Screenwriter advises students to take risks as she accepts honorary doctorate

An Oscar-nominated screenwriter has advised graduating students to “take risks and make mistakes”, as she received an honorary doctorate.

Krysty Wilson-Cairns was honoured during the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s (RCS) online summer graduation ceremony on Thursday.

The Glasgow-born writer graduated from the digital film and television programme at RCS in 2009.

She went on to co-write the First World War epic 1917, picking up an Academy Award nomination.

She has since been hired to co-write a new Star Wars movie with Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi.

Her latest film, Last Night In Soho, was written with director Edgar Wright and is due for release in October.

She told students: “You are in an amazing incubation period where you can do absolutely anything, you can make anything, everything’s at your hands and fingers and feet, you’re in the middle of a kind of melting pot.

Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Krysty Wilson-Cairns told students it is important to make mistakes (Krysty Wilson-Cairns photography © Robert McFadzean/RCS/PA)

I would advise you to go all-in, try and do everything that you absolutely can, make all those films, make them in your spare time, do the extra-curricular work.

“The other thing I would advise you to do is learn from the people in your class as well, make really good friendships, lifelong friendships, work together, critique each other.

“Then the last thing, that I think is maybe the most important, is to go out and make mistakes.

“It’s really important to make mistakes while you’re at university, I mean it’s important to always make mistakes, but if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, and that’s what the RCS allowed me, to take loads of risks in my formative years.”

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, RCS principal, said: “Krysty Wilson-Cairns is an inspiration to students here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the next generation of screenwriters and filmmakers around the globe.

“It has been wonderful to watch her career skyrocket, taking her from Glasgow to Hollywood with so many achievements along the way, including her first Oscar nomination that we’re sure won’t be her last. It’s also hugely exciting that Krysty will become part of the legendary Star Wars franchise.

“This honorary doctorate is a tribute to an exceptionally talented and dedicated artist who we are proud to call one of our own.”