- Wednesday 5th September 2018, 3:13pm [Edited]
- Guildford, England
- 7,524 posts
Newsjack is back this week, apparently.
They are doing a Facebook Live on Thursday. You can email questions in now for them to answer.
Here's a very long post of resources, if anyone's still interested.
This is cut'n'paste from the previous time. It may not all be relevant (or even work).
Here's the usual 'trying-to-put-the-useful-stuff-all-in-one-post' post...
(Any genuinely useful links anyone else has, PM me and I'll add)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Newsjack is hard! For a variety of reasons, it is much more difficult to get stuff on now than on earlier series and is probably one of the most difficult bits of your comedy career. If you get stuff in the script (even if it's not recorded/broadcast) that is enough to chase up the producers for other opps/your sitcom. Cultivating the producer relationship is the bit that's really important if you want to write comedy professionally, not getting stuff broadcast week-after-week (though obviously that does help). Once you're on producers' 'lists', being able to submit to stuff is easier (as said lists are much smaller, and you can submit much more than 2 sketches and 6 one-liners). However, that does not mean you are guaranteed to get stuff on, just the opportunity to get more personal rejections!
Also, make sure you've written your hit sitcom before you have kids. Trust me...
Probably (not necessarily!) all still valid from last time.
I will try edit this list as more relevant stuff becomes available/people post additional things, so it's all in a single place.
Submission Guidelines for Series 19 Everything in the link above supercedes anything I've put below, as the below is mostly historic things from the last few series mish-mashed all together.
Number-Crunchers has been replaced by Newsjackpedia. (See guidelines above)
Week 5 is the notoriously 'slow' week, when submissions drop off cos everyone's pissed off with rejection by then and doesn't bother submitting. By that I mean there are still many, many submissions, just not as many as the many, many, many of other weeks. That week is when, statistically, your best odds for getting something on. Write your best sketch that week.
Our very/Sitcom Geek's own Dave Cohen has a day-by-day blog of writing for Newsjack http://davecohen.org.uk/making-plans-newsjack-day-2 (there are others but I can't find an index for all of them. Change the number at the end for the consecutive ones (there is no 'Day 1' version, I don't think)
Sitcom Geeks podcast say lots and lots about Newsjack, including interviews with Angela Barnes (ep 70), the commissioned writers (ep 69) and more. They mention it. A lot. A lot. Look through the history of episodes and listen to them.
First deadline is the Monday before broadcast (10th) at 12noon for sketches (2 each per show this series) and 12noon on Tuesday for one-liners .
Tip: put an intro to the sketch and put a gag in that intro. Make the gag in the intro different to the gags in the sketch; otherwise you're just proving that you can do your gag a lot shorter.
Two pages is the ideal length. The readers admit to getting bored after that.
Similarly, two people chatting in a sketch is boring for the readers, so may not progress. Get a third character in so the sketch goes an unexpected way.
Below, I've tried to collate a lot of helpful (or unhelpful: delete as applicable) information.
Newsjack Twitter Feed: They may update this as the recording nears if they need particular one-liners on a breaking topic.
Ed Morrish's what and how to write for Newsjack. He doesn't produce it anymore, but this is the one thing you should read, if nothing else below.
Lyndsay Fenner's blogs about how they make Newsjack: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/How-we-make-BBC-Radio-4-Extras-Newsjack http://www.ideastap.com/ideasmag/the-knowledge/newsjack-producer-lyndsay-fenner-open-door-radio-comedy
List of helpful videos from the staff about script editing, the writers' meeting, etc. Script Editor Jack Bernhardt talks about writing The cast talk about which voices they like doing The Show What You Wrote's 'Tips for Writers' video; a lot of which is relevant to writing any radio comedy sketches
Ed Morrish's advice on jackapps and one-liners. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kvs8r/features/one-liners
Radio comedy writer James Cary's advice on why you should write for Newsjack(he script-edited other radio shows but is not affiliated with Newsjack)
Have I Got News For You, 15-Minute Musical and Weekending writer Dave Cohen's advice
Lots of sketches available in 'Critique' forum to study/see what's wrong/rip-off. Majority will show up in a search for 'NJ:' to get the majority of them in a list.
The last webchat with the crew is available on the link at the top, as are other blogs by other writers.
Here's a writer's experience of what could happen (in an ideal situation, which happened for her!) http://mums-the-nerd.tumblr.com/post/40292001463/im-coming-over-all-topical-panel-show
And Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch's (now an in-house writer!) fast track 'How To Write For Newsjack' advice.
Here's Ian's 'how they edited my sketch' sketch (from series 4, I think): https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/20167/
Here's (former) script editor Gareth Gwynn's blog on comm/non-comm submissions.
Simon Paul Miller's 'Confessions of a Newsjack Addict'
Instead of us all arguing about formatting, as that repeats here more than Last of the Summer Wine, the producer have kindly supplied templates on the submissions page. Use whatever they put here.
(OLD NOTE ABOUT FORMATTING THAT IS WORTH KEEPING IN FOR REFERENCE, BUT ISN'T RELEVANT SINCE THEY PROVIDED A TEMPLATE PRIMARILY TO SATISFY IDIOTS WHO HAVE BOUGHT INTO THE APPLE ECOSYSTEM)
Formatting: here's a template for the sketches in Google Docs if you don't have/want to use Word. Unfortunately Google Docs has changed so you have to download in .docx rather than .doc and I don't know if that's compatible with the BBC yet. (I write in G-Docs, download then convert in Word to 'old-fashioned' .doc format
quote from Mr Feeoree on January 17 2013, 10:10 PM GMT
Also people, further to Mr Sweryt's post with the template, here's a blog that Dan Tetsell (the then Script Editor) wrote 3 years back, re formatting and how much they like it to look proper! : http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/2010/01/newsjack_script_smart_or_smart.shtml /quote
This is the blog that *everyone* at the BBC (and even external prodcos) refer to when asking for radio submissions, so use it. The instructions are written down for you, and there is a link to a copyable/downloadable Google Drive version above that does the same thing, if you don't have Word, and allows you to still send in a Word doc, and I reiterate, even if you don't have Word. As a script editor of an open submissions show myself (and the one who usually painfully puts the final script together), CAN YOU PLEASE USE THIS EFFING TEMPLATE, FOR GOD'S SAKE! It is a massive pain in the arse to have to change your formatting, if it's not like this.
Marc Paterson's pain in writing for Newsjack is very similar to my experience over the weekend. (He wrote this in the run-up to series 7)
Twitter vibe from the producers in series 8 episode 1 was that there are a lot of idiots who don't put their name or email address in their one-liner submissions. Try to avoid this, as angry producers notoriously don't find things funny.
Here are some very good blogs from our own Mr Salisbury about 'The Killer Premise', 'Things to Consider Whilst Drafting' and 'Sketches Need Characters' . Newsjack went reasonably well for him in series 7 so listen to his wise words. David also has a very useful list of what NOT to write for Newsjack.
Let the fun and games (read: 'rejection and hair-pulling') commence...