Writers Tony Jordan and Danny Stack launched an annual writing competiton at the International Screenwriters Festival in Cheltenham today which will result in a new writer getting a £5,000 prize, representation from an agent and a commission from Red Planet Pictures, the production company Jordan set up last year.
Tony Jordan explained that the prize reflects the preoccupations of new writers that he remembers from his days starting out in the business 1) I'm skint 2) How do I get an agent? 3) How do I get a break?
Details of the competition are available on the Red Planet Pictures website but in brief, you need to submit ten pages of a script - any script - and a covering letter with a half page synopsis by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1st September. Shortlisted writers will be invited to submit the full script some time in October, with a winner to be chosen - by judges including Stephen Fry and Mark Gatiss and Julie Gardner, Head of Drama Commissioning at the BBC - just before Christmas 2007.
No-one is excluded from entering the competition, although essentially Red Planet Pictures are looking for new writers rather than those who have been writing for top show for the last ten years. If you already have an agent, you can still apply. And -as Tony Jordan put it - if you're rich and you don't want the prize money? Well, you don't have to have that, either. But if you want a commission - whether for an existing show such as Holby Blue or to develop an original show - then this competition may be your way in.
Tony Jordan's advice to those thinking of submitting their work? Write from the heart. They're looking for good writers and if you can write, they'll spot it.