Thoughts on Covid and the creative impulse and industry

As the leading online script writer for hire and UK script consultant, this Covid 19 virus pandemic finds us all living in interesting times. Interesting times are not necessarily good.  During this time, writers need to keep their eyes and ears open.  They don’t need to, and shouldn’t write.  Go do something more useful instead.

You might find writing gurus urging people to use the self-isolation time to finish your script/novel/masterpiece. I’d say don’t bother.  Your script is already passed its sell-by-date, because after this everything may be different (or over, for a while).

As a script writer for hire I’d just finished two large script writing jobs in early March, other work on feature film screenplays I had lined up suddenly vanished as the corona virus took grip in the UK and world. I was planning to take a well deserved break around this time anyway, Covid, forced me to do it.

I’m using the time to work on SFX shots for my new micro budget feature film, the tongue in cheek retro sci-fi/horror ‘Deal Of The Dead’ and prepare for the launch/release of my feature debt as a director – ‘Markham’.   I’m doing this, because I was going to do it anyway, and it helps keep some sense of ‘normal’ and business as usual.

 I’m definitely not using the time to write for the legitimate industry (which doesn’t exist at this point). And I’m definitely not using the time to write original material for myself.

 Writing anything but news articles now is ‘pissing in the wind’. To write, you need to know the end, we don’t know what the actual end of this is yet, and even, if there is one.  But, that’s just me, if you want to, and can write at this time – and, importantly, if it gives you PLEASURE – do it.  But only, if it helps YOU.

In the UK at least, I’m seeing lots of film and TV industry people worried about their financial position, the same as any other walk of life.  And of course, I see celebs who just can’t leave it alone on social media (can you lot just actually fuck off for a bit, we’ll pet you again when we know we’re out of the white-water, it’s doctors and nurses and supermarket shelf stackers who are the heroes now, for a bit, at least).

I started this article to speculate on where the industry will be, and what will happen after this is all over.  I have no idea. So, instead I’ll tell you an old Hollywood joke.

A guy with a huge smile on his face walks out of Warner Brothers Studio in Hollywood, he sees a load of people panicking and running towards him, he grabs someone, concerned and worried.

“What’s going on?” Asks the guy with the smile, to panicked man.

“The Russian’s have launched the bomb, we’re all gonna die”  Say the panicked man.

“Shit” says the guy with the smile “I just signed a three picture deal”.

That about sums it up.  Interesting times. Keep your chin up Jack.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor  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 and freelance script writer for hire and online screenwriting expert. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour

His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020.