37: Chelsea Kania & Emily Chase from Female Pilot Club (practical advice for entering a comedy script call competition)

Danielle Krage interviews Chelsea Kania and Emily Chase from Female Pilot Club, and they discuss the benefits of entering writing competitions and the development opportunities they offer.

From their work with Female Pilot Club’s comedy script call, they share practical tips for developing your pitch, engaging with the advice of industry judges, responding to feedback and development notes, and finding the right fit with mentors.

The conversation covers:

00:00 Introduction to Female Pilot Club and Writing Competitions

02:08 The Benefits of Live Script Readings

03:35 The Purpose of the Script Call and Female Pilot Club

05:33 The Importance of Championing Female Writers

07:34 The Development Opportunities in the Script Call

08:08 Tips for Crafting a Succinct and Captivating Pitch

09:34 Advice from Industry Judges on Writing Comedy Scripts

11:05 Balancing Unique Personal Lens and Broad Comedy Appeal

13:49 Tips for Engaging with Script Development Notes

18:04 Considerations for Standing Out in Submissions

20:12 The Value of Script Consultancy and Mentoring

22:33 Finding a Good Fit in Mentors and Consultants

25:45 Staying Centred and True to Your Vision

30:09 Favourite Comedies and Comedy Dramas

32:57 Advice for Writers: Patience and Focus

37:00 Closing Remarks and Script Call Details

You can find out more about Female Pilot Club, their script call, and consultancy here:

https://www.femalepilotclub.co.uk

https://www.femalepilotclub.co.uk/2024scriptcall

https://www.femalepilotclub.co.uk/script-consultancy

https://www.instagram.com/femalepilotclub

https://twitter.com/femalepilotclub

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT

Danielle (00:00.798)

Hey everybody, welcome. Today I am thrilled to have Chelsea Kania and Emily Chase from Female Pilot Club. Really good timing that they could join me today. They’re going to introduce themselves in a bit more detail and also what Female Pilot Club is, but perfect timing that actually their script call for Female Pilot Club is open right now. So we’re going to use that as a bit of a basis for discussion about what it’s like entering writing competitions as…a writer, developing careers as comedy writers, all the good stuff. So brilliant they could join me today. And Chelsea, would you mind going first and telling people a little bit more about you and your role at Female Pilot Club?

Chelsea (00:40.005)

Yeah, so I’m a writer and also a producer and Head of Comms for Female Pilot Club. And I guess I’ve been working with Emily and Kay for two years on it. But the club was started in 2019. So I actually came a bit later on and I’ve got a business background, which is how I ended up linking up with them.

Danielle (01:04.786)

What kind of business background? That sounds interesting.

Chelsea (01:07.173)

I worked in Silicon Valley for many years. In marketing and brand product marketing, consumer insights.

Danielle (01:15.739)

Oh, that’s so useful.

Chelsea:

Yeah. It is useful. Being a writer is more fun.

Danielle (01:20.53)

Okay, that’s great. You’ve got both. And how about you, Emily? What’s your role?

Emily:

I am a producer-director along with Kay. She started the club originally with Abigail Burdess, and they asked me to join them. She’s still is an advisor but she stepped back from doing more with the shows and stuff.

So I came in to kind of help primarily with casting. I am an actor and I have also done writing in the past. I used to have a comedy channel on YouTube and I started to write something with Kay after I was in one of her shows. And that’s how we got to know each other initially. So more recently I’ve just been producing the shows and helping with the casting, alongside doing my own acting.

Danielle (02:08.722)

Oh, yeah, that’s great. And like another good angle to be speaking from, because when you’re talking about the producing, that was actually one of the things that I wanted to pull out about the competition that’s really fun about it is that you have these live script readings as one of the results. I wondered if you could talk a little bit more about that for writers who are like used to maybe getting feedback from peers but have not had that experience. What’s great about it? What’s useful to know?

Chelsea (02:23.569)

Yeah.

Emily:

Yeah, yeah, so like, I mean, just having the experience of being in a room with a live audience, being able to see people react to your work, it’s then very clear, because often the people we have in and the scripts we have, they’re not necessarily finished working on them, and as soon as they get it in front of an audience, and also having an audience that’s a mix of general public but also industry is super useful to them. Just seeing what works and what doesn’t in terms of simply what gets the laughs, are the laughs where they expected them to be, you know, what else happens?

