Beyond the Desk: On Set with Screenwriter Jen Govey

Not long ago we shared a Deskie and interview with advisor, Cory Levy. This week we’re excited to share an in-depth interview with British screenwriter, Jen Govey, who shared her Deskie with us on Twitter.  Don’t forget to send us yours!

Jen Govey vividly remembers her trip to the set of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and seeing one of her favorite directors, Steven Spielberg,  plotting out the final scenes of the film which would win an Academy Award.

This memory is just one of many from Jen’s childhood that inspired her to go into the film industry. With family working in all areas of film, including her cinematic technician father, it seems only fitting that she would choose to become a screenwriter. Her parents, however, were shocked when she announced that she wanted work in film, an industry which they knew could be quite brutal.

Screening of "Something to Believe In" with Peter Tanner, Jen Govey, Bob Mullens, Lord Lew Grade, John Goldsmith and John Hough.

Screening of “Something to Believe In” with Peter Tanner, Jen Govey, Bob Mullens, Lord Lew Grade, John Goldsmith and John Hough.

But Jen was determined and soon earned her way to working alongside Peter Rogers, Lord Lew Grade and Phil Sanderson. Assistant editor on the Star Wars movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Aliens, Phil became one of her closest mentors. On weekends he would lend her films and during the week they would discuss them at length, especially the editing and pace of movies. It was though she were attending her own private film school. “He really made me feel a part of the history and heritage of film-making. Every time you work with someone who so freely shares their passion for the craft and all they’ve learned, you feel that you carry that knowledge forward and it’s been passed down through the generations.”

In 1994, Jen got to carry her knowledge of the film industry onto the set of Rob Roy. Working on location in Scotland, she and her co-workers would often see Liam Neeson flashing a smile as he walked by their film numbering cabin filled with loud, rattling machines. One day Tim Roth finally decided to satisfy his curiosity and see what was going on in the noisy little cabin and paid them a visit.

Jen and her desk from on location filming of "Rob Roy in Scotland.

Jen and her desk from on location filming of “Rob Roy in Scotland.

Her favorite film experience so far has been, The Secret Agent, with Eddie Izzard and Robin Williams. “It was amazing to see the rushes (raw uncut film) of Robin. He was just a genius at work. He would do the serious takes and every last take he would transform into a comedy version. He was warm, funny and so down to earth.”

Jen is on set a lot less these days though as she recovers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Sydrome. It means she’s had to slow down and work mostly from home, writing and rewriting for various independent production companies. Jen likes to look on the bright side though so aside from her recovery time allowed her to set up an awesome home desk, it has also given her a chance to write and develop her own scripts. Currently preparing to write a new screenplay, she has compiled a song list as she finds it helps set the tone and energy for the film.  In addition, she has plans to create a YouTube channel and vlog and has started writing episode notes which you can see in the notebook on her desk. She hopes her channel will help build a community for screenwriters to share writing tips and experiences.


Jen’s deskie

How did you hear of and what made you sign up for it?

I followed my friend Bryant McGill. He’s quite an innovator and has a real instinct for finding treasure online, so if he finds a new platform I definitely check it out for myself.  I’m on a lot of different social networks and I just fell in love with the idea of having a ‘here I am’ page that links together all my online presence in one place.

What’s your favorite feature on the platform?

I love it’s simplicity.  It’s just a great hub that allows people to find you and connect on the platforms that suit them.  I think my favourite feature right now is seeing who visits you.  I was excited to find that Gary Goldstein (producer of Pretty Woman) visited my page the other day, so I love the way the site is organized that people of like-minds can find each other.

How are you using the platform on other digital mediums?

I have my page as my link on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linked in and as a part of my email signature. It’s particularly useful if a network has only one space for a link such as Twitter.

Also I have my address on my business cards and letterheads as it allows people to discover me on their favourite platforms without having a huge list on a tiny card. My contains my whole online presence from website to IMDb to social networks.  It also means if I join networks, have new projects such as my YouTube channel or want to add links, I can and my business cards and paper stay current. It’s just a matter of updating my page, rather than having to get stationary updated and reprinted.

Have you used to connect with others on the platform?

Oh yes, it’s a great asset for making connections.  In the film industry networking works a bit differently. You really need to be able to find people you genuinely connect and can make friends with.  You get a good feel for people on and I’ve found recently that adding a photo of me as my background, rather than a landscape, has really improved my number of click throughs and quality of contacts.  I tend to click on people rather than backgrounds more myself, so I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner!

2 responses to Beyond the Desk: On Set with Screenwriter Jen Govey

  1. Hadn’t heard of this site before but sounds like a useful tool especially to save on constantly updating business cards.
    Thanks Jen!

  2. […] and students, in all different fields, from all over the world. From the super tidy deskie to the colorful and crowded one, we’ve had a great time seeing these desks and learning more about the people behind them. […]

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