writing deadlines

10, April 2009

Deadlines are coming up for several UK writing schemes – Channel 4’s Coming Up as well as the BBC’s College of Comedy and The Writer’s Academy – so this month I’m busily preparing submissions.

Coming Up is a chance to get a half hour film onto Channel 4, whereas College of Comedy and The Writer’s Academy are training/mentoring programmes for new comedy and continuing series (soap) writers joining the BBC.

To help in my preparations I headed over to Geneva for a couple of days to meet up with a mate of mine, Lawrence, to whip some material into shape.

Over the years Lawrence and I have done several writing workshops together and I’ve found it a great way to get stuff done. Having someone you trust who can bring a different perspective (Lawrence is an actor, fight director and drama educator) is a great way to test out ideas on each other, bounce them back and forth and work out the kinks if something isn’t working.

For Coming Up I have to submit a writing sample and a synopsis for a bold and innovative half hour film that could be shot in four days on a low budget. Researching what had gotten up in previous years, I knew I needed a bold but simple idea, limited characters and only one or two locations.

For the two BBC submissions I have to submit just ten pages of material but they have to be the best ten pages I’ve ever written. From these pages they’re looking for people who have a “unique voice” or a “compelling perspective” on the world around them. All great in theory but when you’re a well-adjusted white middle-class thirty-something you can sometimes be at a lost as to what you have to offer.

All up it was two full days of work but damn it was fun. We knocked my Coming Up idea into shape as well as a TV pilot script/writing sample that I plan to use for the BBC submissions. My Coming Up story had a great concept but no ending, while my pilot had a fuzzy idea and an ending hiding in plain sight. Luckily we fixed both and I’m now well on my way to getting my submissions done.

To finish off I thought I would share with you a bit of the process. Below is a video of the results of a days work on my pilot script and what that work amounted to. Enjoy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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