Red Planet Pictures and ITV are set to hold the next phase of their biannual writing competition as digital masterclasses this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The one-day digital masterclasses will take place on June 17 via Zoom, featuring up to 12 participants who will have been chosen from over a thousand applicants. Red Planet Pictures CEO Tony Jordan, ITV Drama Commissioner Chloe Tucker, Red Planet Pictures Joint Managing Director Belinda Campbell, Red Planet Pictures Creative Consultant Kate Rowland and actor and writer Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith, Apple Tree Yard) will be leading the online sessions.
Tucker will head up a group Q&A session for the shortlisted writers, while Jordan will host a session on honing and pitching ideas to broadcasters. Executives from ITV and Red Planet Pictures will conduct individual one-on-one sessions with each of the writers and offer feedback and notes on their pitches. The participants will then have a week to resubmit their pitches before four writers are selected for final judges’ interviews. The interviews will take place on July 10, with the winner being announced shortly thereafter.
This year’s award has focussed on finding original voices to bring into the mainstream. The winner of The Red Planet Prize will receive a script commission and the runner up will get development opportunities with ITV.
ITV’s Tucker said: “We’re delighted with how many people applied to the competition. In these challenging times we’re all having to adapt the ways we work, and luckily, we have the technology to do the masterclasses remotely and keep up the momentum. We’re committed to finding emerging talent and are excited about meeting the next wave of new voices.”
Red Planet Pictures’ Rowland added: “We have been blown away by the applicants this year and we’re so pleased that we’re been able to continue the competition—albeit digitally. Our commitment, alongside ITV’s, in finding the best up and coming talent hasn’t diminished. Although the industry is going through a challenging time currently, we know that the need for new voices and stories is needed now more than ever.”