BFI Screenwriting Residential


so something super exciting happened! i was accepted onto a screenwriting course! ahhhh!!!! it's run through the BFI at a cool cinema in Newcastle Upon Tyne and i am super excited! It's run over 2 weeks, the first is an introductory weekend so we can begin the writing and meet everyone. the second is a week in February where we finish our scripts and see them come to life! i cannot wait! This post is going to be written over the 2 residentials, and posted when it's done, so future anna, we are going quite a bit back in time, even though it's the present for me hahaha......

Introductory Weekend // 13th-14th January

hello hello hello! it's actually january 16th now, as i was super busy over the weekend to write up what happened. basically, instead of going home on the sunday night, i went to my brother's instead so i could meet my nephew! I then came home on the 15th ready for my sister's birthday meal. yep, it's been a little crazy, i actually feel jet lagged from all the trains i have been on haha! anyway, flash back to early Saturday morning, and when i say early, i mean just before 7am. my first train out of 3 was leaving the station at 8:11, and i live about 30 minutes from the station, so the aim was to leave about 7:30. we actually left about 7:20, and arrived to the station with so much time to spare! i would rather be too early than late though, and i had enough time to get a cup of tea to keep me warm! fast forward 3 and a half hours and i was in NEWCASTLE!! woo! i found my way to the pop up film school which was opposite the cinema, and met the rest of the gang! everyone on the course was super super lovely and most people loved bastille so i think i found my people haha! after a lovely lunch, we started going through screenwriting techniques, how to write a script, the elements of film, how a story goes from script to screen, etc. it was so interesting. after a short break, we spent the rest of the afternoon/early evening going through scripts people had written on the course in previous years! this was great for understanding how a story is shown in 5 minutes or less through a script! for tea, we went to an Italian restaurant called zizzi's which i had never been to before. it was nice food, but the banter was better! haha! we then collected our stuff from the cinema and got into a coach to get to the overnight accommodation. we stayed at a national trust place called Gibside, and it was basically 2 big dorm rooms and a kitchen/living room space. after getting into our pj's and choosing our beds, the boys came into the girl's side and we played charades and loads of funny lil games until about 11pm! it was then time for me to go to bed!

the next day, i woke up, showered, and had some toast with LURPAKKKK (i love me some lurpak!) and hopped back on the coach with everyone! well not literal hopped, but ya get the gist. also, side note, there was a random plastic life size cow down a little alleyway near the entrance to the dorms and it freaked so many of us out hahah!

when we were back at the pop up film school, we spent the morning going through our own stories with our mentors in our groups. my mentor was a lovely guy called paul, and my group was made up of: jerome, hazel, jordon, aiden, charlotte, phoebe, sara, and myself! we also went through what makes up a story, which was really really really interesting! we then had a delicious lunch and then in the afternoon we had 1 to 1's with our mentors. when applying to the course, we had to submit 4 script ideas, so we went through these during the 1 to 1. through mine, i discovered that my ideas were either too long to fit in 5 minutes, or didn't follow the 7 steps for telling a story. i then spent the rest of the afternoon going through the 7 steps to create a new story idea. after about an hour, i had an idea, and i was super happy with it. i went to paul to explain it and he said he really liked it! YES!!! as the session came to an end, we went through the work we would have to do before we went back for the week (write an outline of the story, and then write the first draft), and then headed to the train station. it was actually a little sad leaving these people i now called friends. we hadn't had much time together, but i felt so inspired when i was surrounded by them all! i cannot WAIT to go back!

so now i am here. i have started work on my outline which needs to be submitted before monday 22nd, and then after we get feedback, we start work on the actual script. cannot wait to see what happens next!

Craft Week // 11th-16th February

Sunday 11th

15:24 hello i am on train number 2 and it's pouring it down. Outside luckily. It seems to be a mix of snow and rain, but it looks harsh so i am glad to be inside. I am sat on one of the fold down seats near the toilet because where i got on the train was surrounded by first class carriages, so it was here, or risk getting off to change carriages and the train begins to go. I don't mind really. My mum got me some white chocolate m&ms for the journey because white chocolate is my favourite. The train has been stopped for about 4 minutes now, and i am getting anxious as i only have 10 minutes at the next station to switch to the next train, but i also have a case to try and carry. And as the train isn't moving, it isn't looking promising which is scaring me. A lot. 

