat it as a functional cog in the system.