Are there things that happen and they get reactions where they didn’t expect to get reactions. That type of thing I think can be really useful to them.

Chelsea:

Yeah, and I think, you know, so the script call has been running for a number of years now and I know that sort of the premise of Female Pilot Club is that nothing proves good comedy like the sound of laughter, like Emily was just saying. And…so last year, for example, we did our script call in partnership with UK TV. So we had a great industry audience and we staged four scripts. And it’s interesting because you go through the script call, we kind of cull it down through second reads and third reads and finalists. And in the case with UK TV last year, we ended up going through a period of development with the four scripts that were selected. To make them really read through ready.

Comedy is particularly good, I think, for live readings. When you’re laughing kind of really all the time and that’s what we’re looking for in scripts is multiple laughs per page. Really straight sort of comedy, although we do accept comedy-drama. But yeah, it’s pretty sort of magical to see how funny something is when it comes to life off the page. And part of that is that we’ve been able to work with really great comedy performing talent as well, thanks to Emily.

Emily:

I think as well it’s just, it’s giving the writers a boost in their, you know, it’s giving them confidence and seeing that their work is working for them. Because it’s hard for writers, you know, you’re sat in a room writing on your own all day and it’s quiet and you’ve no idea sometimes what you’re writing. Some days you have days when you’re like… is this any good at all, I don’t know. So I think having an opportunity like that where they can see actors of status, you know, comedy people performing their work is a real boost for them and I think that has meant a lot to the people that we’ve had in. They’ve said that to us.

Danielle (05:11.326)

I love that. So many things I want to pick up on there. And again, it sounds like such a useful process. And to rewind a little bit in time, like why do you think the script call was developed and why is it so necessary? You’ve already touched on a few things, but just for people that might be new to Female Pilot Club as a proposition, what’s the reason why it was set up?

Chelsea (05:33.573)

Right. So as we were saying before, Kay Stonham and Abigail Burdess initially started Female Pilot Club. And they were within a pretty tight community of comedy writers who wanted to stage their work because it wasn’t being commissioned. And so it was sort of a proof point for them. And since then, the club has just expanded and expanded. And at some point, it just made sense to open the doors more widely and say, OK, how can we champion female writers beyond this? Beyond who we know, I guess.

Emily:

Yeah, exactly. And just addressing the massive issue of inequality within the industry and the challenges that female writers face.

Chelsea:

So we really wanted to, and we are continuing to grow and trying to create opportunities. So part of the reason why we staged the read-throughs in front of a combination of industry and public audiences is that the public audiences, I think, bring the readiness to laugh at anything, and the industry audiences bring, you know, we hope the interest in the scripts.

And we had a quite a good year last year because on the night of our event, actually one of the scripts was picked up and in the months following two of the scripts were optioned. So we’ve, you know, it was a really good year. I don’t think we can promise that every year, but certainly the scripts sort of proved themselves in the room. And sometimes the writers, the other writers we’ve had in previous shows, they’ve even just perhaps got agents from it. You know, so they haven’t necessarily done anything with that specific script, but it’s got them an agent that they may have been looking for for sometimes years.

Danielle (07:12.702)

I love that. And I love that again, as part of this sort of bigger process of developing your career and looking for those opportunities. And we certainly had guests on the show, like the lovely Lucy Lumsden, who’s really recommended it as…you know, people sometimes think, oh… there’ll be too many entrants. It’s not worth doing. But actually it really is worth taking that time.

And also what I love about your process is…as you say it’s staged, and there are different things for different people going through at different stages. One of the things I read about is that for the readings there is also some script development opportunities to help those writers, and I wonder because we hear terms like ‘script development’ and it means different things in different contexts… but from where you’re coming from… what are some of the things that you might think would be good for writers to know, again if they’ve so far had feedback from their peers and now they’re getting script development notes. Any advice for how to engage with that and make the most of that opportunity.

Chelsea (08:08.389)

Yeah, I mean, maybe this is a good time to talk a little bit since you mentioned Lucy Lumsden about one great aspect of this year’s script call, which is that we’ve got four pretty incredible industry judges helping us select the finalists. And yeah, those are Georgia Pritchett, who’s a writer from Succession and Veep and The Shrink Next Door. And you know who she is.

