Channel 4 Screenwriting Course 2011

2 11 2010


We are running a new screenwriting course for Channel 4 drama, running from January to June 2011.

We are looking for 12 talented, original and diverse writers who currently have no broadcast credit but wish to write for television drama.

The course will give you a chance to find out how TV drama, particularly Channel 4 TV drama, works, and to write, over a 5 month period, you own 1 hour pilot script for an original series or serial, working with an experienced script editor.

You will also attend two weekends of talks and script meetings at Channel 4’s Horseferry Rd building.

The course is designed so that writers should be able to take part even if in full-time employment (the only attendance is on two weekends, in January and June 2011, and you will have five months to write the required two drafts of a one hour drama script).

Writers will be paid a small fee for attending the course.

Here are all the details on how you can apply:

DATES: 22nd and 23rd January 2011
11th and 12th June 2011

Writers must ensure before entering that they are available to attend both weekends, and to write two drafts of a one hour television drama between 24th January and 27th May 2011.

Applicants should submit by email a CV and one writing sample. This can be a screenplay, a stage play or radio play, minimum length 30 minutes (novels, treatments, short stories, unfinished screenplays and “shorts” are not acceptable).

The scripts should be original, not episodes of existing drama series.

Email scripts and CV’s to:-

Only writers who do not have a broadcast credit as a television or film writer may apply (although produced short films – 20 minutes or less – are exempt).

CLOSING DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Friday November 12th 2010.

Writers will be paid a fee for participating in the course and for completing two drafts of a one hour script. Writers will grant Channel 4 an option on their script and will be told within six months of the end of the course if Channel 4 wishes to exercise this option.

The purpose of the course is to offer 12 writers new to television drama an insight into the industry and to provide a “dry-run” of what it can be like to write under a television drama commission, for one hour series and serial drama, and for script editors to work with them as they write an original drama script.

Writers will be expected to write an original, pilot one-hour drama series or serial episode, and 4-5 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. The writers will meet with their script editors between the course weekends to discuss how to approach each draft. Second 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 give talks to the participants on a variety of subjects relating to television drama. There will also be time set aside for writers to discuss their proposals and ideas for their one hour scripts with their assigned script editor.

This will be split between a reading of the opening 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 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 (i.e. there is a time commitment involved beyond the time put aside to write a one-hour drama for television).


Writers’ Guild Event – 9 December

2 11 2010

Thursday Dec 9th 7.30-9.30pm at The Blue Orange Theatre,

69 Great Hampton Street, BIRMINGHAM, B18 6EW
A Writers’ Guild West Midlands Branch Event 

The publication of the Writ Large report for Arts Council England reminds us of the importance of new writing in contemporary theatre. However, new modes of working for today’s playwrights are proliferating, perhaps partly because of the current artistic and economic climate. We will explore the variety of ways playwrights can use their skills: from traditional commissions through collaborations, adaptations, writing to a brief, to dramaturgy of existing work and beyond. We will also consider the dynamics of these developments, as well as look at the pros and cons of these different ways of working.

The Writers’ Guild are looking to draw up guidelines for some of these new approaches and we intend this event to feed into this.

There will be a guest panel, to be chaired by David Edgar, Guild President.

The Blue Orange Theatre is a new theatre venue in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter due to open in February 2011. We are grateful to them for hosting this event prior to opening. We are also pleased to note that, although the theatre itself will not be officially open, we are assured the well-stocked bar will be.

Free for Writers’ Guild members, £5 non-members (pay on door).
To confirm attendance please email Jenny at

New Festival Brings Political Theatre to Birmingham

1 11 2010

Now, I should declare a vested interest here as I’m running the thing, but if you want to support new writing, and see some great new plays in development, then hie on over to the Old Joint Stock from 22-27 November. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and there’s beer on tap. It’s also the first full week of the German Market, so you can fill up on Bratwurst and Gluhwein along the way. What more could you want?

“Thought, not money, is the real business capital”

Capital is a brand new festival of new writing which aims to celebrate and promote the work currently being developed in Birmingham and beyond.

Held at The Old Joint Stock Theatre from 22-27 November 2010, the festival will include a series of rehearsed readings, a showcase of short plays and an opportunity for the public to contribute their reactions to Cameron’s vision of the “Big Society”.

