In Development was founded by Sarah Olley and Hannah Billingham in March 2011 and ran by the pair until December 2013, when Sarah took full reins.

Organiser & Host

Sarah Olley
Sarah is a freelance development exec/consultant and screenwriter for film & TV, with over 15 years’ experience running Script Surgery (UK)She consults and teaches/mentors for talent and companies world-wide, including Warner Bros, BFI Film Fund and Film London and for Oscar winning and BAFTA and Emmy nominated clients. She's provided slate development for companies in the UK and US, including a stint as Head of Development for Formosa Films.

Sarah recently developed and co-wrote a thirteen part, prime-time, period drama series for UTV India (Disney), from creator Sudhir Mishra, and has carried out several feature film rewrites for hire. Through the BFI Film Fund she recently script edited upcoming British feature film A Greenham Woman from writer/director David Chidlow. Sarah was script consultant to writer/director Elaine Constantine on hit feature Northern Soul. It achieved top ten box office gross on opening weekend and a 2015 BAFTA nomination. She regularly works with award winning writer/director Justin Edgar of 104 Films, including on RTS Award winning TV drama Battle Lines (2015) and feature crime thriller The Marker which premiered at EIFF in 2017. Sarah and Justin are co-writing a new darkly comic, crime drama. Sarah also regularly works with Oscar winning animation co. Passion Pictures Australia/Highly Spirited, consulting on graphic novel adaptations for producer Sophie Byrne.

Sarah has previously developed and script edited three further series, including two series of children’s live action adventure The Secret of Eel Island for Five, (“Superlative new children’s drama” The Observer). She was part of the writing team throughout. Alongside current script editing and development for features and TV, she writes for hire and is developing or attached to several features and TV projects as a screenwriter. 
Read her full bio on her consultancy site: Script Surgery (UK) or Linkedin

Featured and Guest Members


October Online Social & Q&A with comedian Michael Spicer -  The Room Next Door Man
Michael Spicer is a comedy writer, actor, director and the creator of the internet sensation THE ROOM NEXT DOOR. His work
 on YouTube and Twitter have resulted in international media attention, with his secret political adviser making appearances on THE MASH REPORT in the UK and THE LATE LATE SHOW in the US. The story of Spicer’s rise to fame is now a BBC Radio 4 series, entitled BEFORE NEXT DOOR. Despite being labelled an overnight success, Michael Spicer has been producing and submitting comedy sketches and short films since before the internet was invented. He has a garage full of rejected VHS tapes to prove this.

His comedy is widely available to view online, and now available as a book; THE SECRET POLITICAL ADVISER and an upcoming live tour. Check out Michael's website to learn more.

September Online Social & Q&A with writers of zeitgeist horror hit 'HOST', Gemma Hurley & Jed Shepherd

Gemma Hurley grew up in north London and dabbled in theatre and commercials before making the leap to screenwriting. She is drawn to wondrous worlds and dark twisted stories with a lot of heart at their core.


Gemma is co-writer of the zoom lockdown horror film HOST (Shudder) with director Rob Savage and has written an episode of the upcoming tech horror series RED ROSE (Eleven Films / BBC / Netflix).


Currently she is writing an episode for the supernatural crime thriller THE RISING (Sky Studios) while developing her own projects including the paranormal procedural TIN FOIL (Eleven Films, UKTV) and retro-futurist sci-fi THE HUMAN HAPPINESS PROGRAM (Working Title Films). 


Her YA zombie horror feature THE RULES THAT KEEP US SAFE landed her in the top 10 female writers for the Nicholl Fellowship in 2018.


Follow her on instagram or twitter.


Jed Shepherd is a filmmaker who grew up in South London and is a die-hard horror fan.  

He is currently enjoying success with "The Scariest Movie of the Decade" (Dreadcentral), Shudder's HOST which he co-wrote. He is also signed on to Write and Executive Produce three upcoming movies with BLUMHOUSE. 

Jed is also working on a recently announced Sam Raimi movie, a prison horror for Studiocanal and feature film versions of the Sundance favourite DAWN OF THE DEAF and award-winning short SALT.

Jed directed the short MULTIPLEX that is currently on the festival circuit following its premiere at Glasgow Film Festival in early 2020. The film stars Lewis MacDougall (A Monster Calls/His Dark Materials) and Victoria Yeates (Fantastic Beasts/Discovery of Witches), plus the five lead girls from HOST.  


March-August Hiatus due to Lock down and Covid-19

February Drinks with David Pope

David Pope is a screenwriter and script consultant working internationally.
He's worked as script consultant on projects around the globe including work with Academy Award and BAFTA nominated producers, screenwriters and national film funds.
Recent script consultations include TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, a candidate for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award 2019 and TRUTH AND JUSTICE, shortlisted for Best International Film Academy Award 2020. He most recently consulted on the feature film MAGIC MOUNTAINS, currently screening and the drama series IMPERIAL SPY for Fremantle (AMERICAN GODS, DEUTSCHLAND 83). David is currently script consulting on THE LOST GIRLS with a cast attached including Emma Thompson and Ellen Burstyn. 
Recent screenwriting commissions for production companies include writing the latest draft of feature film TEMPELHOF, the feature film RULIN from source material which currently has Sofia Helin attached and rewriting the latest draft of feature film THE GOAT. He is currently rewriting the latest draft of the feature film SUMMER OF 81. In addition David has a slate of projects in development as screenwriter through advance films.
David is the annual consultant / moderator for the Rotterdam Lab at CineMart and co-founder of Stowe Story Labs in the US. He is a creative consultant on Rawi Screenwriting Lab for Royal Film Commission - Jordan and is a screen specialist in script consultancy working with production companies through the FOCUS scheme, supported by Screen Scotland.
Previous script development and training clients include: 
BFI, Creative England, UK Film Council, BBC, BAFTA, Script Angel, Fremantle, National Theatre, Screen Scotland, British Council, Creative Europe, Cannes Cinefondation, Warp Films, Allfilm, KulturaTV, Polish Film Institute, Cannes Film Festival, Film London, Lionhead Studios, Xingu Films, Irish Film Board, FAS Screen Training Ireland, New Horizons Studio and Estonian Film Institute amongst many others.


Christmas Drinks with Rachel Paterson & Phil Lawrence
Ending the year with a celebration, including celebrating the success of two network members whose TV screenwriting careers have recently taken off. 

Rachel started writing for CASUALTY in 2018 and is currently writing her sixth episode as a core writer. She has projects in development with The Forge, Misfits/Fremantle and Bandit, and is attached as an episode writer to various others. Prior to screenwriting, Rachel worked all over the world in production and international development.

Former actor Philip has written for stage (Union Theatre/ Soho Theatre Studio), audio (DOCTOR WHO/ Big Finish), web (COPS AND MONSTERS). He won the C21 Drama Script Prize with his black comedy drama 'Euthanasia In Suburbia' and currently writes for EASTENDERS and CASUALTY.

