Playwright Gavin McGibbon on his IIML experience

The IIML is the place to be for scriptwriters. It's as simple as that.

'Studying scriptwriting at Victoria University of Wellington's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) changed everything for me. I knew I loved writing but it was at the IIML that I discovered it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I also fell in love with Wellington and suspect I will always call it home, no matter where I live.

'The IIML is the place to be for scriptwriters. It's as simple as that. It’s an incredibly rewarding environment, where you are supported and encouraged to take greater and greater steps as a writer; and Ken Duncum (the IIML's Michael Hirschfeld Director of Scriptwriting) is the best teacher, supervisor and mentor you could hope for.

'I have had the opportunity to study under a wide range of scriptwriters and scriptwriting teachers, both in New Zealand and around the world. Ken, unquestionably to me, is the best. His insight into what makes a story work is second to none. More importantly, he understands writers, because he is one; he knows the mountains and valleys we face and he is incredible in the ways he helps us to navigate those. I think I can speak for anyone who has been lucky enough to study under him when I say that we all arrived at a place we never could have envisioned reaching before we started the MA. If you put the work and effort in, you will become a much better writer because of this course and how Ken runs it.

'I currently run an MA Screenwriting course in the United Kingdom and I try to instill in my classroom the same principles and philosophies I learnt from my years as a scriptwriting student at the IIML - first in the Master of Arts in Creative Writing and then as a PhD candidate - because I know first-hand the effect they had on me as a student, on my writing, and on other students' writing.

'I have felt such amazing support over a long period of time from Ken and the IIML; both as a student and since I graduated. As someone who has studied at writing courses all over the world, I believe the IIML is the best place for emerging writers to develop their craft. It's a special place and I consider myself blessed to have studied and to have worked there.'

Bio: Gavin has had seven plays produced, and has also co-written two short films that have played in festivals around the world. He has had three radio plays produced by Radio New Zealand, and has twice been shortlisted for the Adam NZ Play Awards' Best New Play.

He completed the MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) in 2005 and was awarded a PhD Creative Writing in 2014.

Gavin was an MA supervisor at the IIML from 2011-2014, and in 2014 he convened the inaugural Writing for Theatre course. He was a contributor to the The Exercise Book: Creative Writing Exercises from Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters (Victoria University Press, 2011).

He currently runs the MA Screenwriting programme at Liverpool John Moores University.

Gavin McGibbon's PhD profile

Playmarket profile

Liverpool John Moores University staff profile

MA Scriptwriting Director Ken Duncum's advice for applicants