My BAFTA Rocliffe journey – one year on

Screenwriter Maggie Bowler reflects on her career journey after being showcased by the prestigious BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition. 

Being one of the lucky three finalists of the 2017 BAFTA Rocliffe Children’s Media Showcase was a great experience for me. The day of the showcase itself was a gift for any writer and as a new writer myself it proved invaluable to the development of my work in the year since.

All three of our ten-minute extracts were rehearsed and directed by Susan Jacobson and she really brought the magic to the early part of the day. Sitting in on the rehearsal of the extract of my own script was thrilling and after a meeting with Farah Abushwesha and the BAFTA Rocliffe team, we were off and in to the theatre, ready for industry and panel feedback on our work. As a former film editor, I’m used to the feedback process, but live on stage like that gave it a razor-edged focus which I found both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Luckily, I had good feedback on characters and story; what was new for me were the questions about production and audience. As I had written a children’s feature length script set across both continents and centuries, that was invaluable!

Following the night itself, we were treated to support from BAFTA, access to events and particularly warm encouragement from Lisa Prime, who encouraged me to go with my instincts and to work on a portfolio of scripts, as I was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in. Having done that, I now have an Independent film company interested in optioning two of the scripts, including the children’s script from the showcase. I have been signed by a lovely agent at Berlin Associates since the showcase and she is encouraging my comedy drama scripts and getting that work out. I have had a lot of positive feedback, so for me so it’s been a great year. I have stayed in close touch with the other two finalists and all three of us went to the showcase for 2018 a few weeks ago. I hope the three new finalists have a similarly positive experience this year.

The London Book Fair sponsors the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition.

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