Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Opportunity: Playwright in Residence...

One for all you NI scribes. Or wanting to go back to NI....

Belfast's Lyric Theatre is delighted to announce the establishment of an annual Playwright in Residence award and is now seeking applications for the inaugural residency which will commence in Spring 2011. This is a unique opportunity for a writer to work in a busy theatre environment at a formative stage in his or her career.

The Lyric is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its long and distinguished history. The facilities in the company’s new purpose-built home, scheduled to open on Ridgeway Street in Spring 2011, will open up a whole range of creative opportunities for theatre practitioners and audiences. The development of new writing is central to the Lyric’s artistic policy, and this residency is an integral part of a wider plan to nurture and support the development of new plays and playwrights. These annual residencies will also provide audiences with the opportunity to enjoy more new work and to become better acquainted with a wider range of new and emerging playwrights.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 4.00pm Friday 17th December 2010.

Further information and an application form can be found here - or by contacting:

Clare Gault
Administration Manager
Lyric Theatre
Crannog House (Temporary Offices)
44 Stranmillis Embankment

dd. 028 9038 5674


There you go!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

News N'Stuff...

Just a quick update.

Went down to Dublin last week for a Fair City Story Conference for a couple of days and to do the edit on my Shadow Script. For "Edit" read "Feedback". I was a bit nervous about it, to be honest. I felt as if I'd done an okay job, but there are so many factors involved that it's easy to mess up. Anyway, I sat down with the Script Editor and we had a good long chat about it. Lots of really good feedback and notes. I have to do the re-write on it and send that in. And then she wants me to do my second shadow script, which is great. So, I'm back down to Dublin at the beginning of December for another Story Conference and a meeting for my next shadow. Stage 2....

Unfortunately, due to illness in the family, I missed the NI Screen agents talk last week, so I'm afraid I can't give a report on that. Sorry about that one. To make up for it, I've got some write ups still to post up from the BBC NI/Tinderbox festival. One of which was on agents. So, that's kinda the same thing...

Meanwhile, I've just arrived in London (sitting in Pret a manger in Gt Portland St. Can anyone see me...?) and aoout to meet up with some fellow scribes to talk writing n'stuff... Fab.

Monday, 8 November 2010

AMAZING new opportunity...

I don't know what it is at the moment, but here is ANOTHER opportunity that's come through today. And this time it's a bit of a corker. Well, if you're from Norn Iron that is. Sorry, everyone else...

Basically, it's an initiative between Northern Ireland Screen and BBC NI which offers the opportunity for two (previously unproduced) writers to have their 60 minute scripts produced in a 9pm slot on BBC 2 next year.

Send in a 60 minute script, synopsis and CV.

Deadline Feb 14 2011.

4 finalists will be announced in April and those scripts/writers will go through a development process with NI Screen and BBC NI.

In July 2 of the scripts will then be chosen and produced with a budget of 150,000. And broadcast on BBC2 at 9pm.

Wow! Best. Opp. Ever.

More info here from the NI Screen site (and copied below) and here from the Writersroom site. Both those sites also have links to other info, application forms, etc.



An exciting new initiative for Northern Ireland resident screenwriters is being launched today, Monday 8th November, by Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Northern Ireland.

Primetime will give local screenwriters the opportunity to have a one hour authored drama produced and broadcast in the 9pm primetime slot on BBC One NI.

How does it work?

Screenwriters submit a completed first draft script for a TV drama (approx 60 pages).

Four writers will be selected for a five month development scheme with Northern Ireland Screen and BBC NI.

Two successful scripts will then be selected for production, with a budget of £150K per project. These scripts will be produced by a Northern Ireland based production company and will be broadcast on BBC NI in 2012.

Before you apply

To help you get your script ready for submission, three workshops on writing for Primetime (and TV drama generally) will take place on the following dates:

Tuesday 23rd November 2010

Time: 6pm- 9pm

Place: BBC Blackstaff House, 62-66 Great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7BB

Speaker: Tim Loane, BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee, (Teachers, Dance Lexi Dance, Minder) will speak from his experience of writing for TV, with a focus on moving from idea to treatment, to script and the importance of premise.

This first seminar will also include an information session about Primetime.

Thursday 9th December 2010

Time: 6pm- 10pm

Place: BBC Broadcasting House, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HQ

Speaker: Rob Ritchie (Script Factory) will discuss writing the 1st and 2nd Act: the importance of the set up and that difficult middle act.

Thursday 13th January 2011

Time: 6pm- 10pm

Place: BBC Broadcasting House, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HQ

Speaker: Rob Ritchie (Script Factory) will discuss writing the 3rd Act: the

importance of the climax and a resolution with meaning.

To register for each event contact: Bronagh Taylor, bronagh.taylor@bbc.co.uk

Places are limited – register early to avoid disappointment.

What are we looking for?

