Jonathan Williamson is a graduate with an MA in Screenwriting from Bathspa University. Upon graduating he sold the screenplay Frostbite, a screenplay, to Archer Street Productions. Jonathan has written The Boleyn Brothers, Protect & Survive and episodes of the antholgy series Extraordinary Tales for TBC Audio and is currently developing a film project with Fluidity Films.
TO1%: How did you first get into writing?
J.W. I first got into writing when I was at the London Film School. I realised that I enjoyed the process of writing and seemed to have a talent for it.
TO1%: What was your first published works?
J.W. My co-writing on a student film called the Midas Touch that won best short film at the Sitges Film festival.
TO1%: Do you read your writing dialogue aloud to yourself?
J.W. This is something that I have recently started doing and now I wish I had been doing it for years. I would say that this depends on what you are trying to achieve as a writer. For writers such as Pinter or Woody Allen, whose styles are very specific and not a constructed naturalistic style of speech it probably wouldn’t matter as much.
TO1%: Do you think writers get the recognition they deserve?
J.W. It depends on the medium. Novelists – yes. Audio and radio writers – yes. Television writers – yes. Film writers – No (No recognition and are treated terribly.)
TO1%: How did you get involved with The Other 1%.
J.W. I originally met Simon Moorhead, The Other 1%, series producer when I was looking to have a screenplay produced. But after Simon moved into the audio world he phoned me to ask if I would like to write some audio plays for him. To which I emphatic replied – Yes!
TO1%: What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation?
J.W. Master and Commander (screen adaptation by Peter Weir & John Collee)
TO1%: And your least?
J.W. Recently I thought the new film adaptation of Rebecca missed it a mile.
TO1%: Do you listen to music when you write?
J.W. Yes at the start of the writing process, and I will create a playlist for the piece I’m writing to. But then once I’m into the writing process it gets left behind. It really helps me to set the tone for the writing.
TO1%: Do you have a writing schedule? (mornings/nighttime)
J.W. Morning. No question about it.
TO1%: Do your characters take over your life? Do you worry about them?
J.W. No and no. Though sometimes excitingly and thrillingly characters will say and do things I never expected as they take on a life of their own. I love those moments but I feel more like an observer of them and their behaviour rather than them taking over my life.
TO1%: What do you write on? Laptop?Pen and paper? Quill?
J.W. I would love to say a quill. When building the structure, tone and working on the characters I work with pen and paper. There is more freedom on paper when throwing around ideas and developing the story but when I start to write the formal script it is done on a computer.
TO1%: Do you ever write in cafes? Or does that make you feel uncomfortable?
J.W. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful cafe/restaurant in a converted chapel in Bruton, Somerset, where they have a few discreet tables above the main restaurant where I go to write. I really find the atmosphere very conducive to writing and wrote my ‘Boleyn Brothers’ script for The Other 1% there. I am now working on the companion piece and was (until lockdown) writing there.
TO1%: How do you read? (books? Kindle? Audio?)
J.W. Can’t do kindle. it’s more about the physical feel of the book. I love holding a paper book. Or Audio, when I’m exercising, driving or in bed.
TO1%: What’s your favourite writing snack?
J.W. Sadly it’s a Snickers – that’s why I have to have a running regime to counter that.
TO1%: What’s the last meal you cooked?
J.W. Thai curry – love it. Could eat Thai curry every day.
TO1%: What’s the last (non-food) thing you bought?
J.W. Some 5 star wood treatment. I’m painting some fascia boards to go up for the guttering on a barn. It’s nice to balance writing with something practical.
TO1%: Who is your favourite writer?
J.W. For me my favourite writer changes all the time, over time, how old I am, what point in my life I’m at, what book I’ve just read. When I was younger I loved every thing by James Ellroy but now it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. It’s changeable. But now at this very moment it’s Hilary Mantel and her Wolf Hall trilogy. Her writing blew me away.
TO1%: What’s your desert Island book?
J.W. Oh this is too difficult. It would have to be something long, would I be allowed a collected works or is that cheating? Collected works of… Charles Dickens.
TO1%: What’s your best procrastination tactic?
J.W. Just about anything, tidying, shopping, cooking an apple pie, fixing some shelves… that’s why going to a cafe is a good idea for me. I can’t do any of those procrastinating things. I have to turn of the wifi, then I can get on with writing.
TO1%: If you were given a million pounds in cash, with the proviso that you could never write again, would you take it?
J.W. Oh that’s tough….. I think I’d take it ( Sorry, I know you don’t want to hear this but I need a pension ) but I would take on another creative endeavour to replace it. Though I can’t imagine what else could replace writing but directing and working with actors I love doing that so if I could do that instead I would do take the money and run.
Based on the South Coast of England, THE OTHER 1% was created by award-winning producer SIMON MOORHEAD, whose production company TBC AUDIO creates and distributes original, full-cast audiobooks with the aim of promoting local actors and writers to a global audience.