DATES: 25th and 26th January 2020 / 13th and 14th June 2020
Writers must ensure before entering that they are available to attend both these weekends, and are free to write at least two drafts of an original one-hour television drama between 28th January and 1st June 2020.
HOW TO APPLY:
NB Scroll down this page for ENTRY FORM (NB **from Sept 10th – Sept 27th 2019 ONLY)
Applicants should submit (by using the provided form on our website) a CV, together with one writing sample (saved as a PDF). This can be a screenplay (film or TV), stage play or radio play, minimum length 20 pages (novels, treatments, short stories, unfinished screenplays and “shorts” are not acceptable), maximum length 130 pages.
NB YOU CANNOT SUBMIT THE SAME SCRIPT YOU HAVE SUBMITTED IN PREVIOUS YEARS.
The scripts should be original, not episodes of existing drama series.
Only writers who do not have a broadcast credit as a television writer or theatrical release as a feature film writer may apply (although produced short films – 20 minutes or less – are exempt).
CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS:
5pm Friday September 27th 2019 (Entries will open Tuesday September 10th 2019)
Writers will be paid a fee for participating in the course and for completing two drafts of a one hour script. All writers will be required to grant Shelley Productions a first option for Channel 4 to acquire all rights in their script and will be told within six months of delivery whether Channel 4 wishes to exercise this option.
The purpose of the course is to offer 12 writers new to television drama an insight into how the industry works and to provide a “dry-run” of what it can be like to write under a television drama commission, specifically for one hour series and serial drama, and to work with them as they write an original drama script.
Writers will be expected to write an original C4 / E4 one-hour drama series or serial pilot episode, and 2-3 page outline / pitch for the series / serial as a whole.
Each writer will be assigned a script editor, who is currently working in the industry, to guide them through this process. Writers will meet at least twice with their script editor and should complete a 2nd draft script before the 2nd weekend of the course. Completed, 2nd draft scripts will be sent to the script editor and two other writers on the course, for workshop discussions at the second weekend.
Writers, directors, producers and script editors in the industry will speak to the participants on a variety of subjects relating to writing for television, especially writing for series and serial drama. There will also be time set aside for writers to discuss their ideas for one hour scripts with their assigned script editor.
This will be split between a reading of a section of each script by actors on the first day, and discussion and analysis of each of the twelve finished scripts in small groups on the second day, finishing with a screening / workshop and an overview of the course and of the specific requirements of Channel 4 series and serial television drama.
It is essential to the success of the second weekend that writers submit their scripts on time and make time to read the (2) other writers’ scripts.
There will be a drinks evening at Channel 4 in London on the evening of Tuesday July 7th 2020 for the course writers to meet industry producers, script editors, literary agents etc.
Applicants must be 18 or over on Jan 1st 2020.
Applicants must be resident in UK or Ireland.
Channel 4 are committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity in the media industry.
As well as individual writers, writing partnerships of two (max) may enter. Scripts submitted must be written by the partnership.
Only one script per applicant can be submitted. Anyone submitting more than one script will not be considered.
Entry is free of charge.
No feedback can be given on the scripts.
No correspondence (email or otherwise) can be entered into with applicants.
We will be holding interviews for short-listed writers at Channel 4 in London on Nov 28 + 29, 2019.
We will inform the successful 12 writers by mid-Dec 2019.
We will post a notice on the 4talent website once we have chosen the 12 successful writers. If you haven’t heard by Dec 20th, your application wasn’t successful. We don’t have the resources to be able to let each applicant know individually if their application has been successful.
Successful writers will be invited to a briefing session at Channel 4 in London on the evening of Monday December 12th 2019 (before the course begins in January 2020). This is to give them a sense of the current remit for Channel 4 and E4.
Scripts entered must be 20 – 130 pages in length. They can be screenplays, TV scripts, stage plays or radio plays. Scripts shorter than 20 pages or longer than 130 pages will not be considered.
Your submission must be your own original work, and may not be based wholly or in part, on the work of any other person, whether known, published, produced, or not (ie no adaptations). You may submit a script based on your own work which has been published or written in another form.
Your submission is final. Under no circumstances will rewrites, corrections, replacement pages, or additional drafts of a submission be accepted.
Submitted scripts must be formatted clearly and legibly and emailed as PDF attachments.
