“It would be difficult to overstate how The Talent Campus and the London Screenwriters’ Festival have been instrumental in my successes this year – in terms of craft, developing a tolerance for writing under pressure, and in making contacts. I don’t think it would have happened if I hadn’t done the Talent Campus…”
Rachel Paterson came to Talent Campus looking to develop her project DIAMOND, and with a personal story of her own.
“I gave myself a year to be a paid writer. Otherwise, it’s back to work.” Immediately, a fellow talent camper popped up with a pound coin and handed it over.
That kind of support and encouragement has fueled Rachel’s career in the two years since she joined us in 2015 for Talent Campus 1.0.
(Apply for your spot on the Talent Campus HERE. )
Technically a paid writer at that moment, Rachel’s time at Talent Campus has driven her career ever since.
This is how it happened: On the 2015 Talent Campus, her mentors helped her develop DIAMOND, first as an outline, and then into a screenplay. DIAMOND opened all sorts of doors for Rachel, getting her meetings with producers, and eventually landing her an agent with Independent Talent. Her agent took DIAMOND out as a sample which not only brought her career along, but also inspired her to write more specs. She continues to produce new material, demonstrating her quality as a writer in more than just name only: She has that trait that is critical to producers in a writer: She gets stuff written.
Her newest projects are developed with the help of her Writers’ Group comprised of – you guessed it, other Talent Campers. The other campers in her group have found success as well, becoming producers, working as a Script Editor on Eastenders, moving their careers forward together and individually through relationships that started at Talent Campus. To help supplement her writing, Rachel has also gotten a job as a Reader. It allows her to keep her finger on the pulse of what’s selling, and has scheduling flexibility.
“I’m having meetings twice a week, and pitching and writing my specs. That flexibility of schedule is important. I prioritize my writing,” she said. A change in mindset that came from Talent Campus. When one of her mentors told her she is “the real deal,” the confidence that inspired has propelled everything else she has achieved.
Last year, Rachel’s quality of writing earned her a place on the LSF CASUALTY Writers Room, which is part of the London Screenwriters’ Festival – a ticket to which is included in the Talent Campus package.
Together with five other writers, she produced two guest stories for a CASUALTY episode and pitched their stories to an intimidating panel of showrunners. In Summer 2016, she applied to write on CASUALTY. She submitted DIAMOND as a sample and a guest story for CASUALTY. Her mentor also put in a personal recommendation through contacts at the BBC writers room.
She was shortlisted for the scheme, and went on their four day residential. The residential was – like the Talent Campus – an incredibly intense programme with long sessions and very short writing deadlines.
Prepared for the pressure by Talent Campus, she was ready. During the residential she were asked to prepare a pitch for guest stories based on a serial document – which she pitched to the entire story team, exactly as she had practiced during the LSF session.
Two weeks later, she was awarded a place on the scheme, which comes with a guaranteed commission. It will be her first TV credit.
“You don’t want to cash that first cheque, you want to frame it,” Rachel laughs. “But it was a direct bank transfer. Not as romantic, maybe but still. I’m a paid writer now.” That first pound coin from Talent Campus now has plenty of company in her bank account.
“It would be difficult to overstate how The Talent Campus and the London Screenwriters’ Festival have been instrumental in my successes this year – in terms of craft, developing a tolerance for writing under pressure, and in making contacts. I don’t think it would have happened if I hadn’t done the Talent Campus,” she said.
Team Talent Campus 3.0
Apply for your spot on the Talent Campus HERE.