Opportunities: Our Pick of the Week – WriterSlam from the BBC & other partners seeking scripted comedy

Each week we look through our pile of writing opportunities to pick out one we think is particularly worth your time. It could be an innovative brief, great prize money, a high-profile company, or just plain fun.

This week’s pick: WriterSlam from the BBC & other partners seeking scripted comedy

Description: Building on the success of the MonologueSlam UK initiative for actors, WriterSlam UK is an initiative run by Triforce Creative Network to help TV production companies and broadcasters access new and established writers from diverse backgrounds and support them in their career development, providing tangible outcomes for participants with a structured and accessible programme over 2015.

The second WriterSlam will take place on 19th November at Theatre Royal Stratford East and is supported by Creative SkillsetTiger AspectITVITV StudiosBBC and Hat Trick. This time, they are looking for scripted comedy and are asking writers to send in an idea for a comedy series along with 10-15 pages from the script.

So, what’s so great about it? Firstly, this competition is open to everyone,  in their words “you might have literary representation, you might not. You might have written for theatre, or for short film, in your bedroom, or even just in your own head. ANYONE can enter” – so this one’s great if you are just starting out or trying to make the transition from theatre in to television and you have an idea for a comedy series. Secondly, the organisers acknowledge that it’s not always realistic to ask for a whole script from writers, so at this stage they only want an idea and 10-15 from the script. The prizes for this one are pretty impressive too: The winning writer will receive a paid development commission from Tiger Aspect, with mentoring from Pete Thornton, the Head of Comedy. Plus, the runners up will receive career development prizes from ITV, the BBC and Hat Trick. You’ve got until 4 October to get your applications in!

Read the full details here.

Please note, we’ve posted this for your convenience and we’re not affiliated with the organisers of the opportunity in any way.

Stitchin’ Fiction: One Year Anniversary – accepting submissions for scratch night

Stitchin’ Fiction: One Year Anniversary 

The only new writing night where everything is decided on the night!

“We had a smorgasbord of talent at our last gathering – submission and audience numbers skyrocketing since our launch back in November. Now, it’s time to reach out again to creatives who want to see their work bought to life, and their skills put to the test!”

Date: Monday 26th October

Place: The Boogaloo, Highgate, N6 5AT

Submission Deadline: Midnight on Friday 16th October

Participant Arrival: 6pm

Scratch Performance Time: 7:30pm

How to apply: Please send a note of interest to stitchinfiction@gmail.com for a registration form. Upon receipt of a completed form, you will receive confirmation of your registration. Participants will be notified by Wednesday 21st October if their submission is successful.

​​​​​​As ever, if you would like any further information, just get in touch! In the meantime if you want a clearer idea of how our night works, visit their facebook page:
www.facebook.com/stitchinfiction 

Stitchin’ Fiction is a rehearsed reading performance where creatives are invited to come and stretch their theatre muscles in an informal workshop setting.

Participant and audience testimonials:

“Fab night! Great to see this kind of support for new work!”

“What a wonderful & inspiring evening!”

“Stitchin’ Fiction has really helped me kick start my career as a writer. My short play was selected, and there happened to be someone who worked in TV development in the audience. These so called “chance meetings” wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for nights like this!”

Deadline: 16 October 2015

Source: Arts Council Jobs Page

Signature Pictures seeking short screenplay from Yorkshire writer

 

Signature Pictures is a social enterprise production company. Partnered with Jobcentre Plus, they provide training and work experience opportunities to unemployed young people in every department of their film productions. They aim to fill a gap in provision for the many talented young people who lack the contacts, resources or belief necessary to develop a career in the creative industries. 90% of their trainees have since gone on to work within film or media.

In the first important step towards nationalising their training structure, they will be shooting their latest film production in Yorkshire. The main purpose of the production will be to provide young, unemployed people from Jobcentres in Yorkshire training as part of the film production. A maximum of 20 trainees will be appointed as part of this production.

