ITV’s popular writing initiative, Original Voices, is set to return and the winners will get the opportunity to work on Emmerdale.
Aspiring drama writers from under-represented groups, including those from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds and disabled people are being urged to apply to the Original Voices scheme.
The initiative aims to provide workplace training opportunities within ITV Studios Continuing Drama. It’s hoped the scheme will develop the writing skills from under-represented groups. It also aims to creatively connect ITV with a diverse range of talent that is currently under-represented on mainstream channels.
First launched in 2012, ITV has run the Original Voices initiative four times. Writers have had the opportunity to join the Story and Writing teams at Coronation Street or Emmerdale alternating each time. The initiative lasts 12 weeks.
The last initiative which took place at Coronation Street has already seen a successful placement receive a permanent contract. David Proud is now a regular writer for the Weatherfield soap.
David said: “Original Voices has been such a life changing experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process and it was great to spend time in various roles within the writing team. Having that time to immerse myself into the show really gave me confidence to write the best trial script I could. I was over the moon to be asked to join the writing team and am now writing my ninth episode.
“I’ve had the chance to write comedy, drama, heartbreak and every combination in between. I’m loving every minute. I would encourage everyone to apply. I nearly didn’t apply due to my disability, I was anxious about how it might all work logistically, but I’m so glad that I didn’t let my anxiety hold me back. Just go for it, if you are destined to work on Emmerdale, ITV will make it happen, no matter who you are and what you might need.”
What do you need to do?
For the current intake, the four considered the best suited to working on a continuing drama will be given an opportunity to spend a month in the Emmerdale story office. There they can develop their skills at creating gripping stories, weaving multiple story strands and writing credible long running story arcs. They will then spend four weeks in the Script Department with the Script Producer and Script Editors, following an episode through the script process, being mentored in this part of the process by the writer whose episode they are following.
Successful candidates will be given the opportunity to write a shadow script, which is commissioned at the same time as the script by the current writer, following that process in parallel, to complete the learning of the whole story-to-script process.
Original Voices offers invaluable transferrable storyline and writing experience which can be put to good use with other drama opportunities.
Jane Hudson, Executive Producer, Emmerdale, ITV Studios, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring writers to come and work with one of the country’s best loved shows. The successful candidates will get the chance to look behind the curtain and see what goes on backstage as we create new and exciting stories.”
Applicants interested in this unique scheme can apply online at itvjobs.com by uploading a sample script (television, film, theatre, radio or similar). This should be accompanied by a short script synopsis and a biography or CV.
Scripts should be between 30-90 minutes, in a standard format and received by midnight on 24 October, 2021. The successful applicants will be notified in mid-November and invited to take part in a one-day storylining workshop. Following this, writers will have a week to write up and submit a bespoke story line. On the strength of this story line, pitching skills at the workshop and their original script submission.
All submissions should be received by 23:59 on 24 October, 2021.