October Drinks with Iain Brown

Iain is a Glasgow-born graduate of Strathclyde University, the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) and the Atelier de Cinema European (A.C.E). He has served on the development board of Scottish Screen Enterprises, the NFTS Scholarship Panel and as Chairman of the NFTS Alumni Network.

Beginning in film production on the David Putnam production of Bill Forsyth’s - Local Hero- he has since worked with directors such as Bruce Beresford, Kevin Godley, David Mallet, Phil Jouaneau, Richard Lowenstein, Brian Ward, Sandy Johnson and David MacKenzie. 

In 1980/90’s produced award winning films, worldwide with, Sade, U2, Sting, Frank Sinatra, INXS, Paul McCartney and AC/DC’s - Fly On The Wall , U2 Rattle & Hum, Casta Diva (La Scala Milan) amongst many others.

In 1993 he established, and was Chairman of, the AIM listed Parallel Pictures Group Plc based at Ealing Studios, producing BRIDES DIARY, IF ONLY, FAR FROM CHINA, POV, NAKED AUGUST.

In 2015 he Co-founded the Beijing /HK/ London based, BY Media International Ltd to produce feature films, TV drama and AR / VR development. Iain was a guest speaker at the 2015 UK – China Film and TV Summit in London in the presence of Vice Premier Madam Lui.

Recent productions include INTO THE RAINBOW – a 3D fantasy adventure, China – NZ -UK co-production, directed by Norman Stone, starring Willow Shields (Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Christy Cheung and Wu Lei. Recently completed filming in Lapland and Hangzhou, MASTER CHENG by Mika Kaurismaki (Fin -UK- China), starring Chu Pak Hong, Anna-Maija Tuokko for release Autumn 2019.

Currently preparing Brian Ward’s 1967-set coming-of-age drama, INDIAN SUMMER, for filming in North of Scotland with further project development including the feature Films, LITTLE LUCKY (UK-China), THE REDEMPTION OF ANNA DUPREE, (UK-US), the Animation Feature Film QUANTUM EMPIRE and TV projects include the drama series, SCALAWAGS: THE LONDON CHRONICLES and SCALAWAGS: THE SHANGHAI CHRONICLES.


September Drinks with Luke Healy & Helen Kingston

This month we welcome both the producer and writer of feature drama 'The Flood', in cinemas now starring Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans) and available to view on Curzon Home Cinema.

Luke Healy – Producer 

Luke has spent over thirty years in the film industry, on both sides of the camera, both in the US and the UK. He trained and worked as an actor, working extensively in theatre, film and television. He co-founded Megatopia Films with the goal of making independent feature films about topical subjects covering perspectives that are often ignored by mainstream filmmakers. He has a full slate of films in development, including the adaptation of a critically acclaimed and bestselling Irish novel about the 1916 Easter Rising which is told through the perspective of two 16-year old boys who fall in love. Luke is passionate about giving voice to young/first time film makers who want to shake things up and tell stories from a new perspective and his last three films, including THE FLOOD, were made with up and coming British writers and directors. 

Helen Kingston - Screenwriter

Helen Kingston is a writer for film and television represented by Jago Irwin at Independent. Her original feature THE FLOOD, starring Lena Heady, Iain Glen and Ivanno Jeremiah was released this year. In 2015 Helen was awarded the IdeasTap Short Film Fund for her script GOOGLY. The film was directed by BAFTA New Talent Kate Charter and exec produced by Mark Solomon (Disney/Aardman). 

June Drinks with Kate Herron

Kate Herron is a Writer-Director working in Comedy, Genre and Drama. She has been featured as a Screen International Star, Forbes 30 Under 30 and was described as "A huge comedy voice in the years to come" by Sky Comedy. She just directed the second half of Netflix Original, "Sex Education". It has been described as,  "A standout teen comedy" Rolling Stone, "Snort out loud funny" Financial Times and "Horny and heartfelt" by Entertainment Weekly. Kate also directed every episode of FIVE BY FIVE (Sunday Times Critic Pick of the Week) for BBC starring and exec-produced by Idris Elba. Kate's short films have screened worldwide screening at festivals including London Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortsfest and Encounters. They have been featured by Vimeo Staff Picks, Comedy Central, the Big Issue and the BFI. Kate is currently writing on her next project, "Miss Universe" about a beauty pageant under alien attack. She is co-writing with Briony Redman. Dominic Buchanan (End of the F**king World) and Douglas Cox are producing. 

May Drinks with Joy Wilkinson

Joy Wilkinson is an award-winning writer, working across film, TV, theatre and radio drama, with a particular interest in elevated genre and female-led stories. Her recent work includes THE WITCHFINDERS, an episode of DOCTOR WHO season 11, while her latest play THE SWEET SCIENCE OF BRUISING, about Victorian lady boxers, transfers to Wilton’s Music Hall in June, following a sold-out run at Southwark Playhouse. For film, Joy was selected as a Screen International Star of Tomorrow, as one of Den of Geek’s ’50 Screenwriters to Watch Out For’, and has had two feature screenplays selected for the Brit List. For television, Joy was a graduate of the first BBC Writers’ Academy and wrote NICK NICKLEBY, a critically-acclaimed modernisation of the Dickens novel for BBC1. She has several feature projects, original TV series and adaptations in development in the UK and US. Joy’s plays have been widely produced in the UK and internationally. She has won Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award and was shortlisted for the International Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has also writes extensively for radio. 

April Drinks with Isabelle Sieb

Isabelle Sieb is an award-winning British-German film and TV director. She has directed four fiction short films that have played at festivals internationally and in the UK and have won her several awards and nominations.

Isabelle was the lead director on Sky One's new 26-episode TV drama THE ATHENA, created by Holly Phillips and produced by Paul McKenzie and Foz Allan, broadcast in early 2019. She set up the show with episodes 1 - 6. 

She also directed the final 3 episodes of the new series of the critically acclaimed BBC1 hit show SHETLAND, broadcast early 2019.

Isabelle is currently developing an original comedy-drama TV series with Sacha Baron Cohen and Andrew Newman's production company Spelthorne Community Television and Channel 4, co-created with and written by Kefi Chadwick.

Isabelle has previously been selected as one of five directors for Creative England's iShorts+ FUNNY GIRLS scheme, in partnership with Big Talk and Babycow Productions, with her film THREE WOMEN WAIT FOR DEATH, written by BAFTA-nominated writer Nat Luurtsema. The film won the Chris Collins Best of British Live Action award at the Oscar- and BAFTA-qualifying Encounters Film Festival 2016 and was long-listed for the Best British Short Film BAFTA 2017.

She was also selected for Northern Film & Media's RISE  feature film development and mentoring scheme in 2015, and for Edinburgh International Film Festival's prestigious feature film development scheme CONNECTIONS in 2016 with writer Emer Kenny. 

