Lincoln graduate’s screenwriting success

When Brendan Cleaves, BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design, 2004, joined the University of Lincoln he was set for a career in the games industry, however his life has taken a different path and he is now an award-winning screenwriter.

Brendan told us: “Having a degree sparked my creativity and helped a great deal in my career choices. The mix of tech, creative and storytelling is very similar to video production.“I swayed towards the more creative elements of the course; 3D animation and level design were always my favourite.”


 After graduating Brendan moved to the US, where he started working in video production.

“I had this old DV video camera so I’d show up at gigs and blag my way in, trading shooting the shows for free entry and maybe some band merchandise, if I was lucky,” said Brendan. “I then moved to Hawaii where I started shooting videos for local businesses and doing work for local TV.”

After three years in the US Brendan returned to the UK and continued to work as a freelance film maker. He also began screenwriting with his friend, and writing partner, Stuart Foreman. Together they have written a number of sitcom pilots and feature film scripts.

In April 2016 Brendan and Stuart’s screenplay ‘Building Bricks’ won the ‘Best UK Screenplay’ at the London Independent Film Festival.

His latest project is a short film called ‘Roger’, starring Games of Thrones actor John Bradley and comedian Seann Walsh.

Brendan told us: “It’s a short comedy film about a guy who comes home from holiday and his best friend has replaced him with a ventriloquist dummy.

“I’ve been wanting to make a short film for some time and this came together so quickly. I managed to get the script in front of John Bradley and Seann Walsh and they both jumped on board.

“The film's production was totally self-funded, so I pretty much put my life savings into getting it shot. We've just launched a Kickstarter to help complete the film.”

The short film was shot earlier this year and they are now fundraising to get the film onto the festival circuit, in order to show it to audiences around the world and hope to develop it into a feature film.

Brendan’s advice to anyone starting out in the film industry is to take every opportunity you get.

He said: “There is a big stigma about working for free in the film industry, especially at the lower end of budgets. Early on in my career I did loads of free stuff, but it's been worth it because I’ve met someone who’s either helped me or I’ve helped them further down the line.”

To find out more about Brendan’s short film ‘Roger’ visit



May 2016

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