Nat Price (OE1996-2002) is currently a script-writer for both the much anticipated BBC adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and the current Sky Atlantic hit, Tin Star, about a former British policeman who becomes chief of police in a small Canadian town in the Rocky Mountains. Nat was selected for the 2017 BBC New Talent Hotlist and has dreams of seeing one of his plays performed at the National Theatre or the Young Vic.
Nat was a talented sportsman who exceled at cross-country and football in particular. He also played as a junior for Crystal Palace FC but his career was cut short by a serious injury.
After working for the FA for several years, Nat made a rather unique change of direction, studying for an MA in Screenwriting at the National Film & Television School where he was a David Lean Scholar for two years. His early successes were a short monologue drama Special Delivery which was on BBC3 and the radio play Baller which was an original BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play. Since those early days Nat’s career has blossomed. In addition to scriptwriting for TV, Nat is currently commissioned to write a play for the Nottingham Playhouse. Our Archivist, Tony Jones, caught up with Nat and asked him about his career.
Noughts + Crosses is currently being filmed in South Africa and we can expect to see it air on the BBC in the near future.
What are your memories of your school days at Emanuel?
I joined Emanuel on an Assisted Place in the second year. It felt distinctly different to my previous school with smaller class sizes, longer days, playing fields and a swimming pool on site. It was a shock to my system, but I settled in quickly mainly I feel because of my sporting ability. I loved playing football. The lunchtime matches we’d play en masse with the small airflow balls were a particular highlight of my school day.
Educationally speaking, I enjoyed Art, PE and English – although I was put off taking it past GCSE because of my inability to write quickly or indeed neatly which I felt would hinder me in exams. I remember being a proud member of Drake House (later Nelson Drake) and winning the cross country for them the two years I participated along with countless inter-football competitions.
Did the serious football injury you suffered contribute to you studying English in any way?
I studied Sport and Exercise Science at Exeter University, paying particular interest to the sociology of sport. It was here I wrote an auto-ethnography about my injury experience and I rediscovered a love for writing (when I was younger I had been a keen writer of poetry and devised plays for a local drama group).
Who are your favourite authors and inspirations?
Growing up I was really into Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Brer Rabbit and the tales of Anansi the Spider. I would use them to devise my own stories and record them on to audio tapes.
William Goldman, Harold Pinter, Debbie Tucker Green, Paul Schrader, Aaron Sorkin and Malorie Blackman are amongst some of my favourite writers and biggest inspirations.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on both original content and adaptations for TV, as well as my first feature length play for Nottingham Playhouse.
What advice would you give pupils interesting in writing?
Read as much as possible. Different authors. Different mediums – novels, plays, TV scripts. See what works for you, what doesn’t and why. Try to write without fear. A blank page can be a very scary thing to face, and sometimes the actual process of writing is very difficult. But don’t wait for moments of inspiration. Get it down on the page and then rework it and rework it and rework it. After all, as the famous adage goes, writing is rewriting.
Noughts+Crosses and Tin Star are amazing shows to be involved in. Can you tell us anything about the ‘process’ and the number of people involved in writing for them?
Both of the shows had writers’ rooms where the story across the series is discussed/created and then broken down into the specific episodes. As a writer of an episode you are then tasked with taking the story beats created and expanding them into a more in-depth document that covers the individual scenes (mainly action with some hint of the dialogue). Once this is signed off by the lead writer and production executives you’ll go on to write the actual script. This then goes through a series of drafts before shooting of the episode actually begins. Once shooting starts, changes are still made depending on various production factors, so you need to be on hand throughout to make any amendments. It’s essential a writer can handle deadlines. Delays in production can be costly, as the script is the blueprint from which every department involved in the project works from.