This project will help improve youth unemployment in Yorkshire and help boost what is becoming a thriving film industry in the region. Their other major partners, Creative Skillset, Screen Yorkshire and Leeds City Council, have appointed Signature Pictures to fulfil this gap in the Yorkshire creative economy.

They are looking for a short screenplay for their Yorkshire initiative – read the submission criteria below:

Screenplay Criteria 

  • Must be 5-10 minutes in length.
  • The writer must live in or be from Yorkshire originally.
  • The story should be Yorkshire based, or be able to be set in Yorkshire.
  • No more than 3 locations. Yorkshire locations already sited would be a bonus.
  • Preferably small cast.
  • PLEASE ALSO PROVIDE A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THE SCRIPT IN NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS. SCRIPTS WITHOUT THIS ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE CONSIDERED.
  • Please submit scripts to sami@signaturepictures.co.uk

 

Deadline: Friday 2nd October 2015

Source: BBC Writersroom

Sitcom Trials seeking 10 minute scripts with ‘Halloween’ theme

A brand new Halloween Sitcom Trials, will take place in Manchester on October 25th 2015 at the Kings Arms, Salford and they are looking for scripts.

They want sitcom scripts that they can perform in the tried and tested Trials format (a 10 minute sitcom ending in a cliffhanger with a 3 minute payoff scene, to be performed by no more than 4 actors). This time, though you can write your sitcom on any subject, they are particularly looking for scripts with a Halloween or horror theme.

If you want to enter a sitcom, go to the Sitcom Trials Facebook group (not to be confused with the Facebook page) where you will see the Files with further information.

How to apply: Upload your script to there (as a PDF or .doc) and it will then be subjected to an online script reading, open to all. You will be invited to join in with this script reading and you will be asked to vote on the scripts in contention.

The deadline for script entries is midnight Saturday October 10th, after which there will be a week to vote on them and choose the scripts to be performed by Sean and the Manchester Trials team on Sunday 25th. (The show will also include at least one sitcom devised by Sean and the team).

Think spooky, think tricky, think treaty, and they look forward to reading your script entries.

Find out more about The Sitcom Trials on their website

Deadline: 10 October 2015

Source: BBC Writersroom

Pursued By A Bear: “How can I use stage directions to keep a bad director from ruining my play?”

Pursued By A Bear is our new advice column with playwright Adam Taylor.  He’ll tackle your playwriting questions – from practical issues to existential dilemmas – relying on nothing but his bare wits, brute strength, and questionable personal experiences.    

“How smart should I assume my director will be when I’m writing a play? How much detail is it necessary to put into stage directions, how clear should it be where I want the emphasis to be in a line of dialogue, etc? I don’t want to spell everything out for them, but I want to make sure my writing isn’t misinterpreted.” – Anonymous

I’ve often asked myself this, and have come to the inescapable conclusion that the safest option is to assume that everyone is a moron. I’m not just talking about directors in the theatre either, this assumption has literally become the mantra by which I live my entire life.

Everyone is a moron.

Me. You. Everyone.

If you’re that desperate to know whether your director is a moron (my money’s on yes), then I guess there are a few ways you could attempt to find out.

Before agreeing to work with anyone, you could ask them to fax over their qualifications, that is, if you feel a D in GCSE maths and a ten metre backstroke badge will give you a better idea of their suitability to direct your play.

You could get them in a headlock and forcibly submit them to an IQ test.

You could imprison them in a giant maze and time how long it takes them to find their way out.

You could submit them to a series of rigorous interviews and humiliating challenges on live television and then get members of the general public to phone in and vote for the smartest candidate.

But my guess is you probably don’t have the time or the budget to do most of these things. And I doubt any of them would work anyway.

You’ve probably heard the saying “Everything is open to interpretation.” In my opinion this is just a polite way of saying that everything is open to misinterpretation. No matter how hard you try to safeguard against this, the genuine stupidity inherent in the human race will inevitably find a way through.

