Category: News

  • TriForce at the Edinburgh TV Fest!

    For those of you who weren’t in Edinburgh this year, our CEO Fraser Ayres was speaking on a panel at Ed TV Fest at the issue of encouraging more diverse voices writing for TV.

    You can now watch the full seminar online, check it out below!

    [ytp_video source=”ro_p8lDyNjE”]

     

  • WriterSlam Tips from Pete Thornton

    To help all of you entering WriterSlam, we asked Pete Thornton, Head of Comedy for Tiger Aspect, to give you some insider knowledge on what he’s looking for from WriterSlam entries…

    Why did you decide to get involved with WriterSlam?

    I’ve been aware of TriForce and the work they do for many years. When they approached me about WriterSlam it struck me as a very clear, simple and hopefully effective initiative. It’s relatively easy to position yourselves as promoters of diverse talent, but some schemes struggle to then really connect with the industry through overly complicated or slightly muddy proposals. WriterSlam immediately struck me as a properly thought through idea from people who know how the industry works, warts and all, and have the skills and drive to change the elements that need changing and make a real, concrete difference.

    Why is finding diverse voices important to you and Tiger Aspect?

    Quite simply, if the programming coming out of the TV industry isn’t properly reflecting the make up of it’s audience then it’s missing it’s main purpose and flirting with becoming irrelevant. We are here to hopefully delight and surprise audiences, but also to serve them. If there are whole segments of the country who look through the programme guide and feel that there’s nothing there tailor-made for them, then obviously we aren’t doing our job. We’ve tried making programming for diverse audiences in the past without using diverse writers, and those projects have more often than not proven (perhaps unsurprisingly) to be catastrophic failures. When predominantly middle class, middle aged, white TV producers and execs try to second guess what young, urban, diverse, working class viewers want, then obviously you’re asking for trouble. This is why we so clearly need the route and branch overhaul of the industry that’s finally gathering momentum.

    It’s not that TV producers have read fantastic diverse scripts and deliberately turned their back on them, that would be insane – everyone loves a great piece of writing no matter where it comes from. Likewise no-one would intentionally suppress the career of a promising BAME producer or director, TV isn’t an institutionally racist industry – we don’t stop and search young black people in corridors looking for concealed stationary – but the issue is that there just aren’t enough people from diverse backgrounds who feel they’re qualified, or suitable, or just plain welcome to try a career in telly, and that’s completely unacceptable.

    The situation in terms of crews and talent behind the camera is being looked at through other initiatives now up and running with most of the major broadcasters. What I’m interested in is in getting a message out to anyone from a diverse background who ever thought of writing for comedy that the door is very much open – yes especially at Tiger, but I’m sure also at other Indies across the country.

    Writing for comedy is not easy, and of course not everyone will succeed, but it’s our job, working alongside the team at Triforce to spot talent and give it the assistance, training and encouragement that it needs to grow and flourish.

    A development commission is an amazing prize! What can the winner expect to happen?

    We always pay proper fees to writers if they’re undertaking significant development work with us so the first thing we would do is to commission a treatment from the winning writer. This may seem like a retrograde step if a segment of script already exists, but a well written, clear, precise and hopefully entertaining document setting out the main building blocks of the show really helps to make sure everyone is on the same page. Primarily this should be about character – as all comedy comes from great characters – why they’re funny individually, why they’re funny in different combinations, what their ambitions are, what their general attitudes to life are and so on. Whilst there are other elements to a treatment (premise/setting/episode outlines/sample dialogue etc.), great character descriptions featuring clearly interesting, fun and original people are the most important pieces in the jigsaw, unlike drama, which is much more about compelling story. I only mention this in detail here as actually it’s really worth anyone thinking of submitting work to this initiative to spend proper time thinking about their characters before they put pen to paper.

    Whilst we’re working together on this selling document we’ll be thinking about the best possible home for the idea from the various broadcast platforms on offer. Normally one or two obvious channels emerge and we’ll work with the writer to shape the treatment, and re-write the script sample s/he originally came up with until it feels properly bespoke for them. We’ll also help with preparation for any meetings that might be required. If the idea appeals to the broadcaster in question then they’ll have a chance to input creatively themselves at this stage and then if we’re all happy they’ll commission a script. The team at Tiger will remain on hand to help wherever we can in terms of script editing and general advice for as long as it takes. We’ve obviously been through the process before so hopefully can offer proper, intelligent support as we appreciate how hard it is to put pen to paper, let alone to do so to some sort of timetable and incorporating notes and suggestions from others involved in the creative process. Lots of support and encouragement will be provided.

