Five Days in May

Thursday 3 June 2010, 17:10

Paul Ashton Paul Ashton

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We've had a fantastic response to our quick-turnaround competition - 226 entries! And here are the winning three scripts by Joel Slack-Smith, Rebecca Walker and Jonathan Appleton - well done to them for sending in ideas that we really enjoyed reading. We loved the intensity of Joel's world, the overlapping margins of Rebecca's and the quiet but funny POV in Jonathan's.

We also wanted to make an honourable mention to some other writers whose scripts made it through to the final shortlist conversation with our brilliant and generous judge, the writer Al Smith:

Martin McNamara
Sally Brockway
Matt Zandstra
James O'Brien
Christian O'Reilly

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Comments

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    Comment number 1.

    To the 218 people who, like me, did not receive even an honourable mention, do not be deterred. Some of these are already writers and our time will come too.

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    Comment number 2.

    Well done all!!!

    John

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    Comment number 3.

    Hmm... Don't rate any of the winners. One wonders... And Rebecca's is twelve pages long, when I thought the limit was ten.

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    Comment number 4.

    Anders42 - yes indeed, there will be other times - though to be fair we had no idea of experience when judging them...

    Graham Barker - many entrants had the problem that their 10 page Final Draft script became longer when converted to Word - so we allowed a bit of leeway rather than punish them for technical gremlins. and 'one wonders' - what, exactly...? cheer up, why not allow the winners a moment of satisfaction rather than instantly throw a dampener on their work? we genuinely enjoyed their scripts, and there was little development time to perfect them so I think the standard is impressive

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    Comment number 5.

    It is right to congratulate the winners as they have produced something that has hit the judges' buttons although, as with Graham, they came nowhere near hitting mine. Here's an idea. Why not put them all on the website? There are only another 223 @ 10 pages each = ca. 2,000 pages. A trivial number, and there can be no objection as all entrants accepted their offering could be posted up. Can't be as much web space as half an episode of 'Eastenders'. Then we bloggers could see what the Writersroom readers reject as 'bad' as well as what they declare is 'good'. The resulting good-natured 'bloggery' could be challenging and uncomfortable, but very revealing.

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    Comment number 6.

    Paul, you may have had no idea of experience, but I think experience will always show and it can be safe to assume that writers will probably have ideas that they can dust off the shelf and adapt and will probably have had more time to devote to the project? I work full time and have a young family and got up at 5am each day to do it. I don't want to knock the winners, well done to them, but I want to buoy up those, who,like me gave it a lot of time and effort and are wondering if we missed by an inch or a mile?
    Why not post more on line? Perhaps some with a short critique?

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    Comment number 7.

    I actually enjoyed all the entries and am happy for the winners, who did brilliantly.

    It was a fun exercise and I can see why mine (although Very Funny (underlined)) wasn't what they were looking for.

    Am looking forward to the next one!

    Simon S

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    Comment number 8.

    By 'all the entries' I mean the scripts posted above...

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    Comment number 9.

    glad to see there's been a response from our users! that was the whole reason for doing this

    Aunty_Bellum - actually, posting 100s would take a lot of work and time for someone in our very small team at a very busy time...

    Anders42 & Aunty_Bellum - the question of publishing more would be out of my own hands for a variety of complicated reasons... i suppose it's fair to say that some entries missed by centimetres, some by inches, some by metres and some by miles. and although the final decision was unanimous, we had a lively discussion about a strong longlist and then an even stronger shortlist. one thing I would say is that a fair few had a fairly literal and rather undramatic response - really just explaining/describing events as we had already seen them in the news coverage. so what was nice about Jonathan's was that it had a light, warm-hearted and also poignant take on something that nobody really saw and perhaps many of us would have loved to have witnessed as a fly on the wall.

    Anders42 - point taken and yes you're right to want to buoy up other people. though we did spot quite a few that looked like they'd been dusted down and tweaked - and they didn't make it through. these three are clearly a response to the election and very current/recent times, which is what we wanted

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    Comment number 10.

    My god, that Joe Slack-Smith script really blew my socks off!
    Well done to all the winners. It's intimidating to know how good the scripts need to be before I dare submit anything to the BBC WR.
    Mike

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    Comment number 11.

    And that's Joel Slack-Smith, sorry, how rude.
    Mike

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    Comment number 12.

    MWarby - don't be intimidated, just write as well as you can and really, truly mean it. (BTW i'm sure Joel doesn't mind...)

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    Comment number 13.

    Thanks Ike. I mean Mike! I appreciate the positive feedback! I really liked the other two scripts they chose...I thought Jonathan's was really funny and cleverly done (to contain it all in the one place without it getting boring takes skill) and Rebecca's was compelling, with a really powerful ending.

    I took the concept of rapid response to heart and tried to write mine as quickly as possible. I had my draft down in three to four hours, and then maybe spent another hour or two smoothing out dialogue, fixing typos and tightening it up. The quick turnaround/deadline helped avoid the temptation to tweak forever, which can sometimes happen.

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    Comment number 14.

    Of course in the above comment I haven't included the many hours spent scouring internet news pages as research...

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    Comment number 15.

    I anticipated that the concept of us seeing some of the rejected ones would prove 'all too difficult' but the defence of 'a busy office' is weak. These scripts all came as '.doc' attachments to e-mails. The office junior could copy them to a directory over one cup of copy. They don't need to be in the format of the winners. The Writersroom reject thousands of person-hours of work on the grounds that it is 'bad'. It is not unreasonable to give these 223 toilers in the dark the chance to see for themselves where (roughly) they fit in the spectrum of submissions. Those who will never get a word accepted, no matter how many times they submit, might save themselves lots of work for the proverbial cat and endless rejections.

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    Comment number 16.

    This competition was a great idea and hopefully Writersroom will do more of them.

    The winners did a great job and deserve their moment. For the rest of us it was a good exercise in writing to a short deadline.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 18.

    This is my first time commenting on the blog and I just wanted to pass my congratulations to the writers, the 3 scripts are great. Joel's was very powerful, Jonathan's very funny but for me Rebecca's was the best so well written and surprising!

    Well done to all!

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    Comment number 19.

    Hi Paul, are there any plans to have another Writersroom non-regional specific competition this year? I think it's unfortunate that there is so much critism of the process after competitions but I think the majority of the people appreciate the Writersroom opportunities. Thanks

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    Comment number 20.

    I mean criticism :-)

 

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