David Ford took part in the 2018 Easter #SetReady Course. During the course, David wrote an excellent screenplay called Pandaemonium, since then David’s has been working hard and has managed to get himself a place in London Film School – with help from the National Youth Film Academy! Before the course, LFS wasn’t even on David’s radar, now he’s got a career in film on the horizon.
Tell us about yourself
“I’m David R. Ford, and I’m a writer with big ambitions to become a professional screenwriter in the film industry. I’ve been writing for a good few years now, and have had lots of stories published in magazines, journals and websites, and even have my own personal collection available on Amazon.”
How did you find the #SetReady course?
“I found the NYFA an extremely positive experience. I think it’s the kind of course where you get out what you put in, and I went into it really wanting to give my all. So upon leaving, I have a film, set experience, a group of creative friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and way more confidence in my abilities than before. It’s definitely a course I think highly of, and have in fact recommended to a friend of mine since returning from London.”
What was your favourite part?
“For me, my favourite part, especially as the writer, was the moment the story we crafted in the classroom clicked. I remember we spent a day and a half trying to come up with an idea, and characters, and a plot, and there was a moment at around 2 o’clock on that second day where I could just suddenly see the entire story playing out in my head. As it was a group effort lead by myself, I really felt like that moment meant a lot to me as it was my job to produce the content for the film we were about to make. It’s a lot of pressure being the scriptwriter, so the moment when you know you’ve got a story worth telling, it’s a definite kind of magic.”
What was the most valuable lesson that you learned whilst on the course?
“The most valuable lesson I learned was to always ask why. This tiny lesson has really improved my writing since, and although its tough, in order to craft a good compelling story, asking why of absolutely everything you put down is essential. I was falling into the trap of thinking I’d come up with a very good idea, only to have my mentor ask “Why is this important?” or “Why would this character do that?” and suddenly I realised the idea wasn’t all that great. But it’s a great lesson for any part of filmmaking, “why are you using that camera angle?”, “why are you lighting the scene this way?”, “Why does this character wear button shirts instead of t-shirts?”. As pedantic as many of those questions sound, its those tiny details that ultimately build a better story, and at their core, the questions ask “what does that add to the story as a whole?”. If the answer is nothing, then you don’t need it.”
How did the National Youth Film Academy help you?
“The NYFA has helped me afterwards in a few ways. Indirectly the friends I’ve made have been really important in helping me to push on with my writing, and I’ve since lent my writing to two people in my group to make films. The jobs hub has also been a very good tool. Whenever they are jobs up located in the North, I’ve gotten an email from Jenna as they go live asking if I’m interested, which I’ve found to be a really great thing she does. Most recently, I applied to the London Film School for their Screenwriting MA and I asked Rob for a reference, which he gave me as he said I was one of the people on the course who he feels was most committed to it. It was an excellent reference and I’ve since been accepted into LFS.”
What are your plans for the future?
“In the future, obviously, my first call is LFS. I’ll be there for the next year throwing myself into everything I possibly can in the hopes I can make enough contacts and gain enough skills to really pursue writing as a professional career. On top of that, I’m aiming to publish a novel I’ve written over the last couple of years. I’ve been working towards that for some time now, and after that, I believe I can go anywhere. I don’t like to get ahead of myself, but I have a really good feeling about my future and I remember on the first day of NYFA, Rob made a speech where he said he firmly believed there was a future BAFTA winner in the room. Why not?”