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Blog: Writing Workshop

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On Sunday I went to yet ANOTHER BBC writing thing, this time as part of the New Comedy Writing Awards. We'd been told to meet in the cafe area at the Hackney Empire, and when I arrived I happily gazed around spotting the people I thought would be going to the workshop - basically people who looked like younger, paler versions of me, nervously staring at their phones. I enjoy doing this entirely unselfconsciously, very much aware that others will be looking at me and thinking "he looks exactly the same as the rest of us EXCEPT PERHAPS SEXIER." That's definitely what's happening.

After a bit there was an announcement that the workshop was about to begin round the corner and the ENTIRE ROOM rose as one and filed out. I felt sorry for the people working there who must have felt DESERTED. One of the people who rose was Mr N Brennan, from SCHOOL, so we had a chat as we wandered in. I tell you what, even if doing the MA hadn't given me all the 1,000,000 benefits that it did, it would still have been a lovely way of ensuring I always had someone to talk to at Writing Events!

Once inside we had a panel discussion, featuring several of the same people as at the last one of these I went to, with some interesting talk of how they got Where They Are Today. The main Take Home Points were "it takes ages" and "you have to get to know people" but again it was nice to hear everyone saying that the Standard Route of working your way up through Newsjack submissions WORKS. It certainly made me keen to keep at it! The only disappointing thing was at the end when a bright young hope for the future (hem hem) asked for tips on how to get Producers (i.e. people like them) to come and see Edinburgh shows. "Just have a good show" was the answer, which is the WORST ADVICE and also THE MOST POPULAR. It drives me nuts when people say that - how on earth does anyone KNOW you have a good show if nobody has SEEN it? If I did THE MOST AMAZING SHOW EVER in my Mum's LOFT would people somehow find out about it and turn up?

In the second half we did some group work, pitching ideas for a Radio One show. The idea of this, apparently, was to give experience of how group idea pitching works, and it sure did. On the one hand parts of it were ACE as several of us shared ideas, encouraged new thoughts, and were open to new suggestions. On the other hand... well, let's just say that not everybody is designed for this sort of thing and may - OR MAY NOT - have forced some people other to bite their tongue throughout instead of screaming "Stop writing all of you and your friend's rubbish, blindingly obvious, ideas down and ignoring everybody else's. Please." It was A Bit Annoying.

In the first half of this section we had to come up with a bunch of ideas which the Producer Types would listen to then chose one from each group for them to work on further. I would like to report that I didn't take GRATE satisfaction when one of the ideas that the rest of us had forced our two "leaders" to write down was chosen over all of theirs, but alas I am NOT QUITE AN ANGEL. In the second half of this section the rest of us did all gang up a bit more and get some ideas out, but it was still a little frustrating - apparently though this is what GROUP PITCHING is like most of the time anyway, so I guess it was good practice!

When it was finished i FLED - there was NETWORKING to be done afterwards in the cafeteria, but I had to get home and do a whole heap of Newsjack Submission Writing. Clearly the system works!

posted 30/9/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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