BETTY BOX & PETER ROGERS
COMEDY WRITING PROGRAMME

The CTBF, in partnership with Big Talk Productions and LOCO (The London Comedy Film Festival), is launching a script development programme for four emerging comedy writers. Each writer will be awarded £10,000 and take part in a personalised seven month programme of industry support, beginning in October 2016, as they develop a comedy feature film screenplay or pilot script for a narrative comedy television series.

All four writers will be given script development support from the film or TV team at Big Talk*; will be matched with an experienced script editor to work with on their script; and given professional development through CTBF and LOCO, the latter of which will also manage the programme.

At the end of seven months, the selected writers will have completed a feature screenplay or television pilot, which will be presented as a live, fully cast table read to an industry audience during a special LOCO event in Spring 2017.

Deadlines:

  • Application deadline: 26th Aug 2016
  • Successful applicants announced: w/c 3rd Oct 2016
  • Programme starts: w/c 3rd Oct 2016
  • Programme ends: May 2017

What’s the purpose of the programme?

Betty Box and Peter Rogers are two of the most significant figures in British comedy history. They were the producers of the Doctor and Carry On series respectively, among many other credits, and in their wills left an endowment to the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.

The CTBF supports many different kinds of need within the film and TV industries, and has decided to honour Betty and Peter’s legacy by supporting four emerging comedy writers. The purpose of the award is to discover exciting, authentic new or undiscovered comedy voices by supporting those writers that have the ideas but not the space or time to bring these ideas to life. This is a window of opportunity for those voices that might otherwise struggle to be heard.

Who is this programme for?

In order to qualify, applicants must;

  • Have a minimum of two years’ experience anywhere behind the scenes in film and/or television. This experience need not be current nor consecutive.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to writing comedy for the screen
  • Live and work in the UK at the time of applying
  • Not hold any previous professional writing credits on a theatrically released feature or sole writing credits for broadcast scripted television programme

    See FAQs for further details

The programme is designed to discover and support writers who have demonstrated a commitment to writing comedy (paid or unpaid) – but who are not yet writing professionally full-time. We’re looking for applications from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and experiences: new doesn’t have to mean young.

And we’re looking for talent, not polish: it’s more important that your writing is fresh, surprising and funny than perfectly structured and crafted.

The programme is designed to discover and support writers who have demonstrated a commitment to writing comedy (paid or unpaid) – but who are not yet writing professionally full-time. We’re looking for applications from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and experiences: new doesn’t have to mean young.

And we’re looking for talent, not polish: it’s more important that your writing is fresh, surprising and funny than perfectly structured and crafted.

What needs to be submitted?

Each of the four selected writers will be developing one specific project over the course of the programme. You’ll need to submit:

A comedy feature film treatment (2-8 sides of A4) plus five consecutive script pages; these can be from anywhere in the script.

And / or

A TV comedy series proposal, including an introduction to the characters and their world; a fully plotted one page outline of one episode, and one paragraph describing the plot of each of the others; and five consecutive script pages from any episode. The series must be 30 minutes per episode. We are not looking for sketch comedy series.

Each writer may submit an idea in each category, but you may not submit the same central idea for both categories, and only one idea per writer will be selected. All projects must be your original work, and entirely owned by you, or by you and your co-writer. We’re not looking for adaptations, unless from your own work in another medium e.g. an adaptation of your own stage play, in which case you’ll still need to prove that you’re the only rights holder.

All supporting documents must be submitted in single-spaced 12 point Helvetica, and all scripts must be submitted as PDF files in standard screenplay format. Sample scripts are available from the BBC Writers’ Room (http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom), and there are a number of script-writing software options available including Final Draft, Adobe Story, Scrivener, Highland, Amazon Storywriter and Celtx.

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big talk logo
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Deadlines:
– Application deadline: 26th Aug 2016
– Successful applicants announced: w/c 3rd Oct
– Programme starts: w/c 3rd Oct 2016
– Programme ends: May 2017

 

*Please note: Big Talk’s role in this programme is advisory. There is no obligation for Big Talk to commission any of your work, but they will be here to support and guide. As a result, we are not expecting scripts to demonstrate a specific fit with the work on Big Talk’s production slate and any awards made should not be seen as a demonstration of investment interest from them.

 

For further details and to submit an application, please go to: apply.ctbf.co.uk

Frequently Asked Questions (please note: if in doubt, apply):

You will have at least two years’ experience anywhere behind the scenes in TV and film since 16 years of age; this experience does not need to be current or consecutive and at the organisers’ discretion unpaid experience may count towards your eligibility.

You may have a mix of experience, from working as an usher in your local multiplex when you were 19, to helping out as a runner on a short film, to working in the office of a production company or broadcaster. If you are not currently working in the industry, you may still qualify providing your previous experience adds up to a total of at least two years.

You will be asked to provide a short biography and CV to demonstrate your experience. If, after reading the guidelines thoroughly, you are still unsure about whether you qualify, please contact b.down@ctbf.co.uk

A professional writing credit could be a writing credit on a work that has been commissioned by a broadcaster and/or paid. It is unlikely to include works that have been self-published.

If you can demonstrate eligibility (including 2 years’ experience) and talent, then we are open to applications from those under 18.

We are looking for people who can demonstrate that they have been writing comedy and attempting to develop their writing career over the past couple of years. We take a broad view of this, but it could include activity such as sending scripts into competitions, applying for industry programmes, building a portfolio of written work or even producing your own content for the screen.

This programme has been created to find those who have been trying to break into comedy writing and helping them to do so.

There are two options of how to handle the application if you are a member of a writing team:

  1. Apply as an individual within the team.
    You may be submitting an idea that was created by more than one person, but providing the individual satisfies the eligibility criteria and holds permission to submit the team’s original work, you may still apply.

If an individual from a writing team is selected, only that individual will receive support from the programme; writing partners will not.

  •  Apply as a team.
    If you would like your writing partner to be involved in the programme then you can apply as a team.

 

All members applying for the programme must satisfy the eligibility criteria in order to qualify.

If a writing team is selected for the programme, members of the team will share the sum of one development award (£10,000) between them. The organisers’ retain the right to offer an unequal split of the funding to each writer in the event of their individual need being deemed disproportionate.

This short biography should be a couple of paragraphs on your journey to this point: where have you come from, where are you now and where are you hoping to get to? We are interested in understanding who you are as a person and a writer.

We encourage those that are not currently writing comedy professionally to apply for this programme; as such, you may not currently be working in the industry at all and we are not necessarily expecting to see any paid writing work (comedy or otherwise) here or on your CV.

This could be links to pieces of writing that you have never made public, a blog entry written as a piece of comedy, a piece of YouTube content, or a short film. Please send us up to three links – they should all be works that you consider to be comedy.

Please choose works that you feel best demonstrate your talent – they don’t necessarily have to be technically brilliant or professionally produced, but your comedy voice should come across.

The CTBF is a charity that helps individuals in film and television that are talented and driven, but who need support in order to progress.

This question is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are in need of financial support, and you have a clear idea of how the funding would be spent in order to help your writing. It may be that financial barriers are preventing you from having the time to write, or perhaps your time is taken with childcare, caring for an adult or coping with any other personal issues that affect your time to create. Rest-assured that credence will be given to all answers providing you can demonstrate why your particular need is important to you.

Any other questions not covered here? Please contact Bradley Down, b.down@ctbf.co.uk

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