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Papua New Guinea – 2010 Writers’ Workshop

In October of 2010, PMC held a training for local scriptwriters and producers. More than 25 writers attended the workshop, of which 14 were selected to be on the final writing team. A group of PMC trainers have been working one-on-one and in groups with the writers to help hone their skills and begin the development of the dramas.

Virginia Carter, PMC’s renowned trainer and Former Head of Drama for the largest independent television production company in Hollywood, gave a presentation on writing for radio. She talked about the many truths that lie within every story, the challenges of team writing, the importance of humor and music, and how to mine the material or dig deeply into every story.

Daour Wade, PMC’s trainer from Senegal who received the Kadima Prize for Literature in 2002, reminded the writers that, with radio, they must write for people’s ears and not their eyes. He raised questions about how to make a character memorable, and he discussed the importance of using sound effects to signal a particular scene of character.

A group of writers at PMC’s workshop

Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President for International Programs, encouraged the writers to draw maps of what the various settings will look like. Do characters walk or drive there? She emphasized that the settings must be clearly defined so all of the writers can accurately create episodes and storylines that are consistent and realistic.

The writers are developing a program in English and a program in Tok Pisin (Pidgin), and within each there will be three different settings and storylines, each having a positive, negative, and transitional character. The issues the dramas touch on are complex. And given the significant cultural differences defined by geographic location, how each of the stories play out and therefore how each of the issues are addressed is dependent on the geographic setting in which they are taking place.


Betty Oala
Project Director
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea