British Comedy Guide

BBC Writers room script reader wins Page 2

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Lazzard

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 9:24am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,878 posts
Quote: Mr Writer Like In The Song @ 16th November 2015, 1:50 PM GMT

What I can't understand is why this person - sufficiently inexperienced that they need this kind of break - was hired to judge the quality of other people's work.

Give the man a cigar.
The first people who read your script are the last people who should be reading your script.
That's the slush pile for you.
You have to get round it - 'cos you're unlikely to get through it.

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IAL Diamond

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 10:47am [Edited]
  • England
  • 3 posts

I don't question Stott's talent, in fact she's witty and her posts on BBC WR and personal blog are funny. I'm sure her project is excellent. But this is not the procedure: she cannot be a member of a pannel and a winner. This is basic common sense.

BBC guidelines on competitions are clear: "No member of the production team or anyone else poses as a competition contestant or winner" In the same document, section 6.3 regarding creative competitions clearly states:"...Panellists should be issued with the criteria for judging. They must confirm, in writing, that they have no conflicts of interest; they should not have any close personal or commercial connection to the entrants. If such a connection emerges once the competition has commenced, then the panel member should withdraw. Programme Legal Advice should be consulted. It might be necessary to restart judging...." Full BBC guidelines on competitions are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/assets/advice/Detailed_Guidance_Competitions_October2008.pdf

If you feel cheated, as I feel, the only actual solution is referring a formal complaint to BBC Trust, the section in charge of "something you have seen, heard or read on the BBC, or that relates to the way the BBC operates." This is the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/contact_us/making_a_complaint.html

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Johnny26

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 11:15am
  • England
  • 79 posts

If she entered under a false name and had no part in selecting her own work to go forward I don't see that there should be a problem, I think that most people would do the same given the chance.

J26

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IAL Diamond

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 1:56pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 3 posts
Quote: Johnny26 @ 17th November 2015, 11:15 AM GMT

If she entered under a false name and had no part in selecting her own work to go forward I don't see that there should be a problem, I think that most people would do the same given the chance.

J26

Hi J26,

1.BBC Writers Room describes itself as BBC department that looks "for the best NEW writers and best writers NEW to the BBC with the potential to be developed and produced for BBC broadcast"-this description is here: www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/send-a-script. Ms Stott has been publishing on the BBC WR's blog as a professional member of the TV industry and she is a script reader for this department since at least 2013. Therefore she cannot be considered as a "new" writer, but a well respected professional whom BBC WR trusts in.

2. She may not have selected her work, but it was selected by her work mates and her bosses - i.e. people she has a personal relationship with. That's not impartial.

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Tursiops

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 2:13pm
  • Welwyn Garden City, England
  • 9,788 posts

Bottom line is that if you want to get into TV comedy scriptwriting and you do not already have a career as a successful stand up comic and game show panellist, then you need every break you can get.

Being paid minimum wage (if she even got that) to sift out the crayon daubers is not exactly going to have given her the the inside track.

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Frankie Mildly Perturbed

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 4:15pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 5,497 posts

I think the issue is not what she did but that she was still rewarded as a winner even when it was found out.

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Bleurgh

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 5:31pm
  • England
  • 58 posts
Quote: IAL Diamond @ 17th November 2015, 10:47 AM GMT

BBC guidelines on competitions are clear: "No member of the production team or anyone else poses as a competition contestant or winner" In the same document, section 6.3 regarding creative competitions clearly states:"...Panellists should be issued with the criteria for judging. They must confirm, in writing, that they have no conflicts of interest; they should not have any close personal or commercial connection to the entrants. If such a connection emerges once the competition has commenced, then the panel member should withdraw. Programme Legal Advice should be consulted. It might be necessary to restart judging...." Full BBC guidelines on competitions are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/assets/advice/Detailed_Guidance_Competitions_October2008.pdf

Scriptroom 9 wasn't a competition. There's no tangible prize detailed. It was simply the name given to the window when the Writersroom was accepting unsolicited comedy scripts. So it's unlikely that the BBC competition rules apply in this instance.

The 15 people selected for the comedy development pool weren't all selected from Scriptroom 9, some came from other talent searches or were just people that were on the BBC's radar as being a promising new talent. Did they 'cheat the system' too then? Of course not. They just showed themselves to be talented writers.

And also, having a handful of blog posts published on the Writersroom website doesn't make you an experienced writer. A 'new' writer refers to anyone who hasn't had a broadcast commission. The 'new' is from the point of view of the network, not the individual. Sally Stott is absolutely a new comedy writer from the POV of the BBC.

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Tursiops

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 5:51pm
  • Welwyn Garden City, England
  • 9,788 posts
Quote: Frankie Rage @ 17th November 2015, 4:15 PM GMT

I think the issue is not what she did but that she was still rewarded as a winner even when it was found out.

I don't have an issue with it. Good luck to her. The fact that you shovel shit for a living should not mean that you never get a chance to ride the ponies.

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Frankie Mildly Perturbed

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 6:01pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 5,497 posts
Quote: Tursiops @ 17th November 2015, 5:51 PM GMT

I don't have an issue with it. Good luck to her. The fact that you shovel shit for a living should not mean that you never get a chance to ride the ponies.

Oh I see, well that's OK then, why didn't you say so before?!

Could-a saved us all the worry!

:D

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IAL Diamond

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 6:17pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 3 posts
Quote: Bleurgh @ 17th November 2015, 5:31 PM GMT

Scriptroom 9 wasn't a competition. There's no tangible prize detailed. It was simply the name given to the window when the Writersroom was accepting unsolicited comedy scripts. So it's unlikely that the BBC competition rules apply in this instance.

The 15 people selected for the comedy development pool weren't all selected from Scriptroom 9, some came from other talent searches or were just people that were on the BBC's radar as being a promising new talent. Did they 'cheat the system' too then? Of course not. They just showed themselves to be talented writers.

And also, having a handful of blog posts published on the Writersroom website doesn't make you an experienced writer. A 'new' writer refers to anyone who hasn't had a broadcast commission. The 'new' is from the point of view of the network, not the individual. Sally Stott is absolutely a new comedy writer from the POV of the BBC.

I'm sure they're very talented as Sally Stott is - I never doubted it, in fact I regularly read her personal blog and she's very good. The fact that there isn't a tangible prize doesn't mean that it's not a competition. There's a panel that selects certain people. Any selection process must be impartial as it has to happen when someone is applying for a job. In this case it wasn't. I've already formally complained to BBC Trust so they're the ones that decide if this process has been clean or not.

I can understand your point of Sally Stott being "new" despite I don't share it: she's been giving professional advice for two years.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Tuesday 17th November 2015, 6:29pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,395 posts

Any advice is professional if someone pays for it?

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Johnny26

  • Wednesday 18th November 2015, 8:13pm
  • England
  • 79 posts

I think that we all need believe that the cream always rises to the top, and that her work was genuinely the best of what was on offer at the time.
I often read stuff on various sites that I think is rubbish, and hope that the reader I get has enough sense to see that my work is a cut above the other stuff.
I swear a lot to myself and try to get it better for the next time. it has not happened yet but I live in hope. The other option is that I just tell anybody who will listen that there is no chance for people like me to compete because it's a closed shop,a theory which some people subscribe I don't know if it's true or not, hopefully not.
I understand the conspiracy theories but do not see the real problem, if she writes better than the others why would they not select her. it's only a problem if she made the final call herself in my opinion.

J26.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Thursday 19th November 2015, 10:33am
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,395 posts

We just don't hear of the BBC Writers Room script readers losing, that's all.

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Johnny26

  • Thursday 19th November 2015, 4:14pm
  • England
  • 79 posts

That would be an interesting stat, how many readers send in stuff under a false name and don't get through.

J26

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Marc P

  • Thursday 19th November 2015, 7:06pm
  • England
  • 17,698 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 17th November 2015, 9:24 AM GMT

Give the man a cigar.
The first people who read your script are the last people who should be reading your script.
That's the slush pile for you.
You have to get round it - 'cos you're unlikely to get through it.

Especially with a room that's remit is not to get work produced.