    Do you have any tips about what sort of projects you’re looking for?

    Ones with brilliant jokes would be nice! It’s not easy to write great storylines featuring both believable dialogue and fantastic jokes, but this is (unfortunately) the job in hand. Often it’s the jokes that fall by the wayside. The old maxim of ‘write what you know’ holds true I think. As I said earlier, focus on character above all else. We get sent a lot of ideas which are largely concerned with the premise of the show. For me the premise is less important, you really just want a believable, understandable and familiar world that will form a great backdrop for lots of stories to play out over (hopefully) many episodes. So, don’t get hung up on highly original settings or unusual situations. Audiences want to spend time with people they can relate to (people like them or friends/relatives that they know) in situations they’ve experienced themselves and feel comfortable with. This is why a lot of successful comedies have quite dull or apparently unexciting situations – a school, an office, a family, a suburb of London. It’s also why shows set in fantastical settings such as space, or post apocalyptic worlds, or the future, are really hard to pull off.

    Other than that we don’t want to be too prescriptive on what sorts of projects we’re after. There’s a fashion for quite bright, fast paced, upbeat comedy at the moment, so that’s worth bearing in mind – that and remembering to include the jokes of course.

    Will you accept sketch shows?

    Yes. Sketch shows have been out of favour for a while but the appetite for them is coming back. That said, not all broadcasters feel this way (C4, for instance, have said that they’re not in the running for one), so bear in mind that if you take one on then you’re narrowing your choices in terms of potential buyers. Also it’s really important to try to give any sketch show a sense of cohesion. Lots of disparate ideas thrown together are not going to make the grade. Sketch shows need themes, or a strong look, or some sort of hook that’s going to make the whole thing feel like a well loved and properly shaped half hour. Think about what elements your sketch show will need to make it feel really fresh and original, in a genre that many people have tried over the years (believing, mistakenly, that it’s easier to write than half hour narrative). Easier said than done!

    Good Luck!

    Pete

  • The TCN & David Oyelowo in the Radio Times

    After last night’s fantastic MonologueSlam LA Edition, we’re very excited to be in the Radio Times this morning, in an article by our wonderful patron David Oyelowo!

    Whilst looking at the exodus of diverse talent to the US, David talks about the importance of organisations who work to promote inclusivity.

    “The work of organisations like TriForce Creative Network, of which I am now a patron, is invaluable. TriForce gives people from diverse backgrounds a place and forum to grow, builds solidarity and a platform to be heard, and this is crucial.”

    You can read the full article here.

  • TriForce Short Film Festival Submissions Open!

    We are pleased to announce that submissions are now open for the TriForce Short Film Festival 2015!

    The TriForce Short Film Festival was set up to support the careers of film directors, producers, below the line talent and screenwriters working in the short independent film sector and to increase diversity and collaboration in short film production. Its aim is to find and acknowledge innovative storytelling and connect filmmakers and industry professionals.

    In keeping with TriForce’s ethos of enabling access for all, submission fees have been reduced this year! We are pleased to announce that we are bringing back the Microshorts category this year for films under 5 minutes, still free for filmmakers to submit. And for films between 5 and 20 minutes, submission fees start from as low as 25 Euros for Early Bird entries.

    The TriForce Short Film Festival 2015 will again be held at the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in London on 5 December 2015. Filmmakers can submit films via the dedicated film festival website; tfsff.com. Finalists will be chosen from the submissions, 16 shortlisted films will be screened on the day of the festival and the four finalists at a red carpet gala event on Saturday 5 December. The festival will also include a diverse programme of seminars, focusing on areas of career development for film makers and below the line talent, provided by leading industry panels. Tickets for the festival will be available viatfsff.com in the coming weeks.
    Confirmed judges for 2015 include:

    Marianne Jean Baptiste – Actor/Producer
    Lindsey Bender – Television Executive for Creative Artists Agency
    Carter Pilcher – CEO Shorts International
    Noel Clarke – Actor/Writer/Producer/Director

    We offer two awards for TFSFF 2015, Best of the Fest and the Audience Choice Award. Both awards have a cash prize and a career development opportunity attached. 2014’s winners were awarded shadowing opportunities with Red Planet Pictures and MAMA Youth Project’s Sky 1 show “What’s Up”.

