Jo and Ben Coby.
When Byron Bay–based aspiring creator/writer Jo Coby took a project she created with her brother Ben to a Screenworks writing workshop last year, she never imagined how it would become such a catalyst for her career.
After the workshop Coby teamed up with the facilitator, screenwriter and story producer Alexa Wyatt (Janet King, Neighbours, McLeod’s Daughters) and producer/director Karl Zwicky to develop Win, an eight-part half-hour comedy based on Ben’s life about a blind, cantankerous, politically incorrect writer of romance novels.
The ABC sent Coby a letter of interest in the project, which she will take to Screenworks’ Writing for TV Intensive two-day workshop to be held at Linneaus Estate in Byron Bay on June 15-16, where Wyatt and Zwicky (Underbelly Files: Chopper, Janet King) will be the facilitators.
Unlike last year’s event which was limited to participants from NSW, Screenworks is offering six places to screenwriters from regional NSW and two each from regional Queensland, the Northern Territory and regional South Australia.
“We’re opening up the workshop to other states and territories thanks to the support from the relevant funding bodies,” Ken Crouch, CEO of the Northern Rivers-based agency, tells IF.
“Bringing together regional screenwriters from across Australia in to one room for two days should be an incredible experience for the successful applicants.”
“We have seen significant skill and career advancement for Jo as a result of her involvement in our 2017 writing for TV workshop and several of our other programs and initiatives.
“This year’s workshop will not only help Jo get her project one step closer to being seen on our screens but we’re also looking forward to uncovering new writing talent and stories from other regional screenwriters.”
The protagonist in Coby’s series is Win Bryston, who was completely blind by the age of 17 due to a rare genetic syndrome.
Win wants to be left alone to write his romance novels and disappear into the fantasy world he creates, where he is a sexy guy who always gets the girl.
Each episode will deal with Win’s issues as a blind man navigating a world designed for people with sight, mixing fantasy with storylines based on real life.
The workshop is geared primarily to early-career writers who have some experience in writing drama and an ambition to write drama for TV. The aim is to help writers to understand how to prepare a mini bible for a TV drama and how to prepare for the opportunities in TV writers’ rooms.
Each participant will also have a one-hour session with Wyatt and Zwicky to help develop their own scripts.
Applicants are asked to submit a TV drama writing sample and must demonstrate an awareness of where their drama could sit in the current TV landscape.
The deadline for applications is Thursday May 17 and the successful applicants will be notified by June 1. Subsidised by Create NSW, the cost to participants from regional NSW is $200, which includes tuition, an assessment consult and catering.
Screen Queensland, Screen Territory and the South Australian Film Corporation will support participants from those areas.
For more information and to apply visit here.