David Bishop

David Bishop
David Bishop

what is your name?
David Bishop

how would you describe what you do?
I’m a writer. I’m also a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, but first and foremost I’m a writer.

what are you currently working on?
I’m focusing my energies on screenwriting, specifically TV work. I write for the BBC medical drama series Doctors, and I’m developing projects for several independent production companies. I read scripts for Scottish Screen, and also write comics scripts for a character called the Phantom [a.k.a. The Ghost Who Walks], which appear in five or six different languages worldwide – but not in the UK. Various other bits and bobs, but those are the headlines.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

Blimey, what a question! I guess reading and watching, closely followed by my experience as a journalist. I read a lot growing up, and discovered a love of pithy, fast-paced prose that still infects my work [purple prose is kryptonite to me]. I spent much of my childhood glued to the TV, developing an enduring passion for small screen storytelling. And my journalism training taught me not to be afraid of learning or asking questions – good skills for any writer.


what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

I’m not sure there are any great misconceptions about me or my work. If they do exist, there’s not much I can do about them except strive to improve. You can drive yourself crazy worry what others think or feel about your work. Far better to take responsibility for what you do – validate yourself, don’t live or die by the opinions of others.


what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

Film is like a one-night stand, but TV drama is a relationship – much harder to develop and sustain, but far more rewarding over time. It can tell truths about our lives and the world around us. TV drama can dig far deeper into characters and their stories than any film. But it can also be lazy, slipshod and – worst of all – boring. TV drama with nothing to say is like eating Ryvita for every meal of the day – filling, but flavourless.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

New technology is revolutionising the means of production and distribution. Low cost HD cameras and editing software mean anyone can make a movie or a web drama, but that’s no guarantee of quality. Email and the web make research much easier, but also encourage laziness. If you want to build real relationships or discover truths, you’ll find them out in the world – not on your computer screen. The ability to tell a good story well always triumphs in the long run, no matter how technology affects a medium. It’s execution that counts, not the method by which a story reaches you.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
I was given this piece of advice by Edinburgh writer-director Adrian Mead and I happily pass it on to you: TALENT + EFFORT + STRATEGY = SUCCESS. The more of each element you bring to the equation, the greater the results.


where can we find you online?

Visit my blog at http://viciousimagery.blogspot.com


what are you reading at the moment?

Just finished “Hello,” Lied The Agent by Ian Gurvitz, a scathingly honest memoir by a Hollywood TV writer. Halfway through The City & The City by China Mieville, a genre-bending SF crime thriller novel. And I’ve been staring at a photographic novel called Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals by Christopher Payne – gorgeous yet haunting.


what are you listening to at the moment?

New Zealand funk noir outfit Dimmer [particularly their first album, I Believe You Are a Star]; the austere yet heart-breaking collaboration The Glare by David McAlmont and Michael Nyman; and some trippy lovers’ dubrock on Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s glorious Comfort Woman.


anything else we should know?

Professionalism trumps gifted amateurs. Don’t burn bridges with the napalm of your own insecurities. And never, ever eat anything bigger than your head.

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