Happy Anniversary!

www.script-consultant.co.uk has just passed its first anniversary and I thought I’d briefly reflect on the first year.

Above all, it’s been a lot of fun. Generally speaking I’ve read a huge variety of scripts in both subject matter and style and I’ve been really inspired by the energy and ambition of so many screenwriters in the UK and around the world. While most of the scripts I’ve read have been from UK-based writers I’ve received projects from as far-flung places as Finland, Singapore, the US and Nigeria (more of which later).

The overall standard has been remarkably high. In some ways this is quite depressing – I’ve read a lot of scripts by writers who by rights should be getting paid work in the UK TV & film industry but haven’t cracked it yet – but also quite encouraging. And it has only confirmed for me one of my main reasons for setting up the site – to help these writers get a foot in the door by using my contacts on their behalf.

It’s a response to the fact that there are just so few ways into the industry for new screenwriting voices at the moment. The BBC Writers Academy stands out as a sole beacon of hope. Apart from this, there is the BBC Writers Room, the annual Red Planet prize, the Script Factory – all of which are excellent. But none of the broadcasters (with the obvious exception of the BBC) or major independent production companies have taken up the mantle of running a course to find and train the script-writers of the future, as Carlton used to do before it was swallowed whole by Granada. There really should be several of these courses running annually. Apart from anything else, as the BBC have discovered, they make economic sense. It’s one of my aims over the next year to initiate and run one of these courses alongside the work of the website.

Over the past few months I’ve put several writers in touch with script editors, producers(mainly at the BBC) and agents, and received a lot of very positive feedback and I’m sure sooner rather than later some of these link-ups will result in script commissions and further work.

The best example of the website working as it should has been the opportunity to match up one of the most promising writers I have met through the site, and a London-based Nigerian TV producer who is currently working on a new 26 x 1 hour drama series for Nigerian network TV. This is an ongoing project, but this producer now wants the writer to work on polishing rewriting this series prior to it going into production in the summer. This is a fantastic (and hopefully lucrative) opportunity for the writer, but has also allowed the producer to access new writing talent he would otherwise not have known about.

This is the sort of thing I hope the website can get more and more involved in over the next year.

Best wishes & Happy Writing!

Philip Shelley