It's been a month since I last blogged, and we've now shortlisted down to thirty writers. This means that everyone who entered should have received a "yes" or a "no". If you haven't - something's gone wrong - so you need to get in touch with us directly.
This is the longest stage of the process. Each of the 150 long-listed scripts was read in full by two members of the drama department and marked in eight categories: Dialogue, Character, Narrative Structure and Pace, Distinctive Voice, Emotional Appeal, Visual Storytelling, Credible World and "Did it keep your attention?". Each section is marked out of five and so the final score is a mark out of 80. It's tough "scoring" writing ability, but at least it gives us something to hang our responses on and it's the best system we've come up with so far. Anyone got a better suggestion I would love to hear it!
The team and I then read as many of those as is humanly possible (usually all those with marks over 50). We then (and only then) look at the application forms and factor those into the equation:
- Do they watch (or at least pretend to watch!) Continuing Drama? - you'd be amazed those applications that don't even mention the programmes... or television!
- Do they have some knowledge of the pressure they'll be working under?
- Do they come across as writers who can work collaboratively? - really difficult to judge, and this is what the workshops are all about.
- What's their writing CV so far and how does it show an aptitude for this kind of writing? (that doesn't mean only writers who've worked on continuing drama before)
- Do they want it? - do they really want it? Again impossible to judge from 400 words on a stuffy online application form, but you have to try get to the heart of what they're saying and make a judgement on this.
Then... we get input from the Writersroom for anyone on the list who's work they've read, we ask around, we ask for second opinions, we compare notes... basically we do everything we can to try and make this rather artificial process as fair and as exhaustive as possible.
I'll be meeting the final thirty at the workshops later this week. We're very excited about them, and the quality of work this year, everyone agrees, has been higher than ever. If you didn't make it this time, I would really encourage you to try again next year. I could have filled the workshops several times over with worthy people.