Meet George Coates, Triality's New Screenwriter from UK
Which writers are you most inspired by?
Coming from a theatre background, I love the work of Simon Stephens. He writes with real clarity and purpose. Every character wants something, every character is acting in a way to achieve what they want, and some characters will oppose that. That's all drama is, and I love it.
What’s your proudest moment as a writer?
Sat in the audience, off-Broadway, hearing two older New Yorkers absolutely hate my play that was part of a theatre festival out in NYC. No one hates on weird, absurdist theatre like the Americans. I don't know if 'proud' is the right word, but I definitely felt like a 'real' writer.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a screenplay for Triality, that's broadly based on the state of politics. Weird topic, I know, considering nothing interesting is going on in politics right now... Also, I set myself a challenge to write a play that has no characters, it'll be a collection of conversations that the actors and directors/devisers can riddle out amongst themselves.
What made you want to write in the first place?
I used to despise writing. I remember my mum making me keep a diary while we were on holiday in Cornwall. And eking out even a sentence was the most excruciating thing. I'd be crying and just hate the whole thing. But I really loved reading. On that same holiday I remember sitting under one of those fold-out signs in front of one of the bucket and spade shops on the beach, and just reading the fifth Harry Potter book. So there was definitely a point where it clicked in my head that these books I loved didn't just spring out of the ground, someone sat and had written them. I always loved talking and telling stories, so it was a process of taking that voice in my head and getting it on the page, verbatim. After I got to university (for a theatre degree), I realised everyone there was a better actor than me, so I decided to use the three years writing and directing instead.
What sort of characters interest you?
If I think of the characters I always come back to, it's very much someone who's desperately trying to do the right thing, but is coming up short in some sort of way. Either the task is too great, the opposition is too strong, or the character is too deficient in some way.
What’s your favourite place in the world?
Edinburgh. It's where my wife and I went on our honeymoon, it's where the fringe festival is, and it's got the best excuse in the world to stay inside: the weather.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?
Probably a political adviser of some kind, I'd be one of those startled deer-in-headlights types you see in the backgrounds of all the door-step photographs of actual politicians. I'd be good at that. Looking startled, that is, not the actual job.