Part of BAFTA's 2011 Screenwriters' Lecture Series
On the 13 September at BAFTA HQ in London, William Nicholson delivered the first lecture in the 2011 BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture Series.
Early in his career, Shadowlands earned Nicholson a BAFTA award and an Oscar nomination, exploding him on to the world stage. Subsequent work included the screenplay for Nell (with Mark Handley), directed by Michael Apted, and the Ridley Scott-directed Gladiator, for which he shared an Oscar nomination with John Logan and David Franzoni.
If all you've ever done is watch movies, the only movies you'll be able to write are those that recycle others.
Nicholson described how how he never starts writing without an ending in mind, and argues that the screenwriter must strive to make the viewer care about its characters. He also weighs up the value of life experience, and proposes that a screenwriter's greatness is equal to his or her 'greatness as a human being'.