Isabelle is represented by Curtis Brown for film and television in the UK and Grandview Management in the US.

March Drinks with Hayley McKenzie

Hayley McKenzie is the CEO/Founder of Script Angel, providing professional talent development programmes for screenwriters. Hayley has established the company as a leading player in the discovery and development of writing talent in the UK, Canada and USA.

Formerly a Development Executive at ITV Studios, Hayley has over twenty years of script development experience in feature films and television drama, including for BBC, ITV and Channel Four.

Hayley is an international speaker on screenwriting and talent development including at Cannes Film Festival, Story Expo, Raindance Film Festival, Women in Film & TV, Craft of Comedy Conference, LOCO London Comedy Film Festival, National Writers’ Conference, Winchester Writers’ Festival and London Screenwriters' Festival.


October Drinks with Emma Reeves

Emmas TV credits include The Worst Witch (lead writer) Eve (lead writer, co-creator) The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula, The Story of Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather, Spirit Warriors, Belonging, Doctors and The Murder of Princess Diana (Lifetime Channel). 

She has written West End adaptations of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather (Olivier nominated and CAMEO Award winner), Carrie’s War, Little Women and Cool Hand Luke. Other stage work includes Anne of Green Gables, The Ugly Duckling and The Snow Child.  Audio work includes plays for Radio 4, Radio Wales and Big Finish (including original Doctor Who and Torchwood stories). 

Emma has won Best Children’s TV Episode at The Writers Guild Awards twiceOther awards include an RTS Best Children’s Drama (Tracy Beaker Returns), RTS North East award for Best Children’s Programme (The Dumping Ground) and RTS Scotland Award for Best Children’s Drama (Eve). In October 2016 two of Emma’s episodes from The Dumping Ground and Hetty Feather were nominated for a Children’s BAFTA for Best Drama. Her episodes of both Eve and Hetty Feather have been nominated for the Broadcast Award for Best Children’s Programme. In 2018 she was selected for BAFTA Elevate - a scheme to advance the career of experienced writers. Read more about Emma here.

September Drinks with Claire Wilson

Claire’s first TV credit was a three part AGATHA CHRISTIE adaptation for Endor Productions/BBC, PARTNERS IN CRIME. In addition to this, Claire has co-written Sarah Gavron’s film GIRL UNTITLED for producer Faye Ward, the BFI / Film 4 / Altitude, which has just started shooting. She is developing a ghost story based on the JM Barrie play MARY ROSE for producer David Thompson, and writing an original thriller set in the Mexican desert for BBC Films called SONORAN DREAM. Also, earlier original film commission WHERE THERE'S DARKNESS - a DONNIE DARKO-esque quirky coming of age story set on the Devonshire moors with Sleeper Films / BFI. 

Current active TV assignments include writing an episode for Gareth Evan’s (THE RAID) series GANGS OF LONDON which will shoot in November 2018 -- Jane Featherstone / Pulse producing for Sky Atlantic / HBO, as well as being creator and showrunner for female led European thriller THE HUNT for Red Productions. Claire adapted (alongside Mike Lesslie) Le Carre’s LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL for Ink Factory Films, BBC & AMC -- for director Chan Wook Park, and Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgard star. The series will be broadcast on BBC / AMC November 2018. 

Claire has also signed on to adapt Roald Dahl TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED as a TV series for Ink Factory Films, as well as psychological thriller THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR as an international mini-series for Filmnation.

(July - Summer Drinks at Hospital Club)

June Drinks with Sally Abbott

Sally is a graduate of the BBC’s highly regarded Writer’s Academy.  She wrote regularly on BBC1’s flagship shows EASTENDERS and CASUALTY for five years, writing high profile, high budget episodes and season finales. In 2014, she created THE CORONER. This award-winning ten-part daytime crime series balanced procedure and humour, life and death.  It was broadcast on BBC1 in November 2015 to great acclaim from audiences and critics.  A second ten-part series aired in Autumn 2016. It has been sold all over the world where it’s watched during prime time. Sally is currently writing on DEATH IN PARADISE and is developing TV series across different formats and genres including horror, comedy and children for a wide range of production companies. One of them, MY LIFE SUCKS, is co-created with her eighteen-year-old daughter, Ella Burns. 

Sally trained as a Community Arts Animateur on Acting Out at Liverpool’s Hope Street Project, attached to the Everyman Theatre.  Following that, jobs included: founding and leading the outreach department for English Touring Theatre - devising and writing many plays with ETT’s Youth Theatre; Associate Producer at Contact Theatre in Manchester; Associate Artist for National Association of Youth Theatres; producer with her own production company Ruffian Productions with the award-winning actor Michael Begley.  As a theatre practitioner and producer, Sally has engaged with thousands of people - from babies to people in their eighties,  specialising in work for and with diverse groups of young people. 

May Drinks with Daniel Jerome Gill

Daniel Jerome Gill has been working in the Film & TV industry for the past 15 years, starting out as an Assistant Director on numerous productions, such as ‘Sunshine’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘World War Z’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Game Of Thrones’ and ‘The Crown’. Working with established directors, such as, Stephen Frears, Danny Boyle, Oliver Stone, Anthony Minghella, Joe Wright, Mike Newell, Andrea Arnold and Stephen Daldry.

In 2009, he completed ‘MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH’ his first short film, which premiered in the UK at the Times 53rd BFI London Film Festival. The film was screened at over 35 film festivals across the world, included the LA International Short Film Festival and nominated for various awards. In 2011, Daniel was selected for the BFI’s talent development programme ‘Think Shoot Distribute’. His second short film ‘FREAK’, premiered at The London Short Film Festival in 2012, and received critical acclaim.

In 2016, Daniel directed his debut feature, ‘MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH’ starring Josh Whitehouse, Freya Mavor, Ian Hart, Steven Mackintosh and Tom Riley.

In 2017, ‘MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH’, premiered to a sell-out audience at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The film has been bought worldwide and is being released in the UK by Universal Pictures on 7th May 2018 and Picturehouse Cinema on 4th May 2018.

Daniel is currently developing numerous feature films and television projects and has recently completed his next script ‘THE GET’.

UK Representation: Josh Varney & Kate Prentice (42)
US Representation: Matt Martin & Rob Herting (CAA)

(April - Anniversary Drinks at the Hospital Club)

March Drinks with Founders of Clipper Media Capital

Clipper Media Capital was founded in 2017 to focus on sourcing international opportunities for British and European talent, with an emphasis on the explosive Chinese market. Clipper has developed an ambitious slate of high-end film and TV projects in multiple territories, including China, France, Russia, Singapore, the UK and the US. In addition, Clipper operates a sales and packaging arm, counting clients such as Banijay and the Why Foundation in its roster, as well as a raft of independent producers seeking distribution of their media in China.

