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Keeping Wellington on the small screen

Victoria scriptwriting graduate keeps Wellington on the small screen

Peter Cox, a recent scriptwriting graduate from Victoria University, is playing his part to keep Wellington as a "small screen" hot spot with his new series, Insiders Guide to Happiness, now being filmed around the city.

A graduate of the first intake of playwright Ken Duncum's 2002 Master of Arts (MA) in Scriptwriting at Victoria University, Peter had just finished studying when his writing attracted the interest of television production company, the Gibson Group.

The Gibson Group liked two scripts that Peter had written during the course so much that they invited him to work for them to develop his ideas into a full series; Insider's Guide to Happiness.

"Peter’s writing was fresh, exciting and spoke to a media-savvy audience" says Donna Malane, Development Executive for the Gibson Group.

Peter says that Insider's Guide to Happiness will focus on six characters, who, on their way to discovering what makes them happy, find their lives intertwining with the other characters with some unpredictable results.

"The MA in Scriptwriting taught me the professional writer's skills of editing, how to structure my writing for commercial use, and how to develop story lines and characters," Peter says.

"I was then lucky enough to be joined in the writing team at Gibson Group by Damien Wilkins, also a writing tutor at Victoria, Paula Boock and David Brechin-Smith."

Peter is quick to dispel the idea that scriptwriting is a glamorous business. Writing for the Insider's Guide to Happiness involved some weeks where he would write for 12 hours a day, five days a week. Although filming has started, he is still writing storyline drafts for later episodes in the series.

"The concept for his TV series Insider's Guide To Happiness was innovative and exciting - and Peter's first scripts for it lived up to that promise. His writing is sharp, fast and funny," says Ken Duncum, Director of the MA in Scriptwriting.

The Gibson Group has a close working relationship with Victoria's Scriptwriting programme and, along with others in the television and film industry, encouraged the introduction of the qualification as a move to increase the number of professional scriptwriters in New Zealand. Ken Duncum says that the industry continues to support the programme offering financial support and all-important links with professionals working in the industry.

Once Peter finishes at the Gibson Group he plans to continue with his own writing, including redrafting a play he started years ago. He also has plans to travel overseas where he hopes the combination of his Gibson Group experience and his Victoria University MA in Scriptwriting will set him off on the right foot.

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