Cat Hepburn

Scriptwriter, spoken word artist and workshop facilitator
MA in TV Fiction Writing 2013

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Can you tell us about your career journey? 

I completed an MA in Slavonic Studies and Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow, then went on to sit a module called Team Writing for Television at UWS. That course really opened my eyes to the concept of writing for a living. After that, I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship place for the MATV course at Caledonian. I was signed with the agency Sayle Screen soon after leaving, and began tutoring and lecturing at several universities including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of the West of Scotland, where I still teach now. 

I understand you’re a scriptwriter, an arts facilitator and a spoken word artist. Can you tell me a bit more about each of these roles and maybe the best highlights? 

I have what you would call a portfolio career - if it was a song it would be a megamix! I write scripts and commissioned poetry, do voiceover work, perform and host a spoken word cabaret night Sonnet Youth. I also teach a wide variety of groups from vulnerable teenagers to adult learners, in subjects such as spoken word and screenwriting. All of my jobs relate to one another; everything I do boils down to telling stories in interesting and compelling ways. It’s difficult to pick a highlight, when everything is ongoing. The buzz that I get from helping a student realise their potential, is akin to the high I feel from performing. But nothing quite matches seeing your own work performed on screen or the stage. 

What are your proudest professional achievements? Such as (but not excluded to): places you’ve performed, awards, published pieces on publications or websites etc etc. 

In 2016, an animation that I wrote with a fantastic company media co-op, won best animation at the Royal Television Society Scotland Awards, which I was delighted about. Working as a storywriter for BBC Scotland’s River City for six months was a brilliant learning curve, and getting the opportunity to storyline on a twenty episode block of Hollyoaks last year was a real highlight for me. I am also incredibly proud of co-hosting and curating a Creative Scotland funded poetry night Sonnet Youth with a fellow MATV-er, Kevin P Gilday. It’s so rewarding working with brilliant new artists every month, and collaborating with a great friend is a joy. I love seeing the reactions to my poetry videos on BBC The Social, and knowing that I have reached thousands of people with my words is pretty special. And I am inspired and honoured to have worked with so many talented young people over the years with organisations such as Possibilities for Each, Every Kid and Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Sometimes it’s tricky to register spare time as a freelancer, but I try to do things that keep me healthy and happy: go to the gym, watch TV and films, read books (actors’ and writers’ autobiographies are my favourite), listen to podcasts. I love travelling to new places as well- we only get one life, we should explore as much as we can. 

How has your GCU degree helped you? 

I’m allowed to be dramatic because I’m a creative type right? The course literally changed my life, it opened my eyes and expanded my world. 

What are your favourite memories from the course? 

Too many memories to choose from. We had so many wonderful industry visits, and nothing beats connecting with like-minded people. Our year was a fantastic melting pot of ages, backgrounds and skill-sets, it was like a magic cocktail. The laughs, the tears, the hard-work and spirit that carried us all through the creatively demanding, and at times tough process, was incomparable to anything that I have experienced since. Big shout out to our incredible lecturers, Ann Marie Di Mambro, Chris Dolan and Catriona Miller, all of whom got the best out of us in different ways. 

Find out more about Cat’s work on her blog 

https://cathepburn.wordpress.com/

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