As I outlined above, I strongly believe that everyone is a moron. I’d like to qualify this by saying that most people are not morons all of the time.

I will humbly offer myself as an example. There are certain things I’m quite good at; frying an egg, typing without looking at the keys and belittling strangers on the internet.

And there are other things at which I’m an outright moron; making small talk, watching sports and running a bath at a temperature in which a human being can survive.

Am I the right person to fry you up a nice full English on a Sunday morning or insult you for no reason while hiding behind the anonymity offered by thousands of miles of fibre optic cable? I’ll have a good go.

Am I the right person to engage with in harmless conversation about the cricket or run you a soothing bath? Definitely not.

Before I lose track of the point entirely, we were discussing how much detail you should put into your stage directions to prevent a director from butchering your massively intellectual masterpiece.

The answer is, as much or as little as you want. In all likelihood it won’t make a blind bit of difference so just do whatever the hell you like.

If it makes you feel warm and fuzzy to inflate your play to the thickness of a Charles Dickens novel with descriptions of the furniture, go for it.

On the other hand, if you feel like the dialogue is the important part and you couldn’t give less of a crap about what colour the rug is, feel free to keep the stage directions as sparse as the helpful advice in this column.

This is the part where any playwright worth his salt would give an example to back up his point, probably involving a famous actor who performed in (and of course loved) one of his productions. This has never happened to me so I’ll tell a barely relevant anecdote involving a hack of a director whose name I can’t even remember.

It’s not that interesting so I’ll get straight to the point. Basically I questioned the director as to why the lead actor kept ignoring my stage direction, which clearly stated in plain English that he should “imperiously stride across the stage and vehemently slap his oppressor in the face.”

The director replied, “I never really read the bits in italics.”

The lesson you need to learn is that there’s no point agonising over stage directions. Seventy-five percent of the cast and crew in any production skim-reads them at best. The other twenty-five percent read them just to see if they’re any good, and discover they usually aren’t (in subsequent productions these people join their peers in the seventy-five percent). Therefore, what you need to do is concentrate on writing the best play you can.

If the play has an engaging story with unique and memorable characters no one will even notice what colour the rug is.

And remember, although everyone is a moron in some respect, it’s definitely for the best if you try to work with directors who are not morons at directing plays. Always try to see one of their productions or get the recommendation of someone you trust who has worked with them

If you’ve written a good play, a good director will be able to bring your vision to life and strengthen it in ways you never even considered. They’ll do this with a combination of wacky rehearsal rituals, bizarre improvisational exercises and swathes of illegible post-it-notes that might as well be voodoo for all you know. All that will matter is that the end result will be so much more than you imagined.

A bad director, on the other hand, will use much of the same voodoo but somehow stage a production that makes you want to change your name and move to Alaska.

Unfortunately the nature of working in theatre means that often you won’t get a say in who the director is. When a moron is thrust upon you by some errant producer all you can do is try to limit the damage by diplomatically pointing out the areas where you feel the production could be improved.

And when that doesn’t work, you’re forced to resort to childish sulking and blatant name-calling. On the bright side, at least someone saw enough value in your work to take the time to ruin it.

Have a question or problem you’d like to send in?  Email advice@londonplaywrightsblog.com and keep your eyes peeled to see if the answer turns up on our site!

(DISCLAIMER: If you send us a question, you’re giving us permission to publish it!  Be sure to indicate what name you’d like us to use as a sign when we publish your column, and a just a heads up that we reserve the right to edit submissions for length if needed.)

Opportunities Weekly Round-up: 25 September 2015

Our weekly Friday round-up of opportunities listed on the blog that haven’t yet reached their closing date (listed in order of closing date).  Opportunities are grouped into four sections: 1) Pick of the Week; 2) Opportunities with Deadlines; 3) Workshops and Events; 4) Ongoing opportunities (no deadline).

Want to be sure you never miss an opportunity?  Sign up for our email list to get the weekly roundup direct to your inbox!

