Scriptwriters Group

Calling all scriptwriters!

As we announced at last year's Broadcasting Group AGM, the committee has taken the decision to rebrand and relaunch as the Scriptwriters Group, to include all scriptwriters, whether you are working in theatre, film, broadcast or digital media. The prime motivation for this is inclusivity, along with a recognition that new platforms and media are providing all sorts of new opportunities for writers of original scripted content. But this isn't just about a change of name. As a group we are determined to address more actively the core issues that we all face as scriptwriters, increasing and improving the ways in which the Society represents the interests of scriptwriters in a fast-changing industry, and campaigning for improvement and change where necessary.

We're hoping to maintain our schedule of evening events, despite the (welcome) disruption of the preparations for the big move to our new home in Bedford Row, and we are already busy planning a May event, as well as an exciting relaunch for the autumn, so watch this space!

The SG web pages are also undergoing a redesign to offer more current news, information, blogs and feature items, and these will be going live over the next few months.

We'd love to hear from any member who has suggestions for future features, campaigns, or issues that they would like to see raised on these pages.

Finally, don't forget that SoA exists to support you and your career. Please let us know if there are ways we could be doing this, or services we could provide that we're not currently offering. In the meantime, our expert advisers are always on hand to help scriptwriters with contractual matters - and we quite often find that the simple act of asking for advice from the Society encourages recalcitrant contract negotiators to look for mutually acceptable solutions!

Elizabeth-Anne Wheal

Chair, Scriptwriters Group


New feature: Q&A Spotlight!

Last updated: 21 May 2018

Hannah Silva, writer and sound-poet (http://hannahsilva.co.uk/)

Q: What’s your favourite medium for writing?

A: Radio is a gentle home-intruder, no one has to sign up for it, or leave the house. You can write with the listener's imagination, it's like novel writing in that sense, and then like theatre as it's all in the dialogue and subtext and the drama has to be tight, even tighter for radio than theatre. The 45 minute afternoon drama slot is the dramatic equivalent of a sonnet. You have to develop one strong idea and transform it before the end, and you can't waste a single line. Radio focuses on sound and language, so it's the perfect medium for a writer - also, because radio plays are recorded so quickly, everything relies on the script, so it's the writer's perfect medium in that sense too. The director can't cut a scene and replace it with twenty minutes of interpretive dance.

Q: How do you write?  Do you plan your writing or does it grow organically?

A: I do a lot of planning – sometimes it feels like procrastination! But then a solid treatment is the difference between getting commissioned and getting ignored. It took me a while, but I’ve learnt it’s got to feel real in my imagination to have a chance at reaching anyone else’s even right at the initial germ-of-an-idea stage. I always know my character’s back-stories, and how they think, and talk, words and phrases they might use, the rhythms of their speech. 

I do a lot of research – my next project is a radio play, ‘The Beast’ – which is about freight trains that cross Mexico (nicknamed The Beast or La Bestia) and people ride on them trying to reach the U.S, and for ‘Indigo Children’ for Radio 4 I’m learning abut autism, and a new age theory about ‘Indigo’ and ‘Crystal’ children.

Q: If you could win the commissioning lottery, what single project would you most like to realise?

A: I’ve wanted to write a really ambitious piece about Artaud for years, I’m fascinated by how he made his life a performance and in his last years spent hours on articulations, and shouts and screams, and rhythmic chanting, and he had a fascinating terrible life with so many chapters to it. And he was a genius theatre visionary. It’d be a crazily virtuosic text, probably set in his head. I think it’d be an opportunity to bring together the different ways I work  - the performance sound poetry strand with drama and radio.

Q: Globalisation and the internet are dissolving boundaries in the creative industries.  Have you worked on projects outside the UK? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

A: This time a year ago I was working on Italian–Swiss border on Lake Varese, recording poems and sounds with some incredible international musicians – Julian Sartorius, Luca Martegani, Enrico Mangione and Zeno Gabaglio. Playing together cuts straight to the heart of communication, there’s no small talk. It helped me to let go, to scream, to write out loud. We improvised for a week, recorded it, and now it’s turned out to be a record, ‘Talk in a bit’. – Because I talk in bits, I cut up talk into bits, reassemble it in different orders, and it’s a phrase I use all the time, instead of ‘bye’.  

