Southwest Scriptwriters is back in online action this autumn with a quartet of monthly Zoom sessions taking us through to the festive season — see below for a list of the full fall foursome.

A fresh focus for workshopping

Since Southwest Scriptwriters started in 1994 we’ve taken much the same approach at our workshop sessions: reading scripts or script extracts aloud and then offering feedback on them. For most of our 27 years reading aloud has been a necessary part of the process because there was no practical alternative.

Our ad hoc casting has led to some fine performances over the years, but there have been times when, for a variety of reasons, the readings haven’t quite shown scripts in their best light. In these cases it’s been particularly important to remember that the reading is just the way we’ve distributed the script and it’s the feedback that counts!

At our Zoom sessions we’ve shared scripts using Google Drive and we plan to continue with this except that we’ll now post scripts for everyone to read before a meeting.

  • If you’re attending a session, we’ll email you the link to the script or script extract with the Zoom meeting details when you pay your £2 subs.
  • If you’ve booked a workshop slot, you’ll need to email a PDF of your script or script extract for posting online at least a week ahead of the meeting — please use our ‘Book a workshop slot’ form to get in touch in the first place and we’ll arrange for you to email your work when we’ve confirmed your booking.
    We’ll post your work on Google Drive with viewing restrictions so that those accessing it can neither download, print nor copy it, and only those who pay to attend a meeting will have the link.

If you feel it would help to have a short section of your script read at a meeting to get a sense of how the dialogue’s working, we can of course include snippet readings in sessions — especially if these help inform the discussion. We’re also keen to create opportunities for those who join us on Zoom to develop their scriptwriting in special live performance events next year. The focus at our meetings, though, will be on feeding back on scripts and, through this, learning to be better scriptwriters!

Autumn season

We’re Zooming one Wednesday a month until December — find the ‘I’m attending’ button on our What’s on page a week ahead of each of the following dates to pay your £2 subs and receive the meeting’s Zoom details.

Wednesday, 29 September at 7.30pm on Zoom: Sitcom Night

Sitcom tag cloud

We’re getting autumn 2021 underway with our promised look at sitcom scriptwriting. Stephanie Weston, Southwest Scriptwriters’ in-house improvised comedy aficionado (and Instant Wit! co-director), leads the session exploring what makes a situation comedy. If you’ve been having a stab at joining Stephen Merchant as a stellar sitcom writer from our area (although he now lives in LA), get in touch using our ‘Book a workshop slot’ form to add your script to the discussion.

Wednesday, 20 October at 7.30pm on Zoom: Open Workshop

Get in touch using our ‘Book a workshop slot’ form to get feedback on your script, pitch, treatment, logline or idea at October’s session or either of the following meetings.

Wednesday, 17 November at 7.30pm on Zoom: Open Workshop

Wednesday, 8 December at 7.30pm on Zoom: Open Workshop


Briony steps down

We’re very sorry to announce that Briony Pope has decided to step down from Southwest Scriptwriters’ management committee having chaired the group since 2017.

Briony was instrumental in reviving Southwest Scriptwriters after a year-long hiatus following the end of the group’s half decade of meeting at Watershed in spring 2016. She led our return to Bristol Old Vic and drew on her teaching experience in developing our workshop sessions to help make them more supportive and inclusive.

Briony also initiated our Scratch Nights events, which presented two evenings of rehearsed readings of group members’ work at The Lightship Theatre in October 2018 and March 2019. She again broke new ground with the group in June last year, leading our first Zoom sessions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having righted the Southwest Scriptwriters ship, Briony is now keen to focus on continuing to establish The Lightship Theatre as one of Bristol’s landmark performing arts venues. She still plans to keep putting in regular appearances at meetings and we’re looking forward to her staying very much part of the group!

Southwest Scriptwriters management committee is now Bruce Fellows, Adrian Harris, Tim Massey and Stephanie Weston. The team will take turns at leading sessions starting with Sitcom Night led by Stephanie on 29 September.


Bruce’s The Best One There out now

The Best One There by Bruce Fellows
The Best One There by Bruce Fellows

Bruce Fellows published his second novel The Best One There on 21 July.

Inspired partly by the life of World War II flying ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, The Best One There takes on the dilemma faced by those whose personal beliefs put them on the wrong side in the war:

‘1941. In a better world Jochen would be a concert pianist but in this one, though unconvinced by Nazi ideology, he’s in North Africa, flying for the Führer.
‘In the desert life is simple; at home it’s complicated. Lotte, a schoolteacher, loves him but where’s Gerda, the war widow he’s fallen for? His twin sister Ilse worries him too; what does she see in Heinecke, the creep with the Gestapo connection? And what is happening to the Jews?
‘Is Jochen too wrapped up in himself to see what’s going on?’

Bruce’s second novel follows 2014’s That Quiet Earth: A First World War Tale, which also focused on a fighter pilot.

A longstanding member of Southwest Scriptwriters, Bruce joined the group’s management committee earlier this year. As well as his work as a novellist, Bruce maintains a prolific output as a playwright. His produced work includes Rabbit Ears (2010) and Broadbent (2014) with Theatre West, several short pieces with Show of Strength, and adaptations of The Mystery of the Hound of the Baskervilles (2012), Kidnapped (2013), and Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Blue Carbuncle (2014) with Brass Works Theatre.

Find The Best One There at Amazon