Our latest opportunities Pick of the Week is: Orange Tree Theatre accepting script submissions & applications for Writers’ Collective

Opportunities with deadlines:

Play Submissions Helper – 54 Playwright Submissions w/ September Deadlines – Deadlines ongoing

 

Orange Tree Theatre accepting script submissions & applications for Writers’ Collective – Deadline: 25 September 2015

Studio Firsts with Talawa Theatre Company (for Black theatremakers) – Deadline: 25 September 2015

DVM Theatre accepting submissions for monthly scratch night – Deadline: 25 September 2015

Etch Theatre open for submissions for scratch night – Deadline: 25 September 2015

Two Monkeys TV & Newham Asian Women’s Project seeking submissions for Empower House – Deadline: 27 September 2015

Autumn Sessions with London Playwriting Lab (£99, not affiliated with London Playwrights’ Blog) – Deadline: 28 September 2015

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking sketches (paid) – Deadline: 28 September 2015 (weekly MONDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking one-liners (paid) – Deadline: 29 September 2015 (weekly TUESDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

Tinniswood Award for Radio Drama (submit via producer) – Deadline: 29 September 2015

R&D By The Sea – Weeklong Funded Residency at Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis – Deadline: 30 September 2015

The Play’s The Thing seeking one act plays – Deadline: 30 September 2015

StageWrite seeking 30-40 min. scripts for Bedford’s annual New Writing Festival – Deadline: 30 September 2015

IdeasTap Innovators Fund – now open through Hiive – Deadline: 30 September 2015

The Space accepting show submissions for its Spring Season – Deadline: 2 October 2015

Tamasha Playwrights Year 2 Writers’ Group open for applications – Deadline: 2 October 2015

WriterSlam from the BBC & other partners seeking scripted comedy – Deadline: 4 October 2015

Less is More Productions seeking new plays from writers in the North East– Deadline: 5 October 2015

Illuminate Fest at New Wimbledon Studio open for submissions – Deadline: 5 October 2015

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking sketches (paid) – Deadline: 5 October 2015 (weekly MONDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking one-liners (paid) – Deadline: 6 October 2015 (weekly TUESDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

The Alfred Bradley Bursary Award launched for new radio drama writers based in the North – Deadline: 8 October 2015

LONDON PLAYWRIGHTS’ BLOG WRITING WORKSHOP: Writing Your Play – With Kimberley Andrews – Deadline: 9 October 2015

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking sketches (paid) – Deadline: 12 October 2015 (weekly MONDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

Newsjack on BBC Radio 4 seeking one-liners (paid) – Deadline: 13 October 2015 (weekly TUESDAY deadline for six consecutive weeks)

2016 BlueCat Screenplay Competition for short screenplays ($40 entry fee, $10,000 grand prize) – Deadline: 15 October 2015 (regular deadline fee)

Rose Unfolds Scratch Nights at Rose Playhouse Bankside – Deadline: 16 October 2015

BBC Launches Screenplay First Award (£10,000 prize) – Deadline: 22 October 2015

Channel 4 Screenwriting Course 2016 – Deadline: 30 October 2015

Royal Society of Literature Brookleaze Grants for Writers Autumn 2015 – Deadline: 2 November 2015

2016 BlueCat Screenplay Competition for short screenplays ($40 entry fee, $10,000 grand prize) – Deadline: 15 October 2015 (regular deadline fee); 15 November 2015 (final deadline fee)

SCRIPT LAB Playwriting Competition – open to writers from Beds/Bucks/Herts – Deadline: 15 November 2015

Sci Fest LA 2016 accepting submissions of short plays ($10 fee) – Deadline: 15 November 2015

Call out for applications to ‘Women in The Spotlight’ funded residential at Arvon (for LGBT+ or BAME women) – Deadline: 23 November 2015

Saving Endangered Species (SES) International Playwriting Prize (California, $100 prize) – Deadline: 30 November 2015

