My credits as a writer on ITV, Channel 4, BBC and Channel Five help give people the confidence to hire me – indeed keen fact checkers can see my credits Eastenders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. As well as the hard grind of being a soap writer, I’ve also worked on feature films, shorts, online marketing videos, as well as more obscure work as a script writer including recent work writing a 120 minute 10 part office set sitcom – which will only ever be screened in the high level training and Exec on boarding at a major blue chip company.
I even a wrote and co-created a very early online kids show (made back in 2007/2008) which was backed by one of the original Dragon’s on Dragons Den and helped to start the careers of some very promising young actors (some are now household names).
As an actual working script consultant I’m also from time to time called on by TV producers to fix problems with scenes, stories or plot points that they feel don’t work. Sometimes even the writer or creator of a show doesn’t realise that I’m involved – often it’s just an idea or suggestion that I’m asked to provide – to fix or help fix something that doesn’t work.
My first credit as a script writer was waayyyyy back in 1994, My short film ‘Family Style’ was one of six scripts picked by Channel Four as winners of the first ever Lloyds Bank Film Challenge. Looking back now the short film featured a massive array of talent – besides me, the main character is played by a very young Ewan McGregor – behind the camera is a 25 year old Justin Chadwick. Other winners of the competition that year included Susan Nickson and James Erskine – we all had an amazing experience seeing our work put on screen.
While writing Eastenders I somehow ended up writing the actual episode where ‘Alfie’ told ‘Kat’ that he loved her. Which at the time was one of the programme’s biggest ever episodes with two of its most loved and iconic characters.
I got involved in Hollyoaks during the period when it tripled its viewing figures and at the same time I got to meet and hang out with my childhood hero.
Feature films have been a different matter – my Oscar Moore Award Winning Script ‘Sober’ was optioned by award winning producers Barney Reisz and Jacqueline Glanville. The script attracted the attention of producers Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew MacDonald – but ultimately proved a bit too risky to get made back in 2001/2002.
In 2003/2004 I beat a number of ‘name’ writers to work on what became ‘Cass’ with director Jon Baird. I worked briefly on adapting the book with Jon but my agent (at the time) wasn’t happy with the contractual agreement and I left the project. Jon ultimately worked on the script himself and the film became a low budget smash.
Other crazy projects with low budget producers all across the world followed once I set up this website. Big budget projects came along too including Lies We Tell – which ended up being made with Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keital – I worked on two early drafts of the script (as did many other writers) and while the final film kept close to the directors original vision I was pleased to see bits and bats of my stuff in their too.
I’ve worked on some really interesting feature films and short films for directors too – some of which are in production as we speak. And on some projects I’ve worked as a ghost writer – paid to keep my lips sealed.
Of course, lots of scripts, treatments and projects are still out there now doing the rounds or looking for funding, or interest – you never know where some of these projects will end up.
Finally with features, I’ve taken the step myself to direct and produce my long held dream project Markham on a low budget. The film will be released this year (2019) and I’m currently very, very busy in post production.
So, if you need a script writer for your project. I’m your man. My showreel is below…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour
His directorial debut Markham will be released in 2019.