JACOB LELAND worked as International Strategy Manager at leading PRC film finance/production/distribution company Bliss Media. He oversaw Bliss’s international PR, negotiated sponsorship deals, and worked as a member of the production team on a $30m+ budget feature film shot in Shanghai with key creatives from the UK & US. Bliss Media has its own $150m film fund, has invested in several Oscar-nominated Hollywood films such as Pablo Larraín's Jackie, and was Chinese distributor of Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, the most successful war movie in the history of the Chinese box office. 
Prior to joining Bliss, Jake set up and ran a high-end educational consultancy in Beijing. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and is proficient in Chinese, Russian and French. 

MICHAEL NAKAN was formerly the Creative Executive at Joe Wright's Shoebox Films, building the TV slate of the award-winning film company by sourcing material, working with high-end writers and generating ideas. After Hollywood stints at 20th Century Fox, ICM Partners and Scott Rudin Productions, he worked alongside showrunner Beau Willimon on Netflix’s House of Cards. He then moved to HBO in New York, working on marketing/distribution campaigns for hit shows like Game of Thrones, and subsequently for NBCUniversal’s International Studio in London.
He graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars department. He sits on the BAFTA-Rocliffe New Writer’s Jury and on the BAFTA VR advisory board.

January Drinks with Faith Penhale

Faith Penhale is joint-CEO and Creative Director of Look Out PointFaith began her career in drama over 20 years ago and has worked on a wide range of shows: from multi award-winning espionage series SPOOKS, to a BAFTA winning era of EASTENDERS. Faith worked for ten years at Kudos before she joined BBC Wales as Head of Drama in 2011. Her track record there included the global phenomenon SHERLOCK and the much-loved DOCTOR WHO. More recently Faith executive produced Andrew Davies’ critically acclaimed and BAFTA-nominated adaptation of WAR & PEACE and Sally Wainwright’s TO WALK INVISIBLE. At Lookout Point, Faith is producing PRESS by Mike Bartlett, Andrew Davies’ adaptations of LES MISERABLES and A SUITABLE BOY, as well as Sally Wainwright’s upcoming show, GENTLEMAN JACK.


(December Christmas Drinks at Hospital Club)

November Drinks with Deborah Haywood

Following Deborah’s first short film LADY MARGARET, Deborah was selected for Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2007. Since then she has made several more short films, has been nominated for a BIFA, and won awards including Best Short Film at Soho Rushes Short Film Festival.

PIN CUSHION is Deborah's debut feature and has just started its festival tour.  So far it has opened Critic’s Week at Venice International Film Festival, is currently nominated for three BIFAs and won Special Jury Award at European Film Festival of Seville, and Jury Award Best International Film at Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival. 

Deborah is represented by Mark Casarotto, at Casarotto Ramsay Associates. You can follow her and the film on twitter: @blytheface @PinCushionFilm

October Drinks with Manon Ardisson

Manon is an independent producer based in London, now the director of Ardimages UK. She produced the BFI-backed feature film GOD'S OWN COUNTRY (2017) by Francis Lee, which premiered in Sundance, winning the Special Jury Award for Directing in the World Dramatic competition. The film went on to win awards in international festivals, notably Best British Film in Edinburgh, Best International First Feature in Galway, and the Audience Award for Best Feature at Frameline. The film is sold by Protagonist Pictures and released in the UK by Picturehouse Entertainment.
Manon also co-produced LA SOLEDAD (2016) by Jorge Thielen Armand, the first feature about the current Venezuelan crisis. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and went on to screen at festival around the world, notably winning the Audience Award in Miami. LA SOLEDAD was released in the UK by the ICA and MUBI.
Manon has been selected for a number of talent schemes, such as Creative England’s iFeatures, Film London’s Microwave, and Venice’s Biennale College Cinema, among others. Manon comes from a production background, and also worked as Creative Assistant at Paul Webster’s Shoebox Films.

(September Drinks with the Members!) 

June Drinks with Bec Cubitt

Bec is the Development Producer for Lingo Pictures in Sydney, Australia, a company headed by producers Helen Bowden (THE SLAP) and Jason Stephens (KILLING TIME). Lingo produces internationally focused television series including boxing drama, THE ROPES for SBS, a new adaptation of canonical Australian novel WAKE IN FRIGHT for Network Ten and an adaptation of the classic literary fiction LAMBS OF GOD for Foxtel (the latter two produced with Endemol Shine Australia). 

Bec’s role at Lingo is to scout for projects to develop (both existing properties and original ideas) as well as developing and script editing slate projects alongside screenwriters and producers.

Before joining Lingo, Bec was Development Executive for Aquarius Films in Sydney (LION, BERLIN SYNDROME) and worked in development in London for Scott Free Films (MINDHORN, GET SANTA, THE AFTERMATH) and Rooks Nest Entertainment (THE WITCH, OBVIOUS CHILD). She produced award winning short films BAT EYES (2012 Venice International Film Festival), commissioned by the Australian Theatre for Young People and RED directed by artist Del Kathryn Barton and starring Cate Blanchett.

May Drinks with Jason Arnopp

Jason Arnopp is a scriptwriter and novelist, with a background in journalism. He is currently adapting his acclaimed novel THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS for the big screen for Imagine Entertainment, the Hollywood production company co-founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. 

Jason wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate US horror feature film and Edinburgh Film Festival selection STORMHOUSE, which starred Jane Seymour’s daughter Katherine Flynn, and script-edited urban drama THE MAN INSIDE, starring Peter Mullan. 

He has also written for the tie-in fiction worlds of DOCTOR WHO, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES and FRIDAY 13TH. He lives in Brighton with far too many films on VHS.

Photo by Amy Terry at Take Aim Photography

April Drinks with Elaine Constantine

Elaine Constantine is a globally recognised photographer and film maker who made her name working for The Face magazine in the 90’s.

Elaine went on to shoot for leading fashion publications and clients including French, Italian and US Vogue, W Magazine, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vivienne Westwood, Diesel and Burberry.

Elaines work has appeared in several solo exhibitions, book projects and group shows internationally and in 2006 she won the Royal Photographic Society’s Terrence Donovan achievement award.

Elaine has also directed commercials, pop videos and short documentary projects. She was named as Creative Review’s best director in their 2002 Creative Futures Award.

In 2012 Elaine directed her self-penned debut feature film, NORTHERN SOUL, a drama based on her experiences growing up in the North of England in the 70’s. The film was independently produced and once completed was picked up for distribution by Universal Studios.

Despite a very modest advertising budget NORTHERN SOUL was a break out success and generated considerable mainstream and industry media interest when it made the box office top ten in its opening weekend.

The film was subsequently Nominated for both a BAFTA Outstanding Debut and a London Critics’ Circle award and won the NME’s Best Film 2015, the latter being an audience vote. 

Elaine is now in development on her next screenplay.

