Thursday 30 April 2009

BBC Drama Writers Academy

Applications are now open for this year's BBC Drama Writers Academy.

The Academy will take up to eight writers, and train them over 12 months to write for some of the BBC's most popular series such as Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City, and Casualty - as well as being a springboard to write across all the BBC's drama output.

To be eligible for this scheme, writers must have already had at least one professional drama commission in film or television, or a radio drama script produced, or one theatre piece performed professionally.

The course begins with a three month training course in writing for Continuing Drama Series which will consist of a number of workshops and lectures accompanied by intensive writing exercises and analysis. During this period each writer will be commissioned to write a broadcast episode of Doctors.

The training course will be led by John Yorke, Controller, In-House Drama, and other industry experts from all areas of drama production.

Course participants will be required to attend classes at the BBC premises in Elstree for three days per week, and one day at Television Centre in London, and some expenses will be paid during this training period for writers based out of the London area.

After you have completed the initial training and the Doctors script, your work will be assessed. If you have reached the required standard for production on Continuing Drama Series you will begin the next phase of the training.

Writers will rotate across Casualty, Holby and Eastenders in turn, writing a broadcast episode, spending approximately 12 weeks on each show. At the end of the 12 months, each writer will have written for each of the four shows.

Find out more about the Drama Writers Academy on our website.

To find out more and apply, visit the BBC jobs website.

Deadline: 5 May 2009

White Girl Online

The television drama White Girl recently won a BAFTA for Best Single Drama.

The BBC has made the script available via the BBC Writersroom web site.

Creative Writing Exhibition

The Temple Bar Cultural Trust has announced that the all new Creative Writing Exhibition will take place at the No Grants Gallery from May 1st - 15th at the Temple Bar Cultural Information Centre, 12 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

This celebration, including all forms of writing such as poetry and lyrics, will showcase a range of works from both established and up-coming writers.

Each piece of work will be framed and on exhibition at our recession busting No Grants Gallery right here in Temple Bar, Dublin's Cultural Quarter! Writers will illustrate their writing with imagery guides which will accompany their work.

Lunchtime readings will also take place throughout the 2 weeks so log on to for more details soon. The exhibition will officially launch on Tuesday May 5th with an open-mic evening from 6 - 8pm offering everyone an opportunity to discuss the written word.

Speaking about the new Creative Writing Exhibition, Gallery curator Carol Eakins said "This exhibition is a celebration of verbal, visual and performance art and an opportunity to show the written word combined with an artistic eye and the spoken tongue to bring all creative writing to life. As a curator, artist and poet myself the creative writing exhibition is an opportunity for writers both professional and amateur to exhibit their work in an environment that shares their passion and enthusiasm for the arts."

Murphy On Fire

Beyond the Fire, written and directed by Irish filmmaker Maeve Murphy, won Best UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival last weekend.

Thanks to the award the film will be released in cinemas in the UK on June 17, 2009 by Met Film Distribution.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

2008 Stewart Parker Award

The 2008 Stewart Parker Award for new playwrights was awarded to Newry playwright Abbie Spallen last week at an event in the Abbey Theatre attended by President Mary McAleese.

Two further awards - The BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award and The BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Drama Award - were awarded to Elaine Murphy and Seán Ó Morónaigh respectively.

Set up in honour of the late Belfast playwright, Stewart Parker, the Stewart Parker Trust seeks to encourage new writing for the theatre in Ireland.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of Parker's death and the 20th year of the Awards.

Abbey Finances Healthy

An article on the Irish Times today summarises the latest report on the state of the Abbey Theatre's finances from 2006-2008, which was launched yesterday.

During that three-year period the Abbey Theatre received a record investment of €25.7 million from the Arts Council through the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism to alleviate a fiscal crisis. The national theatre is expected to move to its new home in George's Dock by 2016, according to the Minister of State Martin Mansergh.

The report, which makes a strong case for reorganisation and State investment, points to the radical restructuring of the company under director Fiach Mac Conghail, an increase in attendance of 19 per cent between 2006 and 2008, and the redesign and improvement of its main auditorium in 2007. It also cites the theatre’s re-engagement and collaboration with Irish and international writers such as Marina Carr, Roddy Doyle, Brian Friel, Séamus Heaney, Conor McPherson, Paul Mercier, Tom Murphy, Mark O’Rowe and Sam Shepard.

The review includes a recent economic impact study commissioned by the Abbey, where Prof Dominic Shellard, of the University of Sheffield, and Derrick Elliss found the theatre generated €3.60 for every €1 of funding over the three years, contributing €118 million to the Irish economy.

Over the period, 32 productions were staged. They were seen by 375,000 people and employed 309 actors (and nearly 800 actors had work in productions, readings and workshops). Seven shows were world premieres and four were Irish premieres, including Conor McPherson's The Seafarer and John Patrick Shanley's Doubt.

Mr Mac Conghail said the theatre was in a healthy and successful position. "We promised our artists, audiences and the taxpayer that we would commit to change and provide great theatre to our citizens and I believe we have achieved this. I believe strongly there is a need for the Abbey to provide leadership and support to our writers, theatre makers and our audiences . . . and we are in a position to deliver on this promise."

The report notes that the Abbey recorded a surplus of €3,361,868 at the end of the period, because of factors including prudent budgeting, tighter cost-control, later-than-expected rollout of some plans and an increase in box office income. The surplus will offset the 16.5 per cent reduction in the National Theatre's Arts Council grant for 2009.

