Category: WriterSlam

  • WriterSlam UK Winners Announced!

    Last night saw the very first WriterSlam UK take place at Theatre Royal Stratford East!

    We had a great industry turn out supporting some fantastic emerging writing talent, including a judging panel made up of our supporters from ITV, ITV Studios, BBC and Tiger Aspect.

    The ensemble of 9 performers rehearsed all day with director Fraser Ayres, and treated us to impressive performances on all 5 pieces, well done to the whole team. Performers included Beth Mullen, Benjamin Hills and Mitesh Soni (all of whom were found through MonologueSlam UK), as well as Michelle Bonnard, Tahirah Sharif, Michael Begley, Wil Johnson, Kym Vithana and Steven Miller.

    The five finalists were; Caitlin Inness-Edwards with Old Man of the Mountain, Lee Coan with When I’m Not Around, Michael Wiafe with Keep Me Company, Lisa Blackwell with The Returnee and Tom McKay with The Brotherhood.

    We are very proud to announce the winners of each of the fantastic prizes!

    Up and coming screenwriter, Lee Coan, was selected as the winner of the ITV award. Coan will receive a paid development commission from ITV and ITV Studios, with mentoring from an ITV Studios Executive and feedback on the script from Jane Hudson, Head of Drama Series at ITV.

    Other winners on the night include writer Tom Mackay, who won the BBC award and be offered a place on their Introduction to Writing for Continuing Drama Workshop. This invitation only workshop is run by the BBC to find new potential new writers for their continuing drama series’, Holby City, Casualty, Doctors and Eastenders.

    The Tiger Aspect award went to budding writer Michael Wiafe, who will be offered a shadowing placement with a writer on one of their top drama series such as Ripper Street.

    Jane Hudson from ITV said: “ITV are delighted to have supported the WriterSlam. It’s given us the opportunity to meet some fantastic new talent and we can’t wait to start working with Lee.”

    Congratulations to all our finalists (and our shortlisted writers), we can’t wait to see you take the next steps in your writing career!

    Keep your eyes peeled on our website for the next WriterSlam UK, planned for this Autumn!

    This scheme is funded by Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Funds.

  • WriterSlam UK Finalists Announced!

    We’re very pleased to be able to announce our five finalists for the very first WriterSlam UK!

    The finalists are:

    Caitlin Innes Edwards

    Lee Coan

    Lisa Blackwell

    Michael Waife

    Tom McKay

    Congratulations to our finalists! All five will now take part in a writing workshop this weekend, and will have extracts of their script performed at the first WriterSlam show on Wednesday 10th June at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

    They will be competing for the following prizes, which will be awarded on the night:

    Winner: the winner will receive a paid development commission from ITV and ITV Studios, with mentoring from an ITV Studios Exec, and feedback from Jane Hudson, Head of Drama Series at ITV.

    Runners Up: there are two runners up prizes from the BBC and Tiger Aspect.

    BBC: the writer selected by the BBC will be offered a place on their Introduction to Writing for Continuing Drama Workshop. This invitation only workshop is run by the BBC to find new potential new writers for their continuing drama series’, Holby City, Casualty, Doctors and Eastenders.

    Tiger Aspect: the writer selected by Tiger Aspect will be offered a shadowing placement with a writer on one of their top drama series such as Ripper Street.

    The audience will include an invited industry audience, with judges from all three supporters, as well as representatives from other production companies, agents and directors.

    A limited amount of tickets are also available to the public, so if you want to see some of the best new writing talent out there, book your ticket online now:

  • Sophie Petzal’s Story

    As we look forward to our first WriterSlam event, we want to share with you a success story from a pilot writing initiative we ran two year’s ago with the BBC, All Mixed Up. Similar in format to WriterSlam, the event looked for new voices in TV writing. One of the winners was Sophie Petzal, now a successful TV writer. We asked Sophie about her professional journey since All Mixed Up.

    How did you find out the All Mixed Up competition?

