Writers' Guild deplores BBC3 & Pobol y Cwm cuts - meetings with BBC execs will seek assurances for writers http://t.co/pbvbG64Dtd
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Conference: 19 November, RADA Studios, London
The Guild would like to thank everyone who completed the online survey on bullying as part of the Creating Without Conflict Campaign. We have had a great response across the entertainment industry.
The campaign seeks to challenge bullying and harassment in the entertainment industries. The aim is to raise awareness, to work with employers to create effective policies and procedures that will protect staff and freelance workers from bullying and harassment and empower members to challenge and report incidents without fear of reprisals.
Our recent survey asked members about their experience of bullying and harassment in their industry. The aim was to see how widespread the problem is throughout the entertainment industry.
We will be launching the full findings on 19 November at the Creating without Conflict Conference which will take place at the RADA Studios in Central London from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The morning will explore the survey results and the afternoon will consist of discussion groups, giving members the opportunity to discuss in more detail the issues that have risen from the survey and look at ways of moving forward.
The conference is for members of Writers Guild of Great Britain, BECTU, Equity, Musicians’ Union and NUJ. It is free to attend and a sandwich lunch will be provided, but numbers are strictly limited.
A new script development project from the Writers' Guild, Central School of Speech & Drama and Leicester Square Theatre
The Guild is inviting emerging and established writers in the UK to take part in Playwrights’ Progress, an inspiring script development project, run in partnership with Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (RCSSD) and Leicester Square Theatre. The project (open to both Guild members and non-Guild members) will give eight writers the opportunity to develop their career paths. Four participants will be chosen to attend a three-day, intensive workshop to develop their scripts in progress. The best work from the workshops will be showcased by actors of the highest calibre, at Leicester Theatre to an audience of invited literary managers, directors and producers. Four other writers will be selected for the “potential” of their draft plays, which will be given a read-through by Central’s alumni, again in front of invited literary managers.
Funded by Arts Council England and the Writers’ Foundation (UK), this project has been set up by the Guild to promote writing through education and training. The scheme is open to all writers, at any stage of their careers, to enable them to work on their unperformed plays with professional actors, directors and dramaturges of the highest calibre.
To apply, candidates should:
- Submit one hard copy plus an electronic copy of a draft of an unpublished, unperformed dramatic piece. Initially this needs to be the first act only (drawn from a full-length script of maximum running time of 2 hours 30 minutes). The text should include a cast list, essential production notes plus a resume/ scenario of the whole piece. A shortlist of contenders will then be drawn up and these will be asked to submit their full scripts for the final selection.
- Submit a brief biography of your experience and career to date, which must include at least one production for public performance or equivalent publication.
- Include a letter of application, of no more than 500 words, setting out your reasons for wanting to develop this piece, its potential as a drama and your aspirations for it. Explain why this experience would be valuable in terms of your personal development as a writer. This letter should include all your contact details plus a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish your script to be returned.
The initial read-through workshops will take place in the week beginning 3 March, followed by the three-day workshops on 1-4 April at the Bloomsbury Studios in London. The public showcasing at Leicester Square Theatre will take place in the week beginning 4 May.
Owing to the considerable task of selection, it will not be possible to offer a critique or respond to those candidates who have not been selected. But if you have any questions or need more information, please contact Richard Pinner.
Playwright Nick Wood on the advice he gives to aspiring writers
Whenever there’s a Q and A at a writers’ group I'm talking to, the same questions come up. What’s your routine? Where do the ideas come from? How do I get my work noticed? You try to be realistic, but you remember that once it was you sitting down there, asking the same questions, so you try to be encouraging too. Recently a letter came into the Writers' Guild from a Candidate Member asking for advice on how the Guild might help them get their work noticed and it was my job to reply. Here is what I wrote – which is what I also say at writers' groups.
Dear Candidate Member,
There's no simple answer to your question, at least not the kind of simple answer I wish I could give you and that you would like to hear.
There's nothing I can do, and there's nothing the Guild can do, because that isn’t the Guild’s job, because that isn't how it works, because there aren't any shortcuts. But, there's plenty you can do.
However, it will take persistence and patience and a willingness to accept the knocks and the criticism that will come your way. Be prepared for the disappointment, but if you believe in your work get over it and don't give up.
7-9pm, Derby Theatre Studio, Saturday 23 Nov 2013
An evening of insight & discussion, for anyone interested in new writing or pursuing a career as a writer, with wine and refreshments.
