As my freelance career kicked off I was looking for any and every opportunity to earn a fee. And it occurred to me that my experience as a scriptwriter might form the basis for a rather useful book.

If the 1980s are, for you, a historical period you may not be aware just how tedious some people could make their slide shows. After all, there’s very little I can think of more mind-numbing than a happy couple working through their entire collection of transparencies – good, bad and indifferent – in a mostly random order while struggling to remember why and where they took them, what’s in them, and even when they were taken.

My father and I had developed a very different approach – and my experience first at Woodmansterne, and then at Kodak, had given me all that I needed to produce a handbook for better shows.

So I did – and had a lot of fun doing it.

The end result was a publication with the somewhat unengaging title of The Great Slide Show Book (at my publisher’s insistence), but it distilled pretty much everything I’d learned in the interim. It was enlivened with cartoons by my good friend Jim Barker (who’s still in business today, I’m delighted to say!) and featured a whole set of shows I’d been planning, on a wide variety of topics and in a wide variety of styles.

I couldn’t say if it was a commercial success (probably not!) but it was enormous fun to do, encouraged me to take dozens of photographs, and got my creative juices flowing very effectively. And I’d say the advice to budding scriptwriters is still valid, even today – long after all the technology I described so lovingly has been superseded by today’s advanced software.

Quality scriptwriting is never out of style…!