scriptwriting

Community Radio

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There are so many different ways to consume media these days whether it be through the television, billboards, social media, the internet, newspapers and magazines.

You’d think with the vastness of these mediums that radio would be a thing of the past.

You couldn’t be further from the truth.

Radio is thriving, which is brilliant news to the likes of myself who consumes many hours of radio every day of the week. From Radio 4 dramas to drivetime shows, the thing I love about radio is that you can be doing other things while absorbing it.

Listeners are just spoilt for choice these days with the variety of commercial radio stations as well as the growth in BBC radio. However, I’m mainly listening to community radio stations these days.radio smiley

Why?

Because I’ve been bitten by the radio broadcasting bug.

It’s true what they say about embracing every opportunity that comes along because you never know where it may take you.

Five months ago I went along to a session with Wythenshawe FM in a small community centre in Baguley. I’d seen an advertisement on the noticeboard for my local supermarket asking if anybody was interested in attending training for either writing radio scripts, presenting, editing and features.

So I went along thinking I could help them with the script writing. After all, I was in my final year of a masters degree in TV and Radio Scriptwriting so broadcasting credits are something that I’m looking for. It became apparent early on, that the other aspects that they were looking for were equally as important.

I felt the colour drain from my face when the words “live broadcasting” were mentioned.

It would be rude to get up and walk out at that point so I stayed for the entire session. But, at that point I had no intention of every broadcasting live – were they mad? I could barely talk to groups of people in work without fluffing my words, let alone a radio audience.

Over the next few days I thought about it more and more. If something scares me I tend to do it anyway as I really enjoy the adrenalin of achieving something that terrifies me, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

So, why not give it a go. The worst that can happen is that I freeze on air, and they can always fill in the space with a song.

So I did it. On the 9 December 2013, I co-presented a show with another volunteer at Wythenshawe FM and I must admit the adrenaline from being on air live is something else. Once the initial “feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack” as my heart was pounding through my chest as I waited for my half an hour slot to begin, it was fine.

After the live show in December, I carried on training with the radio station. We covered interview techniques, operating a Marantz, features, jingles, editing and then we had a number of sessions in the studio operating the desk.

The studio sessions really baffled me, as it was one thing having to talk on air, but to also operate the desk and ensure that adverts were played, songs were queued and not to leave the microphone on. The other volunteers and myself all took it in turns to broadcast live for twenty or so minutes each week. This was probably the best way to learn, as we had an experienced member of staff with us all the way to make sure that we kept the station on air.

At this point I was approached to see if I was interested in hosting my own radio show. I had to think about this one. It’s one thing to go on air with other people, but on my own and for an hour? What the hell have I possibly got to say for myself that would interest anybody in listening to me?

So, I thought about it for thirty seconds and said yes, why not. I’m sure I could think of things to talk about without anybody saying anything back to me. I live with three males – I’m used to talking to myself.radio.jpg

On 23 February 2014 The Sunday Matinee Show was first aired.

So, thank you Wythenshawe FM for giving me the opportunity to do something so out of my comfort zone that I would never have dreamed six months ago that I would be hosting my own show.

The Sunday Matinee Show

‘The Sunday Matinee Show’ is not only an entertainment show, but I also want to showcase up and coming local Manchester talent, whether it be writers, theatre companies, actors or musicians etc.

If you are a local writer, performing artist, band or theatre company then please contact either myself direct at https://www.facebook.com/TheSundayMatineeShow  or on twitter @SarahD_wfmradio

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Busy bee

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Again it’s been a while since I last wrote a post on this blog.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a long list of ideas to blog about and of course here comes the excuses.

There haven’t been enough hours in the day recently. Working on a 90 page script for my final project in my MA has taken every ounce of energy out of me since Christmas.

It’s not over, not by a longshot it merely means that I’ve handed in my first draft and I’m currently awaiting my supervisor to send me her notes. Once I receive her notes, I then have to work on draft number two which has a deadline of the 12 March. The same process happens that she’ll send me her notes and the third draft is submitted in May alongside a 3000 word report.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve been writing my first stage play since October. I say first, it’s not really my first stage play, but it’s the first one that I’ve finished. I’m going to write a separate blog about this, because I really am quite excited about this piece of writing. They say that you’re only as good as your last project, I hope this project gets good feedback at its rehearsed reading next week.

Finally, did I mention that I’ve also been volunteering at my local community radio station?

What started out as me just going along to a session to try and find out about writing scripts for them has turned into me being trained as a presenter, presenting on three live shows and I also wrote them a 60 minute radio play which was broadcast over the festive period.

Having written all that down in this entry, add to that that I work 40+ hours per sat
week in my day job, match report for an ice hockey team at weekends and try and find time to be a mother and wife……well no wonder the blog has been abandoned somewhat.

I only have one regret about all of the above. Why didn’t I do all these exciting things that make me feel inspired and proud of myself ten/fifteen years ago when I was much younger.

In my case youth was definitely wasted on the young.

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Happy New Year

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It’s been a while since I’ve blogged on here, and to be honest I feel a bit bad about that.

A couple of reasons really, I’ve been busy writing two plays and continueing with all the other writing commitments that I have. I’m struggling with an ongoing back problem which has made it just bareable to carry on working, but leaving me exhausted in the evening and just being damn right lazy.

I’m still to blog about my trip to NYC, the saga with my ailing back and my Christmas radio play.

For the person who read a review I did about a certain play that I endured at The Lowry who went on to say that I was a frustrated writer and hadn’t finished anything. Well I have and I had a radio play broadcast four times over Christmas. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Eve. I’m also well on my way to writing two out of six episodes of my comedy drama “The Starr GIrls” – yes you read it here first. Determined to get those finished and hopefully graduate this year with my MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting, unless my back gets in the way. It would be a fabulous achievement to have completed my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in my thirties.

With the new year comes those awful new years resolutions. What is it that a different day, brings with it a time of reflection and the need to change things about oneself.

I don’t like new years resolutions – I much prefer to set myself targets. That way if I fail miserably I won’t feel like such a failure which I think with resolutions you do. I know, it’s the same thing really isn’t it?

What are yours? I love finding out from people.

I’m going to be joining weightwatchers again on Thursday – along with half of the population I suspect. I don’t know what’s happened to me in the past 18 months but my will power got up and left me, and with it it’s left some extra flab and a horrendous sweet tooth. I managed to lose a couple of stones before I started the job where I am now. But overtime it’s slowly crept back on. Not helped with having to decrease my exercise when my back started giving me hell shortly after returning from holiday in September. So back to fat club I will go, back to counting points, being hungry and if I am a grumpy cow at the moment it will get worse when my belly is screaming out for snickers and custard creams.

Facebook. Oh yes indeed this one rears it’s ugly head as I realise how much time I spend reading posts every day. I have eased myself off posting things on there other than posters, captions etc but I do need to stop reading it before I get up in the morning. It winds me up – full of attention seekers, show offs, baby bores or moaners. I much prefer twitter and have a fondness for a number of my followers, but just love the way I can watch TV and find out the opinion of others who are watching the same show as me. Powerful stuff.

I’ve already mentioned trying to pass my degree this year. I’m also going to try and not be a doormat that certain people in my life only contact when they want something. In future I am going to put myself first, and to stop tieing myself in knots to try and please folk.

Every payday I am going to treat myself to an item of clothing. Over Christmas I have looked through my wardrobe which is full of clothes which I never wear anymore, clothes that are faded and tattered. I have a couple of pairs of shoes and that is all. I realise that I really need to invest in making myself feel better about myself and it starts with clothes. A woman of my age should not live in converse, and work shoes – have no clothes to go shopping in other than jeans and a hoodie. No more, I wouldn’t think twice about spending money on my kids so it’s time to spend a little on myself.

And that’s it. There’s enough there to keep me going in 2014. We’ll see how many I actually achieve by the time I reach the end of this year. But, no matter what I do or don’t achieve this year one thing I did do was finally go to New York City. If I never do anything more with my life at least I have the fabulous memories of that wonderful city.

24 July : Write what you know #wpad

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It’s the easy option, isn’t it? Write what you know, but it’s always a challenge to write about what you don’t know.

I’m only just starting out as a scriptwriter so it makes sense at the moment to write about what I know. First hand experience about a topic is like a nugget of gold as it means that emotions, knowledge and it being realistic will be key to the script.

At the same time I would love to develop my writing further which I know will attract a lot of research going into it prior to writing.

Working full-time limits the amount of time that can be spent researching, and add onto that a part-time degree. But, it’s not impossible and the internet and books provide a wealth of information on all kinds of topics.

This blog prompt made me take a few minutes to dig deep and think about what I do know that I could write about. Like everybody else we all have experiences, sometimes positive and some negative that could be turned into a story.

My current project takes on a vast amount of my life experiences within the context of the six-parts. When the characters were created some of them were based on actors, characters in other dramas and real life people. Some characteristics in the three main characters come from myself, either when I was a teenager and to how I am as a parent to a teenager.

Writing for female characters is also less of a challenge than writing male ones for the obvious reason. But living with three males offers it’s own research as I often will pass bits of dialogue and plot between them and ask if “would that really happen to a man?” However, I can see the benefit of having a writing partner from the opposite sex as both points of view can come through in the writing of certain characters.

Back to my current project, write what you know! The set is based around my nana’s home when she was alive.

I loved the fact that everybody on the estate knew who my nana was. She never locked her door during the day and folk would walk into her house to see her.

I recall during my rebellious teenage years being “chatted up” (am sure it’s not called that now – I must ask the teenager). Anyway I was chatted up by a young man in a nightclub who lived on the same estate as her. It’s a huge estate in Preston, and he lived at the opposite end but he still knew who my nana was – the woman was a legend! I wish I had known that back then and appreciated her more.

The concept of being part of a tight community is what prompted me to write the project.

I couldn’t tell you the names of my neighbours where I live, yet back when I was a child everybody knew everybody in the area. It would be nice to live in a community like that again.

I guess most writing comes from writing what you know, and it sure is fun to make up the other bits.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.
thurnham road

22 July : Advice to aspiring writers #wpad

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Hardly think it’s appropriate for me to offer advice to aspiring writers given that I am one of those myself.

However, there are a few things that I have done which have assisted me with my writing.

• Register for a writing course. It wasn’t until I began on my masters degree that I realised that I knew nothing about structure, characterisation, plot, narrative, genre and a host of other essential ingredients that make a good story. Local colleges and theatre groups also run sessions on writing which are not as expensive as university. I have undertaken two sessions of a Writing for Stage course which I found extremely helpful. It’s also good to be mixing with other writers.

• Start a blog and write about anything.

• Join twitter. I follow dozens of writers and it’s a great way to communicate with one another. There is also a valuable twitter forum called #scriptchat where a different member of the industry is on hand on a Sunday evening to answer any questions that are tweeted (in 140 characters though).

• Write for e-zines. The more articles you have published, the more of a portfolio you create for yourself.

• Write every day. I cannot stress that enough, the more you write the better you will get at it.

• Read.

• Make contact with other writers, it can be a lonely time so being able to communicate with somebody who knows what you are going through makes it seem all the better.

• For any scriptwriters, go to the London Screenwriters Festival in October. I went for the first time last year and it was well worth the money. There are so many guest speakers and workshops and I felt so motivated after the weekend. I cannot wait for this year’s festival, and I may just be brave enough to pitch my current project to industry members.LSF2

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

21 July : Second hand or new? #wpad

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This is a no brainer for me.

As a typical middle-child most of the things that I had as a teenager were hand-me downs.

I hated it. As a teenager you don’t really understand about the value of money, all I knew was that I didn’t want somebody else’s cast offs whether it be clothes, music and furniture.

I haven’t changed in the slightest. I don’t mind having second hand things for the house as I’m not particularly house proud. It doesn’t bother me if my table and chairs are new or not, or if my washing machine is a couple of years old.

However, personal possessions are a different kettle of fish for some reason. It is a standing joke in my home that I always have the most up to date phone and then there is a pecking order in how they are passed down. Husband first, then onto kids. Although the past year has seen them purchasing their own phones, and I still haven’t managed to upgrade to an iphone 5 yet.

I don’t think I would ever buy a second-hand laptop as firstly I am slightly OCD when it comes to putting my fingers on the keys where other people have been typing. Secondly there is something nice about having new goods. I always feel a sense of pride everytime I make a big purchase that I have worked hard to buy it so should be able to enjoy it.

Of course if money was really tight then I would have to change my approach somewhat but for the time being I will carry on enjoying nice, new goods.

What does everyone else think about the subject?


This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

20 July : What motivates me #wpad

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Everybody has varying factors which motivate them each day.

In a work capacity it’s surprising to note that for most people a high salary is not a motivating factor in their job role. During a workshop in my day job I was shown the following video which is worth a look, even if you’re not interested in the content of the discussion, watch it purely for how well the artist can draw.

As a writer I am motivated whenever I am around other like minded people.

I often attend masterclasses, talks or short courses as I find it motivating hearing about other people. I’m not the best networker but I am forcing myself to escape from my introverted shell and try to put myself out there.

The weekend just gone is an example of that. I attended Writing for Radio workshop organised by Euroscript which was a full day’s session in London. Not only did I learn a vast amount about writing for the radio medium but I also made some useful contacts with other writers. A number of them are attending the London Screenwriters Festival in October so at least I will know at least a couple more delegates than I knew last year.

The workshop tutor was also an industry professional so hearing firsthand experience from somebody who has been where I am currently really motivates me too.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.