Meet our three distinguished Midlands guests who have all, in their way, been strongly influenced by their background and formative experience.
Amanda Whittington - highly successful local playwright, describes how she has to empathise with her characters, however notorious or extraordinary they may be. Her play about Judy Garland opens at Nottingham Playhouse in the New Year.
David Belbin - novelist and creative writing lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, tells how he keeps in continual contact with his community, especially the youth culture he works closely with, for his highly acclaimed young adult fiction.
Naylah Ahmed - award winning playwright, TV dramatist, BBC Radio producer, poet & short story writer, will talk about how her particular cultural background and Birmingham roots have inspired her work.
This event is a joint promotion of The Writers’ Guild with Derby Theatre Arts. Tickets £9. Concessions £6. Box Office 01332 593939 or www.derbytheatre.co.uk
FREE to Writers' Guild Members. Ring box office on 01332 593939 to book and bring membership card to collect your ticket.
Sue McCormick tells the story behind her new play
The basic storyline for No Fat Juliets had its beginnings on an Arvon course at Lumb Bank over 10 years ago but was never realised as other projects kept me too busy to develop it. The commissions I’ve been lucky enough to get since then have been for plays with a specific historical setting so when I decided that it was time to write a contemporary play, I went back to the idea I had for No Fat Juliets - a madcap comedy set in a failing Lakeland hotel, with a love story, a ghost, original songs and a good-humoured sideswipe at the pressure on women to conform to a physical ideal. There are broken hearts, broken limbs, songs, storms and seductions before we are finally served the obligatory happy ending!
As an actor I created the role of Jan in Ladies Day and Ladies Down Under by Amanda Whittington and I wanted NFJ to have the same warm-hearted accessibility that audiences had loved in those plays, with something to think about overlaid with bags of fun and frolics! As always I wanted to write strong roles for women and for the first time, as the lead was drawn in many ways from personal experience, I decided to pitch the project as writer/actor and double my workload!
Remembering Marie Banks and Robert Leeson who both died at the end of September
Marie Banks, former Assistant General Secretary who worked for the Writers' Guild for 28 years, died on 28 September.
Marie's contributions to the Guild were many, not least her phenomenal memory, which allowed her to place the names – and usually the faces – of hundreds of members. Much of her time was spent dealing with the finances of the Guild, working closely with several treasurers.
She started work for the Guild in the basement of No. 7 Harley Street on 15 March 1962 as an office temp, and 25 years later she was fêted at a celebration at the Café Royal. President Maureen Duffy presented Marie with a glass rose bowl and the Chair, Robert Leeson (who has also just died -- see below) announced that grateful members had subscribed no less than £6,500 towards her pension as a testimonial of gratitude.
Marie died of cancer at University College Hospital, London.
Robert Leeson, chair of the Writers’ Guild in 1985-86, died on 29 September aged 85.
He was a prolific writer of novels for children, publishing more than 70 titles, including Maroon Boy, Never Kiss Frogs, Tom’s Private War and several Grange Hill spin-offs. As chair of the Guild’s Books Committee in the early 1980s he played a vital part in negotiating minimum terms agreements with the leading UK publishers of the time. A full obituary will appear on the Guild’s website shortly.
The funeral will take place in Harlow, Essex on Wednesday 16 October. Any former colleague of Robert wishing to attend should contact the Guild office for full details
Nick Yapp adds:
I suppose everyone who's ever sat on any sort of committee has their idea of an ideal committee member. Mine would be Bob Leeson - modest, an extremely good listener, constructive, and always contributing the mot juste, the helpful suggestion, the faultless gathering together of every contribution as the discussion nears its end. Bob was way ahead of me. He'd had years of experience before I joined the Books Committee back in the late 1980s. I sat at the bottom end of the table in the Meeting Room upstairs at the Guild's Office in Edgware Road, listening carefully to what Bob said in the hope that one day I would have the skill and wisdom to follow in a master's footsteps. I never could, but that wasn't Bob's fault.
He was most active in the Guild during difficult times (come to think of it, aren't they all). The Books Committee was struggling to persuade all the major publishing houses in the UK to agree to a standardised Minimum Terms Contract for writers. The struggle was long, intense, and largely successful, and Bob played his part.
In short, Bob was one of those remarkable colleagues who make the rest of us proud to be part of the same Guild as them.