Using the backdrop of the current political and economic climate, the festival will provide an informal platform for writers to explore their ideas, test out new work and engage new audiences.

Highlights of the Festival include works-in-progress from Deborah McAndrew (David Copperfield, Octagon Theatre, Bolton), Helen Kelly (Big Idea, BAC) and Ged McKenna (The Farmer’s Bride, Stephen Joseph Theatre). Capital has also asked five established writers to respond to Cameron’s call for “people power” in his vision of a utopian new way of thinking. The result, Small Plays about Big Society will be performed by the company on Friday 26th November.

Capital is also delighted to announce a special one-off performance of Vanessa Oakes’ sell-out show Kindness of Strangers. First commissioned by Warwick Words in 2009, this funny and touching show deals with the vulnerability of ageing and grief, and explores the distance between intimacy and friendship.

Catherine Edwards, Festival Curator, says “it’s very important, especially in these straitened times, for writers to be able to respond to the issues of the day, and to have an outlet for their work. I’m hoping that Capital will form the basis for an annual new writing festival which will showcase the talents of regional writers, actors and theatre-makers.”

There is also an opportunity for writers to submit their own responses to Cameron’s “Big Society” in the form of a short play. Visit the website: for further information.

Tickets are available to book by telephone: 0121 200 0946/ 0845 680 1926 or online Visit the Old Joint Stock ( or Capital Plays ( for details of the full programme.
Editorial note: Contact for further information

Writing an Animated Comedy

1 11 2010

FLIP Festival in Wolverhampton are offering the following workshop for writers:

4th Nov 2010, 10am – 4pm: Writing an Animated Comedy

In this special workshop, participants will look at comedy writing for animation. It will cover the importance of characters and the possibilities that animation gives for humour. By the end of the day you will have produced some short scripts and sketches for animation. The workshop will be run by Myles McLeod, the writing half of the award winning animation duo, the Brothers McLeod, who have produced funny animation for the likes of CBBC, BBC Comedy, MTV, Channel 4 and Aardman Animations.

Cost £25 + VAT,

Light House, The  Chubb Buildings Fryer St. Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT,

Little Brother’s Big Opportunity

28 09 2010

BAFTA award winning television and film production company Little Brother Productions is offering a talented new writer £1000.00 to develop an original television drama idea of theirs through to treatment stage.

Little Brother Productions, largely known for its comedy and children’s productions (including Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids and The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury)is now developing their drama division. Currently working with some of the most exciting writers in the country, Little Brother Productions is committed tochampioning and supporting new writing talent. Little Brother’s Big Opportunity is an endeavour to discover further new writing talent, and to develop with them compelling, original drama for television.

To be eligible, writers must have had one piece of their work professionally produced or, at the very least, have had a professional reading of their work. Writers who have contributed episodes to UK television series or serials (e.g. a long running soap) are eligible to apply, but writers who have already had an original single, series or serial broadcast on UK television are not eligible to enter. No prior writing experience for television is required.

To apply, writers must submit their writing CV and the piece of their work of which they are most proud, that best demonstrates their talent, (this could be a stage play, a radio play or a screenplay) to:

Little Brother’s Big Opportunity
Little Brother Productions
155x Northcote Road
London, SW11 6QB

The deadline for submissions is December 31st 2010.

A winner will be announced in February 2011.

Please note that all applications must be sent by post and that, unless a stamped, addressed envelope is included, work will not be returned.

Crash Pad – a five-minute play competition

21 09 2010



To celebrate the WORLD PREMIERE of William Nicholson’s latest play Crash – his response to the banking crisis – West Yorkshire Playhouse is looking for FIVE new scripts, based on a current news story, which we can film and put up on the website.

Anyone can submit a scripts for consideration – they should be:

  • Based on a current new story
  • 5 minutes long (approximately 5 pages)
  • Feature only one or two actors
  • Suitable for filming without special effects or locations

Director Chris Hill will work with finalists to prepare the scripts for filming, discuss casting, location and props, before working with a professional cast to present them. Filming will be done by kaptur bespoke film and photography.

The final selection will be made by William Nicholson, the Tony and Academy award nominated author of Shadowlands and screenwriter on Gladiator and Elizabeth: The Golden Age as well as an acclaimed novelist. Participation in Nicholson’s Writing Masterclass (Wed 27 October) is FREE for the 5 winners!

