Where Do You Pitch Radio drama?
I have decided to focus on writing two radio plays as my final project for my MA, my theme is ‘anarchic feminist and embodiment’. While travelling down the road of where to pitch, all signposts point to ‘The Writers Room‘. It clearly states that there are two opportunities in 2015 to send in un-solicited scripts, one in Spring and one in Autumn. I called them up and spoke to Michelle who told me there weren’t any guarantees that there will be the same openings next year. There are various opportunities on the site, it’s worth having a look every now and then. I found it interesting to hear that within this process, the writers room are actually seeking the writer rather than looking for a specific script. The process is set up for writers that do not already have agents. If a radio script writer wanted to approach a production company instead, usually they would have an agent, but this isn’t always necessary, a writer could contact a production company themselves. However, an agent would get in touch with a production company and they in turn would link up with BBC drama. For a writer to find a production company, ‘The Knowledge’ and ‘KFTV.com’, were recommended. Personally I found those sites quite overwhelming to look at, I comforted myself by chatting to, Katherine Mitchell, a successful Gloucester based writer, she told me:
‘Standard format would be a written pitch of a few paragraphs sent to your producer, who then goes to do battle in the pitching meeting – that’s the pre-pitch meeting, then they’d put a fuller pitch together for the official meeting. Getting chosen is a somewhat mystical process – no one fully understands why one play gets picked, another rejected.’
‘it’s either a ‘Radio 4 Afternoon Drama’ or ‘The Wire on Radio 3′ – it sounds more like ‘The Wire’ given the subject matter (although in reality this would be harder to achieve, there’s fewer slots and less tendency to use new writers.) Evidence – there isn’t really anywhere else to send a radio play! The only other option is if you were to serialize it rather than have it as a single drama, which would be a different slot – personally I’d steer clear as this would be more complicated.’
Katherine’s input humanised the process for me, I had begun to feel like a cyber – automaton, eyes full of figures and numbers, my mind lost in the matrix of the internet.
To ground myself further I reflected on the first interview I did about script development, with Edson Burton, key points were know your pitch and know who the radio producers are. I am very happy to have interviewed Alison Crawford, radio producer based in Bristol, who pointed me back to the ‘Writers room’ for pitching and the commissioning process. On the horizon I have a weeks residential with ‘Arvon’, ‘Writing for Radio’, where I will be interviewing radio producer Jonquil Panting.
For any aspiring writers, there is tons of information on the ‘Writers room’ about scriptwriting, however I am discovering more and more the greatest resource is the network of writers around me.
I have begun to un-cover some production companies that appeal to me, the first Spark Lab, has a photo of Bernadette Russell, who I interviewed a few weeks ago. Pier Productions, are also on the list of radio production companies who feature on the ‘Radio Academy Awards’, I’m off to work down the list. 🙂
Thank you to all the writers I keep pestering with questions, you know who you are.