Jed Mercurio is launching a new mentorship programme for budding writers in the UK. He hopes it will give more opportunities to those who live outside of London and are from low-income backgrounds or are underrepresented in the UK’s TV industry. The goal is to address a disparity long-held in the UK’s TV industry in that it is difficult to find writing talent outside of London. It is caused by many factors, however, economic circumstance is widely believed to be one of the biggest barriers. The programme is expected to run over a 12-month period, beginning May 2023, and will accept 6-10 mentees total in the first year.
In addition to Jed, the following talent will be participating as mentors in the 2023/24 programme: Emma Frost, Jack Thorne, Marnie Dickens, Steven Moffat and Vinay Patel. Each mentee will work with their mentor to pitch an original idea and hopefully secure a commission.
Detail around the programme’s expenses policy will be shared with those shortlisted to ensure they can make an informed decision around participation in the programme.
- All applicants must be over the age of 18 on 1st January 2023, and must be a resident in the UK or Ireland. You do not need to have been born in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland, but if selected you must remain a resident for the full duration of the programme. If you are currently living overseas, only consider submitting your script when you have returned to the UK or Republic of Ireland to reside.
- Proof of age, identity, residency, and eligibility may be requested. Decision as to the eligibility of individual entrants will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Writers currently serving a term of imprisonment in the UK and/or with unspent convictions must disclose details of such convictions with any entry.
- Your submission MUST be your own original work as an individual and you cannot submit scripts in a writing partnership/group.
- Only one script per applicant can be submitted. Anyone submitting more than one script, or a script written in a partnership/group will not be considered.
- Copyright in works produced by the mentees during the course of the programme will be owned by the mentee. As soon as you record an idea, for example by writing down the outline of a story, it’s protected by copyright. As long as the work is original, copyright protection is automatic. Copyright ensures works cannot be reproduced or used without your permission. This means you can profit from your creation. Please note: There is no formal system in the UK for registering copyright. Most commonly you would use the copyright symbol ©, followed by your name and the year the work was first published. To show a written work existed by a set date, send a copy to a reliable third party, such as a bank or solicitor. Remember, copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. So, a script or screenplay, as a detailed expression of an idea, is copyrightable.
- This programme aims to serve budding writers in the UK. You need not have had any previous or existing credits as a writer, co-writer or contributing writer of TV or film releases. Self-produced short films (20 minutes or less) are exempt. They also actively encourage participants from diverse and underrepresented communities in terms of ethnicity, disability and/or socio-economic background.
- You CANNOT enter a script if you previously entered it for another writing/mentorship programme/screenwriting course. Due to the number of submissions we anticipate receiving, we are unable to provide assistance with individual applications before they are submitted.
All submissions will be judged by the following criteria:
- Quality of writing.
- Strength of story and structure.
- Ability to write believable dialogue.
- Skill in inhabiting characters and developing convincing relationships between them.
- Ability to authentically bring the world to life.
- Ability to portray the writer’s ‘voice’ in his/her/their storytelling.
- Ability to set up storylines and stakes that will sustain a series.
21st April 2023 at 5pm GMT