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Director of Screenwriters Network Alex Edge gives advice to budding screenwriters and discusses how he hopes to nurture them through his services

Alex Edge is the founder and director of the Screenwriters Network, a script consultancy service that aims to deliver the highest-quality feedback and advice to budding screenwriters. Through their services and their screenwriting competitions, they hope to introduce talented writers to industry experts and help them develop their writing to the highest possible standard. With a network of passionate and experienced leaders, the Screenwriters Network has big plans for the future and for nurturing screenwriting’s next biggest stars.

Hi Alex, thanks for speaking with us. Can you start by introducing yourself?

My name is Alex Edge and I’m the founder/director of Screenwriters Network. I’ve been in the film and media industry my whole career, working for companies such as MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

I’ve been trained as a script consultant and have written many scripts myself for the past 6 years.

Your area of expertise is production and script consultancy. How did you become interested in this?

I was always interested in films but when I came to work in production it made me want to explore how they were best made; naturally I arrived at screenwriting. It fascinated me how a script could make or break a film and so I started giving feedback and analysing other peoples scripts and I haven’t looked back since.

What motivated you to found the Screenwriters Network?

Me and several other friends of mine (industry veterans) started a discussion about how many scammy script consultants and screenplay competitions there were online, only there to turn a profit. I came to a realisation that I could start a company that focused on quality and developing writers’ skills. I had the knowledge and experience to pursue it and it really gave me satisfaction improving and advising other writers.

What does the Screenwriters Network do?

Screenwriters Network is a support network for writers. We aren’t a service or business-centric brand, in fact we focus on free content and being useful for screenwriters more than anything. We want to spread the word and help people on their journey.

Our services do include script coverage and script registration however. We also host the SWN Screenplay Competition which is a seasonal programme to help writers gain industry exposure.

What does quality script consultancy services mean for budding screenplay writers?

I think getting the right script coverage is incredibly important for screenwriters. They spend so much time writing, alone with their thoughts and ideas that sometimes it’s hard to gage whether or not you’re doing certain things correctly.

The wrong notes can be terribly detrimental to a writer as they are not only a waste of money, but writers can end up focusing on the wrong things, actually regressing in their abilities.

This is why SWN focuses so much on quality and highlighting writers’ strengths and weaknesses.

Can you tell us about the SWN Screenplay Competition?

The SWN Screenplay Competition is a seasonal programme that focuses on supporting writers on their journey and also connecting the top 9 winners/placers with our industry contacts; producers, executives etc.

Our aim is to provide value for all entrants however, so we give many submission benefits for just entering alone. These include:

  1. Every script submitted gets registered with SWN for free. No need to register with the writer’s guilds (WGA, WGUK etc.).
  2. You will receive a £10 gift card from us to be redeemed on our Script Coverage services.
  3. Receive 15% off of all subsequent SWN Screenplay Competitions.

We also have some of the best judges in the industry! Including:

Ed Solomon: Ed Solomon is a producer, director and multi award-winning screenwriter. Most known for penning many classic and genre defining films, such as Men in Black (1997), Now You See Me (2013) and also co-writing on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989).

Kenneth Kokin: Kenneth’s career broke out when he Produced and Directed second unit on the Oscar winning and Emmy nominated film, The Usual Suspects. Recently he worked as an executive that co-financed such films as US, Glass, Darkest Hour, and Jurassic World 2.

What are the key elements of a good script?

There are many facets to a great story/screenplay but we found several common traits with our previous competition winners. These are: characters desire, structure, story, character development, cinematic potential, script opening (first impressions), script closing (last impressions), call to adventure, dialogue and pacing.

It’s a great question but also very difficult to answer in such a subjective medium. One person’s favourite film/screenplay is another person’s worst. Personally I also believe theme is of huge importance too. What is your script saying? Is it commenting on the state of the world? Does the audience take anything away from it? This to me makes the difference between entertainment and art.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out who wants to write their own screenplay?

The best screenwriters that I come across have a keen passion for cinema which predicts their longevity and success. I always give this advice to everyone starting out as a screenwriter but watch your favourite films, read scripts of your favourite filmmakers and be inspired.

A budding screenwriter would do well to have an idol and to revere one or many artists in their life as it’s often the driving force behind them to aspire to be like them and create great films.

Mine was Kubrick!

What scripts would you advise budding screenwriters to read?

I would suggest many classics and award-winning films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Joker (2019), Jaws and Whiplash just to name a few!

We actually have a free script library for writers to read their favourite screenplays. You can check it out on our website here.

What can we expect from Screenwriters Network in the future?

We wish to develop our brand online and eventually start creating the films of the winners of the SWN Screenplay Competition. We want to be more than just a competition, we want to be a production company and a talent agency so we can develop and support talented writers full-time.

Along the way we will also be providing lots of free and useful information for screenwriters on our website and social channels!

You can follow us on social media too!