I’m also working with the Japanese sound poet Tomomi Adachi, who I met when we were performing at festivals in Poland and Romania. We spent a week playing with his infra-red sensor shirts, they trigger vocal effects and sounds when you move in them. We’re doing a duet as part of the ‘Talk in a bit’ record launch this May.

Q: What and where are the most exciting opportunities for writers at the moment?

A: There are some phenomenal TV series these days, Netflix and Amazon commissioning seems to be expanding opportunities. I listen to podcasts all the time and wonder if that boom will continue and open opportunities for dramatists. It would be great to push the constraints of radio - although recording a play in a day has advantages, it'd be exciting to research, develop, rehearse and really invest in and transform radio drama.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for writers at the moment?

A: Living in London. Paying the rent. Finding time to write. Finding work. Juddling jobs and life. Not having sick pay, or maternity pay or a pension, managing anxiety about the future. Nothing new!

But also, there are challenges from the people that writers work with, producers or directors who ask for a slice of intellectual property for instance, contracts that don't follow industry guidelines, and in the theatre world - venues that pass on charges to the artists they are being funded to support. I used to assume contracts were standard and non-negotiable and especially if issued by someone I got on with I'd just sign. But that's not the case, and you haven't asked about The Society of Authors but this is a big reason why I'm a member, I've had a lot of help with contracts, and having the SOA support is really important, as it can be upsetting and difficult otherwise, it's easy for the ones with the money to manipulate writers, and it's especially tricky without an agent to shield that side of the work.

Q: Your EP ‘Talk in a bit’ from the Swiss record label Human Kind marries your own sonic explorations of meaning and sense as a sound poet with percussion, electronics and strings. How did the ensemble come together?

A: Alan Alpenfelt started the label and invited me to make the record. I applied to the International Artist Development Fund so that I could travel to Switzerland and Italy and meet him and the musicians. We hired a beautiful recording studio on Lake Varese, and we just improvised together for a week. Alan brought together the perfect musicians.

I had the poems, and I was playful with how I performed them, changing orders of lines and repetition and my delivery… sometimes they’d be doing long musical improvisations and I’d try a few different poems. It was very groovy. I play with articulation techniques, a bit like a vocal kind of percussion (but not beat-boxing), so Julian Sartorius and I enjoyed having conversations, arguments, and races together with rhythm and word-percussion.

Putting grooves alongside my poetry gave it its own world, supported my linguistic weirdness, and let me have fun on the border of music and speech. Nothing was planned in advance...  then Luca Martegani did some magic in the edit. Henning Schmitz from Kraftwerk mixed the album, and people seem to like it, it’s been played on Late Junction a couple of times, and some international stations, and there was a track on The Wire’s The Wire Tapper CD.

Q: Your new radio play ‘Indigo Children’ will broadcast Wednesday 18 July in a production directed by Jude Kelly, the artistic director of the Southbank Centre and founder of Women of the World Festival. What role do you see drama in relation to social change?

A: I heard a piece on Radio 4 on autism the other day, they were explaining the term ‘neurodiversity’, and discussing why less girls get diagnosed with autism than boys. I’m exploring the same subject in Indigo Children. I don’t know whether a listener would learn more about it from the reportage or from my play, perhaps it depends on the listener. I’m aware I’m writing drama not a lecture, and my understanding of the character’s autism is embedded in the character herself, in how she expresses herself, understands her environment, in her experience of childhood, in her word play and approach to language; the fifteen year old girl in my play wants to ‘come out’ to her mum as autistic, but her mum is resistant to the ‘label’. The play uses this ‘Indigo Children’ phenomena to explore the stigma around autism as a diagnosis, and the misunderstanding and resistance to it from parents like the fictional Lydia, who always wanted to do her best for her child, but, like many parents, gets it wrong. 

Q: More generally as a writer committed to innovative explorations of form, voice and language to what extent are you involved in the production of your written scripts to audio (for example for radio production) and how integral is this would you say to the full realisation of your written work?

A: Writing for radio is a different strand to my solo poetry-sound-performance work, although I still love to find ways of pushing the boundaries of the form – so far they don’t need me making strange sounds in the studio. I quite like to hand the script over, but I also want to be a part of the creative conversations about the work. I love working with people who want to engage in a proper creative conversation, I want to be challenged, I’m excited when I’m wrong, and I understand why, and it pushes me far beyond what I can do on my own.

