An exciting opportunity has come about to see your writing, which you labour over tirelessly and painfully, be turned into a bite-sized lovely tidbit about people communicating in a socially distanced world.
The BBC, in light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, is battening down the hatches, shoring up the rigging, and sending out our best pink-faced men with long spindly trumpets to blow until they have minor neurofrantic events and seize on the floor. And it’s all for you! You there, undiscovered schlub, typing your fingers into bloody stumps seeking a transcendent and ecstatic truth. Yes you! We are announcing “We’re All Bloody In This Together Lads, It’s a Bit Like the Fucking Somme Isn’t It!”, a new production of BBC Writers’ Room.
The brief is, a social network of friends, colleagues, or family are all connecting together on Skype (Well, not Skype, we’ll probably come up with some lame non-trademarked company name that sounds a bit thematically relevant, like Communion, or Chorus) and overcoming their own struggles with social isolation together.
We’ll leave the details to hash out in the brains of you undiscovered empresarios, but the through-line is, it must be either uplifting, enlightening, or heartwarming.
We don’t need any fucking Ken Loach types coming in here and pointing out the pantomime of incompetency behind the Government’s response to this virus, because we desperately fear being made to seem even slightly partisan, else the license will be repealed and we’ll be forced to run ads for SportsDirect forever, or those sodding ones with the little fucking Meercats.
As a result of this, whenever we ask for input from the trogs- er, the everyday geniuses, we must make our brief specifically state that we want something peachy and fuzzy. This might be a struggle, as if you are an undiscovered writer you have probably felt desperately unfulfilled your entire life and resentful of the apparatus in place to stop people like you breaking through.
To that we say, sod fucking off Kropotkin, go make some sweetcorn in the street for a recently dismissed electrician. I didn’t go to a very good university just so you can swan in and be the next Chekov.
An Everydayjoe, the head of BBC Writersroom, said “In times of great peril, we in BBC Writersroom believe in two things. One, a cocaine dealer operating on reduced hours is just bloody stupid, we’re paying customers here and your poor life choices will kill you anyway. Two, the power of storytellers has always been to embolden our spirits and enlighten our minds, and help us make sense of the world in such unprecedented circumstances” she then took a long drag of her blueberry-themed vape-pen and looked away for a bit, then looked back at me and said “That was alright, wasn’t it? Obviously leave out the cocaine bit, but that last bit was like, properly Neil Gaiman, right? Don’t the masses love that guy?”
Then we chatted about magical realism for a bit, she was quite keen on it in a detached sort of way, whereas I think it’s absolute trash.
It was a lovely chat, actually.
But let’s get to brass-tacks here, yeah? You’re wondering, “what’s in this for me”. Well, as well as seeing the story you certainly wanted to write in a short-form format to a very detailed guideline brought to life, the winners will also be awarded a cash sum of £300!*
* By submitting your story to Writersroom you will lose all rights to the characters portrayed within and will not be given any preferential treatment when it comes to future script submissions. That would just be unfair, my father spent a lot of time mingling with the future head of the BBC’s father at a golf-course lounge, smoking cigars and tolerating the man’s musings on Le Dolce Vita, like we don’t all know that Marcello is meant to be perceived as a contemporary Dante. I also didn’t spend so much time at my exceedingly good university tactically befriending those with more talent than me so I might use them as co-writers and harvest their talent, playing to their own self-serving awareness of my familial connections, just to have every former Costa barista pitching Nordic detective dramas. My status has been decades in the making, you can’t expect life to hand talented people real opportunities, it would be the utmost in karmic injustice for those of us who have known exactly what they wanted to do from the age of 3 and have had endless advice from teachers into how to acquire exactly that.
The deadline for submissions is the 10th of April. I know that’s very imminent, but we need to seize on this concept before ITV get their grubby fingers all over this idea and spoil it for us lot. Bloody, it would just be our concept but with more Bristolians, wouldn’t it, awful, just awful. Essex as well, fuck fucking off.
All submissions will obviously be judged on the formatting software used, as if you are a struggling and upcoming creative then you clearly have the income to self-finance a copy of Final Draft 11. There’s currently a special offer on for £162.90, which isn’t very fair as I paid the full £201.11 last year. Or you can get the 30 Day Free Trial, but to be honest when you do that it includes a little watermark on all of your screenplays, and we automatically disqualify based on that watermark.
All shorts are to be between 5-10 minutes of screen-time as mentioned, as let’s be honest there’s a very slim marginal chance of anyone who might work too hard on this being selected, we’ll probably go for something a bit more colloquial and kitchen-sink than whatever Ice Man Cometh Again you’re planning on sending to us.
You can find the rest of the details on our website, as well as the terms and conditions.**
** Due to policy all T&Cs have a standardised format of “found on an ancient Mesopotamian tablet and initially mistaken for a lost passage of the Epic of Gilgamesh”, we appreciate this is queuing up the jokes about T&Cs from panel show comedians, but we own most of the panel shows (the bloody clever ones anyway), so I think you’ll fucking well find this is a little intentional manoeuvre we’re pulling off here.
Believe it or not, this actually happened and it actually was the BBC operating this snake-oil wagon, but with less oblique references to cocaine. Check it out if you want to marvel at the headstone of creative aspiration: https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-03-23/bbc-scriptwriting-competition/?
by Marc Magill
Disclaimer: All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.