CHANNEL 4 SCREENWRITING COURSE 2013
First and most importantly this week, entries to the CHANNEL 4 screenwriting course 2013 are now entering their last few days –
Entries close at 5pm this coming Wednesday Nov 7th.
This is a fantastic opportunity for writers without a broadcast TV or feature film credit.
2013 will be the 3rd year I have run the course and we already have some great success stories from the 24 writers who have been through the 2011 & 2012 versions. One writer, for instance, who had never written for the screen before – and who has since written an episode of SHAMELESS; and the project she developed on the course was picked up by Clerkenwell Films (makers of C4’s MISFITS) and is now in active development with C4.
Another full and fascinating response to last week’s list ‘Best British TV Drama’ – for which I thank you all very much – lots of great ideas about shows missing from my list (and one or two comments about my dodgy categories!)
Here are some of your responses –
‘Being Human’ and ‘Misfits’ as social realism, Phil? I like the shows but that’s an odd fit. I think your categories seem a little limiting – for instance, the crime angles of ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Life on Mars’ were far from their strongest or perhaps even defining qualities. Those shows shine in their characterisation, twisty narratives and vivid style. Furthermore, the categories leave no space for ‘Doctor Who’, which may not always be as critically lauded as other shows on your list but which has featured numerous standalone episodes that are every bit as excellent. Finally, I’d say Dominic Savage’s ‘Dive’ was a phenomenal drama well worth a mention.’ Alan McDonald
‘Your list covers all my favourites apart from ‘Low Winter Sun’ by Simon Donald starring Mark Strong that was superb. ‘Dive’ was great too.‘ Carol Cooper
Jon Brittain wrote: “I’d definitely whack ‘Queer as Folk’ in there, I think ‘Shameless’ owes it a massive debt of gratitude stylistically. And ‘Threads’ – though that probably didn’t influence ‘Shameless’ quite as much. And what about ‘Doctor Who‘?”
‘Not a bad list. Many of my favourites there. It’s made me want to see the ones I’ve missed e.g. Red Riding. Have to add some suggestions though:
‘Cambridge Spies’- Peter Moffat ‘Line of Beauty’- Andrew Davies ‘The Long Firm’- Jake Arnott/Joe Penhall ‘GBH’- Alan Bleasdale ‘Blackpool’- Peter Bowker “Jewel in the Crown’- Ken Taylor/Paul Scott ‘The Cops’ – Jimmy Gardner/Robert Jones/Anita J. Pandolfo ‘The Firm’- Al Ashton ‘Made in Britain’- David Leland‘ Jeremy Allen
‘Hi Phil, I reckon you’ve pretty much covered all bases, but something from Debbie Horsfield in my view is missing, ‘The Riff Raff Element’ was excellent as was a more recent strong woman writer Kay Mellor’s ‘The Syndicate’. I reckon Jeremy Allen is spot on when he says ‘The Firm’ by Al Ashton – one of the best serial and series drama writers we had – r.i.p. Great blog!’ Yvonne Grace
‘Prisoners Wives should have been included – great pacey script.‘ Bernadette Oldfield
‘I’d add to your list ‘One Night’ by Paul Smith and ‘Buried’ by Jimmy Gardner.‘ Carole Solazzo
‘I enjoyed your drama list, though I can’t claim to have seen everything ‘Life on Mars’ (though not so much ‘Ashes to Ashes’) and anything by Lynda la Plante would be firm favourites! And talking of Lynda La Plante, do you remember a serial by her in the early 90’s called ‘Comics’? It was amazing, and I have searched the internet and can’t find how you can obtain it anywhere…‘ Dan Craddock
LONDON SCREENWRITERS FESTIVAL 2012
I spent last Friday and Saturday at the above and great fun it was too.
I went to some fascinating sessions on Friday –
KATE LEYS – I used to read scripts for Kate Leys when she was at Film Four (a long time ago!) and remember the meetings I had with her, to tell her about the scripts I’d read, were always entertaining.
The room was absolutely packed out and I found myself sitting cross-legged in a distant corner of the room for this two hour session. Within the first minute I was seriously doubting my backside’s ability to put up with 20 minutes of this let alone two hours.
