Posts Tagged ‘Coming Up’

reflections on script tank reading of ‘tessa & adam’

4, June 2010

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a couple of episodes of my web sitcom ‘Tessa & Adam’ read as part of a “short works” night at Script Tank on Wednesday and I’m pleased to say I’m very happy with the result.

I got to test out my new pilot as well as another ep that I have worked up. Just hearing it read was valuable enough because it allowed me to quickly weed out the lines that weren’t needed or didn’t work and tighten both scripts up as a whole, which I am always happy to do.

Building on the feedback from my last reading and this most recent reading I’ve now been able to refine my synopsis and the parameters for what makes a ‘Tessa & Adam’ episode:

Tessa & Adam follows the idiosyncratic antics of British lad Adam and his Dutch expat girlfriend Tessa. Capturing their clash of culture, love, life and sex the show reveals just how odd someone can appear once you start sharing your life with them.

  1. It’s observational comedy- finding comedy in intimate ‘truths’ or small moments within a relationship
  2. It’s about discovery – finding out just how odd someone can be once you start living with them
  3. The hook/comic situation needs to be set up ASAP – the first page if possible. If not, open with a joke
  4. Tessa and Adam must always have opposing goals or points of views within each episode to create the greatest amount of comic conflict
  5. The twist more often than not comes from some sort of reversal or reveal related to the characters
  6. Tessa and Adam are equals and must always be able to hold their own, no matter the situation
  7. The stakes may appear low but that doesn’t mean that what is going on in each ep isn’t vitally important to them in that moment
  8. Tessa and Adam have a real and loving relationship – their fidelity and commitment to one another is never in jeopardy
  9. Each episode is self contained and must be resolved at the end


On another note, I also got my Channel 4 Coming Up submission in this week, early even, which makes a difference already to last year. I was also far less stressed this time around because I really believe in my writing samples (episodes of ‘Tessa & Adam’) and had a clear synopsis/pitch that I re-worked and re-worked over several weeks.

To celebrate I went out for fish and chips and a midday pint on Abbey Road. Nice!

So with Coming Up completed it’s back to the keyboard to bash out some more ‘Tessa & Adam’ episodes and mulling over my potential entry for this year’s Red Planet Prize:

Each year the Prize is slightly different, to provide a fresh challenge for those who enter – and to reflect the difficulties faced by professional script writers.

This year’s competition is for an original 60 minute television script, either a single play or a pilot for a new series. You are initially required to submit the first ten pages along with a short synopsis.  The full script should be available on request, you may be required to submit this within a month of the final closing date.

As before, the winner will receive £5000, a script commission and the option of representation if required.
Red Planet and Kudos will also mentor finalists for the Prize.The competition is open to anyone within the UK. The RED PLANET PRIZE with close to new entrants at midnight on 31st July.


channel 4’s Coming Up applications are now open

30, April 2010

I’ve been waiting to hear when this was going to come around again, so thanks to David Bishop over at Vicious Imagery for the heads up on this on.

I applied for Channel 4’s Coming Up scheme last year and plan to do so again this year. Entries close on the 9th June 2010 (by post). You have just over a month to get your entries in, so get cracking!


COMING UP is the only talent scheme currently in the UK where emerging film-makers have the opportunity to make an authored drama with a guaranteed network broadcast.  Now in its tenth year, Channel 4 and Touchpaper TV, part of the RDF Media Group, continue their commitment to innovation, experimentation and new voices.

We will make seven eye-catching, innovative and challenging films from the best fresh talent in the UK.  Each film will be for a half-hour C4 slot and we are looking for:

Bold, original and surprising ideas with strong voices – unafraid of ambition, wit, urgency and fearless entertainment.

Films that can be shot in 4 days on a limited budget

THIS IS NOT AN ENTRY LEVEL SCHEME – BUT FOR WRITERS AND DIRECTORS BUILDING A TRACK RECORD AND A CAREER IN FILM AND TELEVISION DRAMA.  Submissions from multi-cultural and nations and regions-based filmmakers are encouraged.

WRITERS: This scheme is open to all writers who have NOT had an ORIGINAL single, series or serial broadcast on UK television; writers who have contributed episodes to series or serials (e.g. a long-running soap) are eligible to apply.

DIRECTORS: The scheme is open to directors without a primetime TV drama credit.

WRITER / DIRECTORS: We will accept submissions from Writer/Directors (as above), but excellence in BOTH disciplines must be shown to be considered in this category.


1pm on Wednesday 9th June 2010

N.B. Submission is by post only

Note for the writers out there, the minimum you have to submit is a synopsis/pitch for your half hour film plus a writing sample (either the script you are pitching or another sample of your writing), so as long as you’ve got a kick-ass idea and a sample there’s no excuse not to enter.

writing update – week #2

25, May 2009

So I’m into my second week of “doing things differently” and I’m happy to say that things are going well. I feel like I’ve had somewhat of a personal turn around even if I haven’t had a professional one yet. I feel happier, more creative and far less stressed.

