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'Make It' Newsletter
Friday 15th May 2015
This is our monthly newsletter for those interested in writing, producing, directing and performing...
Features
Class Dismissed wants sketches
CBBC and BBC Writersroom are joining forces in a talent search to find new sketch writers to join the team making new TV comedy Class Dismissed. Details
Room To Write producer and director interview
Laura Marks, the producer and director behind the BBC's Room To Write video monologues, shares some insight and advice here. Read
An article on 'making it' in comedy
Stand-up comedian, writer and live comedy promoter Barry Ferns writes on the topic of what it means to 'make it' in comedy. He makes a very good point about thinking carefully about what your end goals actually should be. Read
Win a copy of the 'Masterclass: Writing Comedy' book
Last chance to enter: We have three copies of Masterclass: Writing Comedy, the new tutorial book by Lesley Bown, to hand out. Enter
The Comedian's Comedian Podcast
Stuart Goldsmith continues to delve into the world of stand-up comedy via his in-depth podcast interviews. Nina Conti and Nick Mohammed are amongst those to offer insight recently. Listen
James Cary's blog
James Cary continues to blog about sitcom writing. In his latest post he considers how you can give your characters a really bad day but still end back at status quo: Visit
BBC Scriptroom Update
A blog from the BBC Writersroom giving feedback on the recent comedy script submission window. e.g. 'Young guys in offices' seem to feature in too many of the scripts they're getting, so less of that. Read
Jesse Armstrong and Irvine Welsh tips
Jesse Armstrong and Irvine Welsh - who both have new novels out - spoke about comedy writing at a Guardian event recently. Here's a report from that. e.g. one suggestion is putting together music playlists matching your characters' personalities, to listen to as you write their lines: Read
Max Davis blog
Proof newcomers can get jobs. Max Davis talks about how he has gone from submitting sketches to Newsjack to working full time on scripts for BBC Radio: Read
Comedy writing tips
This link just missed our last newsletter (so the event plugged at the top of the article has been and gone), but here's tips from Andy Hamilton, Reece Shearsmith, Graham Linehan, Holly Walsh, Ged Parsons, Stewart Lee, John Kearns and more: Read
Win a copy of 'Get Started In Stand-Up'
Last chance to enter: We've got some copies of Logan Murray's great book Get Started In Stand-Up to give away. Enter
Sitcom Mission - Character descriptions
We're currently in the entry window for The Sitcom Mission competition so the team behind the competition are starting to blog some tips. Coming up soon is tips from Script Editors, but first a word on how to describe your characters within scripts: Read
Teckle Books
Publishing company Teckle Books has been looking for comic submissions to the anthology it's making. Although the closing date for submissions has past, Teckle have agreed to extend this to the Monday 18th for 'Make It' subscribers so, if you're interested, email them this weekend. Whatever the case, the company are always keen to hear from writers of comic fiction so you can pitch your work to them at any time via submissions@tecklebooks.co.uk
Performer? You should join Equity
Equity has long been linked with 'serious' acting etc, but up to now have perhaps never quite understood the needs of stand-up comedians and live comedy performers. Well, at last, with input from the likes of Sara Pascoe, they've finally set up a branch dedicated to looking after comedy people: Read
English Comedian of the Year 2015
Here's the entry form to enter the English Comedian of The Year competition. The prize is, slightly bizarrely given the England focus, a trip to the 2016 Adelaide Fringe. It is a good prize though, to be fair! Details
Free Association
The Free Association (a collection of improv comedians) are running another batch of workshops and classes in London soon. They start shortly, so if you're interested get over to their website pronto: Read
BAFTA Rocliffe competition
The entrty window for this year's BAFTA Rocliffe New Comedy Showcase competition closes on 23rd May so if you're thinking of entering, time to get a move on: Enter
7 hours of tips via our DVD
Probably the last time we plug this, as there's just a few copies left now (we're not getting any more manufactured, this is it). It's our DVD filmed at our 2013 conference, packed with timeless advice. How do you get an agent? In fact, do you even need one? How do you contact producers? What's the best way to write a character? Loads of stuff like that: Shop
'Make It' Forums
To chat to fellow writers and performers, head over to our message board. We have these forums: Writers' Discussion, Writing Opportunities, Performance Discussion, Showcase and Critique.
Conference Tips
There's been two writing-focused conferences since our last newsletter. The Craft Of Comedy Writing Conference in Wales (a shout out to the talented, funny people Mark met there!) and the BBC's Salford Sitcom Showcase. The messages from both events were consistent. Given how much was discussed, it's impossible to feedback everything to you here... but here's a flavour of things. Thanks to this Giggle Beats article and @bbcwritersroom for the reminders...
- This is the message we hear time and time again, but lots of people still ignore it and forge on with trying to get a rare TV slot: "The opportunities to get commissioned are much greater in Radio." If you want to end up on TV, start in Radio, prove yourself, then jump to TV.
- "Commissioners/Producers don't want to read character biogs, synopses or treatments - they just want to read funny scripts".
- Just start by writing! Get your first idea down on paper. It doesn't matter how bad it is... you've started then. The hardwork comes in refining it 100s of times until it really is brilliant. Never send it off until it can't be improved. If you don't think it's perfect, then nor will the person the other end.
- Nothing happens overnight, you have to be patient. Raised By Wolves took years to make it to TV, but the creators believed in their characters and it did eventually.
- You shouldn't underestimate the importance of networking to get your face known... and always being nice, friendly and approachable to everyone. If a producer has two equally funny projects to pick between, they'll pick the one from the person they've met and think it'd be nicer to work with.
- "In writing you have to go for the truth of the characters so they make you laugh and cry - think John Sullivan's scripts."
- "When mapping out a series make sure every character is serviced".
- The BBC says there is no hidden agendas when it comes to commissioning - the best writing will rise to the top. BBC Execs are currently after "natural portrayal, a different perspective of country, a clear voice"...
- ... But, that said, "Don't try and second guess what people want or copy what has already been done. The landscape changes quickly."
- Phil Mealey said at the BBC event "writers have to be open to constructive criticism, step back and be objective... but it is hard." Meanwhile at the Wales conference it was pointed out that you may not agree with a note, but the person who gave it was clearly triggered by something, so even if you don't agree with them, analyse the thinking behind it for the true problem.
- "Being open to collaboration is a huge strength for a writer", that includes working with co-writers and script editors.
If you're gutted you missed out on these events, watch this space for news of BCG's own Big Comedy Conference which, fingers crossed, will be back in 2016!
Spotlight
In each 'Make It' newsletter we shine a spotlight on a project posted to our showcase forum...
Leaders debate - Life of Brian
As video editing technology becomes more accessible and easy to use, we're spotting more videos in which existing footage is re-dubbed with a different voice track. This one by Carlos Manwelly neatly mixes up footage from the political leaders TV debate with dialogue from Monty Python's Life Of Brian: View
Thanks for Reading
More from us in a month. In the meantime there's lots of news, discussions, general features and more posted on our website every day...
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