BBC to open up its Writers’ Academy to non-professionals

A couple of days ago we posted about how The Society of Authors in the UK is setting up a fund to help writers get through the financial problems that are part of the current worldwide Covid crisis.

Today we bring news of another way our British cousins are supporting our favorite art form – TV writing. Wow. Just wow.

The BBC is to throw open the doors of its Writers’ Academy to anyone who wants to have a shot at writing for television, in a move dubbed “X Factor for writers”.

In the past, only professional screenwriters have been allowed to apply to the academy, but in a bid to bring in voices from different backgrounds any budding writer will be able to try to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Killing Eve and The Victim writer Rob Williams.

The eight successful applicants will write for BBC Studios’ biggest shows such as EastEnders and Casualty, have lectures from writers such as Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio and Years and Years writer Russell T Davies and get three months of paid training.

The move may be welcomed by those in self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak who are looking for something to focus on. Recently, stories have been shared about the creativity that has emerged from historical quarantines. William Shakespeare is thought to have penned King Lear during a plague outbreak and Sir Isaac Newton reportedly discovered gravity while in quarantine.

The head of the BBC Studios Writers’ Academy, John Yorke, said writing could help people cope with anxiety….

Read it all at

by Tara Conlan


by Bob Tinsley

Why should you as a visitor to TVWriter™ be interested in making audio fiction? Why should you be interested in making podcasts? Discoverability, that’s why.

The meaning of the word podcast is evolving to include any episodic, audio-only production whether nonfiction or fiction. Agents and major studios have started trawling through podcasts and their creators for new content and talent. 

So here’s the latest news to help you and your podcast get discovered: 

Music from
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (


Manhattan Beach Animation Director Turns ‘spaghetti Western’ Animated Tale Into ‘audio Drama’.

Manhattan Beach‘s David Schaub and Surf’s Up animator, Roger Vizard,  created Spirits of the Western Wild, as an audio drama that is part spaghetti western, part The Twilight Zone. They didn’t feel they could raise the money to make an animated film, so they decided on an audio fiction show.

According to Schaub and Vizard, the idea was busy producers could listen to the story on their commutes instead of the “dread” of reading a script. Were you paying attention, there? I hope so. The audio is available on Audible and as an illustrated Kindle book.


What is Apple Building Next in Podcasting?

Apple is making new, more user-centric podcast software, says Mark Asquith, the CEO and co-founder of Rebel Base Media, and looking to work with even more creators to, in turn, drive the user base up. From there, there’s an opportunity for Apple to create a suite of tools and platforms at relatively low cost to them that will help to drive the industry through the next decade. Apple might be the only brand in the world that can heavily invest in podcasting without needing to see a return immediately. It’s a long read but essential to understand the behemoth of the podcasting space.


Podcast Marketing Strategy: The Podcast Discoverability Triangle.

Mark Asquith is back with another long, but necessary, read about discoverability, otherwise known as marketing. As I said, it’s a long read, but at the bottom of the article is an entertaining 6-½ minute video summarizing the whole thing.

Bottom line: “Whilst technology in podcasting is always evolving and bringing us new toys to play with when it comes to our marketing, none of these will work effectively over the long-term without a solid and sound understanding of base marketing strategy and running these multi-layered marketing campaigns for your show will help you to win the long game. Because that’s what podcasting is.”


Audience Growth Isn’t An Accident: Your Podcast Needs A Web Strategy.

Radio Public has produced a twelve-part video series on how to create an audience growth strategy using websites, email newsletters, and social media to gain and retain listeners. Having a web strategy is integral to growing your audience. One more brick on the road. The videos will help you grasp the concept and start implementing it right away.


Advertising A Podcast, Part 3.

Another must-read article from the tireless and unselfish Sean Howard. “In this installment, I share the results of experiments designed to gain listeners via cross promotion. This is about leveraging our shared reach as podcasts for mutual benefit. We are going to cover three types of cross-promotion: promo ad swaps, episode drops and crossovers.” A data geek’s delight, Sean gives us some solid, actionable strategies.



A high-fantasy fiction podcast about three friends trying to fix a hole in the weave that creates magic and find out who caused it. Written by Kessi Riliniki the series shows the attention to detail, in both writing and production, that also makes her a wonderful graphic artist. She’s done cover art for a lot of podcasts out there and is available to do yours!

Until next week, same Pod-time, same Pod-channel, keep listening and keep creating.

Podcasting Marvels

Thursday is podcasting day at TVWriter™, and, come to think about it, everyday here is pretty much a marvel, or even a Marvel.” So what could be more appropriate to share than this podcasting meeting of “Fantastic Minds?” (Not a comic fan? Keep reading anyway. You’ll get it.)

by Bob Raymonda

In late 2019, Marvel and Stitcher Premium partnered to release MARVELS, an adaptation of the beloved Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross graphic novel in time for its 25th anniversary. Instead of relying on a regular stable of Hollywood writers and sound designers, they enlisted the talents of veteran indie-podcasters Paul Bae (The Black TapesThe Big Loop), Lauren Shippen (The Bright SessionsThe AM Archives), and Mischa Stanton (ars PARADOXICAThe Far Meridian) to create a brand new adaptation to celebrate the occasion.

As I was researching for my review of MARVELS, I had a chance to speak with Bae, Shippen, and Stanton by email about each of their individual impacts and experiences in working on the series together.

Bob Raymonda: The performances you were able to pull out of this entire cast are incredible. I was particularly struck by the work in episodes 1.6 (“Warheads”), where Marcia Hardesty’s monologue segues directly back and forth to the action of the Mutants for Peace protest. Did you direct the monologue sections separately from the action and assemble them in postproduction, or were you able to work through both naturally?

Paul Bae: Thank you! Lauren structured that scene beautifully. I love how she already knew how it would sound given her experiences working with Mischa and general familiarity with how I’ll direct the actors. I had AnnaSophia Robb do the monologue separately in Stitcher’s studio. We did the whole thing once or twice through and then took it again block by block to give me lots of choice in takes. The initial once-through was our “recorded rehearsal” that I like to do just in case we capture an incredible first performance.

BR: Your work on shows like The Big Loop and The Black Tapes feels at times more intimate than something like MARVELS, which included several massive set pieces with a lot of moving parts. Was this your first time working with a larger cast all together in the room? How different did it feel from your previous work?

PB: This was the largest cast I’d ever worked with but Mischa set up the recording studio in such a way to not only maximize our acoustics but [also make] me comfortable in that room, given that I like to be in the recording space with the actors instead of in the booth with the board. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I’d like the experience of working with such a large cast, but excluding the loop cast recordings [in which 8–10 actors record in a ring of microphones], we rarely had more than 4 or 5 actors at once, which is similar to The Black Tapes. So I was comfortable….

Read it all at

How The Society of Authors is helping UK Writers

Why is nobody/no organization in the U.S. doing this?

Philip Pullman, president of The Society of Authors

by Alison Flood

A £330,000 emergency fund for authors is being launched to support those facing “unmanageable” losses from the cancellation of events, book tours and school visits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Society of Authors, which launched the emergency fund, said that many authors were set to be affected, with some already losing thousands of pounds a day as work is called off.

“The financial challenges facing authors had become acute even before the current health crisis, with an increasing number approaching us for financial support. But now, they’re seeing unmanageable losses,” said chief executive Nicola Solomon. “It was clear that current levels of funding would fail to meet needs.”

Author Philip Pullman, the society’s president, said that the pandemic was making it “impossible” for authors to do their work, as much of it consisted of lecturing, visiting schools and teaching.

The grants are open to all professional authors resident in the UK or British subjects, are likely to be up to £2,000, and are “designed to meet urgent need”….

Read it all at

Cartoon: The Weight

In this time of stress, when we’re all trying to improve our coping skills, TVWriter™’s all-time favorite artist/philosopher, Grant Snider, has a few much-needed words and pictures to share.

See more of Grant Snider’s extraordinary perception of human creativity at Incidental Comics, HERE

Buy Grant’s new book, What Color is Night? at Amazon.Com!