Posts Tagged ‘radio formatting’

The BBC Script Room and Radio
Submissions open September and October.
radio image
As you probably know The BBC Writersroom (until May 2012) has been replaced by the Script Room. This is a means by which the BBC seeks out the best new writing talent, offering writers without a track record, representation, or contacts the opportunity to have their work considered by the BBC.

Rather than accept scripts year-round in a rolling system, the BBC now has distinct submission windows for scripts which will be announced on the BBC writersroom Opportunities page throughout the year. Each call will have a deadline, and the scripts received will be assessed intensively by script readers and the Writersroom team, and a shortlist drawn up. Development opportunities will then be offered to the shortlisted group of writers.
Be warned, The BBC receives thousands of scripts every year and the competition is extremely tough.
How to submit
When Script Room is open for submissions – the dates and details on how to submit a script will be made available on the BBC writersroom Opportunities page.

The submissions are on an online basis and various talent searches are run throughout the year.

Submission windows 2014
For 2014 the BBC is accepting submissions by genre.

For Scriptroom 7 which closed in July they were accepting scripts for Cbbc dramas, suitable for kids up to 12 years of age.

Scriptroom 8 however which will be open in September and October will accept Radio and Stage Drama.

This is a great opportunity for radio drama writers to have their work read and assessed by the BBC. So now is the time to get your work ready and polished.

I would suggest that before you send anything to the BBC be sure to have your work read by a good script editor who has experience with working for radio. No-one can really accurately edit their own work and an experienced eye is always needed for an objective overview of your work.
Of course I am offering my services for this work but any experienced radio writer would be able to help you improve your work to get it ready for the BBC readers. Check my My Services page https://justwrite4radio.wordpress.com/my-services/ for more details.

What you should check
– Make sure your script is as good as you can make it and only send it in when you believe it represents the best of your writing abilities.

– Do not simultaneously send your script elsewhere at the BBC – most departments do not accept unsolicited work and will simply redirect it to us.

– Format your script as closely to industry standard as you can. They do not accept handwritten scripts and if you are sending by post – print on only one side of A4 paper. They do not penalise writers for imprecise formatting, but presenting your work appropriately suggests a professional approach and an understanding of the medium and format for which you are writing. There are script formatting programs available.

– You will be asked to provide a brief biography when submitting your script online. If there is information about your background you feel is relevant, or you have any other relevant experience, then you can include this.

For full details go the BBC Writers Room http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/send-a-script/

Good luck with your submissions and I look forward to reading your scripts.


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There are those who believe that somehow writing can’t be taught, it’s instinctive. They hold that writers are born not made. Well maybe James Joyce or Graham Greene were born writers but for the rest of us writing is hard work, a job of honing the craft and learning from everything that went before. Playwrights aren’t called playwrites. They are play makers and like craftsmen must learn their trade and practice it every day to stay in order to compete in the market place.

For the radio dramatist the best way to learn is to listen to as many plays as possible. Familiarise yourself with the methods, the techniques used, the themes, the rhythms, the dialogue, and everything that goes in to the making of a play. After this read as many scripts as possible. Radio scripts aren’t as commonly available as movie scripts but they are there if you look hard enough. The BBC Writers Room website has a section devoted to television and radio scripts, so click on that site and absorb as many plays in the original formatting as possible.

Then there are the how-to manuals. Again some people dismiss these as unnecessary. I couldn’t disagree more. There is plenty to be learned from these books for both the beginning writer and the experienced professional. A writer is constantly learning and if you only find a few useful ideas in an instructional book then that’s maybe enough. The writer’s mind must constantly be open.

The shelves of bookshops today groan under the weight of scriptwriting manuals for movies and television. Guides for radio are harder to find.

These are a few that I have found useful over the years. They are in no particular order.

Writing for Radio by Rosemary Hortsman
This is a basic text covering all aspects of writing for radio. It includes, as an appendix, the text of ‘This Gun in my Right Hand is Loaded’ the spoof play written by Timothy West to show how radio writing should not be done.
This book is, I think, out of print but here’s a tip, it’s currently available on Amazon at 1p. Get it.

Radio Drama by Tim Crook
This is possibly the most intellectual work on Radio Drama. It’s a highly opinionated but very enjoyable read. He brings in Roland Barthes and structuralism so that’s the territory we’re in. The work includes an excellent critical examination of ‘Spoonface Steinberg’, Lee Hall’s brilliant radio play.

Writing for Radio by Vincent McInerney
McInerney goes into the philosophy of radio writing and examines the theoretical aspects. He covers not only drama, but short stories, documentaries, drama documentaries and poetry. There is also a section on radio advertising.

Writing for Radio by Shaun McLoughlin
McLoughlin’s is an authoritative work, as he spent over twenty years as a drama producer in BBC Bristol. There’s a lot of anecdotal material among the practical advice. As well as dealing with writing, there are sections on directing radio plays and acting on radio.

Radio Drama Handbook by Richard J. Hand

Radio Scriptwriting by Sam Boardman-Jacobs

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