Danielle (08:11.807)

So good. Oh, I love her. I love her work.

Chelsea (08:39.782)

We have actually staged one of her scripts as well. So she’s been in the club for a while. Also, Athena Kugblenu, who’s done The News Quiz. She’s written for The Now Show and The Russell Howard Hour. She’s got her own podcasts, I think two podcasts. Yeah, she’s a writer and a stand up as well. And Lucy, of course, from Yellow Door Productions. And Sioned Wiliam. She’s the former Commissioning Editor for Comedy for BBC Radio 4.

So. All of those judges are great and they’re going to help us select finalists this year. We’re so lucky to have them. And getting back to your question, they’ve done a real service, I think, to anybody who’s interested in submitting by giving their recommendations for what they look for in a comedy script. So maybe we can talk a little bit about what their recommendations are.

Danielle (09:28.546)

Yeah, please do, because I was looking at them going, oh, that’s good. Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, so do tell us. That’d be great to know.

Emily:

I mean essentially they’re all about character driven, being comfortable with your character choices that make people laugh. It’s all about being confident with those choices and building relationships between those characters that make people care about them. And having a diverse range of characters as well. I think Sioned was saying as well about choosing a flexible backdrop so that you can have your characters in a range of different scenarios.

Chelsea:

Yeah, she was giving the example of Frasier and how you’ve got a real…variety of characters who can generate numerous funny situations together. She’s got a bit of great advice. She’s written a little bit of a paragraph about that. That’s on our submission page. Yeah, and I think, you know, another commonality maybe among their advice is that… oh my god, it’s such a cliché….It’s like you’re looking for something, like a format that’s familiar and continues to give, but comedy that really surprises and delights and makes people giggle and maybe isn’t afraid to be a bit dark sometimes or a bit strange or a bit resonant with the times. So everyone’s always looking for the same, but different, I think.

Danielle (11:05.038)

Yeah, yeah, I actually wanted to ask you about that. I did see that you’re looking for it to have like that unique personal lens, but also to have like broad comedy appeal. I was thinking it’s like such great advice and also quite challenging for writers sometimes too to be like, what do you mean? So I wondered if you could answer that either from Female Pilot Club or from your own experience as writers, how you think about that balance of trying to write what’s like really uniquely your take and connecting that out.

Emily:

Yeah. I think maybe writing what you know, which is what the advice always is. And we say that with the local perspective, the personal perspective. It’s with that in mind. And then in terms of characters and stuff, I think that’s where you can draw in more generalized experiences of people if you have relatable characters.

Chelsea:

Yeah, and I think there’s this, it’s sort of like how do you make something from your own personal unique lens universally relatable? You know, it doesn’t need to. It’s really good to have a specific audience in mind, it’s necessary really. But I think it’s sort of like, how does this connect to a universal experience is what we mean by… it’s got appeal that’s broad or familiar, something that many people can connect to. And I think oftentimes, part of the reason why unique stories are so interesting is that we want to connect with a story that’s not like ours and find within it that it is like ours, in ways that maybe we didn’t expect it to be. Comedy, I think comedy can be really powerful in that way.

Emily:

Definitely. I think it’s we had a guest on our podcast recently. She was saying that about why she chosen to write her script and the reasons behind it and part of it was….within her culture, certain issues that weren’t ever addressed and things that she wanted to be normalized and she was like…you know, it’s given me a platform to write about this and show people that it’s okay to talk about these things in our culture and also just to have it normalized so that it’s within the wider media as well.

Danielle (13:22.994)

Yeah, that’s a really good way of putting it. That’s really helpful. And I wanted to ask you about a couple of specific things about the script call, because one of the parts of the process, if I’ve got it right, is that there’s a single paragraph pitch. And pitching can be tricky, I think, for writers, particularly… like how do I condense it all down? And I know there’s no one solution, but for someone, and if it is, in this case, a written pitch, rather than that sort of..classic elevator pitch out loud…any tips for writers who want to be able to do that for their work. And in this case, potentially a series.