We only accept email entries. All entries must be submitted through the online submission process.
Writers should include a CV with their scripts. (Writing work and other work / life experience can be included on the CV)
It is essential that applicants have an interest in and enthusiasm for Channel 4 / E4 drama. Scripts will be assessed on the strength of the writing and the writer’s suitability to Channel 4 / E4 drama. Scripts entered can reflect the range of the Channel 4 drama output (eg comic scripts, like Fresh Meat, as well as drama scripts will be considered).
You CANNOT enter a script if you previously entered it for the Channel 4 screenwriting course.
You will be notified by email immediately after submitting your script that your entry has been received.
The interviews for short-listed writers (Nov 2019) and the two weekends in January and June (2020) will be held at the Channel4 building in London.
If successful, the idea you work on during the course will be a new idea, ie different to the script that you submit with your entry.
ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED FOR THE CHANNEL 4 SCREENWRITING COURSE 2019
‘4Screenwriting was the best introduction to screenwriting I could have hoped for. I found so much freedom in being able to write about a subject and idea of my own choosing, knowing it was a safe environment, full of support. The advice from people working in the industry over the two weekends was incredibly helpful and valuable, not just for writing but for learning about how the industry works. This was my first experience of working with a script editor, and I cannot say enough about how helpful it is. I loved being able to discuss and go through the drafts, to work out the best ways to solve problems and to have someone who was just as passionate about the work as I was. For me, having never worked professionally as a writer before, being on this course gave me a huge sense of achievement, and feeling that I was becoming a ‘proper’ writer! It has opened so many doors – I went from trying to google production companies (all of whom do not accept unsolicited scripts) to being invited into some of the best in the industry to talk about projects. All because I was a member of this course. I honestly don’t know where I’d be at with writing if it wasn’t for 4screenwriting, and simply cannot praise it enough. Thank you to Philip Shelley and Channel 4!’
LILY LOVELESS, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘I come from an acting background which has mainly been in theatre and so I gravitated easily into playwriting but really had no idea how the world of television worked. That has all changed. The first weekend was packed with insightful and inspiring talks by experts working across the UK television industry: producers, editors, writers and directors. We then went on to pitch a few ideas to our assigned script editors who then steered us through the process of writing the DREADED OUTLINE and several drafts of our original pilot. My editors were fantastic and I found this collaborative element of the course really helped me develop and improve my idea and my writing. I have had a lot of meetings with exciting production companies off the back of the script as well as meetings with some brilliant agents that I now have to choose between. I cannot recommend the 4Screenwriting course enough. I’ve learned loads, met some super-talented lovely people, made industry connections, grown in confidence and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Apply! It’s a game changer.’
EMILY WHITE, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘The Channel 4 screenwriters course has given me the confidence to approach industry leaders at every level. From emerging web-series, half-hour comedies to full-hour continuing dramas, the course and the consistent work with script editors gives you a sound understanding of how a script is built and the differences between screenwriting and any other genre. With a ratio of two script editors working on every writer’s script, this opportunity is unmatched by any other in the industry.’
ATHENA STEVENS, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘4Screenwriting is an absolutely invaluable experience. The support from Channel 4 is incredible, and one of the most exciting things is having a group of peers who are on their way up with you. To have people to lean on for support and advice makes the industry much easier to navigate. Philip knows exactly how to support writers and he’s been such a beacon of guidance throughout the course, getting such brilliant industry guests to come and chat to us. Off the back of the course I’ve had heaps of general meetings and have come out with a script which I’m very proud of, thanks to the support of the team at Channel 4, and this course.’
MATTHEW JACOBS MORGAN, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘The 4Screenwriting course is literally a life changing experience. Not only did I get to hear from and talk with some of the best and most innovative voices in the industry, but I also got time and space to grow and explore my writing with great encouragement. Having the chance to meet up and chat/discuss/argue with other writers also proved an invaluable experience. For me, Philip was a great script editor, encouraging me to search for greater depth in my writing and challenging me to develop the right story, whilst also providing a strong opposition to anything that wouldn’t have worked! It’s certainly added a confidence and maturity to my writing, which has given me an excellent boost up the ladder. I’d recommend to anyone thinking about pursuing a career in screenwriting. There’s something about the depth of those weekends that provided me with a wealth of inspiration.’
