Southwest Scriptwriters meeting, Waterside 2, Watershed, 31 January 2012

Happy 2012!

We’re starting the New Year with six consecutive Tuesday evenings in Waterside 1 at Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX. You can find the date, time and location of our next meeting in the panel on the right beneath the slideshow on our website’s home page, and a full list of upcoming events on the site’s Diary page. Please ask at the box office on the ground floor at Watershed if you need directions to Waterside 1. Everyone attending meetings pays £1.

Tuesday, 10 January at 7.30pm: Editing Dialogue for Stage and Screen

Southwest Scriptwriters’ Chair Andy Graham looks at ways to tighten and polish your dialogue, and at some issues related to the different forms. Bring a pen and paper, as there will be a practical editing exercise.

Tuesday, 17 January at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tonight we’re featuring Looking Back, Writing Forward entries by Lissa Carter, Elaine Eveleigh and Bruce Fellows. See below for details of our New Year mini competition and your chance to win a £25 Amazon gift certificate.

Tuesday, 24 January at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

If you’re planning to enter a play for the Tobacco Factory’s Script Space initiative this year (see below for further details), tonight’s workshop is your chance to get some last-minute feedback on your work ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline.

Tuesday, 31 January at 7.30pm: The Wall by Adrian Harris

A reading of Adrian’s new play: If a region has been ravaged by war, split by occupying ‘friendly’ forces and radical insurgents, and the cost both human and fiscal has been immense, what possible solution can lead to peace? Is peace even a viable option?

When withdrawal is viewed as defeat and integration is unpalatable, the decision has been made to confine, isolate, to forget.

A wall over 30 metres high was constructed. It encompasses a province larger than two cities with outlying farmland. Nothing has been in and nothing has come out for 120 years. Education, art and religion have been censored, history has been erased, and the population has been controlled. Local governments rule alongside private poliz-militia. After the initial years of isolation, the people conceded that cooperation was the only way to survive.

But now that the building of the wall is outside any living memory, and myths and legends have replaced historical facts, small groups of dissidents are planning to escape…

Tuesday, 7 February at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

With the deadline for our Looking Back, Writing Forward contest coming up on 17 February, tonight and next week’s meeting are your last chances to workshop your script before submitting it – you need to have your entry read at a meeting for it to be eligible for the competition.

Tuesday, 14 February at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Our St Valentine’s Day meeting is the final one before our Looking Back, Writing Forward competition deadline, so whether you’re penning a love story or action-adventure script inspired by your personal history, tonight’s your last chance to have it read at a meeting.

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Looking Back, Writing Forward

The submission deadline for our New Year’s mini competition is midnight on Friday, 17 February, and you need to have had your script read and discussed by the group at one of our workshop meetings by then to be eligible to enter.

Looking Back, Writing Forward encourages you to explore your personal history for inspiration for a new scriptwriting project for 2012. It’s based on the Mining Your Experience timed exercise set by Buzz McLaughlin in The Playwright’s Process: Learning the Craft from Today’s Leading Dramatists (Back Stage Books, 1997, pages 49-52), which involves spending a few minutes picking out milestones in your life story that you can use as source material for scripts.

We don’t need to know directly about the experience that inspired your Looking Back, Writing Forward entry, just a ten-page (1800-word) extract from your script. Ideally, we’d like you to submit part of a longer stage, screen, radio or television drama on which you’ll continue to work – and develop through group meetings – after the competition deadline.

An independent judge (still to be confirmed) will read the Looking Back, Writing Forward entries, and pick the one s/he feels is the strongest. The writer of the selected script extract will receive the £25 Amazon gift certificate prize.

Looking forward to hearing your Looking Back, Writing Forward scripts at our upcoming workshop sessions!


Stef joins the team

We’re very pleased to announce that Stephanie Weston has agreed to be part of Southwest Scriptwriters’ management committee.

Stef joined Southwest Scriptwriters in 2006, and has been a regular at group meetings since then. Her acting skills make her a popular reader at our workshop sessions, and her self-performed monologues, Icarus and Daedalus and Amelia and Agnes, were highlights of our Museum Pieces and Living Local events last year. She was also a writer-performer in our Scripts @ Starbucks events in 2008.

As a director of Instant Wit!, Stef sees frequent onstage action improvising gags, sketches and songs with the quick-fire comedy company. You can catch Instant Wit! ‘on the run from the comedy police’ at the Egg in Bath on Saturday, 21 January, and at Bristol’s Brewery Theatre on Sunday, 29 January. For further information visit Instant Wit’s website.

Stef brings the group’s management committee to six members with John Colborn (Founder/Treasurer), Andy Graham (Chair), Adrian Harris, William House and Tim Massey (Artistic Director). We look forward to her input on running the group!


31 January deadline for Script Space V

The deadline for the Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Script Space V initiative is at the end of this month (and there’s a chance for you to workshop your submission for it at our meeting on 24 January – see the above listing).

This year you’re invited to submit a new, unperformed, one-act play for the project, which will offer three writers bespoke development opportunities depending on the current progress and potential of their scripts. In the past, Script Space has offered dramaturgical advice, R&D time with actors and a director, a rehearsed reading or small-scale production, and these are all possibilities again this time.


Saturday Shorts returns

Bristol Folk House is inviting South West-based writers to submit work for its Saturday Shorts initiative.

Now in its third year, the project presents 15-minute scripts that make a big impact in a short time as script-in-hand performances at the Folk House on a Saturday evening in the summer.

Your script can be for theatre, screen, radio or television, but should be suitable for simple staging with three actors or fewer. Its running time should also be as close to 15 minutes (2500 words) as possible.