Prissy Productions seeking short film scripts

Do you write dramas or know anyone who does? Are you interested in seeing your work brought to life?

Prissy Productions is interested in receiving scripts for short films – minimum of four characters. There’s no prize – it’s just for people who are genuinely interested in practising their craft and seeing their work in action. 

The scripts that are selected may need some rewriting – so applicants must be prepared for this request.

The idea is that the short film will be entered into short film competitions.

What to submit:  Scripts should aim to come in at 7 – 10 minutes in duration.

Please also give a short description of yourself in the main body of the email, along with character breakdowns and what draft version of the script is attached.

How to apply:  Send scripts/questions to: info@prissyproductions.com by the end of March 2016 and include ‘shorts script’ in the subject of your email.

They will aim to reply to all script submission emails but this may not be possible in all cases.

Deadline:  31 March 2016

Source: Ben Peel via Playwriting UK Facebook Group

Pursued By A Bear: “Is it a bad idea to write about my awesome friends?”

Pursued By A Bear is our weekly 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.   

“I’m friends with some really interesting people. Should I base my characters on them?”

First of all, we all think our friends are interesting. Isn’t that why we’re friends with them?

You have a pre-existing emotional investment in your friends; you already care about them, their actions influence you, their lives bleed into your own. If you were total strangers, forced to sit next to each other at a dinner party, would you find them as interesting?

Do they have interesting personalities? Have they done interesting things? Do they have an interesting job? Or all of the above?

I’m not in any way answering this question for you or judging your friends, it’s entirely for you to decide.

What you need to do is brutally assess what you find so interesting about your friends, and then have a careful think about whether that will be interesting to other people.

Because we’ve all been in the situation where a close friend introduces us to another friend of theirs and that friend turns out to be ultra-boring. I’m talking super-mega-boring. Like the most boring person on earth, or possibly even in all of human history. A guy so boring you want to puncture your own eardrums with the erect penis of an African Elephant, rather than endure another five minutes of conversation with him.

I’m talking about the kind of person who inspires suicide pacts. The ones where everyone actually goes through with it.

And yet, your friend, whose opinion in most things you’ve trusted and even valued up until now, enjoys spending time with this non-entity of a person.

This is the situation I recently found myself in, when a very good friend of mine, who I‘ve always found to be great fun and of impeccable taste, introduced me to his new girlfriend. Obviously I don’t want to upset my friend, so I’ll refer to him as Raphael for the duration of this rant. Now, Raphael had been seeing this girl for about three months, but I only recently met her at another friend’s birthday celebration. I don’t want to give anything away here so I’ll use a tactful fake name for her too, let’s call her Meh.

Raphael had been telling me how fun his new girlfriend was for the past three months. He was all like “She’s so funny,” and “She’s totally crazy,” and “You’re gonna love her.” Based on his accounts I was basically imagining a cross between Grace Jones and Michael McIntyre. I’m talking solely about personality here, looks are irrelevant in this instance. And I really don’t want to even imagine what a hybrid of those two people would look like.

Anyway, getting to the point (if I can remember what that was), when I finally met Meh her personality was somewhere between a blank sheet of paper and an overcooked chicken breast. Listening to her speak was like sitting through a four hour audio book about the formation of stalactites, narrated by Michael Gove.

By the time she was done lecturing me about some new government regulation (or company policy or blah) that affected her job doing stuff in HR (or whatever it was – I zoned out), I was wondering how many handfuls of my own hair it would take to choke me to death.

I had two questions:

  1. What was the point of this woman?
  2. Why had my good friend so vindictively inflicted her company on me?

Once I got over the anger, frustration and strong suicidal urges I examined the situation and realised that Raphael and Meh had many common interests I personally do not share; they both had excruciatingly boring office jobs, they both worked in the same office, and they both loved the TV show The Office. They also both enjoyed having unashamedly loud, indiscreet sex at friends’ birthday parties; an interest I do actually share, but never personally with either of them.

Fortunately, Meh somehow used her extensive charms to seduce another similarly hapless fool from the office she shared with Raphael, and thus their relationship abruptly ended. And I never have to see her again. Since they broke up, Raphael has grudgingly admitted that Meh wasn’t really that interesting or fun after all; “She was actually pretty dull when it came down to it, plus she had an extremely unhealthy obsession with Ricky Gervais.”