I had a sketch read recently at the London Comedy Writers group and it went down a treat. It also helped to break the ice and I had a good chat with several of the writers afterward. Writers, especially comedy writers, are often misfits by nature and this bunch are no different, which makes them great fun to hang out with and also very welcoming of a fellow kindred spirit!

On the networking front, I recently signed up to Shooting People, an indie filmmakers social network and put my short film Domestic up there as well as an introductory notice in their bulletin. I had a great response to the short and have three people already that I’m going to meet up in the coming weeks for “coffee and a chat”. These “chats” may not lead to work but I’m happy all the same to be getting out and meeting people. Shooting People seems to be a very positive and proactive network and I’m happy to say it was 30 Pounds well spent.

Moving forward I’m committing to getting two sketches written as well as several episodes of a web series that I have been mulling over. I’m aiming to develop the scripts with the help of my writers group and then later with my mate Lawrence and some actors. The plan then is to get material shot during August and hopefully up online by September.

I contacted someone at Channel 4 this week (via twitter) and found out that the successful eight projects for their Coming Up scheme will be announced by the end of June. So that means my pitch is likely to be still in the running, which is a relief. After not hearing anything for a couple of weeks I was starting to get worried. I’m quite happy now to put it out of my mind but reserve the right to turn into a basketcase the last week of June!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated with my progress and I’m looking forward to some more fun and hopefully success coming my way in the months ahead.

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writing update

17, May 2009

I went to my first London Comedy Writers Group on Tuesday and quite liked it. It’s a very friendly well run group made up of a mix of hobbyists and amateur/am-pro writers. On the night I went there was somewhere between 15-20 people there to listen to  two sketches and a draft of a half hour sitcom be read. One of the sketches was submitted by someone completely new to the group and to comedy writing and she was given just as much support and respect as everyone else in the group, which was good to see.

This coming Tuesday is Sketchageddon, where fifteen sketches will be read and critiqued. I’ve got one in there, which is a bit nerve racking but I’m looking forward to it more than anything. I’m also looking forward to hearing the variety of material that the other writers come up with. I’ve committed to attending the group for at least 3-4 meetings to see how it goes.

This week TJ, Lawrence and I also did another day of Z1 DV camera training, this time by ourselves. We hired a camera from a local guy and spent the day practicing our shooting and trying out different techniques. It was great to re-enforce what we had learnt and we all now feel confident in our abilities.

I’m back on the saddle and writing again. I’m working on ten-page comedy script that I hope to later take to my writer’s group to get feedback. I’m pretty sure I haven’t been selected by the BBC’s Writers Academy, which to be honest isn’t a surprise. The standard is very high and I wasn’t overly confident in my submission.

I’m currently waiting to hear what projects get selected for Channel 4’s Coming Up scheme. I have no idea when the decision will be made, so it’s a bit maddening at the moment. It’s the one submission I did during April that I feel confident and proud of. Apart from that I might one other project that might be developing further but I don’t want to jinx it just yet, so I’m going to keep it under my hat for now.

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writing submissions … finally done

10, May 2009

April if finally over and I’ve got my three major writing submissions finally in – Channel 4’s Coming Up, the BCC‘s College of Comedy and the BBC’s Writers Academy. It was an incredibly hard month; much more challenging than I expected. Despite that, opportunities like these are part of the reason I came to the UK so that’s reason enough to be happy … you would think.

I’m extremely happy with the pitch that I submitted to Channel 4’s Coming Up scheme. For Coming Up I had to pitch a half-hour film for TV that could be shot on a limited budget in four days. If Channel 4 doesn’t pick it up then I’m definitely going to develop it further into a short play or short film.

When it came to the College of Comedy, I choked. I know I didn’t get selected because they have already whittled down the 650 entries to 12, out of which they will eventually select 6. When I came to write my submission I quickly found that it just wasn’t working. I tried a lot of options, took advice from people I trusted, tried to punch up the funny but I just couldn’t get it to work.

The thing that kills me is that about half way through this process I thought of switching to another project but didn’t. This other project wasn’t as developed but was was much simpler and I think at the very least … funny. But I felt committed to my original idea and wanted to see it through. I thought with enough effort I could make it work but all I ended up doing was rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. I should have trusted my gut and switched, at the very least I would have been happier with what I submitted.

For my third and final submission, the Writers Academy, I had to submit an entire piece of work and so put in a re-write of a web series I had completed last year. With the Writers Academy the first ten pages are the most important because that is what they read to cull down to the initial short list. My first ten pages are strong; I know that. How I go with the rest, I don’t know. The Writers Academy is probably the hardest to crack out of these three opportunities so I don’t know what my chances are.

My Stars said recently that by Mid-May I should see a project finally realised, which is around the same time that I should hear how I go with Channel 4 and the BBC. Fingers crossed till then …

I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on, now that this huge workload is finally done. I hope to regale you all with more tales of London life as well as my experience tappy tap tap tapping my way to writing success.

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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.