  • A completed first draft script for an hour long drama (approx 60 pages); synopsis and a covering letter letting us know about any writing experience you have had to date.
  • 4 new writers (who have not had an authored piece broadcast on TV in the English language)

and most importantly:

  • Storytellers with original and imaginative scripts, depicting modern Northern Ireland
  • Character-centred stories with a strong local voice.

What are we NOT looking for?

  • Period pieces
  • High action/special effects
  • Previously produced work.

Who can apply?

The scheme is only open to Northern Ireland resident writers who have not had an original piece broadcast on TV in the English language.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 14th February 2011.

Full criteria is available to download here:

How do you apply?

The call for entries opens today, Monday 8th November 2010.

Submit a completed first draft script for an hour long TV drama, 1 page synopsis and a covering letter outlining your writing experience, and a completed Monitoring Form (in a separate sealed envelope) by hard copy to Ursula Devine (details below)

Please ensure your name, address, email address and phone number are on you cover letter and title page for your script.

Deadline for entries: 5pm, Monday 14th February 2011.

The 4 finalists will be announced by April 1st 2011

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Writing Opportunity - Radio...

Not for everyone, this one, but a good opportunity for those who can enter.

The BBC World Service have announced their International Playwriting Competition 2011. The most important thing to mention straight off, is that it's for anyone resident outside the UK, so that will rule out a lot of you. Details below...

What it's all about...

The biennial clickInternational Radio Playwriting Competition is run by the BBC World Service and the British Council and is now in its twenty second year.

It is a competition for anyone resident outside Britain, to write a 60-minute radio drama for up to six characters.

There are two categories: one for writers with English as their first language and one for writers with English as their second language.

The two winners will come to London and see their play made into a full radio production, which will then be broadcast on the BBC World Service. They will also each receive a £2,500 prize and there are also prizes for the runners-up.

The play must be in English, unpublished and must not have been previously produced in any medium. Whether you're experienced, new, or somewhere in between, we want to hear from you.

Just check the Rules and How to Enter sections to find out more about sending us your play.

The world Service website for this comp also has some great general information on writing for radio and formatting radio scripts.

Finally, check out the video below on last year's winners:

All looks pretty cool....

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Great Opp for Writers from C4...

If you haven't seen this already, C4 have a great new opp for new writers with no previous broadcast credits. It sounds great. The main points are:
  • There are places for 12 writers
  • The "course" runs from Jan to June 2011 but it's not onsite. It's specifically designed for people who also work so there are only two residential weekends.
  • A fee (not specified how much) will be paid for attendance.
  • Over the duration of the course you write a pilot script with a C4 scriptwriter.
  • Entry is by CV and a script of at least 30 mins - radio, tv, film or theatre script.
  • Entry by Nov 12th, so not much time!
All sounds pretty good, except for that deadline!. The details from their site are below:


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:- screenwriting@channel4.co.uk

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).

You can go over and look at that info on their site by clicking here.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Agents Talk...

Those lovely people at Northern Ireland Screen have organised a workshop next Friday on breaking into the industry and what agents are looking for. Details below. See you there!


On Friday 12th November, we will be running a panel session entitled THE WRITE DIRECTION, looking at how young screenwriters and film-makers can break into the industry. As part of Northern Ireland Screen's drive to develop a sustainable and dynamic screen industry in Northern Ireland, we are committed to developing grass roots film talent.

The workshop will take the form of a panel event, moderated by renowned industry pundit and former European Editor of trade bible Variety, ADAM DAWTREY. Key members of the panel will include London-based literary agents MATTHEW BATES of Sayles Screen and ROB KRAITT of AP Watt, as well as the award-winning writer GUY HIBBERT and actor/filmmaker LIA WILLIAMS. Further panel participants are to be confirmed.

The session, aimed at upcoming screenwriters and film-makers, will look at key questions such as:

  • What are literary agents currently looking for?
  • How do they make their choices?
  • How does a screenwriter break into the industry?
  • If I’m a feature film writer and haven’t had a break, should I switch to television?
  • Are soaps a good way in? Or short film?
  • Am I at a disadvantage if I only write and I don’t want to direct as well?
  • What you need to secure an agent? Is it a Catch 22? I can’t get an agent before I get a credit. I can’t get a credit before an agent.
  • What is the market looking for in terms of talent? Is there a certain “type” or “trend” right now?
  • Should I align myself with a producer or production company or keep my options open?
  • How involved do agents get in terms of packaging and producing? Can agents help bring finance to the table?
  • How a successful writer/agent partnership works and tips for good agent relations.

Friday 12 November 2010 at 3.30-5.00pm including Q&A
The Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road Belfast BT7 1NH

Please note that this workshop takes places BEFORE the BAFTA/Rocliffe New Writing Forum event, which is at the same venue on the same date at 7.00pm. If you have already registered for the BAFTA/Rocliffe event, you must register separately for this workshop. If you are attending both events, we have made provision for hot food between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

The event is FREE OF CHARGE. Please email rsvp@northernirelandscreen.co.uk with your name NOW to reserve your place with "THE WRITE DIRECTION" in the subject line.