Several years ago, I attended a morning seminar at the Soho Theatre in which a senior BBC reader presented the 10 rules of writing a good script – actually, I probably still have the notes for it somewhere and (if I can find them) I will post them next week.
Anyway, as BBC Writersroom was at this time still running the send us your script throughout the year approach, an assortment of playwrights listened eagerly as the reader detailed what makes a great script. Suddenly, someone asked him a question that – although off topic – had relavence for everyone who was attending. The man asked:
‘What was the last production that resulted from a script being sent into BBC Writersroom?’
The reader thought about it then answered: ‘The Smoking Room.’
CUT to ‘audible gasp from attendees’ who were astounded that the last BBC show produced from a script submitted to the Writersroom was over five years old. More pertinent was the playwrights’ collective realisation that their chances of having their script produced had just gone from ‘moderately hopeful’ to ‘somewhere just above zero’ or ‘out the window.’
In fairness to the reader presenting the talks, he went on to explain how BBC Writersroom were more interested in looking at scripts to find excellent writers who may be able to work with others on BBC projects – he didn’t elaborate which projects – but as people left at the end of the session, my sense was that a lot of the dream balloons they had brought with them had been popped that day.
Now, if you write for stage (and even if you don’t) , I do have a positive in the next segment of the story. Til next week…don’t wait for someone to produce you – do it yourself and show initiative, guile and a belief in your own work!
Truth be told, attendees came to the session, hopeful that their work would be selected and made or adapted for TV or whatever when they should have been thinking I can
- put my stage play on at a local theatre and get a writing credit as my reward which might open doors?
- adapt my stage play into a radio drama/comedy and send it into Radio 4 or produce it as a podcast?
Bottom line – don’t wait for others to produce you. Make it happen by taking charge or your artistic destiny!
Til next time