Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the writersroom!

Friday 20 December 2013, 16:18

Kate Rowland Kate Rowland BBC Creative Director of New Writing

christmas-tree.jpg Merry Christmas from BBC writersroom


Thank you to everyone who submitted to the latest Script Room window. We received an amazing 2865 scripts online and we’re still logging a few posted submissions.  When you think about that in terms of the individual effort, blood, sweat, tears, imagination (and the odd bit of exposition) and the sheer determination that you’ve all put in, it’s pretty mind-blowing.

So I salute the work you've done and look forward to challenge of the big read. Script Room has been an ongoing conversation within the Writersroom team. Like you we question if we doing this the right way; will we find the best? What is the best? Why one script and not the other? To those who think this is a cynical, worthy exercise, let me reassure you it is not, but we do constantly discuss how to best invest BBC money, your money and mine, to make each submission process a really productive talent search.

So… drum roll, big announcement - here are our new plans for 2014:

Rather than the open Script Room of the past, where we considered every medium & genre of script in each round, this year we are going to try something new and be more strategic about the process, with specific windows for each genre.

This way you can plan ahead and work in a way that allows you to concentrate your talents on those areas that most interest you, while we focus our time and energy on giving you the most inspiring, informative content on the website to stimulate your thinking. We’ll also be able to work more closely with the relevant BBC departments for each submission window.

So here's how it goes:

Script room 1       March 2014                   Drama - TV & Film

Scriptroom 2        April/May 2014              Comedy - Radio/TV/Film

Scriptroom 3        June 2014                    Children's – TV (comedy & drama)

Scriptroom 4        Sept/Oct 2014               Stage and Radio Drama


Lots more will follow in the New Year but this is a heads up about the new system. Dates, details of what we will and will not read will all be online before we open the next window.

And finally we are saying goodbye to our wonderful Web producer Fiona who is going off to more musical parts. A big thank you to her and Season's Best Wishes to everyone.

Happy Christmas and get writing!



- Kate Rowland is the Creative Director of New Writing at the BBC, and Head of BBC writersroom.

Related links:

- Find out more about submitting your script to BBC writersroom.

- Get top tips on script writing in our Write a Script section.

- Explore opportunities and events for new writers.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Kate. Despite your best efforts to portray a professional enterprise, how can it possibly be when we do not have sight of scripts you earmark as having potential? We cannot take you on trust; we need to see an extract or two of short-listed scripts and the comments the experts make to a particular writer. I presume they're experts. In essence, we need to see the short-listing process in action.

    tut, tut. read your blog, there are mistakes in it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Kate - a couple of questions about the new system proposed.

    Do you not think that this system is likely to reduce (on the basis that the previous routine was for two windows per annum covering all genres) the amount of talent you are going to see on an annual basis for each genre? Not everyone will wait a year - they may look elsewhere.

    Do you not also suspect that, in an industry where being "fresh, relevant and contemporary" (quotations from previous script window public feedback on this blog) is considered to be very important, one annual submission for each genre runs the risk that both writers and material will become stale?

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Hi Kate.

    I do not usually leave comments on blog posts, but I felt compelled to do so today. This is very disappointing news. For someone hoping to embark on a writing career, the BBC represents one of the few avenues for getting unsolicited scripts read and possibly assessed. This news means that I, and many other hopeful writers, now have just a single window of opportunity to send in the projects that they are most passionate about.

    I understand that writers must be able to write for a variety of genres and audiences. However, when a writer has no industry connections or experience, it is difficult enough to make their work stand out in a crowd. They can either write projects that they are less passionate about to meet deadlines, or sit on projects they are more passionate about for months after completion.

    This just seems like another stumbling block. I hope that this new system is merely temporary.

    Many thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Kind of amazed at the negativity of these comments.

    I saw this earlier and immediately knew which of my projects I was going to prioritise in the new year. I'm also grateful for the opportunity to submit 4 scripts over the year should I feel they're of a suitable standard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    The new plans don't exactly sceam, "We are looking for new writers that we can nurture and enable to flourish."

    Reads like, "We are narrowing the field further."

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Scream not sceam...