ARCHIE MADDOCKS, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘The 4Screenwriting Course has been totally transformative for my writing career. It was the best introduction I could have hoped for to the world of screenwriting: focused, practical, and empowering. I learned so much about the craft, the process and the TV industry, and at the end of the course I signed with a brilliant agent and started having meetings with production companies. It has already opened so many doors, and having the ongoing support of the wonderful course mentors continues to be invaluable.’
ABBI HYNES, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘I work full time in an admin job. Before applying I had never considered writing for TV and had never tried to come up with an idea for a show. I had only ever written one story and it ended up being an autobiographical play, a monologue. So I didn’t even have any dialogue writing experience or making up new stories experience. It is bonkers that knowing all that 4Screenwriting still wanted to take me on. It was brilliant. I learnt so much, and I didn’t have to do any reading of boring ‘how to write telly’ books, it was all through trying and doing.
The biggest surprise for me was how important, dramaturgically, the script editors are to the story I was trying to tell. Legit, if you get stuck it is their job to help move you on creatively. Genius!
If the following things resonate with you don’t be put off as this was me on day one;
- I only owned word and excel on my computer.
- I owned a computer not a mac.
- I had never made up a pitch for a story before.
- I had no idea how to type a script in a telly looking way.
By the end of the six months I had worked out my writing process, written an episode of something that I felt really proud of (in a proper screenwriting programme) and had created a script that made people who actually work in telly want to talk to me about writing telly. Mental!’
ANOUSHKA WARDEN, 4Screenwriting 2018
‘It was such an invaluable experience to have a script editor, who actively works in the business, be by your side and work on your script as they would for the scripts they develop with their own production companies. At the end of the course, having a section of your script performed by top-notch actors and receiving feedback from highly regarded people in the industry was daunting but extremely helpful. It’s hard work but definitely worth being part of.’
CHARLENE JAMES, 4Screenwriting 2017
‘I’ve been working as an actor in film and TV for half my life, but making the shift from reading the words on the page to writing them was a daunting task for me. As a writer, I thrive on deadlines, structure, and collaboration. The C4 course has all these in abundance. It’s a risk-free environment in which to spread your screenwriting wings and learn how to get your script written from pitch to pilot episode. The industry insight was one of the really useful elements of the course – Philip organises an excellent host of professionals from C4 and elsewhere to demystify the commissioning process which can seem so opaque from the outside. The course has real prestige within the industry. Even before my script was written I had a host of meetings with production companies who were excited to meet me as one of the 2017 C4SW writers. I have now had four TV ideas commissioned by indies, and received a Channel 4 script commission within a month and a half of finishing the course – a direct result of the script I wrote for 4Screenwriting. As if that wasn’t enough, I met an excellent gang of supportive and talented writers whose work I loved reading, and I’m still in touch with several of them along with my script editor and shadow script editor who were invaluable in helping me shape and improve my work. This is such a great opportunity if you want to be a screenwriter. Advice for anyone thinking of applying : Do. It.’
ELLIE KENDRICK, 4Screenwriting 2017
‘My background is in playwriting and the course gave me the opportunity to really explore my voice as a screenwriter. We received career advice from several high-calibre industry professionals across the two weekends and guidance from a script editor and shadow script editor over six months to help us write a polished pilot script. I learned how to play to my strengths as a writer; develop original, bold ideas and I’m now much more confident pitching to production companies. 4Screenwriting is hugely respected in the industry, so it really does open doors for you. Taking part in the course has already led to numerous meetings with high-calibre production companies and has directly resulted in my first feature film commission.’
SARAH PAGE, 4Screenwriting 2017
‘It’s been a huge honour and a privilege to be a part of the 4Screenwriting experience. Prior to starting, I’d been fortunate enough to work with a few of its alumni who could never recommend it highly enough, and now, upon completion it’s easy to see why. The course not only allows newer writers to experience what working within the industry entails – forcing you to hit tight deadlines, dealing with notes from intelligent, professional script editors, rewriting and rewriting – it also provides you with what’s often a true rarity… the opportunity to write a script that’s commissioned, have it performed, receive feedback and get it optioned. I’d certainly recommend 4Screenwriting to any writer looking to develop and hone their craft and meet some fantastic people along the way.’
