Kelly Kilgour (Scriptwriting, 2003)

It’s unlike any other course because it allowed me to do what I needed to do – write. No preaching of any structural formulas. No essays or theory.

Kelly writes: 'The Scriptwriting MA is unlike any other course because it allowed me the opportunity to do what I needed to do – write. To concentrate on writing script so I could discover for myself the methods and tools that work best for me. Naturally I was encouraged to read books that would aid my development. But there was no preaching of any structural formulas. No bureaucratic bullshit essays or theory.

'The one thing I found most beneficial, other than Ken Duncum's quiet genius and guidance, was reading classmates' work and giving feedback on their projects. And having them return the favour. Learning how to give and receive criticism constructively, if only slightly, prepares you for the rejection and notes from producers and others that you inevitably receive if you plan on continuing to work in this industry as a writer. And more importantly, learning how to decipher those notes.'

Bio: In 2005 Kelly co-wrote with Jamie McCaskill, the Creative NZ-funded comedy/musical It's A Whanau Thing (dir: Danny Mulheron) produced at BATS Theatre & Circa Theatre. Since then he has 'story lined' on Shortland Street as well as co-writing and production assisting three consecutive Wellington winners in the V48hrs Short Film Competition, picking up awards each year for Best Script, Cinematography and Acting. He produced a finalist in 2010 and returned to serve as a judge in 2011/12. During this time, he also served as a member of the production team on Sensing Murder (TVNZ, Producer David Harry Baldock), line producing the recreations of the 2009 season.

Production work naturally transitioned into producing a SIPF-funded short film called Darryn Exists (Dir: Jamie Lawrence), which played at Homegrown 2011 and various international festivals. He also produced Jamie's follow-up short via NZFC Fresh Shorts scheme, titledCub, which was completed in February 2014 and will begin the festival circuit shortly.

In 2011, Kelly developed and field-produced a 13 x half hour documentary series with director Julian Arahanga, called Songs From the Inside (Prod: Maramena Roderick, Maori TV). It features singer/songwriters (such as Anika Moa and Warren Maxwell) teaching a music course to prisoners at Rimutaka and Arohata Prisons and helping them to write and record their own song. He served as the Writer on Season 2 of the television series and recently received Seed Development from the NZFC to develop a feature film narrative of Songs From The Inside. He has recently received development support from the NZFC for several other features, as a writer and producer respectively. One of these was recently selected to attend the inaugural NZ Script to Screen Writers Lab.