But it’s a testament to Kate that I soon forgot my arse and was thoroughly interested by what she had to say. I do very similar work to Kate as a script consultant and, like her, have read many thousands of scripts over the years – there was very little that I could say was completely revelatory to me – but she is so articulate and smart; and so much of what she said really got me thinking about what it is that makes the good scripts good.
Hearing her talk really re-energised my approach to some of the scripts I’m currently working on.
Then I went to listen to SIMON BEAUFOY talking about his work – it was striking that one of the most successful British screenwriters of his generation talked about how hard the process is, and how much he’s learnt since the success of THE FULL MONTY, how he thinks he’s a much better screenwriter now than he was then. In passing he mentioned the times he’s been sacked off projects. The lesson I took from him was that as well as having a passion for the craft, you need a tough hide (see above!) in this business – you need to be able to roll with the punches. Sometimes projects work out, sometimes they don’t.
If probably the UK’s most celebrated contemporary writer of feature films gets sacked \ walks off projects occasionally – then it’s going to happen to all of us. But you musn’t let the low points knock you off your stride – you have to keep that fierce inner belief in your voice and talent.
And Simon Beaufoy did come across as very self-confident.
Finally on the Friday I went to listen to the very entertaining DEBBIE ISITT (writer director of CONFETTI and NATIVITY) with excellent actor JASON WATKINS, talk about the creation of those projects through improvisation. Again this was fascinating.
The main thing I took from this was – it’s a good idea for writers to expose their work to actors, to hear readings of their work by professional actors.
Speaking of which – there’s a new LSF delegates group set up for exactly this purpose – the ‘Kites & Violence’ group on www.LSFConnect.com if you’re a LSF delegate.
I also caught up with a whole host of people who’ve done ‘The Two Phils’ 2 day screenwriting course and it was great to see you all again.
I even had two – the excellent Carol Cooper and David Bishop – on my script lab.
So yes – on the Saturday – I ran my SCRIPT LAB, a three hour session on CREATING DRAMA SERIES. As you may have read in an earlier newsletter, this is an area of screenwriting that fascinates me. I was interested to see if some of the LSF writers could come up with a cracking series idea – and I got quite a few really interesting ideas.
I enjoyed the session enormously – I met some very talented writers whom I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the future.
THE TWO PHILS – ‘THE AUTHORITATIVE GUIDE TO WRITING – AND SELLING! – A GREAT SCREENPLAY’
A reminder that we’re taking bookings for the next two incarnations of this course – in January and March next year. If you’re missing the buzz of the LSF, then booking yourself onto one of our courses will give you something on the screenwriting front to look forward to early in the New Year, and something that I guarantee will give you a similar creative boost!
In January we are joined by Knight Hall literary agent TANYA TILLETT, who represents some excellent screenwriters and who has a really positive and insightful approach to how new writers break into the industry and how more experienced writers sustain their careers
In March our guests are Channel 4 Drama Head of Development BEN STOLL; and writer \ producer MATT BOUCH who has just produced a new series by new writer Tom Bidwell, MY FAT, MAD TEENAGE DIARY for E4.
Again, they can both give invaluable insights, based on personal experience, on how you carve a career for yourself as a new screenwriter in the UK.
Here’s the link for more information and bookings –
Finally this week an appeal! Script editor CHLOE TUCKER – who has done a lot of excellent work on SKINS (C4 \ Company Pictures) and has been a guest speaker on the Channel 4 screenwriting course for the last two years – is looking for funds to make a short film by outstanding new writer LAURA POLIAKOFF.
Sorry for the group email, but I’ve been working on Laura Poliakoff’s film BURN THE CLOCK, which is going to be shot this winter. The producer is Adam Woodhall (our Skins online producer), the writer is Laura Poliakoff and the director is my dad, David Tucker. I’ve script edited it.
BURN THE CLOCK is a love story about two people that find each other again in their 70s, only one of them has chlamydia (amongst other issues). Like any short film, we are short of funding. So if you have some spare pennies, help us make the film! Any donations will be gratefully received, and used. If you can bear to, please also circulate – we think we stand more chance of getting donations from people known to us than just Joe Public.
Here’s the link to watch a little promo and donate:
Until next week
All the best
Nov 2nd 2012