    We are using the online platform FestHome.com for submissions this year. The site lists film festivals all over the UK and Europe, so once you’ve registered and uploaded your film, you can enter not only the TriForce Short Film Festival, but also a variety of other festivals, increasing the exposure for your project.

    TFSFF accepts films of ALL genres, including documentaries. Films must be between 5 and 20 minutes, including credits. If your film is under 5 minutes, please submit it to the Microshorts section.

    FestHome charges an administration fee to submit your film into festivals. For TFSFF 2015, the administration fee is €1.50. We have reduced our submission prices to absorb this fee where possible. Please note that all fees are in Euros.

    Submission Fees:

    Microshorts (films under 5 minutes including credits)

    FestHome Admin Fee: €1.50
    TFSFF Fee: Free
    Total: €1.50

    General Submissions: (films between 5 and 20 minutes including credits)

    Until 14th August
    FestHome Admin Fee: €1.50
    TFSFF Fee: €23.50
    Total: €25

    15th August – 11th September
    FestHome Admin Fee: €1.50
    TFSFF Fee: €28.50
    Total: €30

    12th September – 18th September
    FestHome Admin Fee: €1.50
    TFSFF Fee: €33.50
    Total: €35

    For further information please go to our dedicated website – tfsff.com

  • The TCN Announces New Patrons

    We are very proud to announce our new patrons in The Guardian today. David Harewood, David Oyelowo and Marianne Jean Baptiste are among those supporting TriForce – check out our new Patrons page to see the full list!

    Click here to read the full article in the Guardian.

  • Are quotas the answer to diversity?

    Check out our COO Minnie Crowe’s blog on Televisual addressing the advantages and limits of quotas within the industry.

    Diversity is top of the agenda, and is something that all major terrestrial broadcasters have publicly committed to improving. From Channel 4’s 360 Diversity Charter, to Sky’s all guns blazing targets of 20% BAMED in front and behind the camera, everyone is setting quotas. But are they the answer?

    Read the full article here.

  • MonologueSlam Performers in Edinburgh!

    Two talented actors are taking shows that started out on stage at MonologueSlam to Edinburgh this summer.

    Meg Travers, winner of the 1 Minute Round at the Winner’s Edition 2013, is taking her one woman show ‘Lucky Strike’ to The Mash House in Edinburgh from 6th – 30th August. The show began life as her ‘Twix’ monologue at Theatre Royal Stratford East which you can check out on our You Tube channel for a sneak preview.

    So like I said. I’m shit at life. I’m single, unfit, unemployed. But what is it they say?
    Three strikes and you’re out? Well, I think my luck ran out a long time ago. 

    A vivacious, fast-paced comedy that’s full of filth. See this delightfully offensive Gloucester girl and her mucking fess of a life! 

    Her next London preview is at the Hen and Chickens on Wednesday 1st July and tickets are available online: https://www.unrestrictedview.co.uk/lucky-strike/

    If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh you can book your tickets for Meg’s show here: https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/482305-lucky-strike/

    @luckystrikeshow

    And Meg’s not the only Slammer to be heading to Scotland this summer. She’s joined by Michael Longhi, who’s taking his self penned one man show, ‘Wild Bill: Sonnet of a Bardsterd’, to The Space @ The Surgeon’s Hall from August 7th – 29th.

    Inspired by his monologue based on Richard III and Golem which he performed at MonologueSlam last year, Michael’s show fuses Shakespeare and film.

    Meet Bill, Wild Bill. Shakespeare, drunkard, imposter, literary terrorist, as he descends into madness. Mentally torn apart by the characters and plays that he created, he roars down any doubt of authorship and we discover that Shakespeare not only penned the plays attributed to him but also a whole other folio of works – everything ever written! Merging his most famous characters with modern day film we discover how years of worship has created a god, a monster, the immortal Shakespeare – Wild Bill.

