Future Talent Award: My experience as a finalist
When I entered the Future Talent competition during Christmas 2010, I genuinely didn't expect to win. The only other competition I'd ever entered was for a Pokémon game in the late nineties (I was a cool kid and they were crazy days) and I didn't win that, even though I put a load of Pokémon stickers on the envelope. I didn't actually win the Future Talent thing either, but I was one of the three finalists, which is why they asked me to write this, I guess.
Having been the first script I'd properly finished, I was totally self conscious about my entry for the competition. There are some people that love to put themselves out there, but I'm not one of them. Prior to sending it, I only actually showed it to one of my flatmates, and he was watching Neighbours so he wouldn't read it. I tried showing it to him later that day, but it was five-thirty and he was watching Neighbours again. The people you meet at uni. Anyway, I needn't have worried, because everyone at writersroom was completely peachy about it and I got some really helpful feedback.
One month later, I'd made it on to a longlist and then a shortlist, before eventually making the final three. The other two finalists and I received invites to BBC North's Developing Talent Conference in Preston, the highlights being talks from Victoria Wood and Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park. The latter was a real buzz for me, not least because Park's perhaps the most famous graduate of my university, Sheffield Hallam. He's also won Oscars, which is cool, but just to reiterate: Sheffield Hallam grad.
I met some lovely people at the conference, and as a result of placing in the Future Talent competition my script got passed onto another BBC contest, Laughing Stock, and I was fortunate enough to make the finals in that as well. Almost a year on and I'm currently writing my first episode of Hollyoaks, which has been awesome and just a great opportunity to get a few months after graduating from university. It's also one I wouldn't have got had I not entered Future Talent in the first place.
This year's Future Talent Award for Writers is open NOW to entries from students/recent graduates from one of the BBC North Developing Talent partner organisations in the North of England - find out how to enter. The deadline has been extended to 1st February 2012.