March Drinks with Fiona Kenshole

Fiona is a literary agent with the Transatlantic Agency where she specialises in children’s books, from debuts to film deals. She lives in glorious Portland, Oregon, although her clients are scattered through the world. She also freelances as a Development Consultant, most recently for Nexus films.

In 2004, Fiona was hired by Phil Knight, billionaire founder of Nike, to set up a development department and slate for his new stop-motion animation studio, Laika. She started a slate from scratch, went knocking on the doors of Hollywood for distribution and got to know the extraordinary and eccentric talent of the stop motion world. Fiona spent eight years as Vice President of Development Acquisition, during which, Laika produced four Academy nominated movies: CORALINE, PARANORMAN, THE BOXTROLLS, and the recent BAFTA winner, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. The studio now has a bold, risk-taking, distinctive slate distributed by Focus Features.

Previously, Fiona spent 20 years in UK publishing, holding senior positions at Oxford University Press, Hodder and HarperCollins. Fiona has worked with major names including Michael Morpurgo and Neil Gaiman. Her authors have won every major British children’s literary award and several have become million copy bestsellers. Fiona was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards. She has taught at Oxford Brookes and Portland State University.

January Drinks with Sean Spencer

Sean’s debut feature film PANIC, released in November 2016 is a London set thriller starring David Gyasi (Interstellar, Cloud Atlas, Containment). It premiered at the 2014 Raindance film festival where it was nominated for the best UK feature award.

PANIC has since been selected for film festivals worldwide including the Dinard Film Festival, East End Film Festival and Times BFI London screenings, and released theatrically to rave reviews.


His short films STRIPES, ROMANCE, FOUR LITTLE LETTERS & 3 x 4 have been broadcast and distributed by a number of organizations, including the BBC, Sky, ITV, The British Council and The BFI. They have also been selected for film festivals worldwide, including Edinburgh Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand, Manchester Kino, Berlin Britspotting and Soho Rushes. Stripes was also selected for Sight & Sound magazine’s best UK shorts issue.

THE CAMPAIGN, his television drama about the 1980’s AIDS crisis has been optioned by Daybreak Pictures. His feature screenplay BRUTAL YOUTH, set in the world of illegal child fighting was optioned by World Productions. He has also adapted Martyn Bedford’s dystopian war novel THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS.

Sean was one of a handful of British directors selected for the Moonstone Filmmakers’ Lab, founded by playwright John McGrath and headed by veteran French film producer Jean-Luc Ormieres.


November Drinks with Ashley Pharoah

Ashley Pharoah began his television writing career on the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 1991, on which he worked for four years and where he met co-writer Matthew Graham. He went on in 1994–1995 to contribute five episodes to the popular BBC One drama series Casualty and four episodes to Silent Witness (1996).

For ITV he created the long-running series Where the Heart Is, for which he wrote episodes from 1997 to 2000, and contributed to the BBC One TV programme Down to Earth in 2001. Among other work in the early 2000s he scripted an adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays, starring Stephen Fry, for the ITV1 network in 2005.

Meanwhile, Pharoah, Matthew Graham and veteran Eastenders writer Tony Jordan spent years co-creating Life on Mars, which was first shown in 2006, and Pharoah contributed episodes to both series of the show. Other work around this time included creating the series Wild at Heart (2006 – present) for Company Pictures and adapting Under the Greenwood Tree for Ecosse Films.

In 2006 he formed Monastic Productions with Matthew Graham. Monastic Productions is involved in the Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes and co-produced Bonekickers, a six-part drama series about archaeology, set in Bath, Somerset. Both series are productions for BBC One. He has won two International Emmys for "Life on Mars", a series which was remade for ABC in America, starring Harvey Keitel.

In 2010 Pharoah adapted Case Histories, the novel by Kate Atkinson, for the BBC. It stars Jason Isaacs and was a co-production between Monastic Productions and Ruby Television. Other work around this time include Eternal Law for ITV and an adaptation of Moonfleet for Sky, starring Ray Winstone. His series The Living And The Dead, starring Colin Morgan, was screened on BBC1 in the summer of 2016.

In February 2011 Pharoah was made an Honorary Fellow of the National Film and Television School; this is awarded "in recognition of outstanding contribution to the British film and television industry".

In a ceremony at Bath Abbey in 2016, Pharoah was made a Doctor of Letters by Bath Spa University for his contribution to screenwriting and television production.

September Drinks with Paul Mendelson

Paul Mendelson has been a criminal lawyer, an award-winning copywriter/creative director and is now a BAFTA-nominated scriptwriter for TV, radio and film.

Paul’s BBC1 comedy series May to December, So Haunt Me and My Hero (starring Ardal O’Hanlon) were all massive hits in the UK and internationally. He also created the animated series ‘Neighbors From Hell’ for DreamWorks Animation, broadcast in the US and starring Steve Coogan as Satan. He is currently developing new comedy series for Sky and the BBC.

His acclaimed ITV play ‘Losing It’ starring Martin Clunes as an adman with testicular cancer is still being used today to train family therapists and cancer nurses.

Paul regularly writes original plays for BBC Radio 4 and adapts classic novels, the most recent being ‘The African Queen’, starring Toby Jones and Samantha Bond. He is developing his long-running Chief Inspector Dover adaptations for television.

Paul is the only writer to have had six movie scripts simultaneously in the semi-finals of a major US competition, one of which made the final cut.

He has just completed his first novel ‘In the Matter of Isabel’, inspired by the case that obliged him to give up his legal career. 

August Drinks with Beth Pattinson

Beth Pattison is a Development Executive and Exec Producer at BBC Films, with a long list of credits within British film.

After studying Drama and Film Studies at Manchester University, Beth worked as a literary assistant at agency ICM for 2 years before leaving to work with producer Uberto Pasolini. Following a few years of not quite getting a film made she changed tack slightly and spent six months working in the In-House Drama department at BBC. However, the pull of film was strong, and she soon secured a position as Development Editor at BBC Films in 2007. 

Over the last 10 years Beth has worked across a wide variety of different films from WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN to JANE EYRE and PHILOMENA. Most recently Beth has exec-produced LONDON ROAD, BROOKLYN and SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS

June Drinks with Mia Bays

With 25 years in the film business, Mia Bays has produced an Oscar winner, received two BAFTA nominations including for the prestigious Carl Foreman award, and has worked all over the world as a creative producer, distribution and sales expert and workshop leader.

Her most recent documentary feature film, BACKSTREET BOYS – SHOW ‘EM WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF, released on over 1500 screens worldwide Jan/Feb 2015, and was No1 on I-Tunes in North America. Her first short film, SIX SHOOTER, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, won an Oscar and was BAFTA nominated. EX MEMORIA, written and directed by Josh Appignanesi, was nominated for a British Indie Film Award, and acclaimed BAFTA nominated feature documentary, SCOTT WALKER – 30 CENTURY MAN, directed by  Stephen Kijak, was released by Verve in the UK, Madman in Australia and Oscilloscope in the US.

