Script Room: The Sequel

Monday 26 November 2012, 12:16

Paul Ashton Paul Ashton

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Deadline's past, everything's in and the readers are submerged in an intensive initial round of sifting the first ten pages of all entries submitted. We received upwards of 1700 scripts this time round - and that is without the majority of radio scripts we might have received were there not the Writer's Prize coming soon. So that's a  LOT of scripts.

But while the volume may seem daunting, we can reflect on what the end point was for the last Script Room, and the writers who did progress through to the final stage.

We had films from Rodney Lee, Joseph Quick, Hilary Frankland, Dave Allison , Patrick Ryan, Richard Paul, the Brothers Lynch and Tanja Rutanen.

Stage plays from Ian Townsend, Rosanna Hall, Mohsen Shah, Mwewe Sumbwanyambe and Harinder Dhillon.

TV comedies from Craig Silcock, Joe Hodgson, Lucy Guy and Daljinder Singh.

TV dramas from David Hendon, Dee Hughes and Daniel David.

Radio dramas from Vicki Bertram and Wendy Metcalf.

And a children’s drama from Dennis Zaslona.

But was it really an end point? I blogged before about how this cohort of writers convened, how they got to know one another/us, and how we are now looking at their 'action plans' for what next. Some have aready been along to a follow-up workshop on radio, others have graduated onto the writer's group run by Henry Swindell out of our Salford base.

Some scripts have been sent off to producers. All the writers are thinking about the what, where and how next with their work. Which is something they'll need to get used to, since it's the stock-in-trade and everyday-experience of a great many working and sought-after writers across the industry.

So you might say there never quite is an end point. Because it's always about the next script, and then the project after that, and then the idea after that. Which may (and probably should) seem daunting. But I also find it oddly reassuring.

Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Out of these writers mentioned, what does actually happen next with their work they submitted, or anything else that may have come of it?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Dean - as I say in the blog, they're all doing different things (or having different things done for them) and we're in a process of working out what next for all of them individually. For all of them, it's essentially the start of a relationship - that's the important thing

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    Comment number 3.

    Would there be any possibility to read (if the writers consented) any of the submitted scripts and know what stage they reached? it would be really interesting to see what was succesful, what wasn't and what was close, but lacking some aspect that would have meant progression?

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    Comment number 4.

    ashles - we could - and I agree it could be interesting - the tricky thing, though (and this is very particular to Script Room), is that because we accept such a wide array of scripts we are never exactly comparing like with like when we are making the final selection - ie we're never exactly thinking x film is better than y film therefore x film gets through. which means in a way you'd need to read all of the scripts to get a sense and feel for the full selection we made of writers and work. the other thing is - writers don't want to expose their work in quite this way (and it could quite possibly affect them subsequently being developed/made) ...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Fair enough. Thanks - and also for the 'constantly have an eye for the next project' advice which is really useful.

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    Comment number 6.

    Eeep! Exciting times.

    Was just wondering how many readers you have this time? 1700 is a huge amount of scripts. It must take quite a while before you get through them all and start getting back to people.

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    Comment number 7.

    MrMidnight - we have about 10 readers per day over 2 or so weeks (not always the same readers every day) sifting scripts in a curious ovoid room which we have now dubbed 'the incubator'. Once they've first sifted everything and then second siftedthe ones that made it past the first sift, they will take a proportion away and return in the new year to talk them through to decide which ones will get second read by the writersroom team ...

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    Comment number 8.

    Hi Paul.

    Will the people who don't make it past the first stage be informed of this before the new year, then? Or do you send out all the emails at the same time, once you've decided whose scripts have made the grade?

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    Comment number 9.

    Hi Paul

    Interesting to get an insight into the inner workings of the Writers' Room.

    Are you able to tell us at what point writers get sent an email acknowledging receipt of their script? On the website Ts & Cs it says once all scripts are received this happens, but I've had no e-mail acknowledgment yet. Paranoia is setting in that my script has got lost!

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    Comment number 10.

    Around here, the Post Man Always Knocks Once, and like a copper. Imagine my surprise when I was handed a returning script. The thought flashed before my eyes that my latest attempt must have been so bad it hadn't made it past the title page sift. On opening it, I found it to be actually my Spring Entry. With it being out of my mind so long, I read, bored by page two, I put it down. Then noticed that I could tell where the reader had in fact read to... Would you believe, page 20, what an achievement, no ten-page failure here. There it was the coffee ring of proof. So let it be known that there is hope people.

    Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Cloobydooby - yes we'll let people know if they have/haven't progressed at that stage

    Antipogrant - yes acknowledgments have gone out - they can end up not being delivered or in spam/junk folders so check and if no luck then email us your name/scrip and we'll check writersroom@bbc.co.uk

    Pretzki - there is always hope

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    OK, thanks for your reply.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    Hi Paul,

    I’m curious about how those 1700 entries breakdown in terms of genre and platform. Are you able to say, or even roughly estimate, how many were TV drama scripts, for example?

    Thanks!

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    Comment number 14.

    Roboelephant - TV DRAMA 512 (29%), TV COMEDY 540 (30%), FILM 507 (28%), RADIO COMEDY 26 (1.5%), RADIO DRAMA 114 (6.5%), STAGE 136 (7.7%), CHILDREN’S 40 (2.3%), ONLINE -  2 (0.11%)

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    Comment number 15.

    Hi Paul

    Thansk for your reply. I'm afraid no email fromt the Writers' room in my spam or junk files.
    My script is called: Going West and it's a radio play. Who / which email address should I contact to send my details? It was delivered and signed for by somebody at the BBC on the 30th October. Thansk for looking into it.

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    Comment number 16.

    Paul,

    Thanks for the info re: genre breakdown. Very interesting.

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    Comment number 17.

    I have sent my script in 'WHO CARES' fingers crossed. But even getting it looked at by the writers room is good enough for me. Good luck to everyone who sent scripts in and remember, live your dream, not your nightmare.

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    Comment number 18.

    Hi Paul, Thanks for taking the time to post on the blog and reply to the comments, it's incredibly useful for myself and I suspect a few more of those of us with the urge to write but no clue where to start. I thought the point about getting scripts with good opening and solid first 10-20 pages which then peter out as they go on is a really interesting one. I've known for a few years about the 10 page selection rule. Is it possible it works against you a little now, as as people now know to put extra effort into the first ten pages? Sort of writing to the brief a little bit too closely as it were. That said I couldn't even hazard a guess about how else you could deal with close to two thousand scripts in the time that you do.

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    Comment number 19.

    Hi Paul, if my radio sitcom is to be crafted to the best of my ability, I will need to wait for the next Script Room window and miss out on the Writer's Prize opportunity, unfortunately. Apart from the opportunity for one comedy writer to have their pilot developed, are there any other advantages for budding radio writers entering the WP comp over the next SR round? Thanks.

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    Comment number 20.

    Antipogrant - if its been signed for then it should have made its way to us

    BFkate - thing about the 10 page hurdle is that scripts that get worse will show themselves pretty quickly so there's no point throwing everything into the opening - the whole script must be good

    Georgia - writers prize is designed as a more direct line to the radio drama and comedy commissioners that you otherwise wouldn't get other than through an established relationship with a radio producer - which most people sending us scripts do not have ... For comedy writers, don't forget openings such as Newsjack - great way/place to kickstart a comedy writing career

 

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