Unsung Heroes - the TV scriptwriter: Fonteyn Ang, Mediacorp

Fonteyn Ang is a scriptwriter with the English Drama Productions in Mediacorp.

The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands and clients.

As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.

A fan of acclaimed scriptwriter and director Shonda Rhimes, Fonteyn Ang is a television scriptwriter with the English Drama Productions at Singapore's largest broadcaster, Mediacorp. She says people assume meeting celebrities is part of her job, but in reality, she works behind the scenes most of the time to ensure that quality content are only shown to audiences who tune in.

Why is your job important?

I think that entertainment is an important part of modern society. A lot of people consume content to destress and entertainment helps people relax and forget the stress in their lives. It’s a little bit of escapism.

What is the hardest and stressful part of your job?

It’s challenging to create consistent quality content on a daily basis. It takes a lot of grit sometimes to get through each month. We also work fairly long hours and have tight deadlines to meet.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s seeing the stories that I’ve created onscreen and people genuinely enjoying the stories and relating to them.

First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?

Wah, writer so cool? Where do you work? When I answer Mediacorp. They will proceed to ask me if I see celebrities all the time.

How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?

The thing I have to explain most about my job is that I don’t actually write scripts. I write storylines which basically means I write the stories across weeks and/or months at one time first before organising them into episodes. Then it’s handed to the scriptwriters who expand on the scenes and include dialogue.

Is there anything you want to change in your job?

I think longer research and preparation time before creating a new series. More often than not, we are forced to create content on demand and while that’s a feat on its own, there are many projects that are a result of years or months of research and preparation. The lack of preparation time does create problems as we jump into a series. It makes certain stories much harder to write.

Which was the campaign that you worked on, that you are most proud of?

I have only worked on Tanglin so far, but I am proud of it.

Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?

Shonda Rhimes!

If you weren’t a (writer), what would you be?

Honestly I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life and I don’t think that I can or want to do something else. I’ll probably still write but maybe in a different medium.

If you think of someone who deserves to be part of this series, please get in touch with Shawn Lim and nominate them. You can read the most recent feature, which looks at the role of a video trainer, here.

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