15:43 still haven't moved. Freaking out slightly, but i called the residential main guy Ian and told him, and also checked other train times so hopefully i do arrive in Newcastle in one piece and without crying lmao hahah

15:50 started moving. finally...

16:09 omg there is like a full on blizzard taking place outside. It's white yet dark and i am confused and just want to arrive in newcastle and have food...

16:18 i have managed to move seats, but i am still in the same carriage. At least i ain't next to the toilet lol. The train is running approx 30 minutes late so that's grrrrreat.

17:05 just about to arrive at york. Missed my train, there is another though. Oh my life haha

17:32 on the final train of the day. Due into newcastle at 6:25 and my ears are really cold. I have a hat with me but it's in my suitcase and i ain't in the mood for opening it.

17:49 these 2 people on the train won't stop kissing on the seats in front of me and i want to run away help me

23:42 oh gosh it's quite a lot later now. Sooo i finally made it to newcastle, met up with everyone, went to a chinese buffet for tea, watched 'the mercy' (realllyyy good) in the Tyneside cinema, and now i am here, in my bed in the hostel. I am sharing a room with rachel and rebecca and they are both so lovely and funny. The rooms are massive!! Cannot wait to start tomorrow! 

Monday 12th

7:27 good morning!! I slept pretty well, and i don't really want to get out of this bed, but i better get a wriggle on! Had a dream katy perry interacted with me a lot on tour which was amazing.

8:45 for breakfast i am having toast, a croissant, a chocolate muffin (might save for later though), and apple juice!! Yum!!

9:32 at the pop up film school now! Although i have just made a huge mistake: brushed my teeth and then helped myself to some orange juice. Yep. I know. It's awful hahah!!


13:20 finishing lunch just now, had a sandwich buffet which was tasty, although i do feel a little bloated! Sitting and chilling is nice!

15:42 written 3 seperate drafts, listening to johnny cash- gets me in the wild west mood, i don't know why but it's helping! Hahha!

16:02 got a cup of tea. Much needed.

17:23 packing away my writing for the day, my tummy hurts, being in a new place with different foods and things always messes me up a little. I really need to focus on one of my stories ideas, so sent my favourite to my script editor paul, and hopefully he agrees with the one i have chosen.

18:14 dropped off our stuff at the hostel, so we're ready to go out for tea!! I think we're going to an Italian restaurant which is always gonna be good in my book!

20:20 finished tea! Wow, it was such a lovely building, and i think all the staff were Italian which made me feel like i was in italy! For starters, i had leek and potato soup, and for main i had spinach and cheese ravioli (MY FAVE!!!) with a tomato sauce! Delicious! Ian has suggested a walk, so i am gonna go on it to see some of the sights of Newcastle at night!

21:19 back from a walk now. I'M FREEZING!! Haha! We walked over the millennium bridge and saw some cool buildings and graffiti! Back in the room and we're gonna watch wild child as the tv in our room is connected to netflix. Winner winner.

23:34 night night! I'm tired, and a little nervous about my script idea, but i'm sure it will be fine! p.s. we are gonna learn the wild child dance!

Tuesday 13th

8:49 happy pancake day!! Just finished breakfast, and i chose to have: a blueberry muffin, a croissant, water, apple juice, and an apple! i don't think i explained yesterday, but we are allowed 5 items for breakfast, and the items are all great!!

15:34 i haven't updated since this morning, and that's because i have been suuuuppppeerrrr busy writing scripts! I have decided on the script i sent to paul to look over, and i actually really like it. It's different to my original idea, but is still in the same setting, and has the same characters, just with some different personalities and goals! I think we are going across to the restaurant connected to the cinema tonight for tea which i am excited about because i would love to see what it's like inside! We are also all gonna read through our scripts in the group tonight to get feedback, which i think will be really helpful!!

