Hi! I'm rather new to the step of actually submitting a finished work so please bear with me.
I'm not a full time writer but I did write a 100K word novel as part of NaNoWriMo last year and I'm becoming increasingly keen to spend more time writing and improving my writing skills.
I took part in Script Frenzy this year and managed to put together a 110 page TV drama script. I've just done a second draft polish and I'm soliciting feedback from a couple of friends. However ultimately I'd like to have a go at submitting it to the BBC Writersroom to see what they think.
Has anybody done anything like this before?
Does anybody have any advice on what I should to to polish up the script before submitting it?
Just checked out the BBC writersroom submission guidelines.
|How to submit a film to BBC writersroom:|
•send in a complete, full-length screenplay, very clearly laid out and typed
•send in a covering letter and CV
•a brief synopsis may be requested later if a script progresses well
•detailed treatments for scripts will NOT be accepted
Seems pretty straight forward. Not sure what to add except Good luck.
Any thoughts on what should be in the CV? I looked on the site and it wasn't clear. I assume that a short writing-specific CV is what they want rather than a detailed history of your professional career?
Actually, am I right in thinking that I should maintain a writing-specific CV anyway for when sending in submissions to agents?
Yes, you're right, they want a writing-specific CV. Don't feel you have to fill it with something/anything, if it's short & sweet then so be it.
And as a sometime screenwriter, this may sound obvious, but get the script as perfect as possible before sending it- I often didn't, thinking that the recipients would be able to see the talent and ignore things that needed to be changed/worked on. It's fine to say in covering letters for example, if something very topical might have to be changed, to show you're aware of that need, though. Best of luck.
Thanks Anna and Naomi!
I went to a talk at Eastercon recently, by the head of the Writersroom. A point he stressed several times is that the BBC is looking for writers via the Writersroom, not specific scripts. The chances of your submitted script being developed are as good as nil. What happens is that if they like your script, they'll ask you to submit a new one. This is to see if you are more than a one-off writer. If they like the second script, they'll call you in for a meeting to see how they may be able to develop you as a writer. So, advisable to get a second script written before you send in the first one. He also said they are not really interested in your CV, only whether or not you can write. They read the first ten pages of all scripts. They aren't too bothered about how it's formatted, although common sense says you should follow their guidelines in that respect.
Ah, excellent advice, Terry. In that case, I've a motivation to delay submitting to WritersRoom and work on a couple more scripts instead. If nothing else, the third effort is probably going to be better than my first and that will be the one I'll send in.
Two more things. Where is the best place on WriteWords to get a critique about a screenplay (as opposed to a novel)? I really should get feedback before I send anything in.
Also, is there a UK organization where I need to register ownership of the screenplay before I even send it out for critique or as a submission?
The Sitcom Group is the best place if you want to upload a script.
|Also, is there a UK organization where I need to register ownership of the screenplay before I even send it out for critique or as a submission?|
Don't bother. You can't copyright an idea, and it would be extremely rare for anyone to risk being sued for copyright infringment if they used chunks of your dialogue in their own work.
Naomi's right. But I do think there's a need to be cautious about posting sitcoms publicly. Not so much because the idea could be nicked but because your jokes could well be swiped. I know a few people in TV, including stand-up comedians and makers/writers of comedy programmes and let's just say they can be pretty ruthless at stealing material from anywhere and everywhere!
Thanks, Terry and Naomi.
The reason I brought up the registration question was because it was mentioned in Script Frenzy
. They recommended (albeit to their mainly USA audience) that new scripts should be registered at the Writer's Guild. I'm not sure if either there's a UK equivalent or even if that has any validity in the UK.
My script, in any case, isn't a sitcom but a feature-length drama (100 minutes long, roughly). I don't really want to upload it but rather send it to somebody who can read and provide constructive feedback. Is the Sitcom Group still the best place for this?
The Sitcom group is the only one currently reviewing scripos, so I would advise uploading it there.
Groups work best reviewing uploads of 2000 words, give or take a thousand, so it's best not to upload the whole 100 mins in one go.
You can set it to be viewable to Group Members only, and reset old uploads to be visible to yourself only, and that will minimise any risk of someone filching the whole lot (not that anyone on WW would, but just for your own piece of mind).
oops, apologies for typos.
Uploading on a site like this, which date stamps work and accompanying feedback, is a useful method of proving copyright.
Naomi, it would have been nice if you'd actually asked the sitcom group if it's willing to look at other kinds of scripts first. This is rather like advising someone who's written a steam punk novel to upload it to the chick lit group because they're reviewing books.
As it is, Steve, I can't speak for the rest of the sitcom group but since Naomi has steered you our way, I'll take a look at your script if you upload it, on the basis that it's not the group accepting it, just me making a separate agreement with you. The others may choose to take a look, too, but it would be perfectly understandable if they chose not to. The point of the sitcom group is to help other sitcom writers.
Thanks, Terry and Naomi. I've applied to join the Sitcom group and I'll go from there.