2015 TF Evans Shaw Society £500 Writing Award (entry £8/£5) – Deadline: 30 November 2015

Theatre InspiraTO’s 11th Playwriting Contest is Now Open – Deadline: 1 December 2015

Punk Monkey Productions accepting 10-20 page submissions for PL.A.Y Noir (Los Angeles) – Deadline: 1 December 2015

‘The Lumen’ Journal Call For Submissions: Summer 2016 – Deadline: 4 December 2015

Hampstead Theatre submissions window now open for plays – Deadline: 31 December 2015

Events and workshops: 

Free Online Digital Storytelling Course with BBC Academy/ Future Learn – course starts on 28 September 2015

Theatre503 Writer’s Night for ‘Valhalla’ – Deadline: 30 September 2015

Euphoric Ink launches ‘The Inkubator’ Introduction to Playwriting Class (£200) – From 1 October 2015 for 10 weeks

Screenwriting Workshop with Blue Cat Screenwriting Competition (£119 full registration/£39 to observe) – 3 October 2015 at 7pm

Manchester Literature Festival: Talk with Danny Brocklehurst -Date: 14 October 2015 at 7pm

New Views Playwriting Programme at the National Theatre (for 15-19 year olds) – from late October

Playwrights’ Residential weekend in Stonehenge Youth Hostel (£250) – 16-18 October 2015

LONDON PLAYWRIGHTS’ BLOG WRITING WORKSHOPS: Writing Your Play – With Kimberley Andrews – 19 October – 23 November (6 Monday evenings from 7-9pm)

Theatre503 Writer’s Night for ‘Rotterdam’: 28 October 2015

Guardian Masterclasses: writing a script for TV – 31 October 2015 & 1 November 2015

Ongoing submissions:

Theatrelab seeking scripts to perform at ‘WordPlay’ at Bath Spa University – Deadline: none posted

Londonville Lit offering reading slots – Deadline: none posted

Madam Renards Mini Fringe Festival Swindon open for applications from writers and performers – Deadline: none posted (festival takes place in 2016)

East End Literary Salon open to rolling submissions – Deadline: Rolling

Orange Tea Theatre accepting submissions – Deadline: Rolling

Funding available for students at Glasgow University MLitt Playwriting & Dramaturgy – Deadline: None posted

Everything Theatre accepting plays for podcast readings – Deadline: None posted

The Cockpit Theatre seeking work for scratch nights – No deadline posted but performances take place on the first Monday of the month.

Shred Productions open to submissions – Deadline: None (open submissions)

Poppy Seed – accepting submissions of 5 minute scripts for blog – Deadline: None posted

COG ARTSpace call out for playwrights! – Deadline: None posted

LPB WRITING WORKSHOPS: Writing Your Play – With Kimberley Andrews

WRITING YOUR PLAY is a six week course designed to take new writers through the process of writing a first draft: from finding the inspiration for a new idea through to completing an accomplished script.

Whether you are completely new to playwriting or are already making strides towards your first draft, the course will explore the practical building blocks of writing a play. In each session, through practical exercises and discussion, we will work on a different aspect of playwriting, from generating new ideas to developing credible characters to structuring a story.

Writers will be encouraged to share their work with the group, creating a supportive environment in which to experiment with new ideas and receive constructive feedback. By the end of the course, writers should be armed with all the tools they need to complete their first draft.

Week-by-week breakdown:

  1. Inspiration and the initial idea.
  2. Building a character and the role of the protagonist.
  3. Story and Structure.
  4. Building a scene.
  5. Dialogue.
  6. Theme.

How to book:  Please download and fill out our short application form* and email it to workshops@londonplaywrightsblog.com.

Download

*Please note that places will be filled as applications are received, so it’s best to apply early if you want to ensure the best chance of getting a place on the course!  You will be notified whether we can offer you a place as soon as we have processed your application.