Scripts should be sent to Alex Chisholm, Associate Director, Literary at West Yorkshire Playhouse to arrive by noon on Monday 18 October. Please include a covering letter with full contact details and also a brief summary of the news story which inspired you. You can email or post scripts but please make sure they are marked clearly as CRASH PAD. Final selection will be announced 21 October.

Birmingham Book Festival 2010

15 09 2010

A number of events at this year’s festival will be of interest to playwrights and screenwriters, including:

Writing for TV (Lynn Davies) – 9 October

Writing Pictures in Sound (Nicholas McInerny) – 9 October

Writing for Games (Andy Walsh) – 9 October

Birmingham Book Festival

Summer is over, and the leaves are getting ready to fall. That means it is almost Festival time. Now only a month away, the full line up for 2010 has been announced and brochures are being distributed.

We hope you can join us for our eleventh year.

We have a great set of authors lined up this year, highlights include:

Jonathan Coe is a novelist who has written several successful novels including The Rotters’ Club and What a Carve Up! His latest novel, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim is a contemporary tale of a modern man trying to keep afloat in a society spiralling out of recognition.

David Nicholls writes novels and for television. His adaptation credits include Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Much Ado About Nothing for the BBCand Cold Feet for ITV.  Two of his novels are currently being adapted for films.

Gareth Peirce is a human rights lawyer who has represented members of the Birmingham Six, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the families of the Lockerbie air disaster and Moazzam Begg. Her book, Dispatches from the Dark Side, documents her legal experiences.

John O’Farrell has written three novels and is a former scriptwriter for such shows as Spitting Image and Smith and Jones, his latest novel, An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain is a hilarious look at the ridiculous characters and decisions that shaped postwar Britain.

Jenny Eclair, who started out writing punk poetry and performing in a band, is a writer, broadcaster, actress and comedienne. She was the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award. Her book Chin Up Britain! offers readers helpful and hilarious tips for living in these austere times.

Fatima Bhutto is a journalist and political commentator with a first hand insight into a period of bloody political history within Pakistan. Against a backdrop of corruption, intrigue and murder, her book,Songs of Blood and Sword traces the life and career of her father, along the way implicating her dead aunt, Benazir Bhutto, in his murder.

Lionel Shriver is an American born novelist whose previous books include The Post Birthday World, Double Fault and the Orange Prize 2005 winner, We Need To Talk About Kevin. She is also a widely published journalist both in England and America. Her latest novel,So Much for That, is a scathing look at the American health insurance system.

There’s much more too – a Fringe Festival in partnership withBirmingham Libraries, a workshop in Ikon’s Hitchcock’s Hallwayinstallation, poetry showcases and a Festival Lecture about culture in Birmingham.

The full line-up, as well as details of creative writing workshops and festival extras, is available online at

BOOKING: or call 0121 303 2323

Rondo Theatre New Writing Festival 2011

15 09 2010

Writers from across the United Kingdom are invited to submit full length plays of between 75 and 90 minutes duration written for no more than FIVE actors. The play must be suitable for performance at The Rondo Theatre.

The winning play will be staged as a full-scale production at The Rondo Theatre as part of its New Writing Festival in May 2011.

All submissions for both categories must be entirely the work of the entrant and SHOULD NOT have been previously performed or produced

Entries must be submitted by Monday 6th December and addressed to:

The New Writing Festival The Rondo Theatre St Saviours Rd Bath BA1 6RT

Entries must be typed/word-processed in A4 format (entries by e-mail will not be accepted)

Entries must be submitted together with the £15 entry fee and a completed application form (see below)

Scripts will not be returned


ONE script will be selected for production by The Rondo Theatre during the New Writing Festival in May 2011

The writer of the winning script will be informed early in January

Production Matters

Whilst The Rondo Theatre will consult with the winning writer with regard to production issues it reserves the right of THE FINAL DECISION in respect of all artistic matters including casting and the selection of producers and directors

For full application details, click here

Momentum Showcase: 26-30 October 2010

30 08 2010

Be prepared for a mind-bending feast of theatrical inspiration as the Momentum Showcase of new work by writers and theatre makers in the East Midlands comes to Leicester for the first time.

