It’s 11pm, and I’m in a hotel room in Cardiff, surrounded by coffee cups and chocolate wrappers. Two hours earlier I’d taken the perhaps quite rash decision to completely re-write my guest story – which I’m supposed to pitch at 9.30am tomorrow to the Story Team at Casualty, in an attempt to secure my place on the writers' Shadow Scheme. But now, the night before, I haven’t rehearsed my pitch… and in fact, I haven’t even finished writing it.
Before I elaborate on how this occurred, it might be helpful to go back a bit:
First up, it’s worth noting that the Casualty Shadow Scheme has changed. The four-day Residential training, which used to be part of the Shadow Scheme, is now part of the selection process - X Factor style.
Around July, I’d submitted a spec' script, which was not medical in any way, with a CV, and my 500 word guest story (i.e. the patient’s story). I was invited to an interview in October.
Exclusive to BBC Radio 4 Extra, Newsjack showcases the week's news stories which have been lovingly bashed, mashed and moulded into sketches and one-liners. Anyone can submit material to go into the show alongside material from the show's core group of writers. Claire Wetton explains how she made the move from submitting material to being part of the show's Writers' Room...
When I first received an email asking me into the Writers' Room as a commissioned writer for an episode of Newsjack, I did what I presume all professional comedy writers do. I screamed, jumped in the air, did a little dance, ran down the stairs, ran back up the stairs, did another little dance…and then freaked the motherfudger* out.
Like most people, Newsjack was my first ‘proper’ job in comedy writing. Up to that point, I’d been writing sketches on my own, in my PJs, in the hope that I was maybe producing something mildly amusing. But writing a sketch about a killer gang of goats in my bedroom on a Sunday evening was one thing. Writing some award-winning, cutting edge, biting satire at the BBC, in front of actual producers, whilst wearing actual clothes, was something totally different. I was filled with a...
Script Editor, Consultant and Producer
I’ve worked extensively as a script editor, both in production and development. Rather than going into the nuts and bolts of what a script editor does, here are some thoughts about the qualities you need to make it as a script editor.
As a script editor, your currency is based on several factors:-
Philip Shelley leading a masterclass
1. An understanding and appreciation of the craft of story-telling and screenwriting.
As script editors, we need to be interested to the point of being obsessed about STORY, how it works, and thinking about what it is that makes the good stories good.
In my experience most meetings with writers start off with the foreplay of discussing what you’ve been watching on TV the previous evening, what you’ve seen recently at the cinema, the theatre, or on Netflix. This often leads to bonding over how wonderful / horrible the latest TV show is, and why – before getting down to consummating your relationship with the negotiation of script notes (OK, that’s enough of the sex...
Leslie Banks and Constance Cummings reading the script for the 1938 TV adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac (c) BBC
*A quick update from our Reading Team*
Dear Writers who Submitted to BBC Writersroom Drama Scriptroom 12
We are just coming to the end of our first sift (first 10 pages) and we thought you might like to know that the standard of entry this year is insanely high. Consequently, the decision making process is a bit of a headache. So we just wanted to say thank you; reading lots of quality scripts...
The Day Dad Stole a Bus: Winner, 25th BBC World Service International Radio Playwriting Competition, 2nd language category
When I was little, I used to walk around the house holding a tape recorder and a mic in which I narrated stories about inanimate objects: the adventures of the alarm clock that had to cross my parents’ bed to get to the window, or the phone that had to walk beneath the chairs in the living room.
I built labyrinths with rows of string that went around all the door knobs in the house: a complex network of traps and mechanisms that the robots I’d built with paperclips and erasers could cross.
At that moment my parents usually appeared: "Oh my God what's going on here?!"
But I was quite...
Story Editor for River City
In the last of our 5 blogs focussing on Scottish productions to mark the launch of BBC Writersroom in Scotland we hear from Kevin McComiskie, the Story Editor for BBC Scotland's continuing drama River City. He explains his role and how it fits into the production process of the show, plus the vital importance of caffeine!
“Ever since I was young I wanted to be a (story) gangster…..”
Upon leaving high school, a teacher gave me some sound advice for going forward with my life – “McComiskie, you will amount to nothing! Your head is full of nonsense!”
Fast forward a few years and now I get paid...
In the fourth of our blogs looking at content being made in Scotland which offers opportunities for Scottish writing talent (and marking the launch of BBC Writersroom in Scotland) we turn to digital output.
The Social is a new platform for Scottish voices and includes scripted comedy and short-form drama. Senior Producer Louise Thornton explains...
BBC The Social features exclusive...
Writer and creator of Scot Squad
In the third of our series of blogs celebrating Scottish productions to mark the launch of BBC Writersroom in Scotland we turn to Comedy and the spoof Police documentary series Scot Squad, created, written and narrated by Joe Hullait.
The Scot Squad
I’m the writer of Scot Squad…sort of.
Scot Squad is improvised. So how does that make me a writer? The thing is, narrative television can’t be improvised out of...
Producer, Radio Drama
In the second of our series focussing on scripted programmes produced in Scotland to mark BBC Writersroom's Scottish launch, Radio Drama Producer Kirsty Williams introduces 'A History of Paper' by Oliver Emanuel and three lessons about Radio Drama.
What’s the point of paper?
A History of Paper, by Oliver Emanuel
A History of Paper - A love story held together by paper by Oliver Emanuel
Chapter 1: 2009
I’m a fledgling...
Editor's Note: All this week following the launch of BBC Writersroom in Scotland we're looking at programmes being produced in Scotland and which offer opportunities for writers across all genres. We begin with Children's programmes, as the Producer of the CBeebies show Katie Morag explains the writing process, and how they manage to tackle serious issues like grief for a pre-school audience.
Katie Morag (Cherry Campbell)