The lesson we can take away from this lengthy and largely irrelevant anecdote (aside from the fact that some people are easily blinded by sex) is that friendship is highly subjective. Your friends might not be as interesting as you think, but that’s for you to figure out. Try writing down all the concrete facts that you feel make your friends interesting. Then write down their quirky personality traits. Then decide whether they’d make an interesting character.

So, you’ve decided your friends are indeed deeply and undeniably fascinating, is it okay to write about them? Should you ask their permission? Is it better to go for it and apologise later? Or do you just brazenly rip off their entire personality and never invite them to the show?

All of the above are acceptable ways of going about this. But how do you decide which course of action is right for you?

I think it depends on the friend and your relationship.

If it’s someone you don’t see that often and aren’t really that bothered about (despite them being so intensely interesting) feel free to go ahead and write directly about them, safe in the knowledge they’ll probably never find out, and if they do, you won’t really care.

If it’s a friend you value highly, you need to consider whether it’s worth potentially damaging that friendship for the sake of a play.

Bear in mind that this person is your friend, so hopefully you don’t hold too much deep-seated resentment towards them which might subconsciously slip into your writing. However, it is sometimes difficult to predict what offends or hurts people, no matter how well you know them.

The safest thing is to discuss the idea with your friend. I don’t think you need to necessarily ask for permission; perhaps just say you’re thinking of writing something about them and wanted to run it past them first. This way you’re leaving them a bit of leeway to tell you what they would and wouldn’t feel comfortable with, without giving them carte blanche to veto the entire project.

One of the most difficult things I’ve found as a writer is that no matter what my intentions are, my friends will often interpret certain characters as being based on them. It’s probably something to do with the sheer volume of experiences we’ve shared, combined with the natural human tendency to put ourselves at the centre of everything.

I can’t deny they’re probably right in some small way; it’s impossible for us to completely divorce our experiences from what we write, so I’m sure details of their lives and personalities leech into my work occasionally, however subconscious it may be.

When I have deliberately based a character on a close friend, no matter how clever I think I’m being in disguising them, they normally see it instantly. It’s never been a problem so far, they’re my friends so I like them and tend to portray them favourably. If I made one of them look like an utter bastard they might have an issue with it. Although, having said that, people are generally quite oblivious to their own flaws and so it’s possible they won’t identify negative aspects of a character as being based on themselves.

If you’re dealing with the facts of someone’s life it becomes more difficult. Obviously if Raphael’s reading this he’ll immediately recognise the above story and presumably feel some kind of embarrassment at it being immortalised on the web for anyone to read.

In this case, I’m fine with that because he subjected me to the outrageously tedious conversation of Meh and consequently thoroughly deserves to be publicly shamed.

Don’t worry Gary, no one else will know it’s you.

In the end, I guess it all comes down to how strong your friendship is. If in doubt, play it safe and write about acquaintances, colleagues, old teachers and friends of friends instead. People you meet but don’t have a lasting connection with are ideal fodder because the likelihood of them seeing your play is minimal, and even if they do, they don’t know you well enough to ask “Is that supposed to be me?”

Of course, there can also be legal implications to writing about someone. The safest course of action here is to change names and give yourself some plausible deniability. It’s often possible to change a few details and render a character completely unrecognisable; change your blonde, blue-eyed accountant friend Kevin into a brunette, brown-eyed risk analyst named Chantelle.

If you absolutely have to write someone’s true story always try to steer clear of defamatory statements, unless you can prove that what you’re saying is the truth. What constitutes proof in this situation is a whole new issue which I don’t have the legal knowledge to go into, so I’ll just say do your research before you write anything questionable about a real person.

Your question concerned writing about your friends, but I think it’s worth mentioning that the previous paragraph is doubly true if you’re writing about a celebrity or public figure. The rich and famous have a lot more disposable cash to blow on lawyers than any of my friends do, even after allowing for fancy designer clothes, supercars and cocaine habits. I’d be a lot more wary about insulting them on stage or in print. And even if you think you’re okay with the possibility of being sued, most theatres won’t be, so you likely won’t find a home for your work.

