TEAMING UP WITH VOX PICTURES
I’m delighted to say I’ve signed a first-look deal with independent production company VOX PICTURES. Vox is run by producers Adrian Bate and Pip Broughton, and their new head of development is the excellent Joe Williams. Joe was a shadow script editor on the Channel 4 screenwriting course two years ago, and is a great champion of new writers – and good writing generally! And I script-edited a film of CIDER WITH ROSIE that Adrian produced for Carlton / ITV quite a few years ago now!
I’m absolutely delighted to be working with them, and it’s a lovely recognition of the writing talent that has come through my script consultancy, and the Channel 4 course.
The commitment I’ve made to Vox Pixctures is that they’re my first port-of-call for any suitable, promising material – and writers – that come to me through the website. As well as being an endorsement of the quality of the writers I’m meeting through the website, most importantly it provides a great opportunity for up-and-coming writers – or established writers – with cracking new ideas and projects.
Clearly, Vox, like all indies have a very finite development slate and budget – so I’m still free to offer projects to other indies if a project isn’t right for Vox.
And trying to match up writers and projects with producers and agents is a growing and exciting part of the work I do through the website. In the last year I have managed to place writers with whom I’ve been working with The Agency and Julia Tyrrell Management – agencies of very different scale – but in my opinion two of the best dramatic writing agents in the UK.
And I have recently introduced another writer to another new indie – Conker Films. And his feature film project is now in active development, with the strong hope that it will go into production in the next year or so.
My script consultancy continues to be the core of the work I do and, if you are one of the writers with whom I’ve worked in the last few months, you will know that I have been a little overwhelmed by the amount of scripts I’ve received recently, and my normal, standard turnaround time has slipped from 3 weeks to (at times) 5 or 6 weeks. I have had spells in the last few months where I have been working on script notes 7 days a week – and still not really been making a dent in the script queue. I’ve decided that I have to do something about this. I love this work – which is why I do it! – but there are many other projects I’m working on, and the script notes service is threatening to take over my life!
One thing I considered is expanding the script consultancy and taking on other script consultants – but the more I thought about this, the more I realised this isn’t something I wanted to do. If there’s a USP and an appeal to my script consultancy, it is that it’s a personal service, and it’s been built on the years of experience I’ve had working with so many different writers on so many different projects, both in development and production. I love the work, but I don’t love the admin – and hiring new script editors would dilute the raison d’etre behind my website, and increase the admin – SO I’ve come to the conclusion that the only sensible way to deal with the (very nice) problem I have, is to raise my prices – sorry! The price rises aren’t massive (as I hope you’ll agree) but I have probably been under-selling myself. I hope you’ll still think that, with my level of experience and industry contacts, my consultancy pricing is still pretty good value!
One other change I’m making – which is long overdue, and something I’ve been doing informally for a while – is to introduce the option of a longer-term working relationship with writers. A six-month partnership in which I act as mentor, providing feedback on ideas and scripts at every stage of development, giving specific, tailored career advice. Agreeing an action plan, giving written feedback as well as skype, phone and face-to-face time to discuss your work.
GRAND SCHEME MEDIA / CREATIVE SKILLSET 2 DAY SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT COURSE, LONDON JULY 6-7
I did 8 of these two day courses last summer all around the UK and we’re planning to organise a few more in the next few weeks (hopefully in Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds – WATCH THIS SPACE!)
I’m delighted that Creative Skillset wanted to run these courses again. I had a lot of fun doing them last year – they’re mainly for people interested in script-editing and script development – but they’re also suitable for screenwriters (particularly if you’re interested in writing for TV). We will also have a guest writer on the 2nd day of the course (TBC).
The first course is in London on July 6-7.
LONDON WRITERS WEEK
One of my ongoing areas of work is the teaching I do at the relatively new and excellent MA Dramatic Writing course at Central St Martins / University of the Arts London / Drama Centre in the lovely Granary Building in Kings Cross. One of the off-shoots of the course, initiated by course leader Jennifer Tuckett, is the annual LONDON WRITERS WEEK – which takes place in the first week of July, and has a load of sessions that will be of interest to dramatic writers – with the emphasis this year being on theatre writing. Here’s the press release –
‘This year London Writers’ Week will take place during the week of July 4th 2016.
In addition to the programme, the week has announced a series of new partnerships to advise on and help develop the week, including a continuing partnership with Central Saint Martins, The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Writers at Work Productions, three of the original founding partners of the week, plus new partnerships with BBC Writersroom, NAWE (the National Association of Writers in Education), the London Playwrights Blog, Tamasha Theatre Company and Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland.
The partners will work with the British Writers Council to advise on and develop the week. The British Writers Council is an advisory board made up of those who have led the way in writing training in the industry including John Yorke, founder of the BBC Writers Academy, Kate Rowland, founder of BBC Writersroom, Ola Animashawun, founder of the Royal Court Theatre’s young writers programme, Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director of Tamasha, Caroline Jester, former Dramaturg at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Philip Shelley, instigator of the Channel Four screenwriting course, Lucy Kerbel, founder of Tonic Theatre and Jennifer Tuckett, Course Leader of the new MA Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins and Director of Writers at Work Productions.
London Writers’ Week’s theme for 2016 will be to provide access to and showcase the best new ideas in theatre writing in the UK.
The 2016 programme will include:
- A Central Saint Martins day on the future of dramatic writing training, the Central Saint Martins MA Dramatic Writing showcase and an exclusive event with Oscar winner and Theatre Design Central Saint Martins’ graduate Jenny Beavan
- A Writers’ Guild of Great Britain day with panel discussions on Fact Based Theatre chaired by David Edgar and including panelists Alecky Blythe, Gilliam Slovo and Richard Norton Taylor and Book Writing for Musical Theatre chaired by Jenifer Toksvig and including panelists Gurinder Chadha and Catherine Johnson
- A showcase of Tamasha theatre company’s new project “New Families” to accompany their forthcoming tour of Mother India
- A showcase of the Dark Horse Festival, a new festival for unproduced plays being developed by the London Playwrights Blog and targeted at emerging writers
- A day with the Bush Theatre and Oberon Books on The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting and providing access to and increasing diversity in the theatre
- A workshop for young writers run by NAWE, the National Association of Writers in Education
- A workshop with Tim Crouch on his recent residency at Central Saint Martins, The Complete Deaths and his work with students at Central Saint Martins and his methods to develop new work
- An In Conversation event with the Arts Council on Grants for the Arts and the Arts Council’s priorities in terms of theatre funding
- A Masterclass with BBC Writersroom Head Anne Edyvean on how theatre writers can make the transition to other forms of dramatic writing
For more information and to book tickets please go to: www.londonwritersweek.com
I would like to say thank you very much to everyone who submitted scripts for this project. I received a lot of submissions and thoroughly enjoyed reading them. I’ve now got back to all the writers about their scripts. I have chosen 11 scripts for the projects and I’m really excited by the quality of these scripts, and very much looking forward to pressing ahead with plans to record them.
The next newsletter will be on Friday July 1st
All the best
June 17th 2016