Masterclass WGI: Morten Dragsted
Morten, let’s start from the end. Which project are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on a X-mas calender – a 24-episodes-series for kids and families, that will be broadcasted in december 2016.
I’m also working on a big european co-production called Geneva, which centers around the UN system in Geneva.
How does your actual writers’ room work?
Very collaborative, with 1 or 2 other writers I know very well
How do you work?
I like to work in 2 different modes. When I’m outlining a series, it’s a collaborative process with other writers involved. I like to use a whiteboard, which has eaned me the nickname “The King of whiteboards”.
When I’m actually writing episodes, I like to work alone in my living room with as few things disturbing me as possible. Then I try to get into a writing “flow”, and sometimes the script almost writes itself.
Apart me and Aaron Sorkin, who’s the screenwriter that you appreciate the most? And why?
I’m very inspired by Nic Pizzolato, who wrote “True Detective”. He has a quite radical approach on how to maintain creative control over the finished product, and a very personal tone which you can feel in everything he writes.
The scandinavian tv revolution already went down in history. Please, tell us your personal experience into this revolutionary process.
As a lot of other danish film professionals, I started making feature films, and then began to use my experience there (so far, I’ve written 8 feature films) in the TV-part of the business.
“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?
Being more personal and thereby more original in the stories we tell on TV.
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?
The US television series is still far ahead of us europeans. I think the way forward is to combine the dynamic storytelling we know from Hollywood with a more “european” sensibillity in the characters.
Would you please just give us a scene from one of your best scripts and give us a brief comment?
In my latest feature film, On the edge, I wrote a scene I was quite pleased with. A young girl around 20 is seducing a boy at the same age, but he resist knowing that his best friend, who is in prison at the time, is in love with her. When she finally gets him into bed, she tells him it’s her first time, and he has to be gentle. They get very close and personal, but in the end we find out she’s just joking and have slept with a lot of other boys.
The nice thing about the scene, I think, is that it takes a situation we have seen a million times before on film – a young couple and their first time having sex – and at the same time show their vulnerability and twist the scene in a new way.
Unfortunately, when we casted the film, the actors we chose where older than described in the script. So the scene never ended up in the movie.