Most people will take it as a compliment if you write about them, as long as the character isn’t a hideous and detestable piece of shit. I based the villain in one play on a really close mate and he found it absolutely hilarious. If you are going to write about a friend, be fair about it and make sure it comes from a place of love, or make sure it’s a friend with a sturdy sense of humour.

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-off 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: 4 March 2016

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 & featured posts; 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: 2016 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice Awards

This week in our advice column: Pursued By A Bear:  “Playwrights make no money, should I do something else?”

Coming up with London Playwrights’ Workshop: 

Spring Workshops with London Playwrights’ Blog

Intensive workshop: Finding Inspiration and Developing your Idea – 5 March 2016

Intensive workshop: Creating Engaging Characters – 17 March 2016

Opportunities with deadlines:

Play Submissions Helper – 61 playwriting competitions with March deadlines

 

 

Barrel Organ seeking scratch submissions for ‘LIVE’ at Camden People’s Theatre – Deadline: 4 March 2016

Kevin Spacey Foundation open to 2016 applications for £10,000 Artists of Choice programme – Deadline: 4 March 2016

Windsor Fringe – Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing 2016 – Deadline: 5 March 2016

TheatreCentre seeking writers for PSHE teaching pilot (paid) – Deadline: 7 March 2016

Sky Academy Arts Scholarships – Theatre & Comedy (18-30 year olds) – Deadline: 10 March 2016

Sedos seeking 10 minute scripts for production in London & Edinburgh (£5 entry fee) – Deadline: 11 March 2016

Moonlit Wings Playwriting Contest 2016 for writing for young people (Washington, DC) – Deadline: 14 March 2016

Guiding Lights 2016 accepting applications for mentorship in the film industry – Deadline: 14 March 2016

Falling Pennies seeking scripts to scratch for ‘On The Night’ – Deadline: 14 March 2016

IdeasTap Innovators Fund – now open through Hiive – Deadline: 18 March 2016

About Love’ Festival of short plays call for submissions (Canada $10 entry fee/ $150 prize – Deadline: 20 March 2016

Sky Blue Theatre accepting one-act plays for British Theatre Challenge (£16 fee) – Deadline: 30 March 2016

Front Row Theatre Company looking for scripts – Deadline: 31 March 2016

Blue Skies Workshops for writers from Sky or the Bird – Deadline: 31 March 2016

The Production Exchange seeking play submissions for development – Deadline: 31 March 2016  FESTIVAL CANCELLED

2016 Papatango Prize Opens – with extra £6000 award! – Deadline: 31 March 2016

University of Wolverhampton accepting proposals for POP Drama – Deadline: 31 March 2016

2016 TF Evans Shaw Society £500 Writing Award (entry £8/£5) – Deadline: 31 March 2016

BBC/ The Northern Film School seeking short film scripts – Deadline: 1 April 2016

BBC Scriptroom 11 call out for Comedy submissions – Deadline: 4 April 2016

Royal Society of Literature Brookleaze Grants for Writers Spring 2016 – Deadline: 11 April 2016

Frost burg State University One-Act Playwriting Competition (Maryland, $20 fee, $750 prize) – Deadline: 11 April 2016

Chesil Theatre’s 10×10 Playwriting Competition seeking 10 minute plays inspired by the life of David Bowie – Deadline: 22 April 2016

Nick Darke Writers’ Award 2016 open for entries – Deadline: 30 May 2016

ShowBiz Shorts Playwriting Contest (Los Angeles) – Deadline: 30 May 2016

Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize open for submissions (comedy) – Deadline: 31 May 2016

Le Théâtre Bleu seeking submissions of comedies in Shakespearean language (Quebec, Canada) – Deadline: 1 July 2016

2016 Terence Rattigan Society Award (£10 entry fee, £2,500 prize) – Deadline: 31 August 2016

365 Women A Year Playwriting Project open to submissions throughout 2016 – Deadline: 31 December 2016

Events and workshops: 

 

London Playwrights’ Workshop: INTENSIVE WORKSHOP – Finding Inspiration and Developing your Idea – 5 March 2016

