Stefan Golaszewski is the writer and Executive Producer behind BBC2’s latest comedy success, Mum, as well as BBC3’s Him & Her, which won the BAFTA for best sitcom in 2014. Stefan is soon to be working on a second series of Mum, which has already been recommissioned by the BBC.
To learn more about the career of a comedy writer, I asked Stefan a few questions about his work…
What is your favourite project to have ever worked on?
It’s probably whatever I happen to be currently working on. Otherwise getting through the long and lonely days would be unbearable.
Did you achieve everything that you wanted to achieve with Mum?
There are so many things that can go wrong in making a TV show. You constantly bang up against the limits of your own talent and the schedule. There are always things I’d like to have written differently. There are always things we had to sacrifice in the chaos of shooting. There are always things I did in the edit that I wish I could go back and unpick. But the actors and the team were extraordinary and I wanted to make a show that was truthful, warm, funny and moving, that spoke about what it’s actually like to be a person, and people seemed to appreciate that, so I’m pleased.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I like the act of writing. I like working with other people to make it better. I like the edit. I hate it when it goes out. The best thing is probably when people tell me my work made them happy. That’s why we all slave our guts out. So it’s lovely to hear it was worth it.
How would you advise young writers to get started?
Write all week. Take weekends off. Read things you didn’t know you were interested in. Learn to take criticism not personally but as a necessary step to improving your work for the good of others. You shouldn’t expect things to take off immediately, nor should you want them to. You need time to learn your craft, what it is you do and why it is you do it like that. Get your writing in front of audiences and learn from them. They’re usually right. Remember your work shouldn’t be a way of making yourself appear cool or clever or interesting. Its root purpose is the entertainment of others. They’re the ones who are paying for you to have a pretty special life. And remember that in writing there is no such thing as finished.
What is your next writing project?
A second series of Mum. More theatre.