So you want to be a scriptwriter?
Fantastic, good on you. Now the hard part…how do you get into the industry?
For me, I wanted the opportunity of being able to teach Scriptwriting so I decided to do a masters, that way I could get feedback on my own writing each week, meet other writers, have a writing structure and a qualification which meant I could teach. I’m also working in a part time teaching position whilst doing this, working on other writing projects and attending various networking events across the UK such as London Screenwriters Festival to help me break into the industry.
However, something that me when I started the Masters last year was how many of the other writers on my course believed they just had to do the Masters and they would be guaranteed a spot in the industry, a place at the table, blah, blah, blah. They turn up at class every week with their script and get their feedback and then moan that they’ve had no industry opportunities put in their lap. Yes, I understand that they’ve paid a lot of money to do the course (FYI, so have I) but if they want to be in the industry and they want to write then they need to be proactive.
A masters is cute and cushty and great to help with your writing development BUT if you’re going to use the masters as a way to get into the industry DON’T DO IT! save yourself some money and just go on a few writing courses, join a writing group, attend festivals. There are several other and cheaper ways of becoming a great writer.
Believe you and me, your wallet will thank you!
On Monday I happened to attend my first ever BBC Writers Room event. It was specifically for scriptwriters in the industry and was absolutely fantastic as it gave me so much information and motivation to just get on my arse and write!
It was a good opportunity to network with brooms BBC people, such as the head of the northern writers room and other writers. It was also a chance to have a sneaky look inside the BBC offices, which were so cool! Even if I did have to have an airport style security check before I got in! And I also got to wear a badge with my name on which made me feel so professional!
The event was a Q&A with writer Sally Abbott whose written everything from Eastenders and Casualty to her own award winning afternoon drama called The Coroner. She gave us so much information including how she started out in the industry herself and how she goes about her writing process.
For me personally it was so motivating to be in a room full of writers and inspire each other. Also, Sally’s experience and expertise was invaluable advice and guidance which has really give me the kick up my arse I needed for my writing.
So I’m back this week with an exciting travel/ work blog. Last weekend I braved the capital all on my lonesome for a course in comedy writing.
As you guys know my true ambition is to write a sitcom one day so I thought this course would be right up my street!
I stayed in a shared apartment in Camden, the accommodation itself was quite affordable and convenient. I will admit I had a tiny panic when I got to the entrance and thought I wouldn’t be able to get in and then walking up the stairs with no bannister. But in the end the place proved quite good value for money. However, I think next time I’d stay somewhere a little quieter as I was right in the middle of Camden market!
I choose the two day course at The Comedy School as its a truly unique organisation that specialises in all things Conedy and also does amazing charity work and providing fantastic opportunities for up and coming artists in comedy.
The course was run by the writer of a well known and long running British sitcom called Red Dwarf. His name was Rob Grant and he was absolutely lovely and hilarious. His story into writing was very inspiring and it was brilliant to get an insiders guide into how the industry works and where the best opportunities are at. The first day of the course was mostly Rob talking about different aspects involved in comedy writing, it was really informative but by the end of the day we were knackered!
In terms of food, it wasn’t all posh cuisine I’m afraid as such as I’d have loved to have tried loads of different cuisines I was so knackered by the end of the day that I couldn’t be bothered queuing for restaurants. On the Friday night I got a takeaway, it wasn’t all bad though as I went to Itsu. Itsu is a London based Japanese chain which specialises in Sushi, Noodle and Broth dishes. I ordered the vegetable dumpking broth, it filled me up but it wasn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever had from there. On the Saturday I just grabbed a sandwich from spar and then had a McDonalds. So glamorous! On my last day I treated myself to Pan Au Chocolat and a cup of tea to get me through the last day.
The course was based right by Regents Park so it meant I was also able to do a little exploring of the park and the beautiful Camden. On the last day of the course, we split up into groups and wrote sketches for a radio style sketch show that would be performed by actors that night. It was intense but an amazing learning curve and although sketch writing isn’t my forte it brilliant to see the whole process taking place in just one day.
The actors delivered our material brilliantly and I was very impressed with how they interpreted our writing. The course was quick and very intense. I’d say the first day was more for sitcom writers and the second day was more for sketch writers. Of course, both days were useful. All in all, after an exhausting weekend I left more inspired and determined to succeed as a comedy writer!