CHANNEL 4 SCREENWRITING COURSE 2019
I’m pleased to announce that I will be running this course again in 2019 and that entries opened TODAY at 9am!
We will be open for entries for 3 weeks – until 5pm on Friday September 28.
All the details and information you need, and the entry form, can be found on my website –
I have already received quite a few emails from writers with questions about course entries. I have a policy of not replying unless it’s about something absolutely vital that isn’t covered by the FAQs section on the web page (and because I’ve been updating this information for the last 8 years, there aren’t many questions that aren’t covered).
The question I have been asked most so far is – can I include my series bible / treatment / outline or other background information with my script. The answer to this is – NO. We only need to see the script. The script and CV should speak for themselves.
Every year I am inundated with questions via email and social media – and I would far rather spend my time reading your scripts than entering into time-consuming email correspondence. Unless you think there’s a glaring omission in the information on the webpage, please use your initiative.
Can I also suggest that you read some of the past years’ writers’ testimonials and watch this short film –
…that was made about the 2017 course. They will tell you quite a lot about the way the course works and will help inform your entry.
Can I also ask that, if possible, you don’t leave your entry until the last moment. Generally we receive over half our entries on the last day, and a lot of those in the last hour! There have been many panics over scripts submitted at the last moment. We will stick to the advertised closing time with no exceptions! So do yourselves a favour and avoid unnecessary stress by entering earlier in the 3 week window.
What are we looking for?
We are looking for 12 talented, distinctive dramatic (or comic) writers who don’t already have a TV broadcast or feature film writing credit (A short film credit, a produced radio play or stage play are permitted). We try to get as broad and diverse a mix of writers as possible – in terms of gender, age, regionality, ethnicity, disability and – most importantly – in voice.
We are looking for writers who are distinctive, exciting, challenging and entertaining. We are looking for writers with a sensibility that fits the profile of Channel 4 (and E4) drama, and who have a broad knowledge and appreciation of UK TV drama in general and Channel 4 drama in particular. We are looking for collaborators – for people who relish the opportunity to work with script editors and are excited about entering the intensely competitive world of TV drama. And we are looking for writers who are excited about telling their stories on screen – who are fascinated and excited by the craft of screenwriting.
We also try to get a range of different levels of experience in the writers we select. We will always have some writers who already have agents and are already beginning to make their mark and build a reputation in the business, often writers, for instance, who have already written some successful fringe theatre plays – but we will always try to balance this by having some writers who are brand new, who don’t have agents and are completely unknown to the industry. And we are always, for instance, keen to work with writers who don’t live in London, who have a specific regional / national voice to their writing. Essentially we want as many fresh, unexpected and distinctive writing perspectives as possible.
In advance, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who enters. It’s always enormously exciting (and a little daunting) receiving so many scripts (last year we received 2040) and incredibly hard to choose 12 writers from such a huge number of scripts. I work with a team of script readers (from whom we choose our 4 course shadow script editors – there is also a script editor training element to the course). I give all the readers as much information as possible in terms of what we are looking for (see above!) and while we try to be as objective as possible, there is inevitably a degree of subjective taste (and disagreement!) in the scripts we all respond to. If you don’t gain a place on the 2019 course, you should accept it as philosophically as you can – unfortunately, even for the most successful writers, rejection and disappointment are a big part of the business – and the successful writers are the ones who can retain their self-belief and keep bouncing back from disappointment. You should also console yourself with the fact that every year some of the writers we select for the course have applied for several years and only get selected at their 3rd or 4th year of entry. From the 2018 course, for example, this was true of Emily White, Abi Hynes, Matilda Ibini and Chandni Lakhani.
Information about an upcoming FREE screenwriting event –
On 2 Oct at Rich Mix (London), Shooting People will be hosting their free SHORT CUTS October Event and are very excited to be joined by the award-winning actor, writer and director, Alice Lowe. Best known for her 2016 directorial debut Prevenge and as the co-star and co-writer of Sightseers, Alice has also appeared in some of the best British comedy features of the past few years. Her new feature Timestalker is due to film next year. Book your FREE ticket here [link: bit.ly/SCR4EB].
AND I will be running my STORY CHARACTER & IDEAS Masterclass at the indie training fund in London on Oct 2nd. This is a course designed for writers and anyone who works in the creative industries that will hopefully work to inspire and energise your creative instincts and make you think about how story works, what makes for memorable and resonant characters, what constitutes an exciting story idea, where good story ideas come from and what makes for a successful pitch.
The day is usually a lot of fun and I can honestly say it always seems to generate a load of exciting and distinctive story ideas.
The next newsletter will be on Friday Sept 21st
All the best
Sept 7th 2018