And here's the last one, number 10:

Be Yourself

People have commented on the passion instalment how they were pleased to see it there as it's the kind of thing you don't usually get in script writing books etc. I think being yourself is just as important. Writersroom is primarily in the market for finding people to develop. If we find a great script that goes on to be made, then that's brilliant. And it can happen. But the most important thing is to find original voices and writers we believe can go on to great things. And the only way to do this is for you the writer to be yourself.

We want an individual voice. A distinct voice. A writer with something to say and an original, surprising, unique way of saying it. By this, I don't mean wacky and unconventional for the sake of it; I mean a writer whose passion for an idea, for characters, for a subject, for the need to write, whose understanding of the important of stories and storytelling, literally drips off the page.

It's hard to express and define precisely what this 'thing' actually is, but one way of describing it is a writer who has written a script that no other writer you know would have written the same way - has tackled an idea, imagined a world, voiced a character, engaged my attention in ways that no-one else would.

Crucial in this is to make sure you are not 'sub'-anybody. Of course, you will have writing heroes and heroines, people whose style you love, whose very individuality you wish to emulate in your way. But it's unfortunately far too frequent that I find myself reading a stage play that is sub-Beckett/Pinter/Kane, or a film that is sub-Charlie Kaufman, or a TV script that is sub-Paul Abbott etc etc etc. It can take a while and will certainly take a lot of hard work, but you need to learn how to follow your own instincts and forge your own path.

There are a great many writers out there. Some have more and less experience, and most are trying to break through. The last thing anyone in the industry wants is an automaton that simply churns out scripts. It may be that for a variety of reasons and circumstances, a finished production/episode can seem like it's emanated from the metallic hand of a robot. But it's almost certainly the case that at an early stage in the process a writer has been commissioned because someone somewhere is genuinely excited about them and believes they will deliver something special. At worst, they will commission someone they know can deliver on the evidence of their success in the past. At every stage, you commission an individual rather than a machine.

So, you need to invest time, energy, thought and work in what it is that's unique about you and what you have to offer. And then you need to make your scripts somehow express that you-ness. Because when all's said and done, when I've run through all the things - idea, world, characters, coherence, structure, dialogue, surprise etc etc etc - that figure in my thinking, I'm usually left with a gut instinct about whether any given writer simply makes me want to send that email or make that call and say: when can you come in for a chat?

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by Piers

    on 7 Jan 2010 14:58

    Something completely new, please.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by sobrien

    on 7 Jan 2010 12:44

    Hi Paul and Piers

    I recently submitted a script for a sitcom to the writersroom, although it was decided not to take things further I did recieve some very helpful feedback. Taking the advice onboard I would like to know if it would be worthwhile using the same original idea/characters etc and writing a new script for submission or would it be best to send in something completely different?

    Thanks

    Susie

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by alan

    on 4 Jan 2010 20:01

    Thank you Piers, I shall read John Rogers blog with interest, being from an older generation in my "sixties" much of the common place terminology is alien to me and I find it fascinating just how much help is readily available at the touch of a button. Once again many thanks for your advice.

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by Piers

    on 4 Jan 2010 12:46

    Hi Alan

    John Rogers has written some excellent posts on Adaptation on his blog.

    Parts One & Two
    Part Three
    Part Four
    Part Five

    John August has a whole section of his site dedicated to adapting work for the screen.

    And here's a whole bunch of Alex Epstein's thoughts on the matter.

    Condensed?

    Treat it as a new project, with many of the same characters as sensibility. Try to convey the "soul" of the original, without worrying if the body changes.

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by alan

    on 3 Jan 2010 20:13

    I have been writing a book on and off for several years and although it is not yet finished I have constantly toyed with the idea of turning it into a film script, I am a newcomer to the Writersroom and its excellent advice and would welcome any suggestions with regards attempting the changeover from the written word to the screen.

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by mystery88

    on 19 Aug 2009 08:03

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

  • Comment number 9. Posted by Piers

    on 27 Jul 2009 15:51

    To confirm: Yes, if you've got a half-hour script, it's fine to send it in to us as-is.

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by orpheusblake

    on 27 Jul 2009 15:20

    Hi Piers,

    Just to confirm, does that mean we can ignore the following criteria?

    "A submission for a proposed returning series should consist of a full episode script (between 45-60 minutes)....."

    Thanks

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by Piers

    on 27 Jul 2009 09:20

    Hi Orpheus

    We're happy to read 30-minute drama scripts, so please just send it in via the usual channels.

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by orpheusblake

    on 25 Jul 2009 12:39

    Hi Paul,

    I wasn't sure where to post this comment as no thread for the subject has been established...

    Anyway, it seems that there is a new trend of 30 minute dramas (Entourage, Hung, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Nurse Jackie, Moving Wallpaper etc) but there is no way to submit this kind of script to the WR. My questions are:

    1) Is this likely to change?
    2) If I have a script that fits this description, what would your advice be? Should I submit a two parter?

    Thanks for your attention.

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