NATHANIEL PRICE, 4Screenwriting 2017
‘Having only just graduated from film school, the 4Screenwriting course provided me with the perfect introduction to the television industry. The mix of enthusiasm and experience amongst the script editors, shadow script editors, and insightful guests, gave me the confidence and support to undertake a hugely ambitious idea and somehow pull it off! The script is already opening doors for me and, whilst I’d love to take all the credit, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have done it without the help of Philip, Kim, Charlie and everyone else on the course.’
OLIVER HENDERSON, 4Screenwriting 2017
‘My experience on 4Screenwriting:
Before 4Screenwriting I’d had some small break throughs with my writing but had never quite managed to get to the stage of getting an agent or paid for my work – being accepted on 4Screenwriting changed all of that! The course has such a good reputation that some industry people were even in touch before the course had started!
Now, having completed the course, I have a really good agent, the film script I applied with is in active development, and the TV script I completed on the course has been optioned by an excellent independent! Although the course has been fruitful for me the process was hugely enjoyable in itself. There was lots of hard work but the two weekends were really informative and fun, and it was great to be mixing and making friends with other writers and the other people involved. Plus, getting to work with a professional script editor and shadow script editor over four months was such an invaluable experience.
I’m waxing lyrical a bit here, but I sincerely could not recommend the course, it’s content, and the people involved enough.’
PAUL WILLIAMS, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
It’s an amazing opportunity for any writer to be encouraged to conceive original ideas for a television drama series, pitch them, under the guidance and mentorship of a supportive and experienced script editor, and then go on to write several drafts of an episode. All the more so if, like me, you have very little TV writing experience. Additionally the high profile industry speakers at the weekend sessions gave very freely of their time, wisdom and insight. One thing which really came over was the respect with which the industry holds this course and its aims. For me it was a really important experience and has hugely developed the way I write and think about my writing. It put me into an environment where I was able to work with brilliant writers and script editors who were determined to get the best out of me, and produce a script which has already begun to open industry doors.’
JAMES HEY, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
‘It felt like such a privilege working with such experienced, clever people, whose nudges and support helped me write something I was really proud of. There’s something about the bubble-like environment of those two weekends that brought out real enthusiasm and creativity, I loved it.’
EVA WISEMAN, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
‘What a blast! From the first weekend crammed with incisive speakers, to the mad rush to meet the final deadline, it was an intense, brilliant, hellish rollercoaster of a ride. Being encouraged to be as ambitious as you want with story ideas, having a script editor invested in your story and pushing you to make it as strong as possible, the experience of meeting deadlines and dealing with notes; all invaluable. The best thing was being immersed in a truly diverse group of talented writers. And the sandwiches.’
SONYA DESAI, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
‘It can be intimidating trying to make the move into writing for television. I’d been invited onto a couple of TV schemes before, which were good introductions, but they were never more than a long weekend and after that you were on your own. 4Screenwriting was totally different, you’re given a supportive team who work with you right from the initial pitch through to the writing of the script. My script editor and shadow script editor were fantastic, super sharp and they really helped me to interrogate and develop my idea and turn it into something which I can be proud of. The industry evening is invaluable, and I feel like so many doors have opened to me since being on the course. I’m so thankful that I was invited to be part of it. Philip and the rest of the team are amazing, and the fact that you get to meet so many great writers is a bonus.’
JANE WAINWRIGHT, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
‘For me, the 4Screenwriting course has been utterly instrumental in de-mystifying the industry and providing incredible support throughout the writing process. It’s an incredible opportunity and one that allowed me to walk away with the pilot script that I have been aching to get down for ages but hadn’t known where to start. My script editors were superb: offering support and advice specifically tailored to the way I work, while helping me improve how I approach a script, as well as being totally flexible to my other writing deadlines. The other writers on the course have been a brilliant team and created a hugely supportive environment. It was such a joy to hear everyone’s scripts read aloud after six months of hard work. It has been an invaluable resource with incredible people which has propelled my career and I can’t thank 4screenwriting enough.’
MILLY THOMAS, 4SCREENWRITING 2016
‘Being on the 2015 screenwriting course was an absolute godsend. I was a complete telly novice and really needed to learn not only the ropes, but the very basics.
I was terrified on the first weekend despite being around incredibly lovely people-I felt overwhelmed by the genius industry talent that came in to talk to us-and I knew that my ideas were soggy at best.
