CHANNEL 4 SCREENWRITING COURSE 2016
We are now open for entries – until 6pm Oct 30th. THAT’S TODAY!
As above, TODAY is your last chance for another year to enter your script for the CHANNEL 4 SCREENWRITING COURSE.
Obviously I’m biased but I think this course is a great opportunity to take your writing to the next level. I received an email this week from one of the 3 writers I worked with on this year’s course, to tell me the script he’d written on the course has just been optioned by one of the UK’s top independent companies. Very exciting news.
LONDON SCREENWRITERS FESTIVAL 2015
I was only able to go to one day of this year’s festival (Sunday) but I had a very enjoyable, absolutely packed day.
I started at 9am with my
SCRIPT LAB – CREATING DRAMA SERIES.
This is the 3rd year that I’ve run this lab and I always really enjoy it. I chose this year’s 6 labbers from 60+ applicants, all of whom submit a one page pitch and three page sample from their episode one script.
Initially, when we start the session, I ask the 6 writers to tell me and each other about their projects and about themselves as writers. As the 6 writers talked about themselves and their work so articulately and fascinatingly, I was thinking – what a wonderful job I have – working with such interesting, sparky, creative people. The range of different people and ideas was truly outstanding – we even had one (very talented) writer who had come from Australia especially for the LSF.
The writers were brilliant in the way they sparked off and inspired each other, and the 3 and a half hours flew by. I expect to hear a lot more of and from these 6 writers in the months and years ahead.
I then met up with Channel 4 Screenwriting course alumni JANE EDEN and ANNA SYMON before our 2.00 session in front of a packed Tuke Hall (also with Lisa Walters from Channel Drama). Jane and Anna were great – very generous and informative in sharing their experiences of every aspect of the Channel 4 Course (Anna was on it in 2013, Jane in 2014). And it was inspiring to hear how well they are both doing now in their screenwriting careers.
From there to a less formal 45 minute ‘Script Chat’ about 4Screenwriting.
And then a series of meetings both planned and unplanned with development executives, producers, script editors and writers. Including a catch up with a few of the now 200+ writers who have done our ‘2 Phils Screenwriting Courses’ and my ‘Creativity For Scriptwriters’ course.
(One of the perks of these courses is access to our ‘Screenwriters Studio’ Facebook page – over the years this has developed into a great resource for the writers from these courses – to trade information, to give feedback on each other’s work, to debate the screenwriting issues of the day, and to initiate meetings and friendships. We now have so many writers on the page from so many different writing backgrounds and levels of experience that any writing question is bound to find someone who knows the answer.
The page brings home to me just how powerful and important social media is for screenwriters. Recent examples of the virtues of this facebook page are – the success in a pitching competition of one writer who could reach out to all of us, ask us to listen to (and vote for) his excellent recorded pitch – who has just got through to the competition’s short-list; and another writer who told me she managed to blag a free week at a writer’s retreat in France due to a contact she made on the page.
Twitter also is invaluable for accessing information, making contacts, passing on information.)
Back to the LSF – It was great to hear how well so many of these ex-‘2Phils course’ writers are doing – including at least 4 who had got onto the interview long-list for the Channel 4 COMING UP 2016 scheme.
Speaking of which, one of the things Lisa Walters pointed out as part of the 4Screenwriting sessions was just how many other new writer initiatives the Channel 4 Drama department organises –
As well as 4SCREENWRITING and COMING UP, there are the CHANNEL 4 PLAYWRIGHT SCHEME, the CHANNEL 4 & NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY WRITING FOR TV AWARDS & the DIVERSE WRITERS ROCKET INITIATIVE.
All the details can be found here –
And then by chance I met up with three writers who are part of a group of 4 who all met on my 2014 LSF Script Lab – and who clubbed together to form their own writers groups who since Oct 2014 have met up monthly and given feedback and support to each other, and are now firm! It was great to catch up with them.
And finally I met up with 4 of my LSF Talent Campus writers to hear about their weekend and their pitching experiences which seem to have been (mostly!) very positive.
Frustratingly I didn’t have time to go to one single LSF session – but hopefully I will have feedback from other delegates in future weeks to pass onto you.
CATASTROPHE Series 2
I seem to have been working a lot recently on comedy scripts – and trying to analyse what makes the best comedy funny is often tricky.
Some quotes from a London Standard interview with the brilliant Sharon Horgan really struck a chord with me –
‘we wanted the characters to have real problems, not sitcom problems, as people seemed to respond to the honesty of the first series.’
‘One of the reasons Catastrophe works is that between the coruscating rows and buttock-clenchingly mortifying scenarios there’s a palpable attraction between the leads: they fancy each other and make each other laugh.’
‘Horgan and Delaney first found each other funny on Twitter and discussed working together before they met in real life.’
‘“The thing people like is having their lives reflected back at them,” she says. “If we weren’t taking stuff from our own lives, I don’t think it would be as satisfying.’
‘She is “obsessed” with the capital, and says that “growing, changing” east London seemed the perfect fit for the slowly evolving characters of Catastrophe.’
What I took away from this article / interview –
A lot of the best comedy is funny because we recognise the truth of the observations – this is certainly true of CATASTROPHE ie it helps enormously if there is a basis of truth and reality to comedy.
Another aspect of the above is locating your story in a specific location – East London is an integral part of the show.
One of the reasons the show works is that underneath all of the filthy humour, there is a real humanity to the characters and story – we are really made to care about the central relationship.
The power of social media – the fact that Horgan and Delaney got together because they found each other funny on Twitter!
I’m really looking forward to getting properly stuck into your 4Screenwriting script submissions over the next month. If you have entered – THANK YOU & GOOD LUCK!
All the best
Oct 30th 2015