From 50 to 70 in 2 Years

Bill Jones, writing on the Copyright and Technology Blog, has a useful summary of the recent decision by the EU parliament to extend the copyright term for music recordings from 50 years to 70 years.

To ensure that performers benefit fully from the additional royalties thanks to the copyright extension, MEPs amended the original text to prevent the use of previous contractual agreements to deduct money from the additional royalties.

Also included in the legislation is a dedicated fund for session musicians. This fund will be financed by contributions from producers, who will be obliged to set aside at least 20% of the revenues gained from the proposed extension of copyright term. The fund will reward session musicians who gave up their rights when signing the contract for their performance. Collecting societies, which represent performers' and producers' interests, will retain the right to administer the annual supplementary remuneration.

Member States will have two years to incorporate the new legislation in their respective countries.

The Parliament also asked the Commission to launch an impact assessment of the situation in the European audiovisual sector by January 2010, with a view to deciding whether a similar copyright extension would benefit the audiovisual world.

Irish at eQuinoxe

IFTN reports that Irish screenwriters Abbie Spallen and James Phelan will be part of the group of ten writers chosen to attend the éQuinoxe screenwriting workshop in Balestrand in Norway.

Award winning playwright and screenwriter Abbie Spallen brings the project 'The Courtship Gift', an adaptation of a novel by Julie Parsons. This year's recipient of the Stewart Parker Award, Abbie recently adapted her very successful play 'Pumpgirl' into a feature film with funding from NI Screen and BBC NI. 'Pumpgirl' was screened at the Belfast Film Festival in April 2009. In 2007 she won the Tony Doyle Award for her screenplay 'Seven Drunken Knights'.

James Phelan's feature screenplay 'Banshee' was also selected for the workshop. The supernatural period thriller is set in Donegal and Waterford in 1898. It follows the unraveling of a mystery by an inquisitive doctor when an affluent family is besieged by a vengeful supernatural spirit.

James recently wrote the seven part comedy drama 'Rasai na Gaillimhe/The Galway Races' for TG4. Starring Don Wycherley (Bachelors Walk), Owen Roe (Cromwell in Ireland) and Ruth Bradley (Alarm), it will be broadcast this autumn on TG4. The series was directed by Robert Quinn and produced by Great Western Films.

Google Deal Opt-Out Extended

Yahoo News reports that a federal court overseeing the Google Book Settlement extended the Opt-Out Deadline in the case from May 5, 2009 to September 4, 2009 (the "Extended Opt-Out Deadline").

The Extended Opt-Out Deadline is the new date by which class members must decide whether to remain in the Settlement Class and receive the benefits of the Settlement, object to the Settlement, or opt out of the Settlement.

The change in the Opt-Out Deadline has caused the Final Fairness Hearing date to be rescheduled, from June 11, 2009 to October 7, 2009. This is the new date of the hearing for the court to consider whether to grant final approval of the settlement. All other deadlines and key dates in the case remain the same, including May 5, 2009 as the date on or before which a book must have been scanned in order to be entitled to a Cash Payment.

For further information on the Google Settlement Deal consult my previous summary of the subject, and also a recent article by American literary agent Ashley Grayson.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Input for Theatre Project

Dublin-based playwright Michelle Read is working on a new theatre project, and would like to meet and interview people in connection with it.

Have you made a significant work change recently or at sometime in the past? If so, Michelle would like to talk to you and hear your story.

She is particularly interested in the kind of 'left turn' that a significant change in work life can bring, such as: gambling on a new career with no safety net; making do with a job that does not match your qualifications; moving location to build a new life; redundancy forcing a new professional direction; a change in health that requires a new job situation; and any other scenario in which changing your job required a reassessment of your life.

If you are interested or would just like to know more about the project please contact her at

Michelle will chat with you on the phone first, and then may ask to meet and audio record an interview with you.

HMV Cinemas

Sky News reports that HMV, the retail music and DVD chain, will open arthouse cinemas above its stores to add diversity to its trade.

The music and DVD retailer has entered into a joint venture with Curzon Artificial Eye, the operator of the Curzon Cinema chain.

The project will be piloted at the HMV store in Wimbledon, south London.

The 200 seat, three screen hmvcurzon will be situated above the HMV Wimbledon store.

HMV chief executive Simon Fox said that the trial could be rolled out to larger stores, including above branches of Waterstone's stores, which is owned by HMV.

The cinema will be accessible to customers during normal trading hours through the HMV store, but will have a separate entrance for when the store closes.

There is no news yet if HMV will roll out this initiative to stores outside the UK.

Monday 27 April 2009

Storyland Redux

Voting has opened in the second round of RTÉ's Storyland competition.

The second episodes of seven web series are now available for viewing:

  • Happy Slapper
  • Hardy Bucks
  • Jenny was a Friend of Mine
  • Psych Ward
  • Pubworld
  • Rental Boys
  • Running Low
Voting closes at 5pm Monday 4th May, and will determine which shows progress to round three.

NI Playwright Shifts Focus

Northern Irish screenwriter and playwright Darragh Carville was interviewed in The Guardian yesterday about his forthcoming play, This Other City.

He believes that it is time for Northern Irish writers to tackle new stories about the post-Troubles Northern Ireland.