However, with the hugely generous support of my script editor, assistant script editor and fellow writers I was able to create something I’m really proud of. My idea is actually still percolating, and I think that’s testament to the course being run with the idea at the centre of the experience. Everyone in the course finds their feet and what they need from the course in different ways and that’s what singles this course out as a very special one.
The kindness I received and the respect with which my work was treated was so heartening – it gave me a huge boost in confidence and a huge kick up the ass.
I can’t thank Philip and my script editors enough!’
PHOEBE ECLAIR-POWELL, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
‘For me, 4Screenwriting was a chance to propose what felt like an impossibly big idea and have it taken seriously. TV is moving into a place where there’s both a desire and capacity to tell large-scale stories, but it can be hard to let yourself think in those terms, especially when you’re starting out. The course encouraged me to go for it, whilst making sure I didn’t get lost.’
VINAY PATEL, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
‘The 4Screenwriting course was fantastic, I couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone interested in writing for television. It was a joy to work with such brilliant script editors who pushed me to write a script I’m very proud of. The experience has been completely invaluable and has brought about some really exciting opportunities. What’s more the whole thing was tremendous fun and I met lots of great people.’
PADDY CAMPBELL, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
‘I’d always wanted to try my hand at screenwriting but had no idea where to begin. Over six months on 4Screenwriting, I’ve been given the tutorage, support and encouragement to write the script I’ve always wanted to write. The course was hard, but it was a huge confidence booster and definitely worthwhile. My finished pilot has got me through the door at a number of top production companies, and now my career moving in the right direction.
KARLA CROME, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
“4screenwriting 2015 not only pushed me to write something very ambitious but also changed my career – connecting me with an agent, production companies, and of course some horrendously talented writers. I loved how Philip and his team focused equally on the writer’s vision and writer’s craft, something I found exhilarating and demanding in the best possible way. If you want to write TV drama, getting on this course is essential. It took me four attempts, and was worth every one.”
TIM ATACK, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
‘The Channel 4 course is a real game changer. The industry guests were inspiring, insightful, warm and funny. As were my fellow writers – what a sound, talented bunch. The script editors I worked with were super sharp, incredibly supportive and I’m so happy with the script I wrote – it has opened doors and created exciting opportunities. Philip Shelley and Channel 4, it’s a generous and brilliant thing you do running this course. Thank you! The concurrent emphasis on pub was also much appreciated.’
VIVIENNE HARVEY, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
“4screenwriting has been a major shot in the arm professionally. It has given me invaluable insight into the industry, many new working relationships and, thanks to the support of Philip and his team, a rigorously developed script which has already opened numerous doors. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend entering.”
BEN LEWIS, 4SCREENWRITING 2015
‘The course gives great insight into the process of writing a TV drama pilot script from idea through to polished draft, and provides really valuable experience of working closely with professional script editors. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to write for television.’
SHARON WALKER, 4Screenwriting 2014
‘If you have a passion for television drama and you’re serious about becoming a screenwriter, the Channel 4 course will no doubt give you the best preparation possible in order to realise your ambitions. Being accepted onto the course has been the best thing to happen to me in terms of progressing my own screenwriting career.’
WALLY MAMODE JIAGOO, 4Screenwriting 2014
‘Writing a script at home is one thing. What 4Screenwriting gave me was the opportunity to write in a professional capacity and really cement my love for the writing process. I had the pleasure of collaborating with great script editors who were totally supportive of my vision and voice, which was just gold. The experience was eye opening, challenging, intense – all those things – but most of all really satisfying. Better yet, it opened doors for me in the best way possible!’
DREW MARKE, 4Screenwriting 2014
‘I’m so grateful to Philip and my editors who pushed me to produce a script that I am extremely proud of and the industry professionals that came to speak were fantastic. I learnt so much, made some great contacts, some of which are still working with me on my script and I’ve grown in confidence as a writer. I’m proud to have been chosen for such an amazing course. Thank you.’
KATIE WIMPENNY, 4Screenwriting 2014
‘I’d recommend 4screenwriting to anyone looking to transition into writing for television. The provocation and guidance I received whilst on the course led me to write a script I’m very proud of, and one which has opened numerous doors for me professionally. Besides all that, I had a lovely time and met some really top-drawer people. Apply. You won’t regret it.’
LUKE NORRIS, 4Screenwriting 2014