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Writers Academy 23

Ceri Meyrick

We've now shortlisted our Writers Academy entries down from over 600 to 150 and now to 24 - all of whom will be coming in for workshops in the next couple of weeks. We will then select a dozen of these for interview to pick the final eight. This is the first time we will have met many of them, and also the first time in this process that they will be considered on anything else but the quality of their writing.

To everyone else who applied - you should have had a "No" from us by now. If anyone hasn't - please get in touch with us.

We do not offer any feedback at this stage, and I wanted to try and explain why, as I know some people find this frustrating, after spending so long in applying and waiting for an answer.

- The scripts are all read several times by different people (we share the load amongst many of the Script Editors/Researchers/Readers/Producers who work in the drama department - i.e. the people you'll eventually be working with) and so focussed feedback on individual scripts is impossible with the sheer volume we're dealing with.

- So often I end up telling people simply that I thought the scripts that got through were better - sharper dialogue, clearer characters, better stories etc... not really what people want to hear. "So you're saying my dialogue's bad then? That's not what I've been told" is what they tend to come back with. Of course I don't mean that, but the fact is the Writers Academy is a competition - we take a decision on one script - it's rather brutal, but necessary for this scheme to work. I would say, however, that I and my team spend the rest of the year considering scripts from agents at (relatively) greater leisure, so get yourself an agent and you and I can have a longer conversation about your work in the future.

Finally, I broke down the final 24 according to what kind of scripts they were - as I always get asked this by people trying decide what to submit. It looks like this:

TV Screenplays - 9
Film Screenplays - 6
Stage Plays - 6
Radio Plays - 3

Interesting in the light of recent debates on the blogs about where TV development people source their writers from. Can I just say that I source writers from ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE, and I don't actually care what medium the script is in if it's good.

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