London Screenwriters' Festival

London Screenwriters’ Festival ‘Beyond the Bio’: Stuart Hazeldine

Posted on: August 9th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay 1 Comment

Stuart HazeldineStuart Hazeldine is one of a select few British screenwriters who make a living writing for Hollywood blockbusters while residing in the UK.  With huge movies like ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ and ‘Knowing’ on his CV, Stuart is clearly a great advert for what we can all achieve from these shores if we want it enough.

This year Stuart released his directorial debut, the mesmerising ‘Exam‘.  He is currently working on an adaptation of ‘The Tripods’ for director Alex Proyas.

Read more about Stuart here, right after you check out his answers to our Q&A:

Q: What was your favourite film as a kid?

A: Alien.

Q: Who inspired you when you were starting out?

A: Ridley Scott and Peter Weir.

Q: What was your big break?

A: When Jeremy Bolt and Paul Trijbits decided to develop my first screenplay, ‘Underground’.

Q: What was the best day in your career?

A: As a writer, it’s a 3-Way tie between

  1. Jeremy Bolt saying, “Let’s do it.”
  2. ‘Knowing’ getting green-lit off my draft.
  3. Being hired to write ‘Paradise Lost‘.


As a director, it’s a 2-Way tie between

  1. Screening ‘Exam’ for the first time to cast, crew and friends at BAFTA.
  2. Getting the BAFTA Outstanding Debut nomination.


It’s too hard to choose…

Q: What has been your most important lesson?

A: Make the best of whatever time and resources are available to you, and keep pushing forward.

Q: If a niece or nephew wanted to be in the business, what would you advise them?

A: Never rely on anyone else to make things happen for you because no-one – NO-ONE – will ever care about your career as much as you do.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome it?

A: The hardest part is the non-creative stuff.  The politics.  Managing egotistical, unreliable and incompetent people.   You overcome it by focusing on the work I guess, and staying loyal to people who know their jobs and just want to do their jobs well.

Q: What do you feel is a writer’s or filmmaker’s key responsibility?

A: Making audiences feel something in the cinema.  Cinema is emotional exercise.

Q: What mistakes do you see emerging writers or filmmakers making over and over?

A: They put too many eggs into the basket of one idea or one script, not realizing that a career screenwriter can find ten filmable stories a day just by reading the paper.

They also tend to think their first drafts are golden, when most writing is actually rewriting. Basically, because of our theatrical and literary heritage in this country, they can act too precious to survive in a collaborative medium like film.

Q: What advice would you offer an emerging writer or film maker?

A: Learn to see yourself as others see you.  Focus your subjective imagination on your creative work, but look at yourself – your strengths and weaknesses – through the dispassionate lens of objective reality — i.e. the sum total of the opinions of those who know you and your work well.  That will ensure you find the right slot in this industry and make the most of the talents you have.

NEXT TIME ON ‘BEYOND THE BIO’: 2007 “Star of Tomorrow” and 2010 Rushes Soho Shorts winner Deborah Haywood.

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One Response

  1. jazad says:

    Clear, concise and interesting. Wh-eye thank you.

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