The Script Factory’s mission was simple: to celebrate great screenwriting craft. Through masterclasses with the most established of Hollywood writers to workshops with exciting new talent, our aim was to champion screenwriters and their passion to create stories for our screens.
Way back in 1996, The Script Factory was established by Charlotte Macleod and Lucy Scher to stage an annual season of Performed Screenplay Readings by the very best of UK screenwriting talent. Christopher Hampton, Mike Figgis and Jimmy McGovern were amongst those who saw their work performed by stars including Charles Dance, Christopher Eccleston, Ioan Gruffud, Gina Mckee, Bill Nighy, Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, Mark Strong and Emily Watson. The Script Factory Performed Readings entertained audiences and helped numerous projects find finance, producers and cast, and served to bring projects like the Oscar-nominated Dirty Pretty Things, Bafta-nominated Lawless Heart, BIFA-nominated Liam, and Bafta-winning short Shadowscan to life.
Then we opened our doors to new writers and the real work began! We launched one of the UK’s first script reading services for writers, started training Script Readers and by 2004 had a comprehensive programme for training and developing screenwriters. This included long-term initiatives supported by The Film Council’s Training Fund and, though it may sometimes take a while to show results in this business, we are thrilled that many of the novice writers we worked with in our earliest days of training are now producing successful films.
Around the same time, our wonderfully generous Board Members, Mike Figgis and the late Anthony Minghella offered to give Script Factory Masterclasses, and so began a thrilling series of preview screenings, Masterclasses and Q & A sessions all focused on the role of the script and the screenwriting talent behind it. Over the years, we have been privileged to stage events with Charlie Kaufman, Aaron Sorkin, Todd Haynes, Steve Buscemi, Mike White, Peter Morgan, Lone Scherfig, Alfonso Cuaron, Simon Beaufoy and Alexander Payne, to name but a mere handful of the hundreds of innovative filmmakers we have met and learnt from.
This combination of training and masterclasses was been taken by The Script Factory team around the world to inspire new filmmakers, from Brazil to Israel, Warsaw, Gothenburg and Mumbai and to Australia and back (several times!).
It would be impossible to count the thousands of writers, producers, script readers, script developers and directors who participated in Script Factory training programmes over the years.
We have been privileged to run initiatives such as Writers’ Circle with Skillset, drawing in established writers from other creative disciplines – such as authors Toby Young and Meg Rosoff, and playwright Moira Buffini; and She Writes, a programme supporting emerging women writers as they developed a screenplay over a year, which included Sally El Hosaini (My Brother The Devil).
We also remain extremely proud to have been at the forefront of creating a nurturing and professional script development culture within UK film by pioneering script feedback opportunities for individual writers and also training developers to be rigorous in their script analysis and constructive in their feedback.
But most of all we have been thrilled to share in the journey of the hundreds of brave new writers who have set out to craft their stories for the screen. We have cherished reading every one of your drafts, loved hosting you at events such as Serious Screenwriting at BAFTA and have been honoured to train you at our many workshops. Thank you – you all taught us so much.
The incredible team of intelligent, passionate and innovative individuals who devoted part of their career journey to working at The Script Factory included co-founders Charlotte MacLeod and Lucy Scher, Directors Briony Hanson and Justine Hart, plus Tricia Tuttle, Katie Campbell, Jeni Howland, Sheena Bucktowonsing and regular tutors Kate Leys, Marilyn Milgrom, Rob Ritchie, Ludo Smolski and Angeli MacFarlane.
The Script Factory closed its Events and Training programme in 2014.