Mia has also acted as creative producer on the eight features from the acclaimed Film London / BBC Films Microwave scheme (inc SHIFTY, LILTING and ILL MANORS), several of which went on to garner multiple British Indie Film Awards and BAFTA Best Debut Awards.

Prior to producing, Mia worked in some of the top sales, marketing, distribution and exhibition companies in the UK, across both documentary and fiction. She sold, marketed and distributed over 40 features and has a strong understanding of the worldwide indie film scene.
Consultancy clients include: Film London, BFI, LFF, Digital Departures scheme, Skillset, the film TSOTSI (worldwide marketing/distribution strategy from edit to worldwide release), ONE MILE AWAY by Penny Woolcock, FIRE IN BABYLON for Passion Pics/Cowboy Films.

Mia runs UK and International workshops for bodies such as the London Film School, the UK Film Distributors Association, and trains all over the world on subjects across the value chain from filmmaking to distribution/marketing, for organisations such as the Serbian Film Commission, the Stockholm Film Festival, the Binger Lab, the British Council, Film London/BBC Films (Microwave), Screen New South Wales, New Zealand Film Commission, Engage at Napier in Edinburgh, Hermes and Maia Training Courses for Fabula Film in Italy and currently runs FILMONOMICS with support from Creative Skillset and the BFI. 
Mia appears regularly on festival panels around the world such as Sundance London, Sheffield Doc Fest, London Film Fest, Edinburgh Film Festival, SPAA Fringe Producers Conference in Sydney, Havana Film Festival, to name a few. Mia is also a BAFTA and European Film Academy member, is on the BIFA advisory committee and recently has taken on the legacy of Birds Eye View Film Festival, in order to continue running its workshops, promotions and champion work by, for, and about women.

May Drinks with Christina Pickworth & Steven Russell

Christina Pickworth has worked in the film industry as a writer, producer and production manager since 2003. She spent a number of years working in film development finance for a fund that invested in 300 British film projects from producers including Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, The History Boys), Kevin Loader (Wuthering Heights, In the Loop), Chris Hanley (American Psycho, The Virgin Suicides) and Donald K. Ranvaud (City of God, The Constant Gardener). She is also an Executive Producer on the adaptation of Whitbread shortlisted novel The Catastrophist by Ronan Bennett (Top Boy, The Hamburg Cell), with Nick Broomfield (Biggie and Tupac, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer), who will direct.

She is currently writing The Naked Truth for Neil Thompson of Formosa Films and Nicole Carmen-Davies of Mighty Atom Entertainment.

After a couple of years of freelancing for United Agents she established Imagine Talent, an agency representing writers and directors with a strong focus on new and emerging talent.

Christina is also the founder and Series Producer of the Women in Film & Television (WFTV) Writers’ Group which nurtures female writing talent across the creative industries. Christina has been on the selection committee for the BAFTA Rocliffe screenwriting competitions, has been a mentor for First Light and was the assistant chair for the Fremantle UK New Talent Award, as part of the Women in Film & Television Awards 2012, as well as speaking on a number of panels and hosting a variety of industry Q&A’s.

Steven Russell represents writers & writer/directors at Collective Talent.  With a range of experience working in script editing, development, production, financing, and sales for film and TV, he now works directly with his clients to focus on bringing both new & experienced voices to the screen.

April Drinks with Debbie Moon

Debbie Moon is a BAFTA-winning film and television writer. She has had over fifty short stories published in the UK and US, and her novel, Falling (Honno Press) was shortlisted for Welsh Book Of The Year.
She has written for The Sparticle Mystery, Hinterland, and is the creator and lead writer of the CBBC fantasy drama series Wolfblood, which is now in it’s fourth series and is shown in nearly 60 countries. She also has several feature scripts and television series currently in development.

February Drinks with Claire Ingham

Claire Ingham is an executive producer for Company Pictures.

She began her career as a trailer maker / scriptwriter at Granada TV in 1992 before moving to Central Television – and then on to Children’s ITV as Creative Producer, where she headed an award-winning promotions team.

After an MA in Creative Writing at UEA, she pursued a career in drama, combining screenwriting with script reading, researching and script editing work for companies like British Screen, Red Rooster, Alibi and Ecosse Films.

She became a development producer and then Head of Development for Impossible Pictures in 2005, set up her own independent, Red Room Films in 2008, and then became an Executive Producer for the BBC, working on Inspector George Gently, Waterloo Road and New Tricks in 2011. She was invited to join Company Pictures later the same year and has since executive produced Shameless, two further series of Inspector George Gently, the final feature-length Wild at Heart, and Moonfleet starring Ray Winstone. 

January Drinks with Karol Griffiths

Karol Griffiths is a successful script editor and development consultant with over twenty years of experience. Her recent clients include BBC Writers’ Room, SKY Arts, Footprint Films, The Literary Consultancy and The London Screenwriters’ Festival Talent Campus.

She's worked with a wide variety of talent, production companies and studios, including: Warner Bros, Universal, Disney, Paramount and Fox Studios, as well as, Amblin Entertainment, The Coen Brothers, Working Title, Rajski Productions, Interscope Pictures, Sandollar Productions, Revelations Entertainment, BBC, ITV and La Plante Productions. 

Her various feature film credits include:  Under Suspicion, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, Nights in Rodanthe, The Flintstones, Baseketball, The Last Supper and Archipelago. Her Television credits include:  Above Suspicion for ITV, Roseanne, Friends, Just Shoot me, Lois and Clark and How I Met Your Mother. 

Karol develops and consults independently, and is passionate about working with writers.

Her book, The Art Of Script Editing – A Practical Guide, published by Kamera Books was released in the UK in September 2015 and will be released in the USA April 2016.

For more information please visit:


November Drinks with Danny Stack & Tim Clague

Danny and Tim join us to discuss the making of their micro budget children's feature Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? which premiered this October at the London Film Festival.

Danny is a screenwriter and consultant. His television writing credits include EastEnders, Doctors and high-profile children’s shows such as Octonauts, Fleabag Monkeyface, Roy, and the new Thunderbirds for CiTV. He wrote and directed short, supernatural thriller, Origin, which won Best Horror at the London Independent Film Festival 2012. Danny co-wrote and co-directed Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? with Tim Clague. 

In 2007, he helped set up the Red Planet Prize, a scheme to discover new writers, with writer/producer Tony Jordan. He also runs regular podcasts on screenwriting with Tim.

Tim is a BAFTA nominated writer and film maker. He's written for the big screen, including the Jerwood Film Prize winning short film Eight, directed by Stephen Daldry. He's created pieces for TV, including a short series of satircal pieces for the BBC Politics Show. He's written for games, including the AAA title APB.

Tim has directed over 60 shorts, a web series and (through his company Projector Films) over 100 corporates, commercials, games trailers (2m+ views), internal pieces and successful Kickstarter videos.

He's been blogging for over 10 years and, alongside colleague Danny Stack, has done a podcast for over 5 years. The two now have a book out 'The UK Scriptwriters' Survival Handbook' about being a working writer in the UK which condenses all this advice.

Tim gives talks and lectures around the UK to students, writers and companies on the power of storytelling and the business of being a storyteller. Clients include BAFTA, HSBC, London Screenwriters Festival, Chichester Uni, Bournemouth Uni.

Most recently he co-wrote and co-directed Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? and the follow up feature is in development.

October Drinks with Marcus Markou

Marcus started life as a journalist – editing and publishing magazines. At 27 he attended LAMDA and trained as an actor. He has written plays, including Ordinary Dreams; Or How to Survive a Meltdown with Flair at the Trafalgar Studios in 2009. He attended Met Film School and made a short film The Last Temptation of Chris in 2010 before completing Papadopoulos & Sons in 2012 – a film that he wrote, directed, produced and self distributed in the UK in April 2013 to great acclaim, achieving the second highest screen average of any film in its opening weekend. In 2014 he was nominated by the London Critics Circle Awards in the Breakthrough British Filmmaker category.

September Drinks with Meroe Candy

Meroë Candy runs the film and broadcast drama programme at the Wellcome Trust.

The programme encourages and supports collaboration between the worlds of biomedical science and the entertainment industries.

This includes the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Fellowship in partnership with BFI and Film4, the recent Ideaslab at Edinburgh International Film Festival and many other development projects in film, radio and television drama.

Join Meroe for drinks and discussion regarding opportunities for funding and collaboration with the Wellcome Trust.

July Drinks with Sam Hoyle

Sam is a Script Executive and Developer for TV, Film and Radio.  Her most recent role has been working with Chris Chibnall on the ITV hit series, Broadchurch.  She was also the Script Executive on Chris' two films about the Great Train Robbery, A Robber's Tale and A Copper's Tale, which premiere on BBC1 later this year.

Previous roles include script executive duties on The Life and Adventures of  Nick Nickleby for BBC1, and also as the Story Editor on Camelot, a 10 part series for US cable network, Starz. 

Sam also makes radio drama for the BBC.  She was behind the reboot of the Agatha Christie brand on Radio 4, and has also made an adaptation of Gulliver's Travels, and as well as plays about Keith Moon, Oliver Reed and Vincent Price.  

Sam is the Head of Development for Imaginary Friends Productions.

June Drinks with Nicky Stean

Nicky Stean has been part of the film and TV development team at award winning production company Ecosse Films for 8 years.  She has extensive experience of developing features from idea through to production and has worked with award winning writers and directors. Nicky worked on the company’s last 9 feature films including the BAFTA nominated Nowhere Boy, from director Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights.

Nicky also script edited BBC One series Mistresses, starring Sarah Parish, and BBC Two serial Life in Squares  from BAFTA winning writer Amanda Coe, which will TX in July 2015.

In July 2014 Nicky was promoted to Film Development Producer at Ecosse and she now manages the slate of 14 films currently in development.

April Drinks with Gideon Defoe

Gideon Defoe is the author of seven books, and writes for both TV and film. He wrote the screenplay - adapted from his novel - for Aardman Animation's The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 85th Academy Awards, losing to Brave "because those f**king Pixar bastards win everything"!

March Drinks with Olivier Kaempfer

BAFTA-nominated producer Olivier founded the London-based independent production company Parkville Pictures in 2007, whose films have gone on to receive a string of international awards and nominations. 

Olivier's first feature project Borrowed Time, made as part of the Film London and BBC Films' 'Microwave' scheme, was released in the UK in September 2013 via a groundbreaking Direct Distribution model supported by the BFI's 'New Models' P&A Fund. 

Olivier Executive Produced Parkville’s latest feature Appropriate Behaviour, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2014, and in November 2014 Olivier completed principal photography on Spaceship, funded via Creative England, BFI, and BBC Films’ iFeatures feature production scheme.

In January 2014 Olivier was appointed Senior Executive for Film London’s award winning Microwave feature production fund, which he runs alongside his continued Parkville Pictures activity. 

January Drinks with Stephen Volk

Stephen Volk is best known for the notorious 1992 BBC TV "Halloween hoax" Ghostwatch, and as writer/creator of the award-winning ITV drama series Afterlife starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln. 

His other screenplays include the recent BBC Films/StudioCanal ghost story The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, Ken Russell's hallucinogenic biopic Gothic, The Guardian (co-written and directed by William Friedkin), and Octane starring Madeleine Stowe and Norman Reedus. He also won a Best Short Film BAFTA for The Deadness of Dad starring Rhys Ifans.
His play, The Chapel of Unrest, was presented exclusively by London’s Bush Theatre starring Jim Broadbent and Reece Shearsmith, while his short stories have earned selection in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Best British Mysteries, and Best British Horror 2014. 

He has been a Bram Stoker Award and Shirley Jackson Award finalist. 2013 saw the publication of his highly acclaimed novella Whitstable, featuring the horror star Peter Cushing (Spectral Press), and his new collection Monsters in the Heart (Gray Friar Press) which won Best Collection at the British Fantasy Awards in 2014.

Amongst current projects he is adapting Midwinter of the Spirit by Phil Rickman as a three-parter for ITV Encore, and has another novella published in March, called Leytonstone.


November Drinks with Bryn Higgins & Clare Duggan 

Ahead of the release of their film Electricity on December 12th, the director and producer team from Stone City Films join us to discuss the process of adapting and developing this project for the screen, from the novel by Ray Robinson. The film was shown at the London Film Festival in October to rave reviews. 

Bryn Higgins has 20 years experience in award-winning film, drama and documentary, from the Royal College of Art to the BBC to feature film production. He has written screenplays for BBC, ITV, as well as feature projects. He has extensive expertise in directing and producing highly visual human drama and state-of-the-art graphics and SFX.  He is committed to interesting, valid, challenging films. 

Clare Duggan has extensive experience in Executive Producing feature films and documentaries. Clare worked as a producer at the BBC for 6 years on award-winning series and has had films selected for the Royal Television Society and BAFTA awards. As Head of Science at Channel 4 News Clare won awards from the RTS, BAFTA, the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She has extensive experience in investigative journalism and factually based projects and has a proven track-record of uncovering hidden evidence and achieving difficult access. 

Electricity trailer:

September Drinks - 'Science on Screen' Event 
at the Royal Institution & drinks afterwards

August Drinks with Martin Gooch

Martin Gooch is a film and TV writer/director who's used his experience to get his own quirky, genre-mixing films made and out to an audience. His latest feature The Search for Simon has a cinema release this month. You can see this entertaining, micro-budget, sci-fi, comedy drama at the Stratford Picture House until 7th, (extra screening 12th).