Telling Stories playwriting workshop with Rob Drummer and Theatre Renegade (£30) – 7 March from 6-9pm

Playwriting Workshop with Papercut Theatre – 13 March 2016

National Theatre Course: developing your play with Jemma Kennedy (£450 bursaries available) – Every Wednesday from 16 March until 19 May 2016, 10am – 1pm

London Playwrights’ Workshop: INTENSIVE WORKSHOP – Creating Engaging Characters – 17 March 2016

BBC Comedy Workshop (Glasgow) – 20 March 2016 1pm – 2.30pm

Writers’ Mutual Retreat in Bordeaux (£350-£450) – 12th-18th July

Ongoing submissions:

Writers’ Mutual writing group – Wednesdays 11am-1pm

Opportunities to hear your play with Player Playwrights – Ongoing submissions

Online Playwriting Course with Live Theatre (£95-£495) – rolling

Playwrights Circle at the Bread & Roses – Ongoing (monthly event)

The Institute of Other seeking creative practitioners – Deadline: none posted

White Hart Trust Studios seeking international and foreign language theatre – Deadline: none posted

Pokfulam Rd Productions looking for playwrights and creatives – Deadline: none posted

55 Kings Contemporary Theatre Productions looking for writers – Deadline: none posted

Plane Paper Theatre call out for plays – Deadline: none posted

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

Guiding Lights 2016 accepting applications for mentorship in the film industry

Guiding Lights, the UK’s leading film mentoring scheme, aimed at writers, directors, producers and exhibition professionals is now open for applications.

They are now open for applications and are looking for up to 14 participants who would benefit from the support of a high-level industry mentor to help them progress to the next stage in their careers.

Selected participants will benefit from 9 months of one-to-one mentor support from a leading professional in their field. The programme also includes a trip to Galway Film Fleadh, and a range of industry training events, networking and informal get-togethers.

Previous mentors on the scheme have included Danny Boyle, Barbara Broccoli, Alex Garland, Abi Morgan, Kenneth Branagh, Clio Barnard, Lenny Abrahamson and Alison Owen.

What to submit/How to apply:  Full application details can be found on their website: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/guiding-lights/

Deadline:  14 March 2016 at 5pm

Source:  Playwrights’ Studio Scotland

BBC Scriptroom 11 call out for Comedy submissions

The BBC Writersroom will shortly open to submissions for Scriptroom 11, seeking comedy scripts.  This window for unsolicited scripts is open between 10am on 14th March and 5pm on 4th April 2016 for Comedy scripts (TV, film, radio, stage or online).

What to submit:  Writers will be asked to submit:

  • 1 comedy script of at least 30 minutes / pages in length for TV, Film, Radio, Stage or Online*
  • A brief bio of your writing to date (up to 1 paragraph)
  • If you are submitting an episode script for a series/serial, you may also attach a brief outline (1-3 pages) of further episodes and the series/serial as a whole.  This should be attached as a separate PDF document to your script.

Your script should be a saved as a single PDF document of no more than 10MB in size.

If you are submitting a sample script for Children’s TV or Online, you are welcome to submit 2 x 15 min episodes as a single PDF document.

How to apply:  Applications are made online through their e-submissions system.

Be sure to read the FAQ on their website, and check out their online writing and submission resources (from information about what they’re looking for, to a library of sample scripts).

Deadline:  4 April 2016 at 5pm   (*Please note: applications are not open until 14 March 2016)

Source:  BBC Writersroom

Opportunities: Our Pick of the Week – 2016 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice Awards

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: 2016 Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice Awards

Description: The Kevin Spacey Foundation provides grants of up to £10,000 to support the development of artistic projects, and will award one grant for theatre and one award for a musical in the UK.

So, what’s so great about it?  Full disclosure: I made the shortlist last year for musical theatre, so I’m writing from personal experience on this one.  This opportunity is brilliant because it provides the support to develop something new, crucial for young artists.  The combination of both mentorship and financial support is a pretty powerful combo.  The interview process with a panel of industry experts is demanding but quite exciting, and a brilliant experience regardless of whether you win.  The deadline is this Friday, so you’ll have to move fast if you’re interested!

