ITV launches trio of diversity funding pots
The three new initiatives launched as part of the main fund are:
Scripted Comedy Writers Initiative
In June, ITV launched an open call to their diverse networks to find nine diverse comedy writers to join a writers workshop. Here they met with the producers and writing team on new comedy Piglets, and were then tasked with writing sample scenes for the show, to demonstrate their comedy credentials.
Following feedback for all, one writer was successfully chosen to join the writers team for the entire series. In addition, a writer's annex group has been created with four of the other writers still getting the opportunity to contribute material to the show. Should their scenes be used in the final series edit, then they too will receive a programme credit.
Entertainment Comedy Writers Initiative
Working with ITV entertainment commissioner Joe Mace, in September an application process was launched to all of ITV’s diverse networks to find up to six diverse comedy writers to join a workshop the following month.
The chosen comedy writers were tasked with generating sketches and/or pranks for an as-yet-untitled Saturday evening hidden camera show pilot - produced by diverse-led production company, Brown Bred Productions and soon to be filmed. They worked with Mace and two of Brown Bred’s Production Executives on the day. The aim is for as much material as possible produced throughout the workshop to be included within the filmed pilot.
Disabled Writers Programme
The Disabled Writers in Development programme has been established in collaboration with Tall Story Pictures, an ITV Studios label, launched with four Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent writers each receiving a script commission to develop an ITV-focussed idea and pitch this to ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill.
Following its successful launch in January this year, which also saw two trainee script editors secure roles at the ITV Academy’s Production Training Scheme, the Disabled Writers in Development programme aims to expand the talent pool of Disabled writers developing projects with producers and commissioners across ITV and the wider industry.
Writers Lizzie Watson, Katie Schofield, Lorna King and Bridget Deane are each being supported in-house at Tall Story Pictures, by development producers Amy Thurgood and Sara Johnson, gaining hands-on experience in story development and building their ideas from treatment through to script, ready to pitch to Hill.
Additionally last year, 5 Acts Productions, the ITV Studios scripted label led by David P. Davis, launched Writers in Residence designed for unrepresented writers, and it has taken on two writers for a year to develop scripts. The residency received support and funding from ITV's Diversity Commissioning Development Fund.
Around £80m of ITV’s content commissioning budget is reserved for the Diversity Commissioning Fund over the next three years to help drive change towards racial and disability equality. As part of this, a new £500k Development Fund was also created to develop ideas that will qualify for the Diversity Commissioning Fund.
On the Fund, group director of diversity and inclusion at ITV, Ade Rawcliffe, said: “We established our Diversity Commissioning Fund to change how and who tells our stories. By launching three different opportunities for writers, we have been excited by the fresh, new and underrepresented voices we have created opportunities for in Drama, Comedy and Entertainment.
“We want to continue to support this talent and look forward to seeing how these voices continue to develop and thrive at ITV and beyond.”
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