Theatre Writing Partnership and Curve are proud to present a dynamic mix of  new work for theatre created by well known writers Amanda Whittington and Segun Lee French as well as, budding playwrights, theatre makers, poets, screen writers and prose writers – all from the East Midlands region.

We’ll be presenting a feast of new work including script in hand extracts, full productions of work fresh off the page and one or two surprises in unexpected locations in and around the building.

This year’s programme features work developed by Theatre Writing Partnership through two schemes that started in spring 2010: Young Writers for writers aged 15 to 26 and Crossovers aimed at experienced writers, actors and theatre makers.

See the shows, meet the writers and tell them what you think.

Bold, edgy, deep, crazy – you saw it first at Momentum…

New plays

Commissioned by Theatre Writing Partnership in 2009, Amanda Whittington, Britain’s ‘most consistently popular female dramatist’ (The Guardian) shares the first ever reading ofConsent, the story of Alicia, a school prom queen whose first year at University changes her life in a way she could never have expected.

Developed throughout 2009, and shown at last year’s Momentum as a work-in-progress,Palm Wine and Stout, written by Segun Lee French and produced by Eastern Angles Theatre Company and Theatre Writing Partnership makes its East Midlands debut at Curve. Palm and Wine Stout tells the story of Taiye, born in the UK who returns to Nigeria to be reunited with his father.

Discovered in 2009 and showcased in award-winning sketch show Pieces-Unity Through Comedy, Michelle Vacciana, talented comedy writer-performer, delivers USP through a USB in Fakebook, produced by Nottingham Playhouse.

New voices

Theatre Writing Partnership have been delighted to work with a group of young writers, selected through a rigorous application process, who have undertaken a development journey with a mentor to produce a new play. Discover the region’s young talent at Extract I, II, III and IV, featuring work by Subika Anwar, Sundeep Singh Maan, Mufaro Makubika, Serina Mehmi, Benjamin Norris, Alice Louise Nicholas and Louise Singleton.

New approaches

Theatre Writing Partnership selected talented poets, devisers, screen and prose writers to cross over and apply their skills and creativity to writing for the stage. Catch this exciting new work at Extract I, II, III and IV, featuring work by Catharine Ashdown, Ann Featherstone, Cathy Grindrod, Phil Nodding, Marilyn Ricci and The Gramophones.

Created especially for Curve – Persistence of Vision. Generated collaboratively, through online conversations and with the guidance of writer Nick Walker (Talking Birds). Get a different view of Curve by ‘taking a walk with’ young writers from the region featuring work byHugh Dichmont, Samuel Illingworth and Angela Jarvis. Tours will take place throughout Momentum, on Friday and Saturday afternoon, between readings.

Tuesday 26 October 2010, 7pm – Fakebook by Michelle Vacciana
Wednesday 27 October 2010, 7pm – Palm Wine and Stout by Segun Lee French
Thursday 28 October 2010, 7pm – Unzipped featuring work by Talawa’s Writers’ Group
Friday 29 October 2010, 2pm – Extract I
Friday 29 October 2010, 7pm – Extract II
Saturday 30 October 2010, 2pm – Extract III
Saturday 30 October 2010, 7pm – Extract IV including Consent by Amanda Whittington

Last Chance Saloon: Writing Community Theatre

18 08 2010

Right guys, apologies for the sporadic updates, but things have been a bit busy here at Script as we gradually wind up.  Just a few final things to sort out before we announce how things will look in the future and what other resources will be made available for writers in the region. Sad times in some respects, but not without optimism.

But before we go… there’s just one last event that we’ll be running on Saturday 21st August, Writing Community Theatre, hosted by our good friends at Heartbreak Productions .

Led by Caroline Jester (Dramaturg, Birmingham Rep), the workshop will hopefully encompass everything traditionally associated with Script’s work: quality, inspiration and practical application.

The workshop will explore the following areas:

  • F inding stories within communities
  • Developing characters
  • Locations and environments
  • Structure/ timeframe
  • Deepening the story through objectives and obstacles
  • Themes
Writers will have the chance to apply their ideas in practice and start to write a community play collaboratively.  Script will be offering a special pay-what-you-can deal for the workshop (usually costing £50).
There are still one or two places left, so email me on if you would like to reserve a space: