Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
 

DS Forums

 
 

How to become a writer for Dr Who


Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 31-01-2013, 11:36
sovietusername
Inactive Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,149

This might seem a very silly question, especially since half the people on here would probably be writing for it NOW if it were that simple. But here's the thing...

My long term aspiration, my dream job, is to one day be a writer for tv and film. I dont specifically want to be A DR WHO WRITER, though obviously if I were ever given that chance, it would be amazing, given that I'm a fan. Anyway, I've done some research, and it seems to me a good way of getting into writing for the BBC is the BBC Writersroom website. However, it does also seem quite, well, risky, that is to say, it's rather dependent on whether those looking at it like it. Well, obviously, but I think I remember hearing they only read the 1st 10 pages of a script or something. And I was wondering if there was, well, a quicker way to go about it, or rahter, does anyone know if there's a more direct route availible in order to contact Dr Who, or BBC Drama etc. For example, I remember hearing that one of T Bakers stories, I think maybe Full Circle was wirtten by a newbie who simply contacted the head writer/producer. Does anyone know if that sort of thing i.e. just sending in scripts to the big chesses is actually possible now, do you need an agent...?

Anyway, I'm buzzing with questions, and I'm guessing quite a few on here simply wont be able to help (probably). But if anyones got any helpful hints, then I'm all ears. In fact, I'll take you to a planet where everyones all ears...
sovietusername is offline   Reply With Quote
Please sign in or register to remove this advertisement.
Old 31-01-2013, 11:44
davrosdodebird
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Landlord of the Whoonie Inn
Posts: 7,392
When I was 13 (2005) I sent an idea in to Television Centre, involving the Daleks and a plot to turn Earth into "New Skaro" -- Helen Raynor must have liked the idea

I have heard that Moffat tends to completely ignore people sending scripts in etc, which is a shame IMO, especially as the attitude under Andrew Cartmel/ JNT was to give as many newbies as possible a chance.
davrosdodebird is offline Follow this poster on Twitter   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:50
NAF
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,993
There isn't really a direct way to get a writing gig on Doctor Who.

I'm a writer too, and the biggest part of the job (after writing, of course!) is networking. Steven Moffat usually tends to hire writers who he knows are good. Mark Gattis, Chris Chibnall, Neil Cross/Gaiman, etc. In most cases, he's worked with these writers before.

So basically, you need a good body of TV work to even have a hope of writing for Doctor Who. Before working on the show, Steven Moffat and RTD wrote sitcoms and dramas. Keep writing and entering competitions on the BBC writer's room. Make your own films. Try to get a job in TV, even if it's just as a runner. Meet other writers. Work your way up.

You'll then need an agent. They're hard to get! (Believe me, I've been trying!)

Once you're "in" the TV world, you'll realise it's a small one. Everyone knows everyone, and once you get there you'll have to hope you meet the right people.

It's all a game of luck, to mis-quote a line from Titanic.

The production team don't offer script submissions, like Star Trek did in the 80s. Would be nice if they did! Casualty and Eastenders however, do have competitions in which you have to write short scenes/episodes, which, if they're good enough, could lead to a writing job on the show.

I know that ITV have script writing work shops, which could lead to working on Corrie.

So I suppose the first step to getting a writing job on Doctor Who is to... write something else first!
NAF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:51
darthbibble
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,326
I have heard that Moffat tends to completely ignore people sending scripts in etc, which is a shame IMO, especially as the attitude under Andrew Cartmel/ JNT was to give as many newbies as possible a chance.
It's more because they will receive a lot of scripts and the vast majority of them won't be any good. But if one of those story lines happens to be something similar to what is already planned they will be liable to face action for copy rite infringement even if it is a genuine case of two people coming up with a similar idea.
darthbibble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 11:53
darthbibble
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,326
Don't Big Finish run the occasional competition which any aspiring writer can try and get their Doctor Who story produced?
darthbibble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 12:57
Glyn W
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,468
Try writing for radio to start with - Radio 4 usually have one off plays in the afternoon and I'm sure there's somewhere that you can send spec scripts to - and you can concentrate on character, plot and dialogue and how to time your script without having to worry about production budgetary restrictions etc. A good place to learn and start to build contacts within the industry.
Glyn W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 14:31
sohoguy
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 497
To get to write on Who you'd either have to know the team personally, or have background in writing. Even if you knew them the chances of having a show commissioned from you with no background in writing is extremely remote.

There's a reason the BBC Writer's Room only go off the first 10 pages: because most script readers do. If you can't grab your audience in the first 10mins, then you won't ever do. In TV that's a disaster if they flick over.

In fact, most experienced writers say that they can spot whether someone can write from the first page. Often the first sentence!

I would advise you continue to write your own material, find your own voice and what excites you about writing. It's something I do too. I write for TV - not drama yet - and it can be a slow process, and a lot about confidence, but it's most certainly not impossible.

Work at it. With hard work, nothing is impossible.
sohoguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 20:44
Shawn_Lunn
Forum Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Scattered
Posts: 5,740
Don't Big Finish run the occasional competition which any aspiring writer can try and get their Doctor Who story produced?
Sometimes but they haven't in a while though.
Shawn_Lunn is offline Follow this poster on Twitter   Reply With Quote
Old 31-01-2013, 21:30
sovietusername
Inactive Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,149
Thanks for the advice, didnt think it would be easy.

I think I remember reading that Douglas Adams sent in scripts for Dr Who when in his teens, before he later found success with Hitchhikers and, of course, Who. Does anyone know how he actually started out. Only I'm quite interested in Adams as well, and was just wondering (also, does anyone know why he died so young? I know he had aheart attack, but 49?!)
sovietusername is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 09:38
Glyn W
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,468
AFAIK Adams started out writing stuff for Footlights shows.
Glyn W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 22:38
sohoguy
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 497
Mr Adams started out by writing.

Sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed how many people who claim to want to be a writer actually never write anything!
sohoguy is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:58.