Chelsea (13:56.549)

It’s funny. Yeah. It’s funny because actually last year, and we’ll be doing it again this year at the British Comedy Guide conference, we hosted a parachute pitch booth, whatever it was. Yeah. So it was really quite fun. And if any, any of your listeners end up going to that conference, we’ll see you there. But basically we hung out and anybody who wanted to give us a two minute pitch on what their series idea or feature idea, you know, we didn’t limit it, could. And if their parachute pitch landed, then they got a sticker, which is pretty incredible. So who doesn’t want a sticker? It’s great.

But I think, you know, maybe that’s a good way to talk about how to pitch because I do think in some respects, when you’ve got to be quite concise about it. It is good to think about sitting across from somebody who doesn’t know the story and sort of having, you know, forcing yourself to have a conversation with them and condense, you know, what is it about? I think that sometimes that can be a nice forcing function to get out what feels like a really big idea in your head. But if you’ve got to draw my attention in just a few sentences, what are the first things that you’re going to say going to be?  And so I like that quite a lot as a way of thinking about how to get started on writing a pitch. I might just say it out loud or pitch it, you know, in person a few times.

Emily:

The clearer you can portray it, you know to other people, the more appealing it’s going to be to them as an idea, whether that’s a producer or an audience member.

Chelsea:

I also think it’s quite a good way to sort out if you’ve got a good idea.

Danielle (15:48.228)

And again, I know there’s no sort of one answer to this, but do you, you must hear so many pitches if you’re in a booth, do you think in general it’s like focusing on the character and what they’re struggling with? Do you think it’s like unique things about the setting, something tonally, something linked to your experience? What kind of things do you think can help?

Chelsea (16:08.382)

I mean, I think if you’re going to break it down, you know, the main points that you certainly must hit, and these are also sort of, they exist in the log line too, you can sort of extend them out from there, like we need to know who the main character or characters are and why we care about them. We need to know what the essence of the plot is to know that the story has, you know, enough legs to go where it’s going to go. And along with those things come the unique attributes of your story, hopefully. Something about the world so that we know how to orient ourselves in this space.

Emily:

Yeah, like have a clear setting.

Chelsea:

Yeah, and maybe one of the most important things, tell me if you agree, Emily, is that if you’re writing a comedy and it’s funny, your pitch should also be funny. We need to get a sense for your voice. You know, it’s quite funny to be pitched a comedy idea and not laugh.

But you’d be surprised how often that happens. It’s like the first thing that flies out is the comedy itself.

Emily:

That was one of the advice snippets that Lucy actually gave as a judge. She said she just wants to hear something that gets her off the giggle step straight away. That was her phrase, which I think is a good phrase. It’s a good thing to remember. So you could have that in mind when you were writing the pitch.

Danielle (17:35.822)

That’s great. Loads of great advice in there. Thank you. And you’ve talked a little bit about the judges that you have. You have fabulous judges. Is there anything else you think, like I don’t know if you get to hear like a lot of the different conversations, but just like general feedback that does come up year after year as to why things do or don’t go through. So again, we definitely have taken on board…you know, character, that sort of delight. Any other things that people should think about when they’re doing their very best to separate their work out from lots of other submissions too.

Emily (18:15.189)

I think something that has come up is just, actually just, you know, earlier Chelsea mentioned the comedy drama element. I think a lot of the time when we’re looking for sitcoms, it ends up being that we don’t put them through, not because it’s not a strong script, but because it’s not, essentially it’s not funny enough, there aren’t enough laughs. I think we’ve had that quite a bit.

Chelsea:

Yeah, and thinking about it, you know, if you put yourself in our shoes, if we’re going to stage this, in front of a few hundred people with great comedy actors who show up, people are going to expect to laugh, you know, as often as they do for a comedy show. And so we really are looking for comedy that’s consistently very funny and, you know has big jokes and has big moments and has the humour that comes out in individual characters.

And yeah, and I would say that it’s quite challenging to find scripts that do that consistently all the way through a comedy pilot script for 30 some pages.

Emily:

Yeah, it’s difficult. And I  do think a lot of the times some people who’ve written comedy dramas don’t necessarily realize that it’s a comedy drama until they’ve perhaps spoken to us. Like we had a few people at the conference last year and when we chatted, we’d kind of worked out that actually it wasn’t a sitcom that they had, it was a comedy drama and that is something else. And it’s not that it’s, you know, they’re all still brilliant, but it’s just very different. And as a live show, it’s not quite what we’re looking for.

Danielle (19:49.318)

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And we’re not going to go into this in terms of detail, but I did want to also touch on the script consultancy that Female Pilot Club does. And I wanted to ask you a broad question. So those people who maybe have got their parachute pitch and they’ve got their ideas, do you think there’s a time when it’s particularly helpful to get input? Like whether it’s at the idea stage, whether it’s when they’ve got a treatment, when they’ve got the pilot done, or do you think it just depends? When is it useful to actually get extra help in a consultancy form?

Chelsea (20:24.173)

Oh, that’s a really good question. I think, you know, and I think, and I know because Kay Stonham has actually, and she’s the one who leads our script consultancy and she’s been doing this for… I don’t want to age Kay by guessing wrong, but probably over 20 years. So she’s absolutely brilliant. And I know she’s worked with writers at all different stages from the idea stage to I think I’ve got something finished and it needs to be polished.

Um, as a writer myself, I would say it’s really great to get feedback when you’re at the idea stage. It’s also the bravest thing to do and maybe one of the hardest things to do because as a writer, you do get carried away with what you think is a brilliant idea and you don’t wanna sort of be talked out of it. But I also think in that early stage, it’s still very influenceable. And if you’ve got trusted people to work with, they can really help you kind of find your way through to the idea so that you can begin building it on the right foundation. And I know Kay is incredibly good at doing that.

Emily:

Yeah she’s brilliant at that. Yeah we’ve had someone recently who came and I think she’s actually going to come back now but she was at the beginning and she had she’d had her first draft and she wanted some help on that. And now she’s done that she realizes that she still kind of wants some more help with the next section of it. So I think there’s several stages where you can get it. Some people will end up having a few sessions and some people might just want help in the beginning and then you know and then they’re off and they’re fine, it really depends on the individual writer.

Chelsea:

And on the piece as well.

Danielle (22:04.406)

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I wanted to ask you, you’ve mentioned Kay a few times, and it seems from what I’ve read online that both of you have had different experiences of being mentored in your careers. And again, a word that we use a lot means different things to different people. But I wondered if you could speak a little bit to those experiences for writers who may not have yet had a mentor or may not have had a good experience yet. What are the kind of things that have helped you find a good fit and how has it been beneficial to you?

Chelsea (22:33.605)

Yeah, well, I’ve definitely had bad experiences with feedback. I think we all have. So maybe firstly, to any writers listening, you’re not alone. I almost feel like it’s a rite of passage to go through the experience. To be able to sort out for yourself what’s not good feedback and what is good feedback is sort of a muscle that gets developed the more you get feedback. And advice that I received a long time ago, and I think it’s just really good advice, is try to get a number of readers for any piece that you have. Make sure that those are trusted readers. And what will naturally happen is that you’ll look across all of their feedback and you will pull out what’s consistent, and probably that stuff you should be listening to. And you’ll also pull out stuff that isn’t consistent, but it sticks in your brain.

And so maybe that’s worth listening to. And then you’ll find stuff that you hear it and it just, it doesn’t sink in or resonate for you. And maybe that’s something to set aside and maybe it comes up later and is relevant or maybe it’s not most relevant to you. I sort of like lump them into those three categories and I think that’s really good advice.

In terms of finding somebody who’s trusted to work with, there are a lot of different script consultants out there and people who profess to be script consultants. And actually using Kay’s words, she’s always sort of critical about organizations or people who feed on the soft underbelly of creatives, which is like such a dark way to put it, but I think it’s true. So I think just really doing your homework about who it is that you’re reaching out to.

I really, you know, for anything that I write, it’s family, friends, it’s like that tight knit of a circle that I start with, unless it’s somebody who I really trust in the industry. And usually that’s a relationship that I’ve developed or somebody who’s come recommended or, you know, somebody who has built credibility over the years because of the shows they’ve worked on or the roles that they’ve had.

And I think early on as a writer, I was so just sort of desperate to have anybody read my stuff that maybe I wasn’t as discerning as I could have been about who was reading it. But I think you really will be served well if you put the effort into finding the right people to do that work for you, to make sure that you’re also not dissuaded in getting into the idea that you’re very excited about and that you get good advice from the get-go.

Emily:

And just remembering as well, I think, you know, like Kay was saying about the consultancy. You know, she wants your script to be the best it can be for you, but also she hasn’t, you know, she’s always thinking about what is going to work in the industry as well and what is going to be popular. So, you know, be willing to accept that actually there might be some quite big changes that you hadn’t foreseen, you know, that someone suggests and you need to be adaptable and okay with taking a certain amount of criticism and using it constructively.

Danielle (25:45.066)

Yeah, that’s really well put. And are there any things you think that help you keep, I’m not sure which is the best way of putting it, but keeping  centered in, keep the heart of what the project is for you when you’re listening to feedback? Because I love the way you put it, it’s kind of like a muscle as well that you need to develop. And we’ve had different writers on this show talk about different ways in which they do or don’t let voices in. But it is that kind of calibration process of how you hang on to know your vision and what you want it to be but be open. Any advice for that? I know it’s not an easy question.

Chelsea (26:17.062)

Yeah, it’s not an easy question, but I’ll try to answer it. I think that, I actually think through the process of getting feedback, that can be helpful in helping you realize what it is that you love about your story. When you begin to get feedback that takes you away from what it is that you love about it. I think that’s sort of one of the ways in which you can learn.

I think whatever the idea is, understanding why you really want to write it is ultra important. And for newer writers, you know, I think it…you don’t necessarily realize that this thing that you’re writing, if it goes somewhere, is going to end up being not only your life for probably years, but also it’s going to have to compel others to make it their lives for multiple years. So that’s not to put pressure on it, but I do think there has to be something that drives the importance of that story for you and then broader as well. And being able to identify that as you’re working it out is really pretty important so that you don’t sort of lose your way from that path.

So that really wasn’t… I didn’t really give you a tool there to answer that other than to just say that it’s important, but you know.

Danielle (27:48.267)

You gave me some lovely visuals, I’ve got some visuals in my head now that I can picture. I get the feeling of what that feels like. The thing is, it sounds so simple to say… what you really love about it, but actually the more you think about that and as you say it’s tested with feedback, calibrating that, because when we start off we might have all kinds of ideas and they’re not…We might not know which are the ones that really stick in the heart of it and which are the ones that could go and it doesn’t really matter. So no, I think you sparked lots of ideas in my head. And like I say, it’s not an easy question. I wrangle with it. Like I…

Chelsea (28:31.657)

Well, one thing I can add is that, and I have been mentored by Kay as a writer before, and one thing she’s really good about is saying… right, what are you trying to achieve here? Because she will throw it back on you as the writer to try to answer why you are doing what you’re doing. I think she’s really quite good at pulling that out of you. I also think that’s the benefit of a consultant, if it’s not you working it out in your own head is somebody giving feedback and saying, here’s what I’m hearing and seeing from this. I’m getting that this isn’t what you’re going for. What are you going for? OK, right. Well, here’s why that’s not working. If you want to go for that, what do you think you need to do? I’m missing things here that will help us get from point A to point B. She’s really good at elucidating what those pathways are to get where you want to be. And that’s why when she says, I want to make it the best script that you want it to be. She’s quite true to that. And she helps you be true to yourself and also sort out where you’re trying to go with it and get you there.

Emily:

It’s kind of a bit like what we were talking about. She’s kind of getting that out of you with the whole script.

Danielle (29:47.074)

Yeah, that’s great and that’s really helpful for feedback because again I think the kinds of feedback that I also find most helpful is when you do get those people who are able to kind of match it up to what you are trying to do. And like you say, this is also the industry input as well and concerns to match it against but they’re not just saying you could do this, you could do that based on what they would do as a writer. They’re helping you test whether you’re achieving your vision. Because again, it can be so hard sometimes to get it from the brain through the pen or the keyboard to match up to are we actually achieving that? So I love that. Are we achieving what we’re trying to do? So helpful.

And I’d love to know different tack but I’d love to know just what are some of your favourite comedies or comedy dramas that you’ve watched in the last year or so? And sometimes it can be so hard on the spot, but whether that’s radio or TV or film. And the reason I ask is that I write it all down and I go and watch the recommendations and listeners do too. What are you enjoying?