I had a brilliant session with Jude the other day and have a lot to do now, it’s daunting, exciting, sometimes I get butterflies just sitting down at my desk to write. Now I’m itching to write the final draft but I’ve got the Talk in a bit rehearsals and gigs first, so Indigo Children has to simmer on the back burner for a couple of weeks – which is good for flavour anyway.

Q: What’s the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a new writer?

A: I’ve noticed that some people seem taken aback on the occasions when I’m not shy and apologetic (sometimes I forget small talk and I’m too direct, but it’s because I love creative conversations and getting straight to the interesting stuff). Perhaps there’s still an element of sexism in how female writers are treated, men are seen as assured and confident when they know what they want, women are seen as intransigent and controlling.

There’s also an embedded hierarchy in the industry, however lovely the ‘gate-keepers’ are. The fact that the writers aren’t the ones with the power to commission and pay sometimes puts us in an apologetic, weak position. That can be a horrible feeling and I think it’s something many writers experience.

I also suspect that most writers get accused of being control freaks at some point. We control the words that come out of people’s mouths, or that they read, or hear... And the fact is that we own those words too, as much as anyone can, so we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about wanting to keep ownership and intellectual property rights, it’s all we’ve got.

All that to say: Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being passionate about your work. Intensely caring about your writing is not being ‘a control freak’ it’s being ‘a writer’.

Order Talk in a bit: http://humankindrecords.bandcamp.com

Tour dates and masterclass details: http://hannahsilva.co.uk/whats-on/

 

Noticeboard

Latest News

Posted: 18 May 2018

SoA welcomes international legal study on fair remuneration for audiovisual authors

A new international legal study is supporting the call for legal reforms to help screen writers and directors earn royalties for the use of their work. The study, commissioned by the International Confederation of Scieties of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and Writers & Directors Worldwide (W&DW), sets out a series of recommendations that tie in with our own CREATOR campaign for fair contracts. Click here to read our full story.

BBC Scotland

Ofcom has given a provisional green light to the launch of a new £32m channel, BBC Scotland. With an anticipated 3.65% audience share resulting in a total share for the BBC of 32.9% (and a 0.5% decline for STV) the regulator has determined that the channel would be 'unlikely' to significantly impact upon commercial rivals.

SVoD

Netflix is on the lookout for new commissions that have 'authenticity, specificity and passion'. 'If you are a creator who has something that checks all those boxes, then you should get in touch. We can discuss the best format for your show together - whether it is a documentary, a series or a film' the company's vice-president of original programming Cindy Holland said at a recent industry event. Holland also offered insight as to the role viewing data plays in the commissioning process: 'we think about [...] whether we can afford the proposed budgets through a series of projection models'.

The Film & TV Charity launches support line - 0800 054 00 00

The Film & TV Charity (formerly the Cineman and Television Benevolent Fund) has launched their 24/7 confidential phone service offering advice to industry workers seeking guidance on issues ranging from bullying and harassment to mental heath concerns, bereavement, addiction and substance abuse. The initiative is supported by the BFI, The Production Guild, Women in Film and TV, Film Distributors' Association, Pact, and the UK Cinema Association as well as other supporting partners and follows the publication of pan-industry guidelines developed by the BFI and BAFTA in February.

Audible grow their audio-exclusive offering

Following the success of audio-exclusive material from Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman amongst others Audible are to grow their direct-to-audio programme to include short stories by authors including Ben Okri, Adam Thirlwell, Sarah Hall and Joanne Harris. 'Writing this story for audio was an irresistible challenge and an unmitigated delight I think it is a magical medium for the imgination' Okri told the Times whilst Hall hailed the authenticity of the format: 'the voice of the story itself really matters: it becomes the voice of your thoughts, the voice of your imagination. To go back to this critical factor as part of a commission is a wonderful reminder of that original conveyance of the form'. New research from Nielsen Book Research has found that audiobook sales have doubled in five years with a 17% growth over the past 12 months and currently accounting for 5% of book sales in the UK.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Hexagonal Phase (BBC Radio 4): interview with co-producer (and committee member) David Morley 

We have today (17 April) published our Q&A with David Morley on his role as co-producer to the new series of the cult classic - designed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the radio series and including many of the original cast. Catch up on the series now via the BBC iplayer.

