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Making A Drama Out Of Christmas

December 19th, 2018

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been updating the modules that cover Radio and TV drama in our Comprehensive Creative Writing Course.  So I’ve been looking at script formatting and what the current layout requirements are.

The best place to look into this is the BBC Writersroom. There is a script library and you can study a number of recent productions to see how the scripts are set out. There’s The Bodyguard, Peaky Blindlers, Doctor Who, A Very English Scandal (Jeremy Thorpe  played by Hugh Grant) – even Danger Mouse and The Worst Witch, plus many more. Formats do vary but the important thing is that they are clearly set out and it must be obvious where the characters are and who’s speaking.

These days, the BBC only accepts unsolicited scripts during fixed windows of opportunity and, coincidentally, the current window opened on 10th December and runs until 7th January. You can submit scripts for TV, radio or stage and at the end of the process 10-15 writers will be invited to join their development group for 2019.

So, if you’re a keen scriptwriter but despair of ever managing to get in to the BBC, now’s your chance.

Your script must be at least 30 minutes long. If your script is an episode of a proposed series then you can also send a brief outline of further episodes. They also want a paragraph showing your writing career to date. You MUST use their online submission system on the website. The BBC say:

“We see all scripts as a calling card to showcase a writer’s talent, ability and voice…

“We want to see the best possible draft you can achieve. We are not looking for early/first/rough drafts of scripts. Only submit to the Script Room when your script is ready, even if it means waiting for a later Script Room submission window.

“We look for original voices – and original scripts that express those voices. We do not look for more of the same – we look for something new.”

OK, so that’s something to keep the dramatists amongst you busy over Christmas. But for the rest of you, here’s a great list of competitions from Retreat West.

Retreat West was founded by novelist and short story writer, Amanda Saint, in 2012. The site really is all about writers and writing. They hold competitions for poems and short stories of varying lengths. Their First Chapter Competition (closing date 27th January 2019) offers feedback and review from literary agent Sarah Manning of The Bent Agency for the winner and feedback and review from Amanda Saint for the runner-up. Do check out the site, especially if you feel you’ll get some valuable writing time in over the Christmas holidays.

I’m sure the last thing you’ll want to do is read my thoughts over the break, so I’ll be back in the New Year. All that remains is to say have a wonderful time. Just make sure that those around you know that you need a break from the in-laws, changing batteries in the kids’ toys and overindulgence in mince pies/Christmas cake/ red wine/ rubbish TV (tick your vice) so that you can squeeze in a little time for yourself and your writing. Good luck with that!

Author: Diana Nadin

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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