South African screenwriter, Makganwana Mokgalong from Pretoria.
Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
I’ve always had an interest in and love for media and the arts, it’s just not something that occurred to me as a career until I was in university. After some university hopping I ended up in advertising school where I began seeing myself as an ideas originator and after my university day, instead of working in advertising I worked in television as a content curator.
One of the production companies I worked for chose me to write a drama proposal for our public broadcaster and I found home! I’ve been grinding on working to be a career screenwriter for 10 years now.
What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?
Writing stories is about our collective consciousness and being able to deliver to audiences an opportunity to see themselves in others; that is what I find most fulfilling about being a screenwriter. The thrill of conjuring characters up , giving them life and deciding their fate flatters my power complex greatly – I love it!
What has been most challenging for me has been cracking the code and mastering the craft and the networking needed to be continuously employed.
What do you like and not like about working in this industry?
I love creativity, being able to wake up to create every day is a huge blessing. What I don’t like is the instability of the industry, everyday things change and emotional wellbeing and bank balance gets
affected. There is also the fate of being subject to people’s preferences; creativity is very intimate and chemistry plays a big role in whether people choose to work with you, or not.
What are your long-term goals?
To run my own production company that is a cross between Disney and HBO which is a combination of family viewing and more high end risky content.
What special advice do you have for a student seeking to qualify for this position?
Read, write and watch a lot of TV and film. Be willing to start at the bottom and don’t take it too hard when things don’t happen when you want them to happen. Make peace with a steady growth of opportunities.
Do you have any special words of warning or encouragement as a result of your experience?
If you love it, show up for it.
My strongest assets/skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values are….
What makes my writing stand out is my wit and succinctness. I am that girl that will take it there. Ideas origination and implementation are a strong suit of mine. Researching content and coordinating elements for a coherent and pleasurable viewing experience is also something I do well.
I believe in kindness, treating everyone I meet with respect and I prioritize harmony in team work.