He chatted to us about how it all came about. “I was interviewed firstly on Skype and after sharing some of my ideas, was told that I have fire in my eyes,” he recalls, “But I think that a big part of that was that I had just returned from my honeymoon!”
Having long been fascinated with youth culture and storytelling, Alex relished being given the chance to work with NTU on a Eurovision institution. “I’ve watched Eurovision since I was a kid but feel much more at home here at Junior Eurovision: there’s so many more opportunities to add humour and fun into the event,” he says.
This is not as easy as it sounds, however, as the script needs to be easily understood by participants and audience members who do not have English as their first language and not include anything that would negatively impact on the children taking part. With a writing strategy that included reviewing past shows and drinking lots of cups of tea, the focus was on the hosts, Zlata Ognevich and Timur Miroshnychenko. “Put yourself in their shoes: what would make them laugh? We also can’t forget that it’s a live broadcast of a world-renowned competition, so there are opportunities to break the tension and build on the natural rapport between the hosts.”
“Luckily for me, Zlata and Timur were also willing to have some fun and be part of the fairytale story. I can’t share too many secrets with you just yet, but there’s an evil warlock that needs to be defeated and a lot of magic is needed to do that. Whether all of that magic works the first time, is yet to be discovered.”
Alex also appreciates the freedom given by host broadcaster NTU. “The Ukrainians have really embraced the idea of creativity as their theme and are doing everything they can to make it an incredible event that shows their culture, humour and confidence to the world. It’s been a real pleasure being part of Junior Eurovision and I can’t wait to be in Kyiv.”
What about the possibility of the UK rejoining Junior Eurovision? “I really hope they do as the event gives talented kids a chance to perform to an even bigger audience as well as make friendships with the other contestants with the biggest emphasis being on having fun.”
As for writing tips to any future Junior Eurovision Song Contest script writers, Alex has only two. “Always treat yourself with a break after doing a good stretch of writing. In my case it’s yoghurt-covered nuts and fruits.” And the second piece of advice is delivered with a rueful sigh. “Never put a full cup of tea too close to your keyboard because one day you will spill your drink all over it!”