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Experiences of BBC writers room

Discussion in 'Basics' started by Gareth, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Gareth

    Gareth Bronze Member

    A few months ago I sent a submission off to the writers room.

    This morning, it came back having not got past stage 1 (they read the first ten pages only) :(

    I felt pretty confident that the work was good enough to at least get a full read and some feedback, but now I'm really doubting my self.

    Has anyone else had experience with writers room. I'm wondering how high the goal posts are. Does not getting past stage one mean that my work is absolute garbage, or does it simply mean that its not quite up there with the pros yet?
  2. Bacchus

    Bacchus Silver Member

    It could mean anything - I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe the reader had a bad day, maybe they just didn't like your genre. Maybe they had a pile of 20 to get through before going home and skimmed.

    Getting your script into the right hand is a long shot at the best of times. I remember reading somewhere that the number of scripts that go through the slush pile at the writers room is into the tens of thousands every year and to date the number that has been acted on is in single figures.
  3. Reg

    Reg Silver Member

    There's an interview on this very site with the honcho of the Writer's Room. It's worth a listen for sure and might answer your question better than anyone else here.

    Just as a quick addendum though, was it your first script?

    If it was - and sorry to be harsh - then it probably was garbage. Doesn't make you a bad writer though, and doesn't mean you won't make it, just means you'll have to keep trying. But you love it so that's easy, right? :cool:

    Anyway, hope this mush helps. Good luck with your story.

    Reg.
  4. Gareth

    Gareth Bronze Member

    Thanks for the replies :D

    It wasn't my first script, but it was the first one I had felt good enough about to send off. I had paid for feedback from a reader at writers workshop who gave generally positive and encouraging feedback, picking up several minor issues with the script which I corrected.

    I'll keep plodding on I guess :)
  5. mr wendal

    mr wendal Bronze Member

    Never pay for feedback. Many people will not be honest but nice when money is involved. That is something you don't need when you want to know how good you script is. I give a lot of feedback and never ask any cent for it and many others will do the same.
  6. craktactor

    craktactor Moderator

    Huh?
    Time, for those in the industry who do analysis/coverage as a living (ie. Professionals), isn't free.
    These are people who work in the industry, as writers, readers, story editors, assistants in agencies/mgt.co's etc. And they bring their knowledge to the table. And for a fee, you get professional feedback.
    Think of the time you spend writing your script. Isn't it an investment in your future?
    Nothing's free.
    When we here offer feedback on others writing, it's a communal thing. Free, yes. But isn't my/our time reading that worth something? I think so.
    So, to say 'never pay for feedback'... unless you've written 20 plus scripts and have 7 or 8 of those produced and you're offering your services for free... then you're a truly great human being for sure.
    Otherwise, like spec writing, it's an investment. And aren't you worth the investment?
    I sure hope I am.
  7. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    It depends on the reader I guess. A local writer running a workshop for some extra income may not be that great, but, say, Carrie Fisher would be worth paying for, as would lots of other pros. A couple of friends of mine do local workshops, but really, they don't know any more than me. I listen to them, but I wouldn't pay them more than a thank-you pint of beer.

    I'm going to pay for a read on the script I'm finishing up now, but then I've known that particular read for ages and she'll make good, constructive comments.

    The other kind of read worth having is from writers a rung or two up from you. I've managed to accumulate a couple of serious 'names' who'll read my stuff, as well as producers I've worked with who I trust (and there's always a chance the producers will love it so much they'll buy it...).

    As for the Writers Room... I get the impression they do their best but they're swamped, as you'd expect. Better to build up your own relationships - Writers Room will make discouraging noises about contacting producers, script editors etc. but it's never stopped me.
  8. Bacchus

    Bacchus Silver Member

    Don't forget that if a Hollywood reader passes on a great script, that feux-pas will stay with them - forever. If a reader in the BBC writers room passes on a script and it goes on to make millions it doesn't really matter to the reader because the BBC is a publicially funded organisation - it's not there to make money, and films isn't it's main goal by any stretch of the imagination.

    Malcolm
  9. craktactor

    craktactor Moderator

    Okay... Spin, and Mr. Wendal and whoever else...
    The point I was trying to make (but apparently failed) was that, when one finishes their screenplay (regardless of draft number), one should, or actually, MUST get PROFESSIONAL analysis/feedback/coverage. And more than one. And from more than one coverage company. It isn't cheap, but don't you think your hard work is worth it? Ask Phil. I guarantee he uses someone's services, and he's been in the business for years.

    Just because YOU (or your brother/sister/mother/friend/cousin/nephew/buddy/writing circle) think it's ready, chances are, and far more than likely, it's not. You're too close to it. And they (the folks I stated) have no real clue. That's a fact.
    And that's what I was trying to state.

    Every penny you invest will be an investment in that piece getting closer to whatever goal you have. Even the pros (like Phil) use these same services I'm talking about.

    Also, anyone who writes a first draft then sends it out is in for a very rude awakening. Especially if it's to highly regarded prodcos, agencies, studios and management cos. And I've seen this mindset too often here in the Goldmine.
    Unless you're willing to change your name with every script, these people do remember names relating to the scripts. That's part of their jobs too.
    You only get one chance at a first impression, and if that impression is soiled, then where do you go? Right? Right.

    And as Bacchus alluded to, they're all looking for a great script. All of them. Everywhere. Constantly. Every minute of every day. And what I stated is directly related to making your script the absolute best it can be by every standard. Everywhere.

    Anyway... I guess I've rambled on enough. Good day everyone.
  10. Vig

    Vig Bronze Member

    i also find it baffling that people shrug at paying for script services. in any facet of life we are constantly paying for services to be renderened. this is just another example of that.

    find the people who are credible, just like anything and let them help you get better. i think it is important to gather a group of writers that you can bounce ideas off and get reads, but at times it's important to get professional help.

    yes, once again professional help is so very subjective but risk reward is a valuable part of the writers tool set and if you find the right person it could be the difference of selling or not selling.

    everyday we choose to use our money to do differnt things this is another choice we have to make our work better.

    choose wisely, but it's nearnightsided to blanket an industry that can help you be a better writer and that's the point of this all to get our work ready for the people in the position to get movies made.

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