The chameleon colours of a scriptwriter
Written by Ruweida Valla, HecticNine-9 scriptwriter
My worst day at the office started like any other day. I arrived at work, dived on the coffee and began scrolling through my emails. I saw an urgent message from my Content Researcher, Sergio.
For any scriptwriter, this is their ultimate nightmare unfolding. The guest group for the live show that day had cancelled. Now, you can imagine my surprise, or more like shock and horror, as our guests had confirmed a week prior to the live show and the content of my script revolved around their presence! In an instant, the perfect show turned on its head and I had to put out fires, quickly. You adapt or die in this game. I had to invent a completely different angle, with no guests … what now?
Brainwaves started crisscrossing as I searched out fresh, current and trending ideas that would not only ‘educate’ our viewers but entertain them as well. Thankfully I could rely on an incredible content team to work it through, source all the extra visual content, with only a few hours to get it done and dusted. What do our viewers like to watch on any given day? Our target audience is social media savvy; they like YouTube videos and Durban Fusion, dancing and expressing themselves through fashion, and ultimately, staying true to who they are. Our job is to find that magic in between all these nuances, and give the viewer what they crave.
As a scriptwriter, you need to know your audience intimately and in South Africa, with a melting pot of culture, you are speaking to the viewer on numerous levels. You have to reach into the everyday struggles and triumphs that your viewers experience on a day – to – day basis. If you aim to do that, you will generate content that they love and can take away to better themselves.
Ultimately the show ended up being brilliant. The changes that we made had more impact than possibly the guests might have had. Once you know your audience, coming up with content that can grab their attention is a fine art form.
My secret weapon: I don’t see my role in a confined box. I am more than a scriptwriter. My intuitive craft comes from really and truly listening to people’s stories, and then understanding, even perceiving on a deeper level, what their difficulties and dreams are. This is where my ideas flow from – engaged listening to people – gleaning from the hopes they are expressing and then not being afraid to tell their story with extra conviction.
To be a good writer, you have to write what you know, and this requires honesty and trusting your gut instincts… digging for the pearls that often lie just beneath the surface of things.
Moreover, when you write, write with an open mind, do your research and then deliver beyond what people even expect. Then not even the sky can hold you back as the universe is the limit! Ultimately, the worst day at the office turned out to be the best day at the office, with my team and I creating content that our viewers raved about.
My name is Ruweida Jamiela Valla and I am from Upington, in the Northern Cape. I matriculated in 2007 and went into Media Studies at the University of the Free State.
I realised in my third year of studying that I wanted to do something more, which brought me to the Mother City. I enrolled at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for the Multimedia course. This is where my passion for television and film really took over as we learnt the practical aspect of production and post -production.
After I graduated, I worked at an online marketing magazine where we supported NGO’s and NPO’s as well as businesses that needed help with social media marketing, and more. My love for writing opened the door to Hectic Nine-9, the coolest show on TV, where I have been a scriptwriter for two years and then progressed to Studio Producer.
Who am I? I am a whirlwind of creative, dynamic ideas ready to explode into the world! I offer writing, videography, editing and design all in one package and given a platform, I am sure that anything I produce will be legendary.
I am passionate about what I want my legacy to be. I tend to be a little over organised but I feel that if you anticipate every possible worst scenario, then things will run smoothly. I love working in a team but do tend to like my own company, which in reality isn’t a bad thing.
I am like a phoenix, rising from its ashes … you burn me, I’ll rise every time. I am in the process of writing my book, and in spite of most chapters still being unfinished, the journey is worth travelling if you have a desired expectation.
For enquiries, contact;
Ruweida Valla, HecticNine-9 scriptwriter
M: 083 809 0167
For more information contact;
Paula Brown, Director & Co-founder at Okuhle Media
T: 021 486 2900