    You can catch Wild Bill in London on 20th July at Theatre 503: https://theatre503.com/edinburgh-previews/edinburgh-15-wild-bill/

    And if you’re heading to Edinburgh then tickets are available here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wild-bill-sonnet-of-a-bardsterd

    @WildBilltheBard

     

     

  • WriterSlam Winners – Michael Wiafe

    We’re catching up with another of our WriterSlam winners, Michael Wiafe. Michael is a London born avid reader and writer.  In 2013 Michael wrote his first feature film, a sports drama titled ‘The Paper Champion’ which gained him a place at the National Film and Television School. On acceptance, he was awarded the Toledo Scholarship established by Producer, Duncan Kenworthy and Toledo Productions in support of diverse new British voices and talent. He’s still studying at NFTS and entered the first WriterSlam competition in June, winning the Tiger Aspect prize of a shadowing opportunity with a writer on one of their renowned dramas with his script ‘Keep Me Company’.

    Where did you hear about WriterSlam?

    Initially through Twitter. I went onto the TriForce website which had all the information about the competition.

    What made you decide to enter?

    I felt confident about the pages I had and only had to submit 10-15 of them so I did. I haven’t written for TV before, but it’s where I’ve been focusing more of my attention.

    Is the script you entered something you’ve been working on for a while or is it a new piece for the competition?

    ‘Keep Me Company’ came from a pilot I had written two years ago. I wanted to finish it this year so just weeks before I even knew about the competition, I decided to completely change the whole narrative, but I kept the characters and the setting.

    Tell us a bit about your script.

    It’s about fourteen year old Ami Wild who finds herself on the run after slaying her parents in a seemingly unprovoked fit of rage. With no other family ties, all Ami has in the world is a neighbour twice her age, Dean. Dean offers to take her to an old friend of his where she can hopefully figure out the events that led to the death of her parents. The authorities quickly catch on to the murders however and draw to a conclusion that Ami is victim of someone else’s crime – this isn’t far from the truth. Under pressure, Ami undergoes a phenomenal change at which point we see her become a ferocious werewolf and begin to realize just how her parents died. In the pilot Dean and Ami have to find a place to stay whilst the authorities try and track them down. As the series goes on questions such as,  how did Ami become a werewolf? Will she ever be able to integrate back in society? Will her friendship with Dean last? And how will it all end?

    What was the WriterSlam experience like?

    Brilliant! I met the four other finalists for the first time a few days before the actual event. Producer Michael Jacob ran a workshop for the five of us. We read each others scripts out loud and it gave us a chance to really hear what was being said in the actions and the dialogue, and as a result we could see the strength and weaknesses in each of our scripts. Michael then gave invaluable feedback and tips to help us all improve them.  Next came the day of the event. The actors read and performed our scripts to an audience of industry folk, friends and family. Not only did the actors do an incredible job of bringing the material and characters to life with Director Fraser Ayres, they also managed to bring drama that’s intended for the screen to a theatre setting. With the presenters, DJ and live music, it was an all out entertaining night.

    Were you surprised when you won the Tiger Aspect prize?

    Yes! I thought everyone’s piece was as equally as engaging and entertaining as my own. It could have been any of us.

    Are you excited about working with Tiger Aspect?

    I genuinely cannot wait. I was able to speak to Iona and Maria from Tiger Aspect on the night and there were just smiles all round. It was said that they were looking for a writer that they could see themselves having a long-term relationship with so I’m thrilled that they chose me. I’ve been awarded a fantastic opportunity that gives me a great advantage in starting out as a new writer.

  • Is TV putting its money where its mouth is on diversity?

    Do we need more investment to achieve true diversity in the media? See what our co-founder Jimmy Akingbola has to say about the issue in Tara Conlan’s article for the Guardian.

    Click here to read the full article online

     

  • MonologueSlam London Winners

    We had a rather more intimate experience at Theatre Royal Stratford East this month, in studio format on the stage itself while the beautiful Victorian auditorium gets a well earned makeover. With just 125 tickets up for grabs we were sold out several days before the show, and every seat was taken on the night! The industry panel included Jess Jones, Head of Film & TV at Global Artists, Ben Cogan, Casting Director, Jamie Glover, Actor/Director, Louis Hammond CDG, Casting Associate at the Royal  Court, and award winning playwright Roy William OBE.

    Congratulations to Michael Bunani, who hung onto his Youth Round title and also gave us a little reminder of his dancing prowess while accepting his award. Congratulations too, to runner up Jake Swan-Walters, who showed off his rapping skills – all of these Youth Round performers seem to be multi talented!