    I used to trawl the BBC writersroom competition page regularly for things I could enter. I was at university at the time, on a screenwriting course, so I was always writing, and always searching for places to send stuff I’d written. It didn’t matter whether it was any good or not, (most of it wasn’t) I just wanted to get some practice at and experience of the relentless tsunami of rejection and feelings of inadequacy that are the staple diet in most writer’s careers.

    Luckily for me, All Mixed Up was a joyous exception. I found the competition on the BBC Writersroom website, summer holidays at the end of my first year at University.

    Had you written much before the competition?

    I’d been writing in one sense or another, for years. I was always writing stories, stupid short YouTube films, or little plays for fun or for school etc. But when I wrote for All Mixed Up, I had just enrolled on the screenwriting BA at Bournemouth University, so I had a couple of rubbish short films and half-baked scripts here and there, but – thinking back on it – I think my All Mixed Up script (The God Committee) was the first proper ‘pilot’ script I’d ever written. I’ve never actually thought about that before… It sounds horrifyingly presumptuous! I’m not sure, were I starting out now, I’d have the guts to send out the first proper thing I’d ever written. But ‘now’ me is pretty lucky that ‘then’ me was so charmingly ignorant/blaze about the potential for humiliation and failure. ‘Now’ me is probably much more of a wimp…
    How did you find the process and the event itself?

    On the run up to the event, we were given notes on how to improve/adapt the scripts for the space in which they were to be performed – The Soho Upstairs, I think – and that process was lovely. I’ve always liked notes and I’ve always loved working with great note-givers and ideas people. So, given I was so inexperienced, working with the likes of the Triforce team, and Michael Jacobs at BBC Comedy was an absolute joy, a huge learning curve and in general just an unforgettable experience. Those situations can make or break you, I think, particularly when you are just starting out, so to be pushed so hard and yet feel so protected and encouraged and not at all like a big fat fraud, does a huge credit to the teams involved in setting the thing up.

    The performance and ‘judgment’ day itself was terrifying. My heart was in my mouth the whole time. I remember having to give myself a time out in the bathroom for ten minutes on the day because I thought I was going to pass out I was so nervous! Haha!

    All in all – the process was detailed, exciting, writer-orientated and above all, hugely enjoyable. I felt very looked after, which can be rare in these big competitions, and it’s a quality to be celebrated in those that do it.

    What happened as a direct result of the competition?

    My script was optioned to BBC Comedy for 6 months. I wrangled my way onto the writing team of a Ragdoll (Rosie and Jim, the Tellytubbies) show for a new CBeebies show called Abney and Teal. I’m not sure anything I did was ever used – it was my first gig, and I had no clue what I was doing – but I got that just by emailing the Ragdoll teammate, off the back of All Mixed Up, writing a little excerpt for them and meeting with them.

    It was also Michael Jacobs’ recommendation that got me my fantastic Agent, Fay Davies at the Agency. So that was a direct result of the competition, and to this date, the most important result for my career, probably.

    I always think of competitions as spotlights. They give you a brief moment of attention and interest, and it’s up to you as to how you make the most of it. You can’t win something or do well in something, then sit back and wait for the milk and honey, you do really have to hustle. Competitions make it easier for you to get into rooms with people, or get read by people, but they don’t guarantee any success beyond that. All Mixed Up was an enormous springboard for me, and could not have been possible without the dedication and genuine interest of the people behind it, in myself and the other writers they supported through the process.

    And what’s happened in your career since taking part in All Mixed Up?

    Oh wow, I’ll try to be brief!