Emily (30:42.673)

I loved Catastrophe. Do you know what, it’s what the judges said, it’s the characters. I just love the characters. They’re so believable, they’re so, you love them, you want to invest in them, you want to see more of them, you care about what happens to them. It’s that simple. Yeah.

Danielle (31:04.714)

Yeah, that’s great. And so funny as well.

Emily:

So funny, yeah. The cast is amazing.

Chelsea:

Yeah, I really loved Hacks. I guess that ended. Oh my gosh. I’m so sad that it ended.

Danielle (31:20.878)

I thought there was another series coming. No?

Chelsea:

Is there? No, I think it’s just the two. They wrapped it all up.

Danielle (31:27.546)

Oh, I’ve been misled by the internet because I was…. I loved it so much I was Googling… when is the next series out? So I don’t know, that’s a question mark. But isn’t it good? What did you like about it?

Chelsea (31:30.48)

Oh. It’s really good. I mean, I just really, I love Jean Smart. Because I also, I do love Frazier. And I think she’s just incredible and hilarious and underused. And I could watch her all day, but I mean, it’s just such a smart, laugh out loud. I also love that it’s a female cast led, which is just really fun. And it was really, I think bold in the way that it produced all, you know, I mean they used a lot of different set pieces and it was sort of exciting and irreverent. I don’t know, I just loved everything about it.

Danielle (32:14.27)

Yeah, same. It was one where like a scene would finish and I’d be like… how did they do so much brilliant stuff in one scene? It just made me want to be so much better because like you said, the characters would be brilliant. It would be laugh out loud funny. They’d be doing all the physical comedy as well. The stakes would be there. I had to know what happened. I’d be like….they’re doing it all. Really inspiring. Lovely. So Catastrophe and Hacks, two watches and I agree 100% with those two. Amazing.

Chelsea (32:25.353)

Yeah.

Danielle (32:40.582)

And is there any other advice as we start to think about wrapping up that you think, like if you were to imagine yourself back five years ago… I can’t even remember what I was doing five years ago, but that sort of span of time… a little while ago… that you wish that you could have given to yourself as a writer.

Emily:

Any advice?

Danielle (33:02.106)

Yeah, because when I think back to like five years, it may be three, it may be five. I’m terrible with time, but I definitely would…and this was advice Sherice Griffiths gave when she came on the podcast as well… is to be a bit more patient. Because I was so impatient. And I think it’s good to have that drive, but I could have used a little more patience in terms of developing the craft. Because I think it is like that Ira Glass thing as well, where you have like the taste and you love things and you want to be able to do it and you can’t, it’s a bit frustrating.

Chelsea (33:16.085)

I know. Mmm.

Danielle (33:31.234)

So I don’t know if… I probably would not have listened to myself, but I think I would have tried to tell myself, like…it’s okay, it takes a bit of time to build the skills. What would you do?

Chelsea (33:40.509)

Yeah. Well, I appreciate that.

Emily:

Patience in this industry in general.

Chelsea:

And yeah. Oh my God. Yeah.

Emily:

Forever and ever.

Chelsea:

Yeah. Things do move at a glacial pace. I’m with you as an impatient person.

Maybe for me it would be, and this is also just, I guess, like a more general life advice thing too, but looking at the careers and pathways of people who you really admire, and sort of studying those and really sort of thinking about… right, what is it that I like about what they are doing and how they are doing it. And if I were to make that the standard for myself, am I really on my way right now to reaching that and why or why not?

Because I think it’s really, when you’re a creative person, I think it’s really easy to get sidetracked down… you know, we have a million ideas, right? And we get excited about the ideas and we get excited about working with people. And I think it’s quite easy to come off course without intending to. But I think along with that comes the patience of, you know, doing what is worthwhile and really sort of aligned with what your goals are as a writer, you know, both what you want to write, I guess like the quality of what you want to write and sort of how committed you are to that.

And I also think it’s easier to sort of set up your life with that in mind, knowing where you’re heading. So maybe it would be like a combination of… look to your idols or people whose careers you’d want to emulate and get quite sharp about how you’re going to get there and what you really wanna be doing.

Emily:

Yeah, definitely. And also just, I think, making sure that you do really care about what you’re writing. Whether it’s the characters or the setting or whatever it is, because, you know, whether it goes somewhere or you end up working on it for quite a long time before something happens to it, you, you know, if you haven’t invested in that and you don’t genuinely really, really care about it you will struggle to get there. And I think people don’t always think about that enough at the start when they’re coming up with a concept.

Chelsea:

More marriage, less dating, small marriages, a few good marriages.

Emily:

Yes, I mean, one ideally.

Chelsea:

Yeah, maybe just one, just monogamy versus dating a lot of losers. I don’t mean losers, but you know what I mean. Yeah.

Danielle (36:14.74)

I do, yeah. No, I love that because I think you’ve put your finger on something really smart and really essential and that can be hard as a creator. Like you say, you have lots of ideas or sometimes there’s also both the enthusiasm or the sense that you should take all the opportunities. And I’ve definitely been in different things where I’ve wanted to be open to all the things and then like, I have taken on too many things not in a good way, because if you don’t have that focus then you know, actually the bigger projects will suffer.

So I think that’s really, really good steadying advice from both of you. How do you both get to be so wise? It’s so impressive.

Chelsea (37:00.853)

We’re making it up.

Danielle:

No, but that’s brilliant. And you’ve given so many great perspectives today. Thank you. Is there anything else that you’d like to add about this script call before we wrap up? Because as we’re recording this, it’s early December. This will go out, still in December the script call will be open. So any last things you’d love to say about it.

Chelsea (37:23.635)

Yeah, basically, so the script call wraps up on January 1st. So if you’re interested, go to our website to read the submission guidelines. https://www.femalepilotclub.co.uk/

Emily:

You can also get to it via our Instagram and Twitter. @femalepilotclub

Chelsea:

Yep, and the website is femalepilotclub.co.uk and then you’ll see the script call page. And really, we encourage you to give it a good solid read to understand what you’re getting into because we really mean what we say on there. I think we’ve got a pretty clear brief about what we’re looking for and what the judges are looking for. And then, yeah, just make sure to get in on time.

And if you’re not ready to enter the script call, then you can check out the script consultancy and consider working with Kay and maybe you’ll be ready to apply next year.

Emily:

Yeah, and if you are submitting, just make sure you’ve double checked the terms and conditions just so that you’ve got everything on there when you send in your entry.

Chelsea:

Because we all love to read terms and conditions, right? It’s what I want to spend my time doing on a weekend for 30 minutes. Yeah.

Danielle (38:33.814)

Yeah, but necessary. That’s amazing. And obviously I’ll put those links in the show notes. And final question before we wrap up. Is there anything that you’re looking forward to for yourself next year in terms of writing and career development and comedy writing and all that good stuff? So when you think about 2024, anything you’re excited about for yourself?

Emily:

I think it’s just, for me, it’s just where else we can go with the club and what else we can do with it. And, you know, just even from when we worked at the Comedy Conference last year, when people were coming to us and doing their parachute pitches, there was so many people who really didn’t know where to go with their work. And they were like, you know, it’s so great that you guys are around because we actually, we really didn’t know what to do with this. And then one of them had already come to one of our live shows before. That’s how they found out. So I just think the more people that we can reach and the more people we can help and opportunities we can give to people through the writing, but also through the casting, because we try and do the same with the actors as well. We do get big comedy names in, but we also get unknown actors in because we want to do the same for them as we do for the writers. So it’s just all about giving people opportunities.

Chelsea:

Yeah, yeah. And I would say the same, I think every year that the club has existed, it’s sort of built on itself. And actually this year for the first time, we as a production company pitched a radio series to BBC Radio 4, and it was shortlisted, which was very exciting, and it didn’t get picked up this year, but it was a great process. So we are also looking for, you know, beyond the script call and hosting the read-throughs….connecting with production companies and commissioners and platforms and agents and other industry folks who we can help connect the dots, you know, between writers and industry to help get their work to take off and fly.

Danielle (40:35.846)

Oh, that’s a perfect way to end. And of course I will put the links to your Instagram and website in the show notes too. Thank you so much for your time today. I’ve learned tons and I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you.

Chelsea (40:49.169)

Thank you so much. It’s been great.

Emily:

Lovely to meet you.