Median earnings of an AV scriptwriter in Europe less than €18,000 , survey finds

A survey commissioned by the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) and the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA) has found that both young writers and those over the age of 65 writing screenplay are earning on average less than €15,000 annually whilst for those writers at their financial peak (media avg: aged 50) average earnings are at €30,000 for men and €24,000 for women. The report also found that 42% of writers look outside the industry for additional work. The full report can be read here.

The BBC 'needs to think again of its basic purpose': Tony Garnett

Tony Garnett - the producer of TV's most powerful political and social dramas across half a century - has called upon the BBC to establish itself as 'the central platform for a national conversation' in respect to which the organization is currently 'derelict' with managers prefering 'to close down creativity than get into trouble' in an interview with the Guardian. 'Of almost everything I put together from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1970s, not of the [films] that people remember would have had a chance of being made today' - and not for a lack of talent, Garnett told the paper. Law & Order (1978) - a show believed to have facilitated changes to the laws on policing - is currently being repeated on BBC Four. Catch up now via the BBC iplayer.

Pay increase for scriptwriters for work performed in ITC theatres

Scriptwriters whose work is performed in ITC theaters will see pay rates increase by 2.9% from 1 April 2018 and by a further 2.5% (calculated on the new rate) from 1 April 2019, under the terms of a collective agreement negotiated by the Writers Guide of Great Britain. Those commissioned in the higher bracket of plays of over 70 minutes in duration will see payments rise to £8,952 this year and £9,176 the next. Full rates can be reviewed here

Gender pay across the broadcast industry

Broadcasters have been releasing information on their gender pay gap in accordance with a government initiative that is highlighting an imbalance of opportunity for women across a range of industry sectors. A media gap of 24.2% has been reported at Channel 4; 9.3% at the BBC; and 18.2 at ITN. The SoA has made a submission to the BBC under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to receive comparable data for freelance scriptwriters commissioned across a series of defined periods. [Update: the BBC have confirmed that they will not be providing the requested information citing Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA that information held by the BBC is only covered by the Act if it is held for 'purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature'.

Time's Up at the Olivier Awards

Representatives and activists from the Time's Up movement to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace will be raising the profile of the campaign at the forthcoming Olivier Awards to be held 8 April. The ceremony will be hosted by Catherine Tate and will be broadcast to every country worldwide except China and North Korea through a digital partnership with Facebook, with highlights to be shown on ITV in the UK shortly after the event. The nominations for Best New Play are: The Ferryman (Jez Butterworth), Ink (James Graham), Network (Lee Hall and Paddy Chayefsky) and Oslo (J. T. Rogers). The complete list of nominations can be found here. Update 9 April: The Ferryman (Jez Butterworth) - set in County Armagh against the backdrop of The Troubles in the 1980s - has scooped the award for Best New Play with the play's director Sam Mendes and actress Laura Donnelly also recognised as Best Director and Best Actress.

Little, Brown to publish original screenplay for 2nd Fanastic Beasts film by J K Rowling 

Publication is currently scheduled to co-incide with the worldwide release of the film 16 November and will join, in the publisher's catalogue, the screenplay for the 1st film which - with sales exceeding 418,300 copies - is currently the second highest-selling script of all time. The screenplay to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, also published by Little, Brown currently holds the top spot. 

Opportunity to feed back on the BBC's draft new distribution policy - closes Monday 9 April 2018

The BBC has launched a public consultation on its draft new distribution policy which, once implemented, will govern how its services are made available to the public - including via third party distribution platforms where over 80% of BBC iPlayer content is enjoyed. As required under the terms of its Royal Charter and Framework Agreement the organization is also inviting consultation from Ofcom, the communications regulator.

The policy sets out a number of conditions judged by the BBC to be reasonable and necessary in ensuring that their distribution partners - including Now TV, BT TV and Virgin Media - share the same incentives as the BBC to invest in and showcase Bristish content.

The seven conditions include considerations relating to 'Quality', 'Editorial Control' (reserving editorial control to the BBC in respect both the content itself and its placement) and 'Data' (ensuring that the BBC have access to data about the usage of its services) as well as 'Prominence', 'Branding & Attribution', 'Free Access' and 'Value for Money'.

For further information, to view the draft policy documentation and to offer a response to the BBC directly please click here.

