This week continues our new wave of industry outreach and check-ins. We’ve been checking on the state of the industry as we continue globally settling into the long-term changes compelled by COVID-19, attending the WGGB AGM.
- I attended the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Annual General Meeting – a multi-hour but well-organised Zoom conference which contained many valuable insights from the keynote speaker from the UK’s influential commissioner Channel 4 (most recently the commissioners of HUMANS, NO OFFENCE, and ADULT MATERIAL among many other major productions), all of which I retweeted on our Twitter feed – click here. Many of our winners and colleagues are WGGB members and it’s a valuable access point for the UK market for our upcoming pitching. It’s worth noting that C4 are now typically commissioning for 2023 – that’s the turnaround now given the COVID-19 uncertainties.
- There were various important updates around theater writers, who often also work as screenwriters in our experience. According to the WGGB, “surveyed theatre writers = portfolio careers, divergent from traditional format; career playwright now rare; directors & devisers now also write; potency of single voice needs support.” (https://twitter.com/TheWritersGuild/status/1308748491108343809) Under COVID-19, an alarming proportion of respondents DIDN’T think they will be working in theater in 5 years’ time. Issues like the return of audiences – especially older audiences, a core market for theater – are a big concern under COVID-19.
- Plans for running online sessions, with partners, for the Zoom era are shaping up. We’ve compiled initial findings from our survey of writers’ career development needs, and have begun to firm up plans with likely partners for the ventures, which we can pair with our existing WriteMovies Academy initiatives and videos. We’re looking to host online sessions this Fall and in early 2020.
- I’ve improved our spreadsheet of ‘Who’s looking for what’ in the industry, updated constantly with news from contacts, sessions and discussions we’ve been involved with. All of which makes us ever better placed to choose the right winners and pitch our projects the right way for producers and commissioners right now.
- I’ve also been in touch with some of our regular industry contacts to find out how they’re doing 6 months into lockdown, and taking forward our previous discussions and joint proposals with them. I’ll continue to share any interesting updates here if they’re not confidential.