Toby Venables is a screenwriter, novelist and award-winning journalist who lectures to undergraduates in Cambridge (on writing and film). In a former life he wrote ad copy for just about every medium – including print, radio, cinema and the back end of a bus – and interviewed a diverse range of celebrities, from Cate Blanchett and Ray Harryhausen to the Archbishop of Canterbury and astronaut Tim Peake.
He has since written several commissioned screenplays, including the heist thriller Seven Thieves. His first screen credit is the socio-political horror movie His House, directed by Remi Weekes and starring Sope Dirisu, Wunmi Mosaku and Matt Smith, whose original screenplay he co-wrote with writing partner Felicity Evans. Produced by New Regency and Starchild Pictures, with the participation of BBC Films, it premiered at Sundance in 2020 to rave reviews (“A major new vision in horror” – rogerebert.com). Global rights were picked up by Netflix, and the film was released globally on Halloween 2020. It reached No.2 in the Netflix film charts in the UK and was in the global Top 10, scoring a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has won four BIFA awards and a BAFTA, having been nominated in four BAFTA categories.
He has recently been developing the screen story of #AltWar with James Patrick, based on James’s non-fiction book Alternative War, and has worked on numerous projects for Rebellion, including a fantasy film inspired by classic sword and sorcery movies, two TV series pilots (for which he also developed the series bibles) and the script for a short film shot entirely using virtual production methods – a world first. He is currently developing a feature for Punk Cinema.
Toby is also the author of four novels (published by Abaddon Books) including the Hunter of Sherwood trilogy, a series of gritty medieval adventures which cast Guy of Gisburne as the hero and Robin Hood as the psychopathic villain.
Awards to date include an INCA Radio Advertising award, Regional Journalist of the Year 2019 and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize 2001.
Follow on Twitter: @TobyVenablesWr
Things people say…
“Cuts straight to the heart– Jason Kingsley OBE, CEO, Rebellion
of the story and understands completely the needs of the medium.”
“Toby’s commentary was extensive, deeply thoughtful and I can honestly say is the most comprehensive and thorough feedback I have ever received.”– Sue Whitney, author of These Three Women
“I now work full-time as a filmmaker and still call upon what I learned from Toby in my professional capacity.”– Richard Jackson, director and DOP