Opportunity for Writers

I was asked to pass this on to anyone who might be interested . . . Alas, it’s for UK residents only, but I’m doing my part here.

Creative Diversity Network
in partnership with BBC Writersroom

TV Drama Writer Lab

There is a prevailing problem in the industry when it comes to finding, keeping and protecting Black and Minority Ethnic writers for TV drama. TV Drama Writer Lab is a targeted development scheme, working across the industry and broadcasters, bringing together a group of up to 10 of the most talented writers with a real commitment to TV drama. This unique opportunity has come about at short notice – but this is just the beginning of an ongoing journey for a group of talented voices.

Selected writers will take part in a three/four day residential in Kent, between 7-10 November, where they can develop their ideas, craft and knowledge, and network with other writers and producers across the TV drama industry. This is a scheme for talented writers on the cusp of a career in television, and as such applicants will need to have some form of professional experience under their belt – eg a full commission, production or professional showcase in theatre, radio, film or TV.

Writers must submit an original calling card script (written for any medium – TV, film, stage, radio), a TV drama idea they would like to develop (at least one paragraph, and up to one page), and a biog or brief CV of previous experience. Writers will be selected on the basis of the ability shown in their script and the potential for TV shown in their idea.

Email submissions with the subject header ‘CDN TV Writer Drama Lab’ to: writersroom@bbc.co.uk
Deadline for submissions: 9am, Monday 3rd October
Selected writers informed: by 5pm, Friday 7 th October
Residential: 7-10 November (3 or 4 days to be confirmed)
Please note: the residential will be all expenses paid, however there will not be an attendance fee available to writers.


What will I get out of this as a writer? The opportunity to: get your work noticed by the BBC and other producers in the industry; to develop a TV idea further in a safe, creative environment; to develop TV craft and skills through workshops and discussions; to network with other writers and producers, and develop relationships with both; to hear direct from the industry about how things really work in practise; to ask burning questions and get honest answers.
What does BME mean? It means Black and Minority Ethnic; or non-caucasian.

Why is this only for BME writers? Because there is a very specific problem and editorial need in the TV industry, where BME writers are not adequately represented in programming and output

I’m disabled but not BME – what about me? Writersroom has previously run schemes and partnerships for writers with disabilities and intend to do so again in the near future under the BBC’s tenure of CDN. And any UK-based writers with disabilities can send us an eligible script at any time: http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/submissions.shtml

I am BME but not living in the UK? Then unfortunately you are not eligible to apply.

Is there a commission/job at the end of this? Not directly, no – but we hope it may be the first step towards that for selected writers.

What do you mean by ‘professional experience’? We mean that you have been engaged and paid to write a script by a professional company/organisation (as opposed to amateur, self-funded or student work).

What do you mean by a calling card script? It must be all your own work and entirely original. It should not be an episode from an existing show or series, even if professionally commissioned/produced. It should be a full script – either an entire single drama, or the pilot episode from a series or serial.

Can I send a sitcom/sketch show/sketches? No – we want to see drama. But comedy-drama does count.

What do you mean by TV drama idea? An original proposal for a new TV drama, whether a single drama, a series or a serial. It should be at least one paragraph and up to one side of A4 maximum, outlining the title, world, idea/premise, format, genre/tone, story and characters. We don’t need lots of plot detail – we need to know what the show is really about and what it will feel like for an audience watching.

What do you mean by biog/CV? We need to know about any writing experience you have – but also do tell us anything else about yourself that you think we might be interested to know. Please send no more than one side of A4 if it’s a CV; if it’s a prose biography, please write no more than half a side of A4.

How will the residential work? We will arrange and pay for the travel, accommodation and food for all writers attending. Writers will stay overnight (2 or 3 nights – to be confirmed) at Bore Place in Kent, where there will be a BBC member of staff at all times. During the day, there will be a series of sessions, workshops, brainstorms, one-on-ones, Q&As and individual writing time.

Why is there no attendance fee? We are able to facilitate the residential but are unfortunately unable to provide a fee for writers.

Why is this at short notice? The opportunity came up at short notice to repurpose a pre-existing residential booking, and we decided that the BBC’s tenure of CDN and the general editorial need for BME writers meant that this was the first choice project to undertake.

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