TV Drama has entered an unprecedented era of international acclaim and success. US drama series like The Wire, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have challenged and enthused audiences across the world with TV drama that is original, complex and non-formulaic. Recent TV drama series from Denmark and Sweden have created an appetite for ground breaking thrillers such as The Killing and The Bridge as well as the political drama Borgen. There is a new appetite among UK drama commissioners and independent producers to develop work along such original lines.
‘TV Drama – Creating The Bible’ is an eight week course, requiring at least three days attendance at the NFTS in Beaconsfield each week, that will equip writers and producers with the knowledge and skills required to create a high-end ten-part drama series.
Led by Peter Ansorge, ex-Head of Drama at Channel 4, where his BAFTA and Emmy award-winning commissions included A Very British Coup, Traffik and The Politician’s Wife, participants will write and complete a full bible and pilot episode for a drama series that has the potential of running over more than one season.
The course does not follow any received academic view about screenwriting but will create the actual conditions of working on an original drama project over a period of time among professionals with a proven track record. Among the guests Peter Ansorge has brought to previous writing courses at the school are writers David Hare and Howard Brenton, producers Jane Featherstone (Kudos), Simon Heath (World Productions) and impresario Michael Grade who has been Controller of BBC1, and Chief Executive at both ITV and at Channel 4.
For ‘Creating The Bible’ guest speakers will include Heads of Development at all3media-owned drama companies such as Company Pictures (Shameless, Wolf Hall), Neal Street Productions (Call The Midwife, The Hollow Crown) and Bentley Productions (Midsommer Murders.)
There will be two days set aside each week for writing your bible and pilot episode. Also, there are homework assignments each evening which will be reviewed on screen the following morning where we will work on improving your script and bible. The working atmosphere will be that of a professional writers’ room.
Guest speakers will review the projects each week and provide professional advice and input.
All3media group comprise eighteen leading production companies, independent creators of UK TV and multi-platform programming from around the world. At the end of the course, participants will pitch their completed bible and pilot episode to Heads of Development from all3media drama companies, providing participants with a unique contact with and support from the industry.
The modules for writing the pilot episode and bible will address and attempt to answer the question: what makes great TV writing?
There will be in-depth discussion of TV Drama, past and present, including the work of Dennis Potter, Paula Milne, Alan Bleasdale, Mathew Weiner, David Simon and Vince Gilligan..
Included in the modules will be:
- The importance of metaphor
- The development of character
- The sense of place
- The importance of surprise
- The opening scene
- The sense of an ending
- Steal, don’t copy
- The rewrite: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
As the final module, you will pitch your project to an all3media drama team.
The course is open to new and established writers and drama producers. There is no requirement to have had a drama produced or broadcast.
All3 media are offering a scholarship to a candidate from a diverse background.
Successful candidates will have access to NFTS’s Screen Arts and Cinema Club.
Course dates: 9 January 2017 to March 3 2017
Applicants do not necessarily need to have a university Bachelors degree to apply for this course, but must be able to clearly demonstrate a good level of ability in the field of writing and/or producing, have a real passion for drama and be fully committed to a career in it.
Applicants must submit the course application form, along with a copy of their CV.