19:37 tea in the restaurant wasn't the greatest, although i had a really tasty veggie burger and i had no clue what was in it! Haha!! This room looks like the red room from twin peaks because the walls are draped with red curtains. Hopefully there are no backwards talking dwarves waiting to freak me out haha! Had a great deep life chat with hazel, Phoebe, sara and jordon! It was lovely!!

00:03 The readthrough lasted a lonnnggg time, so we got back to the hostel late. We decided to watch an episode of the windsors which we have been obsessed with! It's so funny! Rachel also plaited my hair and i have never felt so fabulous!! Super tired, so hopefully i get a good nights sleep!

Wednesday 14th

9:05 woke up, showered, did a French lesson on duolingo, got dressed (yes in that order), watched an episode of the windsors, came downstairs, had breakfast. My 5 items today were: toast, a croissant, a blueberry muffin, and 2 fruit juices (1 i drank, 1 i am taking with me). This 5 items thing is great!!!

12:14 gonna head for lunch in a few moments, but i think i am nearing the end of my script writing journey! I am super happy with the story i have gone with, just need to finish polishing it off! Hopefully paul can look over it during lunch to let me know the next step!

13:29 back from lunch now! Another sandwich buffet, and i think i have found my daily order (cheese and pickle sandwich, cheese and onion sandwich, mini quiche, crisps, and some sort of chocolate bar, maybe fruit though if it's there!)! Haha! Had a lovely chat with the girls in my group about life and stuff, like we had done the previous night in the restaurant! Just waiting for my feedback from paul, and hopefully my script is nearly done!

17:24 after waiting and waiting (i know he was busy with everyone else in the group) for paul to read my final draft to admit it, my work is on the memory stick and no longer in my hands! Wooo!! I can't believe i am done. My script, synopsis, and cast breakdown are completed. there is nothing more i can do to 'Hang Fire' now.

19:50 WWOWOWOWOOWOW!!! just got out of a dance class.  yes, you read that right, a dance class! for tonight's activity, they said they were taking us somewhere they go every year after everyone has submitted their scripts, and that's to a dance class. a chance to laugh and do something that's nothing to do with writing for an hour. omg i loved it! i was in a group with rachel, rebecca and emma and we went all out! we thought we might as well just go for it and enjoy the moment as we might not be able to do anything like it again! the dance instructor was incredible, she taught us so much, but my legs do hurt quite a bit haha! walking back to the pop up film school now as we are gonna have pizza and a film. perfect for a cute valentines night!

20:13 dominoes is sat waiting for us outside. we are gonna watch scott pilgrim (one of my favourite films), and eat eat eat!! 

21:27 The film is nearly finished and i have eaten just over half a pizza. i am so full, but i am so happy right now!

Thursday 15th

7:43 last night, when we got back to the hostel, i washed my hair, so i am just in bed, having a little lie in. I have done my duo lingo lesson for the day, so i should probably get up soon!

8:37 we are all ready to go down to breakfast, but we are finishing the last episode of the windsors first. it has been the creator of most of our inside jokes this week. it's an incredibly funny tv show! we are obsessed!! i guess it gives me time to think about what 5 items i am gonna get for breakfast today. i might have cereal with yogurt!

10:03 we are now sat at the cinema in the digital lounge, waiting for the presentations to start. first off, Ian will give us the 10 tips for being a great screenwriter, and then 2 young filmmakers are gonna talk to us! i did have cereal with yogurt for breakfast and it was super tasty!!!!

13:30 i have just gotten back from lunch, where there were some amazing rocky roads. they were just beautiful. i can't even explain haha!! Came up with a great comedy tv idea with rach and rebecca, kinda based on the windsors, surprise surprise!! the first 2 talks this morning were so great! i learnt so much. the 2 young filmmakers showed us their most recent films and did a bit of a q&a, which told me that not going to uni and making films is a great idea. i told them how thankful i was for them saying that. Ian's 10 tips were so great, and a few i had never ever thought of before. I have jotted down so much on my phone so far! Now we have Samm Haillay coming to speak to us. He is a producer!

