Siege Proquee is “Africa’s best Film/Television Producer, Director, Scriptwriter, Score maker and Editor” (according to his Facebook page!). I posed Siege a few questions about his approach to writing, specifically with TV scripting in mind.
How did you become a writer?
The whole journey started during the June holidays in 2015 when I completely fell in love with one-hour television drama like The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Revenge and The Flash. They brought about a new way for my siblings and I to pass the time through binge-watching these brilliantly crafted stories which really brought us closer together – and I knew from that time that I wanted to do the same for other siblings out there. These shows inspired me to make the switch from short stories (which I had been doing since 2013) to film and television. I did not just find my way to script-writing, it was a bit of a process because I hadn’t found my footing yet and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to fit in the industry. I have a cousin who’s also an aspiring film director who gave me some guidance and considering that I was already into writing, I read a few scripts and I fell in love with the art.
The longevity of characters over a TV series is obvious but what are the key differences between writing for TV and for film?
- TV allows for more in-depth exploration of a story and its central characters
- It also grants the writer ample time to play around with different subplots and themes before they have to commit to a single one.
- TV has greater continuity than film.
- It encourages and promotes imagination and curiosity on the writer’s part.
What genre do you write in and what’s your latest project?
When I was starting out, my main focus was Supernatural/ Horror Drama but as time went on and my taste in entertainment developed, I developed an appetite for Crime/ Conspiracy/ Psychological Thriller. My current project, titled Ayanna, is a Psychological/ Crime Thriller that focuses on Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
Do you start with an outline first or write freely?
Usually I try to conceptualise the idea and work out the outline before I start the screenplay, but sometimes I mix things up just to keep myself in peak form and out of my comfort zone.
How do you work with dialogue to make it sound natural?
When it comes to dialogue and the switch between characters, I have developed a system where I put myself in the character’s shoes and decide, based on the character’s traits, what he/ she is more likely to say in that situation. The hardest part is the initial break into the conversation between characters but once I’ve established that, the rest figures itself out.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Nothing inspires me more than watching other professionals at work on their own projects, pouring out the hearts for the entertainment of the masses. Shows that contain high end drama and suspense such as The Blacklist, Game of Thrones, Vikings, The Crown etc. But what fuels my own projects is music – once I find the right playlist, I could write for hours on end.
What are the challenges you personally face as a writer?
My biggest challenge nowadays, especially with my matric finals just months away, is time management. With all the growing pressure at school, I barely find enough time to work on my projects. But nonetheless, I try to set aside two hour everyday just to write.
Do you believe in a formulaic story structure to even get your script read?
I do believe it is important to format a screenplay efficiently, but it should not be the factor that dictates whether or not the script is sold. The content outweighs the format since fans do not read the script, they watch the action.
What do you gain most about being a writer?
Writing has helped me manage my own life outside my head. Through creating and developing characters, I got an inside look at the human mind which has in turn benefited my social skills tremendously.
Do you write for yourself or to sell?
Both actually. On the one hand, I love telling stories and nothing is important to me than telling a phenomenal story. But let’s not forget the importance of selling a script. The whole reason is to for your story as a writer to make it to the screen, and thus the sale is an integral part of that process.
Siege, I’d like to thank you for your answers and wanted to wish you all the best in your writing career, I have a feeling you will make some big waves in the industry!
You can find Siege on his social media links below:
Instagram Siege Proquee