    Canadian Alexandra Vincent was awarded the 1 Minute Round trophy, with Annabel Lucy taking home the coveted 3 Minute Round award, with a piece written by 2014’s MonologueSlam UK National Champion, Sam Hevicon. The judges also gave Special Mentions to Defending ChampionLarner Wallace Taylor in the 1 Minute Round and Alexander Stutt in the 3 Minute Round. Alexandra Vincent was chosen as Overall Winner. Michael, Alexandra and Annabel will be invited back to defend their respective titles in August 24th show, with Alexandra as Overall Winner also invited to compete in the National Final on December 15th at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London!

    To see details of all our winners click here.

    The evening was hosted by Holby City star, our very own Chizzy Akudolu, ably supported at his MonologueSlam debut by our new DJ Samuel.

    The next London MonologueSlam is on August 24th and is our special LA Edition where the prize is a trip to LA! Auditions will be on July 25th. If you want to get an audition slot you need to sign up to our mailing list  so you find out straight away when audition slots are available to book!

  • Lee Coan’s WriterSlam Story

    Lee Coan was our WriterSlam winner, receiving a potentially life changing prize of a development commission with ITV. After the excitement of the competition had died down a bit, we talked to him about his WriterSlam experience…

    Where did you hear about WriterSlam?
    I’m not even entirely sure where or when I first heard about WriterSlam. I think it came up in my Twitter feed, or it may have been on the BBC Writers Room opportunities page. Either way, I’m now extremely grateful I came across it somehow!

    What made you decide to enter?
    I read up a bit about TriForce and MonologueSlam, and was extremely impressed. As a new writer I have found the whole “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” thing to be hugely frustrating. I think it’s so great the way that TriForce are trying to give everyone an equal opportunity to get noticed. Also the fact that you didn’t have to pay to enter felt reassuring that it was a genuine competition to try and unearth talent. It’s nice not to feel like you’re entering a contest just to make someone money!

    Have you written for TV before?
    I’ve written five or six different scripts, but nothing that has made it on TV so far. Most of them haven’t even made it beyond my computer to be honest, as I’ve simply been trying to improve myself as a writer.

    Is the script you entered something you’ve been working on for a while or is it a new piece for the competition?
    The script I entered is based on an idea I had for one of the first scripts I ever attempted. Having not looked at it for ages, it became really clear to me what aspects worked and what needed changing. Sadly most of it needed changing, so I pretty much completely rewrote the whole thing for WriterSlam.

    Tell us a bit about your script.
    The story is about a very normal family who are struggling to deal with a terminal illness of a child. I wanted to attempt to write something that could make an audience both laugh and cry (hopefully in the right places). It is a 60 minute episode of a six part drama.

    What was the WriterSlam experience like?
    I was completely blown away by the WriterSlam experience. I did not know what to expect at all. The other writers were such hugely talented people, and it was a complete honour to be able to work through their scripts with them and our mentor for the day Michael. I was extremely nervous on the day of the performance, not so much because I was concerned about winning or not, but because my piece felt really personal, and having it performed it front of people was a completely new experience for me. I can still not quite believe the job the actors did on all five pieces, given the short space of time they had to work with the material. The whole production was so professional, and beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. Thank you!

    Were you surprised when you won?
    I was really shocked to make the top 20 initially, and when it came to the final five, I felt 100% sure of who was going to win (it wasn’t me!). Each of the five pieces were so different, and as my script was performed first, I thought it might have been already out of mind when it came to the judging. I think I became a bit of a gibbering wreck when my name was called out as the winner. I am extremely glad I didn’t have to give a thank you speech.

    Are you excited about working with ITV?
    I’m obviously hugely excited about working with ITV. I’ve grown up watching ITV dramas my entire life (as has pretty much the whole country I guess) so am hugely grateful for this opportunity. I only hope I can payback TriForce and WriterSlam by making the most of this opportunity now, so that everybody’s efforts have not been wasted.

  • WriterSlam UK in the Guardian and Broadcast

    We’re very pleased to share coverage of WriterSlam UK in the Guardian Online and in industry magazine Broadcast this week.

    You can read the full Guardian article by Tara Conlan here: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jun/11/government-gives-130000-to-scheme-giving-diversity-guidance-to-tv-industry

    And for the Broadcast article, click here