Adeline started her writing journey with writing scripts for play in her post graduate studies, and it has taken her across a breath of genres. From writing press releases, newsletters and annual reports at Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), she then moved on to advertising, where she worked on product releases, media, press and even speeches for clients. Later, she took up a role as head of corporate affairs for the People’s Association, where she continued to demonstrate her flair for writing.

However, it all changed when she became a mother. She yearned to enthrall children with her imagination, and after receiving the First-Time Writers & Illustrators Publishing Initiative Award by the then Media Development Authority (MDA) and the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) in 2006, She went on to write and publish a total of 28 books, including The Diary of Amos Lee, a series for eight to twelve year-olds, and a young adult novel, Thomas Titans.

Along the way, she realised the need to adapt her books in order to reach a larger audience, as there were many books crossing over to TV and film such as the Harry Potter series.

Successfully applying to NYU Tisch School of the Arts in Singapore on an MDA scholarship, Adeline got to learn screenwriting for feature film and stage writing. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing in 2011. “In a class where I was the only Singaporean with other students from America and Asian cities like Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, I learnt that although we have different cultural sensibilities, the basic tenets of good storytelling are the same for everyone.”

Then the opportunity to adapt her books into a telemovie came around, and she got her first chance to write for TV. But the industry throws newcomers into the deep end very quickly, and although she was well-versed in scriptwriting for film and playwriting, TV was a different story. Between learning on the job and reading other people’s scripts, she felt there had to be a better way to scale up and improve.

Scriptwriting Interview with Adeline Foo
Adeline Foo, aspiring TV writer and author of children’s book series The Diary of Amos Lee and young adult novel Thomas Titans.

Which brings us to where she is today, teaching writing at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and growing as a TV scriptwriter through programmes like WritersLab, an inaugural intensive scriptwriting programme by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Story Lab initiative and organized by LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE). The 10-week programme was designed to help aspiring TV scriptwriters deepen their capabilities and push the boundaries of local storytelling.

Here, she was exposed to the basics of scriptwriting, technicalities and industry expectations, right down to fine details such as margin size, font size, spacing, and what a cover page is. “It’s writing for TV 101”, she says.

She found the whole process very engaging, being able to pitch her ideas and receive valid feedback from industry veterans and peers of varied experience. “Lessons were well crafted and structured to get us ready to produce a concept and story that is good enough to pitch.”

It also allowed her to work with LASALLE students to get her writing auditioned for, read, and shot. She’s watched her script transition from the page to the camera lens. If selected, her story idea will be broadcast on online platform Toggle.

In the future, she will be able to produce a professionally, industry-ready package for her clients and pitch her story and concept more effectively.

“It is a good space and a good time to be a writer in Singapore”, she says. “The story writing environment here is at an excellent crossroads, with a lot of attention and support from the top down.”

A year ago, she would never have dreamt of successfully applying for capability development and enhancement programmes such as WritersLab, and being paid to upskill. She’s thankful that more people are realizing that a vibrant and refreshing media landscape starts with good writing.

WritersLab 2017 Participants
WritersLab is an inaugural programme of the Story Lab initiative by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Organised by LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE), this intensive scriptwriting programme aims to push the boundaries of scriptwriting and storytelling for television and online platforms by nurturing and developing the skills of committed Singaporean film and television writers.
Like Adeline, Karl Gan is another aspiring TV writer who wishes to make his mark in the media industry. Though less experienced, he’s brimming with fresh ideas sharpened through WritersLab. You can find out how Karl's WritersLab experience helped him on his scriptwriting journey.