"It seemed to me that the stories of the new Northern Ireland were not being told," he said. "I just thought that the world of the new city, of swanky apartment blocks, of coffee shops and the new culture was not being reflected in terms of theatre and film. I was writing a play about two years ago and suddenly realised I was writing a Northern Ireland of the past, a drama about the Troubles' aftermath. I said, 'Hold on - I've written this before.'

"It's unquestionable that the place, especially Belfast, has changed massively. No one is saying the Troubles have completely disappeared - recent events have underlined that - but this society is being reborn. These glass towers looming over the skyline symbolise how it has changed fundamentally."

Carville later clarified that he doesn't believe drama focused on the Troubles is redundant: "It would be wrong as a culture to repress what happened in the past and pretend it never existed, but there is room for other stories."

McNally and O'Halloran

Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally will be in conversation with Irish award-winning playwright Mark O'Halloran as part of the sixth Absolut Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which runs in Dublin City Centre venues from May 4th to 17th.

The two playwrights will converse for an hour in the studio theatre at Outhouse, 105 Capel Street, on Wednesday April 29th at 6.30pm. All are Welcome.

Seating is limited. To reserve a place email

Linehan Bags BAFTA

Irish screenwriter Graham Linehan last night won the BAFTA Television Award for Situation Comedy for The IT Crowd series, which he created and wrote.

Friday 24 April 2009

Cannes Competition '09

The BBC reports the twenty films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

The following list includes the writers of all the projects, which per usual, have been omitted:

À l'Origine (In the Beginning)
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Writer: Xavier Giannoli
Country: France

Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Country: Denmark

Bright Star
Director: Jane Campion
Writer: Jane Campion
Country: New Zealand

Bakjwi (Thirst)
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writers: Jeong Seo-Gyeong & Park Chan-wook
Country: South Korea

Das Weiße Band (The White Ribbon)
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Country: Germany

Fish Tank
Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
Country: UK

Inglourious Basterds
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Country: US

Kinatay (The Execution of P)
Director: Brillante Mendoza
Writer: Bing Lao
Country: Philippines

Les Herbes Folles (Wild Grasses)
Director: Alain Resnais
Writers: Alex Reval & Laurent Herbiet, adapted from the novel L'incident by Christian Gailly
Country: France

Looking for Eric
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Country: UK

Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces)
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Country: Spain

Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
Director: Isabel Coixet
Writer: Isabel Coixet
Country: Spain

Soudain le Vide (Enter the Void)
Director: Gaspar Noé
Writer: Gaspar Noé
Country: France

Spring Fever
Director: Lou Ye
Writer: Lou Ye
Country: China

Taking Woodstock
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: James Schamus, adapted from the books by Elliot Tiber &
Tom Monte
Country: Taiwan-US

The Time That Remains
Director: Elia Suleiman
Writer: Elia Suleiman
Country: Palestinian territories

Un Prophète (A Prophet)
Director: Jacques Audiard
Writers: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, & Abdel Raouf Dafri
Country: France

Fu Chou (Vengeance)
Director: Johnnie To
Writer: Ka-Fai Wai
Country: Hong Kong

Vincere (To Conquer)
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Writers: Marco Bellocchio & Daniela Ceselli
Country: Italy

Visages (Face)
Director: Tsai Ming-liang
Writer: Tsai Ming-liang
Country: Malaysia

The festival will be opened by Pixar's 3-D animation Up, which is co-directed by Pete Docter & Bob Peterson, and written by Bob Peterson. French actor Isabelle Huppert has been named jury president, one of only four women to head the panel during the festival's six decades.

RTE Player in Beta

RTÉ is currently beta-testing its new online Player facility, a free online catch-up service which lets Irish viewers watch a variety of programmes for up to 21 days after they are broadcast on RTÉ One and RTÉ Two television.

There are new programmes available every day, and include Entertainment, Arts, Music, Irish Language, Drama, Religious, News, Current Affairs, Factual, Lifestyle, and Young Peoples' shows.

Currently, there are two short films available to watch until early May: "My Dad", written and directed by John Vaughan, and "Badly Drawn Roy", written by Alan & Frank Shannon, and directed by Alan Shannon.

Thursday 23 April 2009

New Arts Minister

According to the Irish Times the cabinet reshuffle has resulted in new lineup of Ministers for State.

Martin Mansergh will be Minister of State at the Departments of Finance, including special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, and Arts, Sport and Tourism, with special responsibility for the Arts.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

The 2009 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced.

The Drama category -- which is a $10,000 award to a distinguished play by an American author -- went to Ruined, by Lynn Nottage, a searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Becky Shaw, by Gina Gionfriddo, a jarring comedy that examines family and romantic relationships with a lacerating wit while eschewing easy answers and pat resolutions; and In The Heights, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, a robust musical about struggling Latino immigrants in New York City today that celebrates the virtues of sacrifice, family solidarity and gritty optimism.

FSTI Bursaries

FÁS Screen Training Ireland supported by Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board is pleased to announce that the Bursary Award Scheme 2009 is now opened for applications.

In particular there are two special bursaries of €9,450 for the 2009 Entertainment Master Class. The participation fee for the Entertainment Master Class is €13,500 including didactic material, hotel accommodation and full board. Please note that the fee does not cover travel costs.

The deadline for applications for the Entertainment Master Class is the 23rd of April 2009. Applicants who are successful in securing places on the Master Class will be considered for bursaries. The application deadline for bursaries is also the 23rd of April.

Participants are advised to apply for both concurrently. The applications are separate, and participants who only apply to the Entertainment Master Class will not be considered for a bursary. Both applications must be completed.

All information about applying for bursaries is available on the web site, or contact Emer MacAvin at 01 4830840 for details.


Membership to the Irish Film and Television Academy is now open to all industry professionals.

Those who apply for membership before the 31st of May will receive a 10% discount on their fees.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Dublin Writers Group

Developing a spec script can be a challenging experience at the best of times, especially if you don't have the money to invest in the services of a script developer or editor. Charting a course through the writing process can be smoother if you have access to a group of equally committed and enthusiastic writers who are willing to invest their time to improve your scripts - and for whom you can also provide this service.

The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild is re-forming the Dublin Writers Group. It will run a series of meetings for writers interested in giving and receiving constructive feedback on their television, theatre, radio, or film script. The meetings will take place in Temple Bar either weekly or bi-monthly (this will be confirmed later).

The introductory meeting will take place next Monday, April 27th, at 7pm in the IPSG office on the 3rd floor of the Art House Building in Temple Bar.

Places on the group are limited, so if you wish to take part please email your request to by Friday 24th April.

Happy Writing!

Room For Hire

The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland has an exclusive offer to members of the Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild on a Meeting / Screening Room for hire.

The screening room is furnished to a high standard with large comfortable sofas, adjustable lighting, tea/coffee making facilities and wireless broadband connectivity. The room can accommodate up to 14 people.

Conveniently located in the heart of Temple Bar the room features a DVD and Blu-Ray projection system and is compatible for laptop interface to facilitate PowerPoint presentations.

Cost: €40 per hour / €90 for 3 hour SLOT (day), payable in advance.

If you are interested in booking the space please contact Liz Dodd on 01 633 7747.

Irish Comedy Wins Jury Prize

The Irish Film Board reports that the Irish dark comedy A Film With Me In It, which was written by and starred Mark Doherty, and was directed by Ian Fitzgibbon, has won the Special Jury Prize at the 28th International Istanbul Film Festival at the weekend. Fitzgibbon was in Istanbul to accept the award on behalf of the producers, cast and crew.

Monday 20 April 2009

Northern Funding

Northern Ireland Screen (NIS) is hosting a Funding Information Session on Wednesday 29th April from 4pm-6pm in the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.

Those who wish to attend the meeting to find out more information about the funding programmes available from the NIS should email before Wednesday 22nd April to secure a place.

SAG Closer to Deal

Variety reports that the national board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has passed its new feature-primetime contract by a slim majority: 53.4% to 46.6%.

Now, the contract must be ratified by its 120,000 guild members. A pitched PR battle is expected between the factions in SAG who support the new deal (headed by interim national exec director David White, and Ned Vaughn, leader of the Unite for Strength faction) and oppose the contract (headed by SAG prexy Alan Rosenberg).

The ballots will be posted out in early May, and must be returned by the end of the month.

The board's approval came two days after SAG execs and the congloms hammered out final details of the pact. SAG toppers announced the tentative deal Friday afternoon, 10 months after the previous pact expired. A key to Friday's tentative deal was the congloms' agreement to SAG's demand for an expiration date in June 2011. That date will keep SAG in sync with the WGA, DGA and AFTRA expirations, which allows solidarity in future negotiations. But SAG won't get any retroactive pay gains -- worth $67 million, according to the companies -- under the new deal.

The proposed SAG deal contains the same general new-media terms as the WGA, DGA and AFTRA pacts, meaning that all the drama from Rosenberg and his team for the past 10 months ends with a whimper, not with a bang.

Both sides agree that the contract battle has left SAG in a weaker position. Rosenberg has complained repeatedly that the lack of unity among board members wound up de-leveraging the guild, while the moderates contend that Doug Allen -- handpicked in 2006 by Rosenberg to be national exec director -- bungled the negotiations.

SAG's deal includes a 3.5% annual hike in minimums --- a 3% salary hike in the first year plus a 0.5% gain in pension and health contributions in the first year and a 3.5% salary increase in the second. And it spells out the pay structure for shows streamed on and made for the Internet. That's the same deal the companies offered on June 30 but was spurned by the hardliners who advocated holding out for sweeter terms.

Vaughn said the 2011 contract termination date -- rather than the 2012 date sought by the congloms -- was key in getting the new deal approved by the moderates on the board. "This deal will put SAG in position to bargain for better new-media terms in the 2011 round of negotiations, since we'll be in synch with the other unions," he added.

Friday 17 April 2009

Screenwriting Course

Screenwriter, novelist and producer Ferdia MacAnna is running a new screenwriting course aimed at beginners or for those who have a little experience in scriptwriting.

The course begins on Sunday May 17th, 10am - 1pm, and runs for eight consecutive Sunday mornings at the same time, at Sundrive Road, Dublin 12.

Areas covered include: Character Creation, Emotional Writing, Story Arcs, The Three Act Structure, Visual Writing, Dialogue, Scene Breakdowns, Treatments, Loglines and Plot Points.

The entire course costs €550, and there is a 25 per cent discount to members of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild.

Those interested in attending the course can contact Ferdia on 0872957433.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Hirst at NFS

The National Film School (NFS), in association with Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, is hosting a conversation between the screenwriter/producer Michael Hirst and Roger Greene from the Department of Film & Media at the NFS.

Screenwriter Michael Hirst's credits include: Pat O'Connor's Fools of Fortune; Simon Callow's Ballad of the Sad Cafe; István Szabó's Meeting Venus; and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth and Elizabeth : The Golden Age. He is perhaps best known for creating, writing and executive producing The Tudors.

The event will take place on Tuesday 21 April, and will be held in Room C026, Carriglea Building, IADT, Dun Laoghaire at 5.30 pm.


DARE2BDRINKAWARE is a digital film competition which challenges 3rd level students to creatively explore the relationship between Irish culture and drinking. The competition, which originated as a pilot project in 2007, is sponsored by, and run by the Digital Hub Development Agency.

In addition to a cash prize DARE2BDRINKAWARE offers students with an interest in film-making an excellent opportunity to develop their skills. Participants also have the chance to network, meet with industry professionals and gain valuable advice.

The Shortlisted Teams in the 2008 / 2009 competition are:

  • Bag Productions – Coláiste Dhúlaigh and Dublin City University – for their film, 'Flaws in the Glass'
  • Craiceáilte – Trinity College Dublin – for their film, '28 Drinks Later'
  • The Final Four – Cavan Institute – for their film, 'The Last Night'
  • Michelle Lovelle Glynn – Athlone Institute of Technology – for her film, 'Drinkorexic'
  • Gobias Industries – Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology – for their film, 'On The Cutting Room Floor'
  • Leddy Productions – Dublin City University – for their film, 'Choices'
  • Mmm, I Like That Productions – Athlone Institute of Technology – for their film, 'A Simple Choice'
  • Spraoi Productions – University College Dublin – for their film, 'The Cure'
  • Thundercat Productions – Dublin City University – for their film, 'On The Rocks'
  • Unit People Productions – NUI Maynooth – for their film, 'Too Many Units'

The public can view the films, and vote on their favourite.

Script Editor Wanted

Tá Ros na Rún ag lorg Eagarthóir Scripte
Beidh an duine seo freagrach as próiseas scéalaíochta Ros na Rúin. Beidh siad freagrach chomh maith as foireann scríbhneoirí agus rannóg scripte a spreagadh, a stiúradh agus a bhainistiú.

Bronnfar tuarastal cuí ar an té a roghnófar ag brath ar a t(h)aithí.

Sa Spidéal a bheidh an post seo lonnaithe.

Seol d'iarratas ar ríomhphost chuig leiriuchain[AT]

Script Editor required for Ros na Rún
Ros na Rún, the Irish language soap/drama broadcast on TG4 are looking for applicants for the role of Script Editor.

The successful candidate will have the ability to motivate a large team of storyliners, writers and manage the output of a busy script department.

Salary is negotiable depending of the level of experience of the candidate.

The position is based An Spidéal, Co. Galway.

Please apply via email to: info[AT]

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Budget Guesses

According to the Irish Times this weekend the figures for any cuts in Arts funding due to the recent emergency budget won't be available until after April 21st, although there are indications of how it is expected to break down.

It is understood that the detail of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism's budget has already been decided, although its statement this week just confirmed that overall expenditure in the arts, culture and film sector "has reduced by €41m from €221m in 2008 to €180m in 2009, a reduction of 18.5 per cent" (It had been reduced to €184.5m in the October budget, so this is a further cut). The cut in current expenditure, the statement said, has been 6 per cent, and in capital expenditure 42 per cent, "owing primarily to the completion of once-off major capital projects such as the Wexford Festival Opera House and the Gate Theatre extension".

It's not all bad news, however.
The Irish Film Board's budget for this year is expected to increase by 7 per cent (up to close to €22m) on the figures from October, which is a reflection of an increase in the number of big film projects in the pipeline (and some of which have already started), which are bringing inward investment with them, on the basis of Section 481. There won't be a new Access capital funding programme, but projects already started, such as storage facilities for the National Museum and at Imma will be completed, and capital projects worth over €75m will be honoured.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Arts Mentoring

Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, in partnership with Common Ground, a local arts development organisation working in Dublin, are hosting a Public Action Research Forum on Thursday April 16, 3-5pm in The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1, as part of its year-long Collaborative Arts Mentoring Programme.

Emily Kyriakides, Head of Film, Lighthouse Arts and Training Ltd, Brighton will present case studies of Guiding Lights, a year long mentoring scheme designed to identify and support emerging UK-based film industry talent. Mentors and mentees include: David Yates, Kenneth Branagh, Jenny Walker and Anand Tucker.

Emily will describe how the Guiding Lights mentoring programme addresses skills development across all job roles in film in conversation with Padraig Naughton, Director of Arts and Disability Ireland and members of the Collaborative Arts Mentoring Programme Advisory Group.

The event is free but places are limited and it is necessary to book in advance.
Information on how to reserve a spot at the Forum are on the web site.

Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival returns for its sixth year from May 4th to 17th with a splendid range of drama, comedy, musical theatre, dance, physical theatre and cabaret.

This year the programme brings almost 40 productions to Dublin from countries as diverse as Spain, Zimbabwe, Australia and Poland, and includes over 25 Irish, European and World premieres.

The full schedule is available on the web site, where you can also book tickets for all the shows.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Sony in Talks with YouTube

According to a news article on CNN YouTube is in negotiations with Sony Pictures to acquire licensing rights to full-length content. Last week Disney agreed to licence short-form content to YouTube. To compete in the burgeoning online video market YouTube must obtain more long-form drama.

Sony Pictures' Web video property, called Crackle, could result in a boost to YouTube's ambitions to become a player in Hollywood.

Sony acquired Crackle in 2006, a year before Google bought YouTube. It's a multi-platform next-generation video entertainment network that distributes digital content including original short form series and full-length traditional programming from Sony Pictures' library of television series and feature films.

YouTube and Google can't be too choosy. The truth is that two years ago they miscalculated how much they needed Hollywood. YouTube frustrated some studio and TV executives by saying "we're not responsible for the actions of our users."

Since then, YouTube managers have changed their attitude and have focused on making the site more appealing to big entertainment companies, such as offering better-quality streams, and filtering for pirated content. Still, what was true two years ago is true now: none of the big entertainment companies is going to allow Google to build YouTube's business on their content without getting something in return.

There's also the question of what the studios intend to do with the traditional distribution model. Hollywood has long had agreements in place to release films through a complex assortment of channels, including theatrical release, DVD sales, and cable, premium, and broadcast outlets. For example, film-industry sources say the money Hollywood earns from the Web is a trickle compared with the ocean of cash it receives each year from cable providers.

Nonetheless, more and more people are canceling their cable subscriptions and turning to the Web for entertainment. Even execs from the cable companies have acknowledged this. Last week, after Disney announced the agreement with YouTube, I asked Jordan Hoffner, YouTube's chief of content partnerships, whether YouTube, Hulu, and the other Web video services can convince Hollywood to wean itself off these other distribution channels.

"I think that what we're doing is we're dealing with a fragmented world," Hoffner said. "You can't just say you're going to count out any distribution channel and focus on one because audiences are moving to other places. We're one of the places they're moving to."

Turned on in Aspen

The Irish Examiner reports that the Irish short film, "Whatever Turns You On", written and directed by Declan Cassidy, won the Best Short Short Award at the Aspen Shortsfest in the United States.

"I’m really thrilled," said Mr Cassidy, who is en route from the US to Cairo in Egypt where the film has also made the finals for Best Short Film in the Egypt Film Festival. "It’s a very simple little story about a homeless guy who doesn’t let the system get him down and I think it’s striking a chord with audiences in these troubled times."

Aspen Shortfest, an old and prestigious festival, is considered as one of the Oscar Qualifiers festivals.

The film has scooped seven awards and has been officially selected into 15 festivals since its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Surviving Cannes

Filmbase and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) are jointly hosting an information session aimed at Irish filmmakers who plan on attending this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The information session is intended to be a practical guide to understanding and maximising the opportunities presented by the festival. It will concentrate in particular on the festival market, networking opportunities, and the services available from the IFB at the Irish Pavilion.

The session will take place at Filmbase on Friday 24rd April from 11am - 1pm. The session is free, but places must be reserved. Please note that while the session is open to all, priority will be given to filmmakers who are intending to travel to the festival this year.

Information on how to apply is available on the Filmbase web site.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

SAG Close to Deal

According to a news article on the L.A. Times the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is finally close to negotiating a new three-year contract with Hollywood Producers, the AMPTP, after weeks of intense dialogue.

SAG members have been working without contracts for the past nine months, when their last contact lapsed, and a new one could not be agreed upon by either side.

SAG's interim executive director David White was voted in during a union election late last year, and since then has been meeting one-on-one with the studios to help facilitate a deal.

SAG chief negotiator John McGuire, who just negotiated a new commercials contract for SAG members, is expected to present the outlines of an agreement to the guild's negotiating task force Tuesday, which could set the stage for the return of formal negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios but is dominated by heads of the major media companies.

The union's national board could vote on a final contract when it meets April 18.

White and McGuire are under heavy pressure to deliver a contract to the union's 120,000 members. They were recently installed by a moderate majority on the union's board that accused former leaders of mishandling negotiations and pushing SAG toward the brink of a strike.

Gospel Wins

Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board reports the the winner of the the IFB Film Script of the Year award at this year's Student Media Awards went to Mark Fischer, from Ballyfermot College of Further Education, for his script Gospel.

Irish actor Pat Shortt (Garage) and the RTE presenters Kathryn Thomas and Aidan Power were among the presenters giving out the awards. Mark scooped the award beating fellow Ballyfermot students John Michael Maher (Gospel) and Kevin Kelly (Green Gloves), TCD student Dermot Curtin (The Undertaker's Son) and Colaiste Dhulaigh student Ciaran Lawless with his script Pariah.

All the entrants for this category were asked to submit a short film script which was then subjected to the same rigorous process as scripts submitted to the IFB for funding. Each entrant will receive a readers report with constructive feedback about their work.

Monday 6 April 2009

Red Planet Prize 08

The winner of the 2008 Red Planet Prize has been announced:

We're delighted to announce that Mark Wilkinson, a VT Operator, is the 2008 winner of The Red Planet Prize. His script, The Ropes, is a piece inspired by the time writer, Wilkinson, was left housebound by a broken leg for four months.

Wilkinson commented; "I'm extremely proud to have won the Red Planet Prize. It's absolutely unique; there really is nothing else out there like it. I can't wait to start working with Tony and the Red Planet team."

Tony Jordan, commented today "I'm thrilled not only for Mark and his rather wonderful script, but also at the standard of writing of the entries this year."

Details of the 2009 Red Planet Prize will be announced shortly.

The Red Planet Prize was launched in 2007 to nurture aspiring screenwriters in the UK and Ireland.

Europe Theatre Prize 09

The Stage reports that Polish director and teacher Krystian Lupa was awarded the 13th Europe Theatre Prize -- worth €60,000 -- at a ceremony this weekend in Wroclaw, Poland.

The Europe Theatre Prize was created in 1986 by the European Commission, and has been recognised by the European Parliament and Council as a "European cultural interest organisation".

The awards ceremony occurred at the end of a week of shows, previews, work in progress, meetings, and symposia, which featured performances of Lupa's work, as well as work by the five winners of the €30,000 Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities, which is designed to mark innovation in theatre from a younger generation, and went to the following: Guy Cassiers (Belgium), Pippo Delbono (Italy), Rodrigo Garcia (Spain/Argentine), Arpad Schilling (Hungary), François Tanguy and the Théâtre du Radeau (France).

Lupa is known both for his long career as a director and for the large number of bright young Polish directors who have emerged from his tutelage at the theatre academy in Krakow. Among his productions seen in Wroclaw was an eight-hour dramatisation of the exotic lifestyle of Andy Warhol and his circle, Factory 2. It is a mark of Lupa's stature that several hundred of the world's critics and leading theatre industry figures sat through this demanding performance to its very end, many of them joining in a standing ovation.

There was a more divided reaction to the works shown by the winners of the New Realities prize. Argentinian-born Rodrigo Garcia, who works in Spain with a company whose title translates as The Butcher's Shop, aroused much controversy with productions involving maltreatment of a variety of animals.

Italy's Pippo del Bono offered two contrasting productions covering either end of a career lasting more than 20 years, but also staged a short piece featuring the actress Marisa Berenson which he had prepared the night before.

Guy Cassiers, from Belgium, was represented by a harrowing solo performance, Sunken Red, played in perfect English by the actor Dirk Roofthooft.

From France, François Tanguy brought his Théâtre du Radeau with an abstract collage of prose, verse, music and movement.

The fifth winner, Hungarian director Arpad Schilling, who broke up his world renowned Kretakor company last year, spoke of his new work bringing theatre to disadvantaged communities in France and his native Hungary.

Friday 3 April 2009

Round 2 Storyland

The winners in the first round of RTÉ's Storyland webisode competition have been announced:

  1. 1. Hardy Bucks
  2. 2. Rental Boys
  3. 3. Psych Ward
  4. 4. Happy Slapper
  5. 5. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  6. 6. Pub World
  7. 7. Running Low
  8. 8. Chez Spuds
  9. 9. This is not a conspiracy theory
The top seven dramas will be commissioned to make a second episode.

Voting will reopens on the next instalments on Thursday 5pm 30th April 5pm until 5pm Monday 4th May, and the viewers decide who goes on to make episode three.

Irish Book Awards 09

Voting is now open in the Irish Book Awards.

Select your favourite book in each of the ten categories, and you're added to a draw where three winners will receive €250 of National Book Tokens.

Voting closes on May 1st 2009.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Google Book Deal

The IPSG would like to bring the Google Book Settlement to the attention of Irish authors.

In 2004 Google began digitising all the books in the University of Michigan library. Shortly afterwards the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and a group of authors and publishers filed a class-action lawsuit for copyright infringement.

In November 2008 those representatives reached an out-of-court settlement with Google that would -- if approved by federal court -- allow Google to publish online out-of-print books for reading, sales, institutional licensing, ad sales, and other publishing exploitations.

The settlement gave the class-action attorneys $30 million, a new governing rights body called the Book Rights Registry (BRR) $35 million, and set aside $45 million for writers infringed up to now. The BRR will act as the agency that will forward payments of 63 per cent of revenue earned by Google to authors for future use of their works. You can read the Authors Guild's statement online about the settlement.

This deal remains subject to a final fairness hearing, which is scheduled for June 11, 2009.

Last month a conference organised by the Kernochan Centre for Law, Media and the Arts discussed the ramifications of the deal, and raised concerns. These issues are never straightforward. Wired has pointed out that the law school is funded in part by Microsoft, one of Google's oldest competitors.

At this point Google has digitised over seven million books, and now has the non-exclusive right to digitise every book published before January 5, 2009. Google will have to negotiate directly with publishers for rights to all works published after January 5th, 2009.

Authors who want their books excluded from the settlement must formally opt-out by May 5, 2009.

Authors who wish to agree to the terms of the settlement must claim every edition of their book(s) associated with their name that has been published in the USA. They will receive an once-off payment of at least $60 per book from Google to cover any infringement of their copyright so far. Further payment for online use of the texts will either be charged as a flat fee, or writers can ask Google to calculate an "optimal price" for their book based on demand.

The Irish Times published a story on the matter last week.

At a recent seminar, Samantha Holman, chief executive of the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency, was worred that many Irish writers were unaware of the terms of the Google Book Settlement.

Although the settlement was for a class action suit in the US, Holman notes that Google was required to notify copyright groups everywhere in the world, and says the settlement notice warned global copyright holders "to assume that you own a US copyright interest in your book". Holman says authors can probably expect a similar settlement with Google in future in countries and territories outside the US and cautioned authors against assuming the company might find little commercial value in the project.

"Google has been very successful so far, and there's no reason to think they won't be very successful at this," she says.

Holman notes that some Irish writers have even found their doctoral thesis listed on the Google settlement site and so she encourages anyone who has ever written anything to search under their name for any works. The settlement "is not the perfect solution by any means. But it is the solution being proposed," she told authors. "You have to start reading your contracts carefully."

Finally, this week Google announced a deal with Sony that will make 500,000 public domain titles available for download from Google Book Search in a format that is compatible with Sony's ebook Reader.

BBC College of Comedy

The BBC is looking for comedy writers to apply for a place in its College of Comedy.

The scheme will run for 12 months, and six successful applicants (writing pairs will be treated as a single applicant) will be attached to an existing production, and will also be mentored in the creation of original work.

The scheme is open to writers of half hour narrative comedy, and to sketch writers from the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.

Applicants will have had their work broadcast; had work commissioned for development by a broadcaster or production company; or had their work performed professionally, either as a writer or a writer/performer. Applications which do not meet these criteria will not be considered.

Writers applying to the College should submit the first ten pages of a narrative comedy script, or a portfolio of no more than six sketches, together with a CV.

Applicants may indicate in their application whether a DVD or CD of their work is available, which may be requested during the selection process. They should not be sent unless requested. Links to online examples of work should be included in the CV.

Only one entry per applicant will be considered, and the deadline for submissions is noon on 24 April.

A short-list of no more than 12 writers will be invited for interview in the week of May 25. Applicants will be notified as to whether or not they have been successful by the end of the week.

The successful writers will attend a residential workshop in the course of the programme, be attached to a production (with expenses paid), and be mentored in the development of an original script, which will be showcased at the end of the scheme, and for which a fee will be paid.

As a condition of the scheme, original work by the writers must be submitted to the BBC under a 'first-look' deal, which will run for 12 months from the scheme's end in April 2010. The BBC undertakes to decide within three months of submission whether or not it wishes to commission the work.

Submissions should be sent to, which will be acknowledged by e-mail. If candidates have not heard from the college by 18 May 2009, then they will not have been shortlisted. It will not be possible to enter into correspondence in relation to individual entries.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Trends in EU TV

The European Audiovisual Observatory recently reported new data from Volume 2 of its Yearbook "Trends in European television", which was published last month.

The yearbook examined the origin of fiction programmes (TV series, TV films, feature films, short films, animated films) broadcast by 124 channels in 13 European countries. Its analysis uncovered that American fiction is overwhelmingly dominant on European television screens, but there are signs that nationally produced fiction is improving in distribution.

However, Ireland was near the bottom of the tables. Only 4.4% of drama broadcast on Irish TV was home-grown, 33.4% came from other non-national EU countries, but the majority -- 62.2% -- originated in America. Only Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Luxemburg produced less indigenous programming than Ireland.

France was top of the league: it produced 28.2% of its programming from within the country, bought another 32% from non-national EU sources, and only broadcast 39.8% of American fiction.

Britain followed with nearly a fifth of its TV drama produced nationally, with Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands close behind. It's worth noting that Britain has the second-lowest rate of non-national EU programming (12.3%), which means that it imported more American programming than Ireland (68.4%).

The least progressive was Luxemburg: 99.5% of its broadcasts were American programming, with a tiny 0.5% coming from non-national EU sources, and nothing produced from within its own borders.

The Sunday Independent wrote up a brief piece on the report and quoted James Morris, chairman of the Irish Film Board: "It is no coincidence that the European countries that have a strong policy towards supporting and broadcasting their own local programming are the same countries which have the strongest film and television production industries with huge export potential."

Courses at GFC

There are two courses being offered at the Galway Film Centre in the coming months:

Story Development and Pitching Forum

This weekend workshop is aimed at those interested in writing for TV and film, including boh drama and comedy. By exploring the origin and mechanics of stories and industry needs, participants will be helped to pitch their ideas, focus their writing and to make their stories more screen compatible. TV executives decide from a few pages or less if a script is of industry standard. This course will help you to reach that standard.

John Murphy, writer, storyliner and industry consultant who has worked with RTÉ, BBC and TG4, tutors this workshop. John has written both drama and comedy (The Happy Bag), as well as scripting, devising and consulting on many entertainment shows for presenters ranging from Cilla Black to Frank Skinner. John was the subject of the ‘Who stole Bob Monkhouse’s jokes?’ documentary, as the person who investigated and retrieved the jokes.

Course Dates: 1 weekend, 25th & 26th April
Course cost: €235 waged/€185 unwaged

Scriptwriting course with Script Editor
This four day course will look at how to develop your story idea. It is aimed at both emerging & experienced screenwriters working on their feature film and short film screenplays. The course is also aimed at emerging script-editors. The class is limited to four writers and two script editors. The course offers a great experience for emerging writers and script editors to work intensively on their stories with a professional script-editor. It will cover the basics such as wants and needs, objectives, obstacles, rising action and ideas on sequencing & structure. 
Those interested in this course will need to submit a script or treatment by April 17th.

Mark McIlrath, the course tutor, is a script editor who works on feature film projects in Ireland, Italy, France and the UK. He has been through the Arista and North by Northwest programmes. He is a regular contributor to Film Ireland and Scriptwriter magazine on script editing theory and practice.

Course Dates: 15th to 18th May 2009

Course cost:
Writers: €455 unwaged/€465 waged (4 places)
Editors: €355 unwaged/€365 waged (2 places)
These fees include membership to the Centre for the year)

Information on how to apply for the courses is available on the web site.