New TV writers advice – Scotland

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The tone of this seminar at Xponorth2017 was very positive – passionate about encouraging new writing and with

3 new major opportunities:

  1. from October, the Writersroom based in England changed to have separate writersroom in the regions – so more local knowledge and chance to become known
  2. there is an upcoming new TV channel, BBC Scotland, which will need more content (begins broadcasting Autumn 2018) more on this at http://bbc.in/2m70MPf
  3. there is a new scheme coming up in August for 4 writers to become Shadow Writers for River City (ie be given the same brief as the professional writers, and given a chance to do the same work, in a separate stream).

 

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Advice….

Main advice for new writers:

  • Look at the website BBC Writersroom for writing opportunities in BBC but also theatres
  • When there’s an open call for submissions, send in your scripts.
  • Keep sending them your work so they get a sense of your writing style and you are on their database for future reference
  • Easier to be a writer/performer (you already have your own audience)
  • If you get your writing onto podcasts or youtube videos or theatre or radio – it will be spotted by these TV producers
  • “The Break” is a great opportunity for new writers with no writing record
  • If you want to write for River City get to know the show and its twenty-odd characters so you can write quickly and appropriately for them
  • Write a sample script of an hour’s length – but make the first 10 pages fantastic – as these are definitely read
  • make and send videos to the BBC Social programme
  • find out the names of producers of TV programmes you like and try to contact them (they’re always looking for new content)
  • an upcoming script editor is a great person to show work to, as they will champion you as a writer if they like your work (there was an example given where this got a writer noticed)
  • be prepared to begin work in children or continuing drama (e.g. River city) as starting points, learning to write drama – many wellknown writers started out that way
  • even tiny bits of experience on your c.v. (e.g sold a comedy sketch) will count towards getting you noticed
  • the BBC Writersroom website has tons of resources – video interviews with writers, blogs, a script library with examples of layout – do use itIMG_2890.JPG(Lto R: Audrey, Keiran, Rab, Angela)

What are the BBC looking for in a new writer?

  • characters seem full and engaging
  • characters are fresh
  • you can write domestic (ie the ordinary) scenes well and make them exciting
  • a unique voice in the writer
  • you can write a full-length script for 30 mins drama
  • clear story
  • not derivative, something original
  • the reader instantly feels s/he cares about the characters

(notes from a panel discussion at #Xponorth2017 in June 2017)

 

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