Having worked as an Actress, Presenter and Stand-up, Anna started screenwriting nearly 20 years ago for a BBC Radio 4 satirical sketch show which then went to TV. Since then she has written shorts, features and TV series, with a bias for comedy.
Anna is also an award-winning Director who has worked with BAFTA and Oscar-winning talent as well as the National Youth Theatre.
As a Script Editor Anna has worked with the BFI, independent producers in both the US and UK, and screenwriters from all around the world and at all stages in their writing journey.
Q: Who’s the most irritating TV personality?
Mrs Brown. I grew up on Les Dawson with 2 melons stuffed up his shirt pretending to be an old woman. Back in the 80’s that was cutting edge humour. Today it’s hackneyed. I am bewildered by the success of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ (and all its spin-offs), but judging by its popularity I am in a minority in this country. But then I rarely share the country’s tastes, it turns out.
Q: Who’s your favourite director?
Well now… I have lots of ‘favourite directors’ in truth. But one that may be lesser-known to a UK audience is a French Writer-Director called Laurent Tirard. Tirard possesses a darkly comedy edge, has an inventive eye for a camera shot, and really knows how to tell a story. He once conducted a series of interviews on film-making which was made into a book: ‘Moviemaker’s Master Class: Private Lessons from the World’s Foremost Directors.’ It is a fascinating read and a great resource for all directors.
Q: What’s the best opening in your opinion?
The opening scene of ‘The Newsroom’ – a political drama TV series by Aaron Sorkin – is utterly brilliant. Beleaguered news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) reluctantly finds himself on a panel at a university. He is asked by a wide-eyed student what makes America the greatest country in the world. McAvoy’s scathing response had me hooked on this series from the very start. For me, Sorkin represents the gold-standard in writing dialogue.
Q: What’s your favourite film?
‘Little Miss Sunshine.’ It has humour, pathos and charm in great measure. The performances are all wonderful, it has a cracking soundtrack and one of the best ever final reveals in a film. I have seen it more than any other film and I never tire of it. To pen something as good as this one day has always been my screenwriting goal.
Q: What’s your most romantic encounter in a film?
My favourite film love-scene is in ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love.’ Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) have recently separated. Every night, unbeknown to Emily, Cal returns under the cover of darkness to water the plants in the garden. One night she calls him while he is in the garden to ask him how to restart the pilot light on the boiler. Except that’s not what she has called for at all. This scene for me demonstrates the power of subtext and the genius of the writer, Dan Fogelman, who employs something so mundane and domestic to express such profound human emotion. And the fact that the lovers are an old married couple makes it all the more moving. It always brings a tear to my eye!
Q: What's the worst film or TV box set you could be stuck with on a desert island?