The Friday Online, LSFReplay: The Art of Screenwriting: Insights from William Nicholson

When: Friday Feb 23rd at 8pm UK time
Anyone can attend free.

In this hour long session, we delve deep into the intricacies of the craft and the behind-the-scenes experiences that have shaped Nicholson’s career. Nicholson shares his thoughts on the process of deciding whether a story is best suited for a novel or a film, the evolution of his approach to writing, and the collaborative and adaptive nature of filmmaking.

Deciding Between Novels and Films

Nicholson reveals his thought process when deciding whether a story is better suited for a novel or a film. He emphasizes the importance of visual and emotional elements, as well as the strength of the characters, in determining the medium for storytelling.

  • Visual and Emotional Impact: Nicholson believes that if an idea works visually and evokes strong emotions, it is better suited for a film.
  • Character Strength: He also considers the strength of the characters and their ability to drive the story forward when making the decision between a novel and a film.

The Evolution of Writing Approach

Nicholson reflects on his evolution as a writer and the shift in his approach to storytelling. He discusses his recent focus on novels that delve into the complexities of relationships, love, loss, and human emotions, which he believes wouldn’t work as films. This insight sheds light on the adaptability and versatility required in the creative process.

  • Exploring Human Relationships: Nicholson’s recent novels have delved into the intricacies of human relationships, exploring themes of love, loss, and confusion in a raw and honest manner.
  • Adaptability in Creativity: His willingness to adapt his storytelling approach based on the medium showcases the versatility and adaptability required in the creative process.

The Zen Philosophy of Adaptation

Nicholson candidly shares his journey towards embracing a more adaptive and open-minded approach to writing, which he attributes to the challenges faced in the screenwriting process. He emphasizes the importance of letting go of ego, adapting to survive, and finding gratitude in the creative process.

  • Embracing Adaptation: Nicholson acknowledges that his initial resistance to feedback and the preservation of his work was gradually replaced by a more adaptive and open-minded approach, driven by the need to survive in the industry.
  • Gratitude and Letting Go: He highlights the significance of gratitude, the ability to let go of ego, and the value of embracing change as essential elements for survival and growth in the creative industry.

The Magic of Collaborative Filmmaking

Nicholson provides a glimpse into the collaborative and adaptive nature of filmmaking, drawing from his experiences on the set of “Gladiator.” He discusses the organic and reactive approach to filmmaking, the importance of casting, and the impact of open-mindedness in the creative process.

  • Organic Filmmaking: Nicholson reflects on the reactive approach to filmmaking, where the team was able to adapt and evolve the story as they shot the scenes, allowing for real-time adjustments and improvements.
  • The Significance of Casting: He emphasizes the pivotal role of casting and the chemistry between actors in bringing a story to life, highlighting the magic that can occur when the right actors are chosen for a role.


In this segment, William Nicholson provides valuable insights into the decision-making process between novels and films, the evolution of his writing approach, the embrace of adaptability and gratitude, and the collaborative magic of filmmaking. His experiences serve as a testament to the resilience, versatility, and open-mindedness required to thrive in the dynamic world of screenwriting.

Join us in celebrating the art of screenwriting and the invaluable wisdom shared by William Nicholson, a creative force shaping the landscape of cinema.

When: Friday Feb 23rd at 8pm UK time
Anyone can attend free.

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