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I'm skeptical if this will work if not complicate things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Do you think management care? This is not about us. Seriously.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    This seems like a much better way of doing things. I doubt the number of submissions will vary that much. Writers will still send in their work before it's ready and others will take the time to put it aside and go back to it with fresh eyes.
    It's good to have advance notice of the submission dates for the year. It gives WR the chance to provide relevant information to help writers with each category before they submit.
    Scripts are never finished, they have any number of drafts before, during and after commissioning. Sometimes they are re-written in production, after rehearsal and just before the final take. Then when they are screened you will still see little things that could have been done differently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Surprised at all the negativity too.

    I'm for this. If you want to be a writer you've got to be able to show off your writing in any genre/format and you've got to meet deadlines.

    beerfagjoy and all the rest, the Scriptroom is not about finding scripts to make, it is about finding writers to work with - you've got the deadline, you've got the genres, now go show off your writing. If you can't/won't do that, then the BBC don't want to work with you.

    Maybe it shouldn't be called Scriptroom. Is it misleading?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Hello Boo. Yes it's misleading. It should be called: 'Tedious but Necessary Low Budget Spin-off from our Advertising Campaign which Makes it Look Like we're Interested in Amateur Writers .'

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I think this new approach is a good thing. Surely having the deadlines in advance is a good thing in terms of structuring your writing time? Also having specific themes for each window means a more focussed approach on submissions?
    If you don't write for every genre maybe this could be a good way of making the decision to try a genre you're not comfortable with? I have never subscribed to that 'write what you know' philosophy so why not use these windows to try something new and get out of your comfort zone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Hi guys,

    Hi Boo, thank you for clearing that up. I was slightly misinformed by a friend, he told me that only ideas that the BBC wanted to make were taken seriously. It seems like it just a case of developing your own voice and style, rather than looking for commissionable ideas. In this case, I will try and turn two of my ideas for feature screenplays into stage and children's drama scripts. At least there are more windows now.

    Hopefully this new system works out, it will be interesting to try and make some work in these other formats, and hopefully get some feedback.

    Many thanks

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Come on guys!!!! No negativity!!! Just write!!!
    This is an excellent test of genre and deadline. If nothing else use it as a tool for future projects.
    Just write!
    Cream rises apparently.
    But it won't rise if it isn't seen (writing and not cream... Everyone can see cream... Don't send cream!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Don't dismiss negativity out of hand. There are contrary views because it matters. If it didn't matter there would be no comments and apathy is a killer.

    Happy Christmas all at the WR!

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Thanks, Fadeln. Happy Christmas to you. Writers write on Christmas day - between pints, carbohydrate and general dissatisfaction with what they've written.

    Dolomite: New years resolution: I want to see extracts from shortlisted scripts and feedback (anonymous of course) so the rest of us know what management is doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The Silence of the Hierarchy.

    Amwrit: Why don't the woman up top answer our questions?

    BFJ: She's busy attending meetings, mate. Listen and learn, Amwrit. They’re meetings about
    writers on a philosophical level – writers matter but they don’t matter. It’s a game
    management play. It keeps unemployment figures down.

    Amwrit: Huh? I wrote a script yesterday. I’m playin.

    BFJ: No probs but remember management always win, cos they're paid to. The game’s called
    ‘Promoting the BBC.’ You’re hypothetical, mate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Will we be able to write for each window - ie one for TV drama and one for comedy etc. or will we be limited to one submission, in view of the fact they're all close together?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Excellent question.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I am surprised by all the negative comments. :)
    Mostly because I think:
    - there's no breakthrough overnight. If you have a specific screenplay ready in March, I'm sure you could wait and submit it in June. Make it better in the meantime or WRITE WRITE WRITE something new. :)
    - Some just don't know the real world. The fact that someone is WILLING to read even 10 pages of my work is SOMETHING. Because no agent, nobody would even bother opening an e-mail. :) Let's be grateful.
    -...these people have no obligation in helping new writers. Of course they want to organise it better for themselves and make it easier. I don't see a problem there. Again: being grateful.

    I like this new planning, because it's also a challenge to look (in my case) beyond TV Drama and Radio Drama. It kinda motivates me to try Children's TV Comedy, if I'll have the time. Also, most importantly: I can submit different plays/screenplays in a short time frame (unlike previously). Cool.


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