14:51 time for a much needed tea break! For me, Samm gave me the real, cut throat look into the industry. he joked about it, but told us what we needed to know. although he didn't answer abida's question of 'what does a producer do?' so who actually know, hey! The final person coming to speak to us is Stewart Svaasand, a writer and director. Abida and I just googled it, and he directed/written for a lot of well known tv shows (e.g. jekyll & hyde, vera, shetland, silent witness, the dumping ground, death in paradise, etc) which is super exciting!

18:10 we are now back at the hostel, although we do have to leave in about 20 minutes for a meal. Rebecca has some friends near here she went travelling with so wanted to go for a meal with them, however she couldn't go on her own, so emma, rachel, and myself said we would go with her! we are gonna go to Don Vito's which is an Italian just round the corner, and i thought it would be good after we passed it on the walk the other night. We are just freshening up a little, and then we will head out!

23:27 we got back to the hostel about 9:30pm, and the food at don vito's was great! i had a veggie pizza, but i couldn't eat it all. i was so hungry but filled up quickly! when we got back to room 211, Rachel, Rebecca, and i had a little funny photoshoot and the results were hilarious. i truly feel these 2 girls are so like me. we can be serious, but we can also act like we are about 7 years old haha!! as well as taking some pics, we made up some more dances, and after a few failed recording attempts due to getting the moves wrong and bursting into hysterical laughing (i thought i lost my water bottle which meant we couldn't stop laughing for a while hahaha!), we got the final take! we got into out pjs, stuck on mamma mia, and enjoyed our last night together.

Friday 16th

Wow. I am laying in bed in a hotel in newcastle. I am with my mum and my gran and tomorrow we go home. The bfi residential is over. It's crazy. I haven't written up anything today, so i guess i will document it now! I woke up and showered, then we stuck on the end of mamma mia, as we hadn't finished it last night, starting with the 'slipping through my fingers' song which we were all very emotional about. As you know, we had tokens allowing us to 5 items, but we had 6 tokens left, so for the last breakfast we challenged ourselves to have 10 items each. Omg i used up 7 and i didn't even finish them all! Rachel and Rebecca used up their 10 items, but all of us took most of what we picked up with us haha! We packed up our bags and headed to the pop up film school.

We had about 2 hours to do whatever we wanted to do, and everyone left to shop and explore apart from Emma and I. We put on napoleon dynamite in the film school! I hadn't seen it before, but it was so quirky and wes anderson-esque i felt.

About 12, our family and friends started arriving to see our scripts read out. There was a drinks reception and some snacks and lemme tell you how good those snacks were, especially the chilli/tomato crisp things (and let's not forget about the mocktails!!)!!! just before 1, we headed across the road to the cinema and took our seats.

paul's group was first to perform, and i was 4th. it was such a surreal and magic moment. i knew exactly what was gonna happen in my story as i had written it, but the actors made it come to life, it wasn't mine anymore. to have your work clapped for, and your name on a big screen makes everything feel worth it, and tells me that i can achieve anything i put my mind to. i was quite glad my script was one of the first to be read out as it meant i could properly enjoy the other stories without feeling worried about mine. the 21 others are all so talented. we had comedies which were all so funny, serious dramas and period pieces, which introduced me to stories i might not have heard before, and i was just in awe of everyone. i try and surround myself with lovely, creative people, and i had spent the week surrounded by them. it's so sad that it's over.

this week has been a life changing experience. i've learnt so much and met people i will be friends with forever (i hope lol). i know what i want to do now, and kinda how to get there. i know it's ok to not be at university. i know that my dreams can come true.

tomorrow, my gran, mum and I will explore newcastle for a little while before heading home on the train.

i would like to thank tyneside cinema, ian, magenta, and the rest of the team for planning, caring for us, and giving me the best experience.

i would also like to thank the bfi for recognising the need for young people in this industry, when so many don't.

i would also like to thank my family for always supporting me and being there, and my jobs for letting me have time off. sorry guys!!

i guess that's all for now. if you wanna see visuals of these words, here is a short video of memories i put together:

keep writing, keep working hard, prove to those who have said 'no', make those who have said 'yes' proud. you're awesome future anna!


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