From March 4 to 10, Serial Eyes traveled to London to learn about the British TV industry. The week started with Abigail Gonda from the BBC Writers Room, a talent development programme for UK-based TV writers. Abigail gave the writers useful tips on how to approach producers and broadcasters. Later, The Agency’s Jonathan Kinnersley and Emily Hickman discussed the latest developments in the UK TV industry. The day finished with a well-deserved networking event organized by our LFS colleagues at creative hub Hospital Club.
The visit to Marc Lorber and Steve November at Lionsgate TV, the studio behind series like Orange is the New Black, Mad Man, Nashville, was certainly a highlight for all involved. Back at LFS’ Long Acre workshop room, Simon Winstone talked about his new role as Head of Drama at BBC Studios Wales (and tortured us by not divulging anything about Dr. Who!). Former SVT Head of Drama Christian Wikander, now based at British production company Twelvetown, talked about the development process for Swedish series Jordskott, a case study on the challenges and rewards of working with an emerging writer. Warp Films’ Head of Development Ally Gipps also walked us through the typical development process for a British TV show.
Another highlight, of course, was our annual visit to Big Light Productions. We were hosted by Associate Producer Amira El Nemr and Script Editor Lucy Rawlinson, who listened and gave invaluable feedback on the procedural group projects from the participants.
On Thursday, the much-anticipated Writers’ Room workshop at LFS took place. The SE participants and LFS MA screenwriters were divvied up into six writers’ group and shared an entire day creating new series concepts for British TV. It was a great experience for everyone, and we heard some fresh and inspiring new story ideas afterwards.
On the last day, we visited Luke Franklin in his new office at Yellow Bird UK, which specializes in adaptations of Scandinavian crime novels. Then, Scott Free Productions’ Kate Crowe carried us away into the captivating world of the BBC series Taboo and its making. Last but certainly not least, Steve Matthews, EP and VP at HBO Europe, entertained us with the tale of his own career path and with HBO Europe’s plans for producing original content in local markets across Europe.
We had a fantastic time in London, and we want to thank all our guest speakers and our LFS colleagues for their hospitality and support. We’ll be back – no Brexit can stop us!