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.

Royal Society of Literature Brookleaze Grants for Writers Spring 2016

The Royal Society of Literature is accepting applications for Brookleaze Grants for Writers.  The purpose of these grants is to buy time for novelists, short-story writers, poets or playwrights with pieces of work in hand. The Council of the RSL, who will be responsible for awarding the grants, will be particularly interested in applications from writers who wish to buy time away from their normal lives – who need to take sabbaticals from their jobs, for example, or who need to travel abroad for the purpose of research.

A total of £5,000 will be available annually, and this may be awarded either as two grants of £2,500 or one grant of £5,000.

Eligibility:  To be eligible to apply, a writer must have had work previously published, or have been newly commissioned, by a trade publisher in the UK.   Works must be written by a citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland or a writer who has been resident in the UK for at least three years.

What to submit:  If you wish to make an application, please write a short (one side of A4) letter, describing the project on which you are engaged, detailing your previous work, explaining how you would plan to use a grant, and giving a brief outline of your financial circumstances. Two references should also be submitted as part of your application.  Applicants are welcome to re-submit previous applications, but unsuccessful applications will not be automatically carried forward.

Please also download and complete the RSL Brookleaze Grants Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.

How to apply:  Applications (letter, referees and equal opps form) should be emailed to Ellen Harber (membership@rsliterature.org), or sent by post to:

Ellen Harber
RSL Brookleaze Grants
The Royal Society of Literature
Somerset House, Strand
London WC2R 1LA

For more information, including details of how to apply please visit:  http://rsliterature.org/award/the-rsl-brookleaze-grants/

Deadline:  Monday 11 April 2016

Source: Arts Jobs

Frost burg State University One-Act Playwriting Competition (Maryland, $20 fee, $750 prize)

The Frostburg State University Center for Creative Writing announces its seventh annual One-Act Playwriting Competition to showcase new works.

What to submit:  Writers are encouraged to submit their one-act plays (with a running time of 40 minutes or less) to the center by Friday, 15th, April, 2016. Entries will be judged on plot, character development, dialogue and overall quality.

What you pay:  There is a $20 reading fee.

What you get:  The first prize winner will receive $750 USD and production of his or her play at the Frostburg One-Act Playwriting Festival to be held on the FSU campus in September. Second and third prize winners will receive $250 and $100, respectively, and staged readings of their works.

How to apply:  For complete submission guidelines, visit the Center for Creative Writing’s website.

Please send manuscripts and enclose your $20 reading fee (checks made payable to Frostburg State University) to:

Frostburg Center for Literary Arts
Frostburg State University,
101 Braddock Road,
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303.

Deadline:  15 April 2016

Source:  Direct contact

Falling Pennies seeking scripts to scratch for ‘On The Night’

Falling Pennies is proud to present its first scratch night “On The Night”, which will premiere at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre on 10 April 2016.

What to submit:  They are looking for 15 minute scenes on the theme of ‘New Beginnings’.  The scene can be in any style, and should feature 2-4 characters.

You don’t need to have a director or actors attached – they’ll arrange this for you.

How to apply:  Send your script to submissions@fallingpennies.co.uk.

Deadline:  14 March 2016

Source: @FallingPennies

Telling Stories playwriting workshop with Rob Drummer and Theatre Renegade (£30)

Telling Stories, a workshop for Playwrights – Rob Drummer
Monday, 7th March 6-9pm

Theatre Renegade is running ten workshops, in association with Southwark Playhouse, for performers, writers, directors and producers called The Renegade Academy and it all kicks off next week. All workshops have just gone live and are now on sale.

This workshop for writers will be led by Rob Drummer (Associate Dramaturg at The Bush Theatre and previously Literary Manager for Hightide Festival Theatre) and will look at how we begin to tell stories as playwrights, focusing on the beginnings of a new play, ways to get started with a new idea and exercises around developing character and finding the heart of your play.

Cost:  £30 (£25 concessions)

How to book:  Tickets can now be purchased through Southwark Playhouse and many of the workshops are very likely to sell out so please do book to avoid disappointment.

Source:  Playwriting UK Facebook Group