    At the end of my second year at University, I got onto the BBC Production Traineeship. Through that I got involved with CBBC Drama, where I worked as a Development Assistant before being invited onto Wolfblood s2 as Assistant Script Editor, under Producer Foz Allan and Script Editor Jonathan Wolfman. Around that same time, I won the Peter Ustinov Scriptwriting Competition. So when Wolfblood got wind of that, they very kindly offered me the chance to write the online prequel (a ten min Iplayer webisode) for WBS2. Once WBS2 concluded, I wanted to take a few months out to concentrate on writing some new spec scripts, but I was then offered two episodes of a new CBBC series Hetty Feather, based on the books by Jaqueline Wilson, and two episodes of Wolfblood season 3. I’d gone from ‘I want to give this a go’ to writing four episodes of television in a couple of months…

    So from then on, including those four, I’ve written an episode of dumping ground, Dangermouse, and two episodes of new Irish police show Red Rock. Last year, Foz Allan (a recurring theme! He’s a real champion) and Charlie Higson brought me on to ITV’s new big budget fantasy drama Jekyll and Hyde, which is just shooting now.

    I’m also writing on a new show with Big Light and Rai, about the Medici Family, and writing two episodes of Wolfblood s4. I now have stuff of my own in development too, with ITV, and Big Talk and Red Planet.

    It’s all happened incredibly quickly… And I’m always very wary that it could all unravel just as quickly. I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing (don’t tell any of my employers, I mean, this is just between us right!?!?) but whatever it is – I love it, and want to keep doing it, better, and better, every time. So that means, a load of work, a load of stress, and a load of late nights. I have very little time off these days, haha. But I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    What I have achieved though, I owe entirely to the individuals who have pushed me and supported me throughout, people like the guys at Triforce, BBC Comedy, CBBC, the Agency… Without them all, I would be…probably still wasting as much time as I currently do, procrastinating and tweeting too much, but I wouldn’t have the makings of a half-decent career and a set of wonderful, talented colleagues… So that alone has got to be worth celebrating.

    And if the rug does get pulled tomorrow, I can say I had a pretty epic couple of years!

  • Shortlist Announced for WriterSlam UK!

    We received over 1000 submissions for the first WriterSlam UK and were pleased to see a huge range of ideas and a very high standard of writing across the board.

    It was incredibly difficult to decide, but our dedicated team of readers waded through all the entries and finally 20 were selected to go forward to the shortlist.

    ITV and ITV Studios will now decide the final five writers who will go through to the show.

    Everyone who entered should have received an email to let them know if they had been successful or not, so please feel email us at [email protected] if you haven’t heard anything – although do check your junk mail first!

    The final event on Wednesday 10th June is open to the public, and you can buy tickets on the Theatre Royal Stratford East website:

    The shortlisted writers are:

    Abigail Rolling
    Alyson Dutemple and Hannah Berry George
    Anji Loman Field
    Caitlin Innes Edwards
    Chantelle Dusette
    Chris Woodley
    David Lemon
    Foster Marks
    Gavin Cutter
    Judy Upton
    Katrina Smith-Jackson
    Lee Coan
    Lisa Blackwell
    Manjit Singh
    Michael Ashton
    Michael Wiafe
    Sam Benjamin
    Sam Parker
    Sumerah Srivastav
    Tom McKay

  • Submissions Open for WriterSlam!

    Are you a writer trying to get into writing for TV? Our new platform for writers is supported by ITV, ITV Studios, BBC and Tiger Aspect and is a writing competition with a difference.

    We’re look for ideas for original drama series. But you don’t have to submit an entire script – we believe that not everyone has the free time to sit down and write an entire script, even if they’re the next Steven Moffatt. So we’re asking writers to submit a synopsis of their series and 10-15 pages of an episode.

    In collaboration with our lead supporter, ITV and ITV Studios, we’ll be choosing 5 finalists who will have their work performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 10th June in front of an industry panel.

    The top prize is a development commission with ITV and ITV Studios! Followed by two runners up prizes from BBC and Tiger Aspect. The BBC are offering a place on the BBC’s Introduction to Continuing Drama Workshop, an invitation only workshop for writers interested in writing for hit BBC shows like Doctors, Holby City and Eastenders, with Tiger Aspect offering a shadowing opportunity for a writer with a writing team on one of their prime time dramas such as Ripper Street or Peaky Blinders.

    Check out the WriterSlam page for full submission guidelines – and remember, the closing date is 22nd May, so get writing!