Masterclass WGI: Camilla Ahlgren
Camilla, let’s start from the end. Which project are you currently working on?
I have just finished the work with The Bridge, third season, they are shooting the last two episodes 9 & 10 in April – May. I’m now working with a Dutch remake (Penoza/Mother Goose), we have written the first season ( 8 epi x 45 min) and now the second season, 10 episodes à 45 min. And I’m working as script editor on the project Spring Tide (adaptation of the novel written by Cilla & Rolf Börjlind
How does your actual writers’ room work?
I write the remake together with my husband. We have a “writers’ house”:D. Actually I worked a lot with the Bridge in my house too. How I work in a writers’ room depends on the project.
How do you work?
I live at the country side out side “Wallander land” (Ystad) I have my office at home, on the second floor. I wake up, take my big dog (called Pym) for a long walk, then I have breakfast, only one cup of coffee. Then I “go” to work ( take the stairs up to the second floor.) I read my emails, check fb, I have often made a list what I have to do. I don’t listen to music when I have to be very concentrated. Some times while doing some work I listen to Spotify, often the Top list. As I don’t smoke any longer I’m addicted to chewing gum. A least on package a day. I have to have a lot of packages in my office. I have to go for another walk with my nice dog in the middle of the day. Without my dog I had never survived. I had worked to much. Now I’m forced to take a brake, have some fresh air. Have some fun and play. In the after noon I have to feed the dog and my three cats. I have also a huge garden to take care of. But I think it is good, you are working mentally while walking with the dog, or cutting the gras. I also travel a lot, to Stockholm, to have meetings etc. ( and I’m the president of the Swedish Writers’ Guild and we have Board meetings once a month) I often go back in the evening to my office, after dinner, if I have to finish some work. But we have one rule in the house. No work on Saturdays.
Apart me and Aaron Sorkin, who’s the screenwriter that you appreciate the most? And why?
David Simon/ The Wire. A new way of making police crime. Very realistic. A more slow tempo. Good stories and many characters. Inspiring.
The scandinavian tv revolution already went down in history. Please, tell us your personal experience into this revolutionary process.
Very shortly, I worked as script editor at the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. We did not know, working with the scripts, that the series was going to be so popular. The first novel was made for film, the other two only for tv but the producers changed their mind after the grand opening of the film, The girl with the dragon tatoo. Lisbeth Salander was a new strange tough female character. While working with the Bridge it was the same. We thought the Bridge was to complicated, with a multiplot, only for a smaller audience. Saga Norén is also a new strange (completely different from Lisbeth Salander) female caracther you will learn to love.
“We’re going to do it the American way, but it took some years to find the Scandinavian way to do it the American way”, said one Scandinavian producer when back home from visiting Us Tv Industry. What’s the next step now?
Try to develop the Scandinavian way, try to be even better. The writer will become a producer as well?
What do you think about the European tv series? What do you think about the challenge between Nordic Crime and Italian Crime (Romanzo Criminale, Gomorrah)? Which are the improving margins for all of us?
I like the European series. The series tell me a lot about the country, the people, traditions, etc. And we are different. Not only the language.
I have only watched two Italien series. ( La Piovra in the 80ths, I loved that series, and co-production between SVT and RAI 1) Time is very important trying to improve. Time to develop. Time to write. Time to test new ideas. Time to rewrite. Time to shoot etc.
One vision. The writer must be involved not only in the writing, but the whole process. It is a team work between writer-producer-director.