The simplest way to get a drama commission as a female writer, might be to never meet a television executive and use a male pseudonym – JK Rowling, George Eliot or Harper Lee might be useful beards. Because currently only 14% of prime-time TV is female-written. (Gender Inequality and Screenwriters report)
And yet television is always looking for the new voice, the different form, how to tell a story that we haven’t heard before and in a new way. If women are commissioned a fraction as much as men, then it stands to reason that they have a rich fund of stories saved up, just ready and waiting to be told. But how to get past security?
A panel, hosted by Lisa Holdsworth, recently appointed chair of the Writers Guild, will tell you where they think the opportunities lie and where they need to be unblocked. They will share how they did it and how you can do it too.
Excitingly, the session will also reveal the winner of Thousand Films’ female writers competition, an initiative backed by the TV Festival. With more than 2000 entries, the competition from writers not yet represented by an agent was extremely tough but leading industry figures have chosen a winner. They, along with shortlisted nominees, delegates and our stellar panel will be invited to join a networking drinks reception immediately after the session.
This illustrious panel comprises: producer Nicola Shindler (Happy Valley, Traces) ITV comedy controller, Saskia Shuster, writers Ambreen Razia (Hounslow Diaries) , Kirstie Swain (Pure, and upcoming HBO romantic comedic thriller Run.) and Esther Springer, Drama Producer at BBC Studios.
Let’s relegate the male pseudonym to history.
Philippa Collie Cousins
Drama Commissioner, UKTV