It's taken me a long time to write these sentences in praise of Andrew Ellard for the simple reason that I didn't feel I could ask for Andrew Ellard's help with them.
Three times now, when I've been lost in the woods, he has come and found me and led me calmly back out. Twice metaphorically, once literally.
A page of notes from Andrew is a breath of fresh air and a weight off my shoulders.
Writer/Director - Detectorists
He's probably the reason this series [of The IT Crowd] is so strong... the quality of the series as a whole has taken a major step forward, and that's because of Andrew Ellard's notes....
The writing of The IT Crowd was much more enjoyable than it usually is because of Andrew's involvement – and it led to better results.
"Thank God for Andrew Ellard! He made me feel brave enough to throw out ideas (which I have never had the confidence to do before). Three months with him felt like a masterclass in how to write for television and I hope to work with him again, and again, and again."
Writer - Chewing Gum
I'm glad Andrew was on board, we learnt a lot from him.
Solid, useful advice from start to finish. A masterclass in sitcom!
Producer - House of Fools
I've yet to meet anyone who writes better, more incisive, script notes than Andrew. He has no bigger fan.
Writer - Red Dwarf
The best in the game. He’s basically a cheat mode for writing television. A good man and a fine collaborator.
Writer - Loaded, Fresh Meat, Misfits, Veep
He's great. Hire him.
Polly Leys & Kate Norrish,
Producers, Hillbilly Films
We couldn't recommend Andrew highly enough. Along with great comedy instincts and an encyclopaedic knowledge of film and TV he also has a great sense of knowing exactly where the core of the joke is in a sketch, he has a knack for cutting out any of the fluff and getting right to the heart of what is funny or interesting.
Our show was hugely improved from having Andrew be a part of it. Can we stop there before this gets creepy?
Seb Cardinal & Dustin Demri-Burns
The problem with working with Andrew is that he sets the bar so high, it makes working with any other script editor impossible. His knowledge and understanding of storytelling is second to none. He’s passionate about working with writers, getting in to your brain and understanding the show you want to make, and then guiding you towards making the best possible version of that show.
He also has the ability to give you notes in such a way that you’re left feeling excited to get back to your laptop - which is something you basically never hear a writer saying.
In short, he is a writer’s best friend. Work with Andrew - but don’t keep him too busy because I need him across all my scripts.
Writer, In My Skin
I have worked with Andrew on a couple of projects now and his great skills are his enthusiasm, his desire to facilitate your vision and his ability to see the wood when you're lost up a tree.
While anyone can learn the nuts-and-bolts of writing craft, I don't think you can be taught to have a "sense of story" any more than you can be taught to have a sense of humour. Fortunately, Andrew Ellard has both in spades. He has an intuitive grasp of what works, what doesn't, and why - and how to fix it. He's your secret weapon.
People often say to me that script writing is easy compared to a proper job like being a miner. How wrong they are. Anyone who has worked at the coal-face of comedy knows the potential disasters one can face. This job really is too dangerous unless you have a canary (script editor) like Andrew. He, literally, faints when he smells a bad script and as you toil away, mining for the jokes that will one day warm the cockles of the hearts of your audience, he will warn you when your whole metaphor is about to collapse under the weight of its own premise. Like now, apparently. I would recommend Andrew to all writers but I can't because I don't actually want him to work with anyone else.
Writer - Smack the Pony, Miranda
Script editor extraordinaire, psychiatrist, sociologist, friend and all round good guy. Brilliant.
Producer - Miranda
A cool, calm and collected script doctor. I'd like to carry Andrew's brain around in a little jar for all my script meetings.
Producer, Roughcut TV
He is one of the best comedy people I've worked with. Knows his stuff. He will impress. Honestly. This man has taught me many things about writing. He has seen everything and dissected. You will learn a lot.
Andrew is an absolute joy to work with: his thoughts and notes are always a welcome addition to any script development.
He's the best!
Producer - The Midnight Beast
We hired Andrew to give us notes on our Brian Butterfield Movie script and what he came back with was so impressive we asked him to come on board and write it with us! A hugely talented man indeed.
Peter Serafinowicz & James Serafinowicz
Andrew is the Fresh Prince of structure.
Writer - Skins
Andrew's notes were very different from many you get because he understands story from the inside out, rather than just looking for the three act structure checklist. Andrew understands character and tone instinctively which leads to a much more satisfying rewrite. He also has an unfailing knack of knowing when a scene is over, spotting its strongest beat and telling it to quit while it's ahead. But perhaps most of all, Andrew gets comedy. Many claim to. Few do. Many notes sap your script and make you depressed. The opposite was true in Andrew's case. He is a natural.
Writer - Brass Eye, Smack the Pony, South Park
Andrew came to us on a strong recommendation, and now I pass that same recommendation on. He has an unerring ability to get to the heart of a script, with suggestions that not only improve the work, but do so in line with the writer's original vision.
Anyone can locate plot holes and continuity gaffes, with Andrew you find character beats strengthened, comedy heightened and a structure that has become invisibly reinforced.
Perceptive but never pushy, fun to work with and an excellent comedy brain. I'd like Andrew to script edit my life.
Writer - Vent, Teenage Kicks
Andrew is a good man, easy to work with and brilliant on story. Very reassuring to have him across scripts, and he's incredibly thorough in his approach.
Producer - Mountain Goats
Andrew has an unmatched gift for the quirks of storytelling - the way it really works, not just the 'standard rules' - and brings an encyclopaedic knowledge of film and TV to every script.
Tailoring his advice expertly to the style of the project at hand, his recommendations are consistently aware of what the writer is trying to achieve, providing notes that unerringly take you towards a sharper, stronger and funnier rewrite without ever sacrificing a project's unique qualities.
I couldn't have asked for a better script editor than Andrew, he has a great passion for comedy, and has clearly watched all of it several times. If Fags Mags and Bags ever transfers to television, I am fairly certain his ear will be hot.
Writer - Mountain Goats, Fags Mags and Bags
Andrew has an inbuilt understanding of comedy and comedy writing, and also how the structure and rhythm of a script are all-important along with the strength and truth of the characters. I would certainly vouch that his involvement improves the shows.
I’ve often thought there should be a website which combined details of my writing work, my contact information and over-the-top compliments about my script editing...