‘The Authoritative Guide To Writing And Selling A Great Screenplay.’
April 21-22 Cardiff.
Next weekend Phil Gladwin and I are taking our comprehensive two day screenwriting course to Cardiff. This is the 5th time we have held the course. We have a great time running it – it’s really enjoyable meeting such a range of talented screenwriters from all walks of life and all parts of the UK – and also staying in touch with many of the writers after the course, swapping information and screenwriting tips through our closed ‘screenwriters studio’ Facebook page, which seems to have generated a momentum of its own, and become an invaluable screenwriting resource.
As you’ll see from the testimonials on our websites, the course has been very well-received so far.
It’s not too late to book – and we will keep our ‘early bird’ option of just £197 (as opposed to the full price £229) open until midnight this Sunday April 15th…
As a taster for the course, our special guest NIKKI WILSON, series producer of BBC’s Casualty, now based in Cardiff, very kindly agreed to do a short interview, sharing some fascinating thoughts about screenwriting and screenwriters –
How many writers do you employ a year at Casualty?
It varies, but on average around 25-40
How many hours of the show is there a year?
48 last year, 43 this year and 44 next year
How many script editors/story liners/researchers do you manage at the moment?
1 script producer, 1 story producer, 3 script editors, 1 assistant script editor, 1 story assistant, 1 researcher (plus a team of medical advisors)
If you’re building a career as a screenwriter in the UK, how important is getting hired by Casualty, (and long running drama series in general)?
Long running dramas are a great way for writers to cut their teeth and find out where their strengths lie. All the shows are quite different and require different skills. For Casualty we need writers who can create robust guest stories with 3-dimensional characters which can weave with the serial stores for our medics. The soaps require more in-depth knowledge of the regular characters and their voices.
Where do you find your new writers?
We have a constant dialogue with literary agents who send us sample scripts from clients they think would be suited to the show. We also run our own shadow scheme where brand new writers are given a chance to work with a script editor to write a half-hour episode of the show. We have given several brand new writers an episode of the main show after writing a successful shadow scheme script. On top of this we have 8 episodes a year written by writers from the BBC writers academy, many of whom go on to write further episodes.
What’s the best way for a new writer to attract your eye? Write a brand new original spec script? Or write a terrific spec episode of Casualty?
Definitely write an original script about a subject that you’re passionate about.
Have you any tips for new writers trying to launch themselves?
Write about subjects that inspire you. Don’t write just one spec script and rely on this to open doors – keep writing, write something every day, and keep notes on people/subjects that interest you. Make a conscious effort to meet people from all walks of life and talk to them about their lives – inspiration can come from the most unlikely of sources. Don’t watch American dramas and steal story ideas!
Thank you very much to Nikki…
Happy Writing to you all! And we hope very much to see you in Cardiff or – if not – in London on June 16th \ 17th!
April 13th 2012