Female TV writers call on British drama executives to address imbalance of opportunity

Over 70 female scriptwriters writing for TV, whose credits includes shows such as Midsomer Murders and EastEnders, have called on drama commissioners to address the fact that British drama was 'overwhelmingly written by men'. In an open letter 76 signatories, including Bafta-nominated writer Lisa Holdsworth accused bosses of failing to afford female writers the opportunity to write for some of the biggest primetime shows. 

The letter follows the news that out of the eleven drama programmes said to be planned by ITV for broadcast in 2018 only one - an adaptation of Vanity Fair by Gwyneth Hughes - features a female lead writer, reflecting the estimation that female writers are employed for primetime drama at a ratio of around 1:9 once continuing drama series are discounted.

Whilst there are many female writers working for the UK soap opera genre 'these talented and hard-working female writers remain an untapped resource' the letter noted, even in light of the major success enjoyed by Call The Midwife (Heidi Thomas), Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax (both Sally Wainwright). 

Results of research into the under-representation of women in film and TV is due to be published by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain in May. 

Scriptwriters established in theatre increasingly drawn to writing for TV

Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett has spoken to industry journal Broadcast on the trend for cross-pollination between theatre and television (his multi-award winning Doctor Foster (BBC) was directly inspired by his stage adaptation of Euripides' Medea): '[..] it makes sense that we'd be attracted to television' Bartlett noted 'You can reach out more easily'. Elsewhere BBC drama controller Piers Wenger suggests that '[...] playwrights see television as enabling them as storytellers', and ITV head of drama Polly Hill attributes the trend to the fact that 'for writers, switching between the creative demands of a play and episodic television must be such a joy. They're exercising different muscles'.  

Apple programming

Former Channel 4 director of programmes and creative heavyweight Jay Hunt is expected to work with indies to commission scripted programming with a distinctly British feel and of global appeal in her new role as programming chief at Apple. It is anticipated that commissioned content, which will be free from the time-slot restrictions of traditional scheduling, will approach the tone of Luther, Planet Earth and Sherlock and of BBC1 and C4 programming more generally. 

Bullying and Harassment

Industry groups including Equity and Women in Film & Television have united in support of 8 behavioural principles drawn up by BFI and Bafta, marking the first time that film and TV organisations have collaborated on pan-industry guidelines. BFI's head of inclusion Jennifer Smith has assured the large community of freelancers widely employed across the industry that 'the guidelines are designed with them in mind'. The guidelines can be viewed in full here.

Bad Wolf Productions establishes TV hub in Wales

Inspired by industry practices in the US Bad Wolf Productions have been focused on developing opportunities for studio-based recording and production at their site WolfStudios Wales, with A Discovery of Witches (Sky) and His Dark Materials (BBC) already in process at the facility. The company - who hope the initiative will offer secure work to the production community 52 weeks a year - has been supported in their endeavours by the Welsh government who acquired the site and extended the company a loan to the value of £4m. 

Podcasting

The BBC are further developing their podcast strategy as the audio format gains traction across the wider industry, with the corporation hailing their first TV-related audio show – supporting Blue Planet II – a success, with its ‘skittish, [and] flirtatious’ tone setting it apart from the original (TV) series. With 240 million podcast downloads in 2017 BBC Radio are looking to develop standalone podcasts that will be independent of shows or stations, with some of those to be made available via their Podcasting House platform. We are discussing podcasting terms with the BBC.

Elsewhere Amazon's audiobook subsidiary Audible is developing its own podcast strategy to include original drama produced in-house. The organization has pledged to invest $5 million toward the commission of 1 and 2 character plays by emerging artists.

UKTV, ITV and Simon & Schuster are also investing in the podcast format.

Imison and Tinniswood Awards

We are delighted to announce that this year's Imison Award has been won by Adam Usden for his 'strikingly compelling' radio drama The Book of Yehudit, while Sarah Woods has scooped the Tinniswood Award for her 'dark and original' play Borderland. We congratulate John Finnemore for achieving a commendation from the judges for his Tinniswood submission Penguin Diplomacy. Jane Wainwright’s Wide Open Spaces was shortlisted for the Imison, and Jenny Lomas by David Eldridge for the Tinniswood. We are grateful to ALCS and Peggy Ramsay Foundation for their kind sponsorship of these awards. To read the scripts, listen to clips or for further information please visit the SoA website http://www.societyofauthors.org/News/News/2018/January/Audio-Drama-Award-Winners.