When:  Monday 19th October 2015 at 7pm – 9pm (running every Monday for 6 weeks – last class Monday 23rd November 2015)

Where:  Theatre Delicatessen  – 119 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3DA (nearest tube: Farringdon)

Cost: £120  (payable by BACS following acceptance on the course)

Deadline for applications: Friday 9 October 2015*Wednesday 14 October 2015
*Please note (as per the disclaimer above) we will be filling places prior to this closing date, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting a place on the course!

Kimberley Andrews is a playwright with an MA in Text & Performance Studies from RADA/ Kings College London. Her writing credits include commissions from the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Wolverhampton University. She has also developed work with the Manchester Royal Exchange and All the Rage Theatre. Kimberley has written and produced her own work at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in Islington as part of comedy collective, Wet Lettuce. She was shortlisted for the BBC Drama Writers’ Academy in 2012 and was then selected by BBC to participate in a training academy for day-time soap Doctors, resulting in writing a trial script for the show. Kimberley has worked as a playwriting tutor at RADA and currently works as a freelance script consultant.

Euphoric Ink launches ‘The Inkubator’ Introduction to Playwriting Class (£200)

From 1 October 2015, Euphoric Ink will be running The Inkubator introductory playwriting workshops every Thursday evening for 10 weeks in a central London location.

The Inkubator sessions will last for 2.5 hours covering a range of techniques and themes throughout the programme, including: getting started; dramatic action; voice; structure and getting it finished.

Cost: £200 for the set of sessions.

How to apply:  For further details including how to secure a place for these workshops, send an email to info@euphoricink.co.uk – entitled, The Inkubator.

Source:  ArtsJobs

Sci Fest LA 2016 accepting submissions of short plays ($10 fee)

Sci Fest LA is currently accepting submissions for its 2016 event/

Co-founded by veteran Los Angeles theatre producers, Michael Blaha and Lee Costello and actor, David Dean Bottrell, SCI-FEST LA: The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival debuted to a sold-out house at the famous ACME Theatre in Los Angeles on May 6, 2014 and has since become a critically acclaimed and highly anticipated annual event.

This first-of-its-kind festival offers audiences two rotating evenings of new, professionally produced, visually compelling, 15-minute sci-fi plays – all performed live on stage.

Sci-Fest welcomes international submissions from outside the U.S.A.

What to submit:  Scripts must be less than 25 pages and have a running time of less than 20 minutes, and have a science fiction theme.

How to apply:  Scripts can be submitted, via e-mail to submissions@sci-fest.com, as an attachment in either PDF or Microsoft Word format.  Be sure to read the full terms and conditions before applying.

Fee:  There is a $10 application fee, which can be paid via the website.

Deadline:  15 November 2015 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time

Source:  Direct contact

Rose Unfolds Scratch Nights at Rose Playhouse Bankside

The Rose Unfolds Project links the past, the present and the future. As the first playhouse on Bankside, The Rose was the catalyst for Southwark to become the home of Elizabethan drama. Shakespeare, Marlowe and many of their contemporaries started careers at The Playhouse. The Rose Unfolds Project will continue this work, providing a platform for emerging artists and creating a forum to explore current theatre and arts practice.  The project will provide a springboard for new artists and new work whilst also giving context to the classical texts it stages.

The Rose Unfolds ‘Scratch’ events will take place on Sundays on a monthly basis. The Scratch evenings are underpinned by the idea of feedback and audience response. They will be casual, discussive events where work, whether polished or raw, can be shown, discussed and further developed.

The next scratch night will take place on 8 November 2015.

What to submit:  Submissions should be 15 to 20 minutes maximum. We will consider all genres of work, whether it’s the beginnings of a script or a piece already in development. The work can be new writing, a classic or anything that unfolds in between.

How to apply:  Please send your ideas and submissions to: info@roseplayhouse.org.uk

Deadline:  16 October 2015

(Selected writers will be notified by 23 October 2015)

Source: Rose Theatre