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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Writing for television


For the last week and a half I've been writing something very different. I've pulled the veil tightly over the increasingly lively and often dark cloud of short stories and novel ideas in favour of a screenplay.

Channel 4 are offering new writers an opportunity that I found just too good to pass up. You can find the details here but in essence they are offering a cash payment to anybody they deem promising enough to write for television in the future. The emphasis seems to be on drama but reading through the program you can get a sense of the unrivalled understanding of the industry being offered here.

In order to be considered you have to submit a CV and an original screenplay by this Friday. Then, if chosen you will be one of twelve writers that they take under their wing. The really impressive thing about this is that it is completely suitable for those in full time employment. I won't get into the in and outs of 'work' versus 'work' here, but let me just say that writing and 'career' can be so hard to juggle that at times, when asked "What do you do?" I just sort of stand there, mouth opening and closing like a fish, being totally unable to comprehend the question.

So, I've been writing a screenplay. Which has been fun. Sort of. Because, as I soon discovered, I had no clue how to actually do it. I've scrawled through my partners university books on writing for stage, I've scoured the Internet for tips and hints, I've downloaded screenwriting software and I've crawled into the wardrobe to cry. It's been a roller coaster but I am happy to say I have completed my first draft of an original screenplay. It's an hour long pilot to a drama series and I am VERY proud of it. Channel 4 will no doubt take a cursory glance and discard it in the slush pile... but I did it.

It's rough. It's probably tired. In places it is definitely cliche. But leafing through the pages I can't help think that if I happened across it on Even More 4 (+1) one night in a few years, I'd at least stick around for ten minutes.

7 comments:

  1. Nice one man. Sendy send send?

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  2. Ditto from me, let me have an oggle

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  3. Let me sort out draft no.2, then all are welcome

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  4. Nathan,
    A good resource for screenwriting is http://www.clickok.co.uk/index4.html

    Good Luck.

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  5. Thanks Dave - I'll take a good look at that

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  6. Now the real work begins -- the rewriting. My buddy wrote a decent book on the subject called... "Rewrite" By Paul Chitlik. Also, if you haven't read "Save The Cat", you may want to. These are geared more towards feature film writing, but character is character, and the construction of a good set up is also not exclusive to movies. Lastly, good luck -- you actually wrote a show! This separates you from the many who thought about it, but did nothing.
    Cheers,
    Dean Alioto

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  7. Good luck! Can I have a read please?

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