BBC TV Rates

The PMA and the Writers’ Guild have agreed a 1.5% increase on all minimum rates for BBC TV drama and scripted comedy. The new rates, effective 4th December 2017, are:

  • Teleplays: £199 per min, £11,940 per hour;

  • Series/ Serials: £182 per min, £10,920 per hour;

  • Dramatisations: £132 per min, £7,920 per hour;

  • Adaptations: £81 per min, £4,860 per hour;

  • Educational Drama: £121 per min, £7,260 per hour;

  • Attendance Fees: £106

BBC Radio Rates

We are continuing to negotiate the annual increment for writers’ contributions in the face of increased rights requests by the BBC and will report further in due course.

London Book & Screen Week

A special screening of Suffragette with Dr Helen Pankhurst (author of Deeds Not Words and consultant on the film) has been announced as part of the festival’s programme of events for 2018, designed to mark the centenary of the women’s vote. The festival, running 9 – 15 April 2018, will also feature appearances by Nick Harkaway and Jojo Moyes.

#MeToo

Women in Film and Television (WFTV) have received testimonies from over 100 respondents to their call for people to share their experiences of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power in the broadcast industry.

The submissions, received across a one-month period and predominantly from women working in TV due  to the higher proportion of women working in that media, will inform industry-wide guidelines that are being prepared by WFTV in association with Directors UK, the BFI and Pact.  WFTV are also working together with Equity and Unite at a roundtable chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman to establish a set of best-practice guidelines suitable for use across a range of industries.

In an interview with Broadcast (17 November) the WFTV’s chief executive Kate Kinninmont said “Some people have been going through utter hell and have left the industry because of bullying, sexual harassment and various power plays”.

The news follows a similar findings in The Bookseller whose survey Sexual Harassment in Publishing found just over 50% of 388 respondents had experienced abuse. The SoA has pledged our support to campaigns and on 15 November we published Abuse and the Posion of Silence by screenwriter and chair of the SoA’s Broadcasting Group committee Elizabeth-Anne Wheal. 

Channel 5 hosted a live debate #MeToo on 22 November after Catey Sexton’s film Raped: My Story (Lambert Productions). The panel discussed allegations from Hollywood and Westminster in front of an invited audience of rape survivors, law makers and support workers.

Contracting on a fast-fee basis

We have received complaints that writers  have been contracted on a fast-fee basis rather than Feature, Talks or RAC4 contracts. The Musician’s Union report similar problems with the BBC and we will be focussing on this in the coming months. Please contact us if you have experienced any problems.

Gross not PAYE  

Members have complained that the BBC have paid them on a PAYE basis citing IR35 regulations and refusing to correct their error. HMRC and payroll experts at accountants H W Fisher have confirmed that writers fall outside of such arrangements and should always be paid gross with employers being responsible for correcting any payroll errors. Excess deductions should be refunded to the freelancer and instances reported and adjusted by the employer on their next payment to HMRC (within that tax year). We urge members to check their statements immediately and contact us for support. 

As part of our CREATOR campaign we would like to focus on broadcasters and improve how members are contracted and commissioned.

We are currently concerned with issues around fair-dealing and are reviewing all our BBC minimum terms agreements, but are also simply interested in the profile of our members - whether you are currently writing TV or film and which production companies/broadcasters are commissioning SoA members. Please contact Theo Jones at the SoA with any comments you may have.

SoA Literary Estates (original scriptwriting and non-dramatic work licensed for adaptation)

The following productions are currently showing (under licence from the SoA acting on behalf of the literary estates):

George Bernard Shaw: Saint Joan - 15 March-14 April - Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath, UK

Harley Granville Barker: Agnes Colander - 25 April on (3 April previews) - Manhattan Theatre Club at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, New York, U.S.A.

Members' News

Hannah Silva's new radio play 'Indigo Children' (directed by Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre and founder of Women of the World Festival) will broadcast Wednesday 18 July 14.15 - one of a series of commissions for Radio 4 that explore the experiences of people and communicties across the UK.The drama centres on Ros, a teenager who is embracing her recent diagnosis of autism and her mother Lydia. Ros persuades Lydia to revisit a phase in her childhood when they were swept up in a movement that promised children like Ros were truly special. Termed 'indigo children' it was suggested that inhabited a higher level of consciousness and enjoyed telepathic powers.  

