Script writer and script consultant habits

Withnail and I
Withnail and I

As a UK script consultant and script writer for hire I obviously spend a large amount of my time writing. All writers have habits. I’m a smoker, I like to drink tea and I also like to listen to music that suits the mood of what I’m writing. I don’t think any of these things are unusual.

In films and on TV there’s always the clichéd idea of a writer at work – often writers are seen working with a clinking glass of whiskey at their side, taking triumphant swigs as they hit the return key on their underwood typewriters.

In the film Misery, James Caan’s writer character lights one cigarette and drinks a glass of champagne when the novel he’s working on is complete. Are writing and alcohol connected?

Well, if you read anything about Bruce Robinson, you’d think that writing and booze are connected (and to him they may well be). At one point in his life he was writing drunk all the time. This is something that I’ve never done, however, I do sometimes have a drink and think about what I’m working on and loosened up by beer or wine I might think of some great plot idea or good piece of dialogue (at the same time, when looking at these ideas sober, they can just as equally be total rubbish).

There’s a long fine history of heavy drinking writers, both in literature, film and music (Shane Macgowan is to me a great writer – go find the lyrics of ‘Rainy Night in Soho’ it’s a love song about booze where booze is never mentioned).

In my career I have known writers develop real problems with drink and suffer the health consequences. So, I like to write sober, and keep my drinking recreational. But I’ll raise a glass to anyone who doesn’t.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire 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 also works as a content writer for hire and as a UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour