Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

The Returning Drama Series

As well as its full-time MA studies the London Film School runs a number of part-time courses for screenwriters and filmmakers. They’re professional training so they’re not cheap, but if you’ve reached a point in your career where you can make use of industry insight then they can be of real value.

In November/December there are eight places available on this one, aimed at developing ideas for returning drama series and covering six workshop days and three masterclasses.

In this series of workshops we will be working with professional television writers, ideally with at least three broadcast TV credits, on developing original drama series Bibles for shows that can then be pitched to the British networks.

I’ll be giving one of the masterclasses and I ought to be held up as Mister Bad Example, given that some of the best shows I’ve worked on never made it to a second season. It’s hard to think of them as returning dramas when they didn’t return. But everything eventually ends in cancellation, is my attitude, and anything you can get away before that counts as a win.

(The other two Masterclasses will be given by Lucy Gannon and Ashley Pharoah, whose returnable dramas have a track record of actually returning)

Some years back I laid out my own money on a MediaXchange weekend of panels and exercises with American showrunners, and it completely changed my attitude to the business. It would be at least a decade before I’d be able to put any of what I learned into practice, but now I’d seen what a professionalised writers’ system looked like and the hunger for something better – for a system where you didn’t just write a script but went on to steer it though production, and where work that was asked for always had to be paid for – never went away.

Going Again: Creating and Developing Returnable Drama Series LFS, November/December £800

The London Film School is situated in Covent Garden, down a side-street past the Pineapple Dance Studios and what I remember as a quite decent Mexican restaurant.

I believe the course will be followed by a networking booze-up some time in January. Or that might just be in my imagination.