Thursday, December 11, 2008

Professional Screenwriter, Step 9: In the Know

Ever heard of Broadcast? How about Screen International? The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook? I’m sure most of you have but there’s an alarming amount of wannabes and graduates who have yet to clue themselves in to these essential publications.

If you want to know what’s happening on the UK scene, and swot up on the media’s movers and shakers, then it’s time to research the industry and raise your overall knowledge and awareness of how the system really works. Time to feel part of the community, find out what’s going on and discover who people are. Who’s the Head of the Film Council? Who’s Head of Drama at Channel 4? Who are the development executives at Working Title? Don’t know? Why not? The truth is out there, and it’s not difficult to find.

First of all, start with Broadcast, the UK’s weekly media magazine which gives a comprehensive rundown on the TV & radio industry. It’s full of news, opinion and gossip, and is a must read. You can subscribe to their RSS feed and get news updates for free.

Next up is Screen International, the UK’s film newspaper. It’s not as vast or detailed as Broadcast but it still covers a lot of ground and is always worth a peek, even if it’s five minutes in WH Smith before you grab your train home.

You simply cannot be without The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. There’s probably no need to buy it every year (as a lot of the info stays the same) but it’s chock full of producers, production companies, agents, and just about everything else you need to know about the UK media arena. One of the most common questions asked is ‘where do I get a list of UK production companies/agents/producers…?’ Well, the Writers’ and Artists’ yearbook is your answer.

Other places worthy of a bookmark: The Guardian’s Media Section (the newspaper publishes this every Monday but the website is updated daily). Similarly, The Guardian’s Film Section (news, reviews, comment). What else? The Irish film & TV scene is covered by the IFTN, and there’s a good Irish filmmaking network here. In the UK, Twelve Point continues to find its stride, both with its website and forum. The Writers’ Guild, The Script Factory and the BBC’s writersroom are also good places of reference (links in the sidebar).

Stay in the know. Find out what's actually going on and who's doing what. Knowledge, as they say, is power. At the very least, it's always interesting and sometimes even fun.


The Virgin Screenwriter said...

Hi, I just stumbled across your blog today. These screenwriting steps are a great help for aspiring writers like myself. It's taken me ages to find some screenwriting resources and tips that are geared towards the UK industry. Cheers!

Danny Stack said...

Hello VS! Thanks for stopping by.

Darren Goldsmith said...

I've said it before but I'll second TVS and say it again... bloomin' great info, Mr. Stack. I love these 'steps', they've been a revelation.

Merry Christmas!

Kevin said...

Weirdly, I know far, far more about the Irish industry and the Hollywood world (having worked there). The UK biz just seems beyond me, right now.

Danny Stack said...

Thanks, Darren!

I hear ya, Kevin.

Sal said...

There's also buckets of useful information at Screenwriting Goldmine plus some audio interviews with top TV writers, conducted by my good self.

Scaramanga said...

Hey Danny,

Very useful stuff indeed.

Does the writers and artists yearbook cover US or Canadian Producers/Production Comps etc? or is specifically geared towards the UK?

If so, are you aware of any trans-atlantic equivalent?

Cheers, Have a good weekend!


Danny Stack said...

Hi Charles

I've heard of the Hollywood Creative Diriectory, which is supposed to be pretty good; that's probably what you're after.

Eleanor said...

Great series Danny! Thanks! :)

Scaramanga said...

Thanks Danny.

Really helpful posts your putting out there.