Neil Gaiman has been commissioned to adapt Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast for TV, in a production from FremantleMedia. Speaking to the Guardian Gaiman said that it was 'an honour to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake's brilliant and singular vision to the screen'. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman (A Brilliant Mind) will join the project as an executive producer.

Do you have scripts in production, on stage, film or TV? Please let Theo know.  

Broadcasting Blogs and Q&As

Posted: 17 April 2018

The following SoA blogs and Q&As all have a scriptwriting-theme:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Hexagonal Phase - an interview with co-producer (and group committee member) David Morley

Writing for radio documentary - Jumping through hoops - by writer and broadcaster Patrick Humpries

Sexual harrasment and bullying - Abuse and the Poison of Silence by BG Committee Chair Elizabeth-Anne Wheal.

Language, diversity and the power of words - What's in a Word by BG Committee member Jamila Gavin 

7 Tips to Avoid Pitfalls in Motion Picture/TV Rights Option Agreements US Entertainment Lawyer Robert Zipser's tips to help navigate your option agreements.

A crimewriter’s perspective on sexual violence on our screens - Women in Jeopardy by BG Committee Chair Elizabeth-Anne Wheal.

"Often it’s not what’s not said, but what is that marks out the power of a script or the way in which it’s delivered." - Finding New Talent by BG Committee member Hilary Robinson

The debate about diversity in the creative industries is headlining again — Talent is Everywhere by BG Committee Chair Elizabeth-Anne Wheal.

Please contact Theo if you would like to contribute a blog of interest to Broadcasting Group members.
 
Further reading:
 
Members might be interested to read this blog post (external link) that published 12 March on the importance of networking by Philip Shelley (Script Editor, Consultant and Producer at the BBC). 

BG diary dates

Posted: 09 March 2018

The following brodcasting-themed events (& courses) may be of interest, including an opportunity to meet with members from the Broadcasting Group Committee at the London Book Fair 2018

Write a Winning Treatment - 'Whenever you pitch your idea to potential film producers and directors, if they bite, you’ll need to hand them a brilliantly-written treatment to hook them into the next stage.' 11 March 2018 

London Book and Screen Week: Screen84 presents: Bright Star (external link) - based on Sir Andrew Motion's biography of John Keats. 23 March 2018

London Book and Screen Week: Frankenstein: The Reincarnations (external link) - biographer Fiona Sampson will be in conversation with novelist Nick Harkaway, charied by novelist Kim Newman. 10 April 2018

SoA at the London Book Fair 2018 - 'Discounted tickets, SoA talks, advisor surgeries, and a chance to meet and chat with members from the Broadcasting Group Committee!' 10-12 April 2018.

Members from the Broadcasting Group Committee will be attending the Fair to meet informally and chat both to members and non-members Tuesday 10 April 13.30-15.30 and Wednesday 11 April 12.30-14.30. Whilst the sessions do not need to be booked in advance and all are welcome please let Theo know by e-mail if you do plan to attend.

The Committee sessions are intended to follow on directly from the below-SoA talks:

Begged, borrowed or stolen: Using Existing Characters and people: On privacy, defamation and character rights - 'Fancy basing your novel or script on a real person? Burning to write a damning expose? Inspired to write a sequel to “the very Hungry Caterpillar” Want to parody President Trump? SoA Chief Executive Nicola Solomon and writer Ferdinand Dennis will discuss practical pitfalls, legal traps and how to avoid them'. 10 April 2018

Key points to watch out for in contracts, and why - by Mary Hoffman (writer and former consultant for the BBC's 'Look and Read') and Kate Pool. 11 April 2018

We are yet to schedule group events for 2018. Contact Theo Jones if you would like to offer a talk or suggest speakers. For more events, both SoA and non-SoA, please visit our Events page.

When events are live on the booking system you will be able to click through to the full details and members will be emailed full details. We send notification about our events via email only. Please remember to let us know if your email address changes.

BG AGM report to members

Posted: 10 November 2017

The Broadcasting Group AGM report is available to view online. Read the report.

ALCS Collects and distributes fees for cable retransmission
FRAPA The Format Recognition and Protection Association
BBC Rates BBC radio drama rates
BBC Guidance Guide to BBC Radio Drama
Writers Guild of Great Britain Rates and agreements covering TV, theatre, radio and some areas of film