Why not pop along then join us to chat with Martin about developing projects and making things happen independently. Here's what Martin says about his work:

Harry Potter, Judge Dredd and the Muppets taught me how to make movies. I spent 15 years in the camera department on 200 TV shows and 13 feature films (more than 1000 days on set), including a year working in Australia and two feature films in Tunisia, as a training ground to become a director. I learnt on set from the best people in the business. I wrote/produced and directed more than 20 short films, two of which were winners with BBC Best New Director (2001/2002). I directed Doctors (BBC), Hollyoaks (C4) and Spooks Interactive, which won a BAFTA and was nominated for an EMMY. 

I then wrote/produced and directed and financed my first feature film DEATH (2012) which did very well, and immediately followed it up with The Search for Simon, (2013). Between them they have won/been nominated for 25 awards including four Best Director, six for Best Movie and one Best Screenplay!

I originally started off working for the US Forest Service Archeological Department, in Modoc County North California, on Native American remains. I was living two of my dreams: travel and adventure. But the passion to make movies brought me back to the UK to study Film and Fine Art in Canterbury. I have a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from The University of the Arts and spent five years (part time) tutoring actors at East 15 Drama School as I wanted to be a director who a) knew his camerawork, b) wrote and understood scripts and c) could get the absolute best out of his actors. 

Martin has travelled the world, engaged with it, filmed it and written about it, while on the way trying many 'glorious pursuits of diverse ingenuity'! Join him for a drink and a chat this month.

June Drinks with Justin Donoghue

Justin is currently a Development and Production Executive at Screen NSW in Sydney. The agency supports a major share of Australian film and television industry and production. As well as working across interactive, factual and production investment, Justin’s ­­main focus is on early and advanced stage development programs for feature projects. He also looks after Screen NSW’s premium feature film development program AURORA, which attracts acclaimed Australian and international filmmakers as advisors.

Prior to Screen NSW Justin lived in London and worked 15 years in development, production and distribution on projects for Hallmark Entertainment, Channel Four Films, Channel Five and Downtown Pictures. As a Head of Development Justin also oversaw a diverse slate of feature film productions in the UK, Europe and South Africa.

 He is a graduate from the UK National Film & Television School in Script Development and has extensive experience with The Script Factory and other international development programs including ARISTA Development and First Film Foundation.

April Drinks with Ross Murray

Ross Murray is currently Drama Development Executive for STV working across a wide-ranging slate with a primary focus on returning series. The company is currently developing projects in various genres - from crime to children's to fantasy to features and everything in between and is constantly establishing international partners in putting together the very best talent. Most recently, STV has just finished shooting a comedy pilot for ITV and has several projects in advanced stages of development with many of the UK's main broadcasters.

Ross began his career at Sky Pictures in 2000 where he joined the film production arm of Sky as Development Assistant and worked on UK features such as Saving Grace, When the Sky Falls and Milk. In the intervening years, he has worked as a Producer, Writer, Script Editor and Storyliner for a range of mainstream, long-running dramas such as Waterloo Road, Coronation Street, Holby City, Emmerdale and River City.

March Drinks with Kristin Irving

Kristin joined Cascade Pictures in 2013 as Development Executive. She runs the development process in-house, sources talent and new material, and works with third-party producers in the script editing process. She also manages the Cascade Writers' Couch, an initiative to find and support unrepresented writers. Previously she worked in development and production across film and theatre at the Oscar-winning production company Portobello Pictures. She helped develop projects with award-winning writers and directors including William Boyd, Saul Dibb, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Joshua Marston as well as playwrights such as Athol Fugard and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Most recently she worked on Pawlikowski’s Ida which won Best Film at the 2013 London Film Festival. Kristin holds degrees in English Literature and Film Studies from University College London and the University of Oxford.

February Drinks with David Varela 

David specialises in writing and sometimes producing interactive projects, bringing together games, theatre and video. David’s recent work includes writing the iOS game Sherlock: The Network, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, (number one on the app charts for a number of weeks when released this year); a series of site-specific plays called The Seed for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad; writing words for the hit strategy game Samurai Siege; script consultancy on chart-topping mobile game Zombies, Run! (nominated for a Writers’ Guild Award); and the screenplay for steampunk adventure movie Clockwork Watch.

Alongside his writing, David teaches residential courses for the Arvon Foundation and speaks at film schools, universities, festivals and conferences around the world. You can read more about David's work on his website and twitter.

January Drinks with Will Emsworth

As Head of Development at Bedlam, Will specialises in developing factual drama as well as documentaries.

After graduating from Reading University with a First Class degree in Film & Theatre, Will Emsworth began his career as an Assistant Director on independent feature films. Upon moving to London in 2007, he joined Pulse Films as a research intern and developed the National Geographic documentary History's Toughest Prison, earning him his first TV job as an Associate Producer. During a year at Pulse, Will also produced online music content and developed further factual projects.

Will later joined Bedlam Productions as a researcher ahead of production commencing on the multi-award-winning film The King's Speech, and quickly rose to become Head of Development on both the drama and factual slates. From this unique position, Will has worked across a broad range of projects, developing feature scripts with Academy Award-winning writers one day and creating blue chip documentaries for international broadcasters the next.

Some of Bedlam's documentary projects under Will's tenure include the Emmy-nominated RMS Titanic: Case Closed(NGCI/Smithsonian); JFK: The Smoking Gun (Reelz/Discovery Canada/SBS); and, most recently, Finding Babylon's Hanging Gardens(C4/PBS/SBS/Arte). He is currently developing projects for the BBC, the Science Channel and Phoenix TV in China, and is producing the feature-length music documentary American B-Side.

Drama projects have included the feature Zaytoun, starring Stephen Dorff, which was a runner-up for the Audience Award at TIFF; the forthcoming The Lady Who Went Too Far, a Napoleonic-era love story from the writer of The King's Speech; and a large scale WW2 drama series with the Producer of Downton Abbey. Will's current focus is on factual drama for both television and cinema.


November Drinks with Frank Spotnitz

Frank Spotnitz is an award-winning writer and producer best known for his work on "The X-Files." 

Spotnitz served on "The X-Files" for eight of its nine seasons, including four years as Executive Producer and three years as president of Carter's Ten Thirteen Productions. He was a producer and co-writer of both "X-Files" feature films, "Fight the Future" (1998) and "I Want to Believe" (2008). Spotnitz directed two episodes and wrote or co-wrote more than 40 installments of "The X-Files," including the Emmy-nominated "Memento Mori" (with Carter, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban) in 1997. 

After "The X-Files" ended its run in 2002, Spotnitz served as executive producer with Michael Mann of the critically acclaimed CBS crime drama, "Robbery Homicide Division."

In 2005, he "re-imagined" the classic "Night Stalker" franchise for ABC Television, starring Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union. He served as executive producer of "Samurai Girl," a limited series that ran on ABC Family in August 2008. He recently created the series Hunted, (2012) on BBC1 and Cinemax and was co-executive producer and writer on Strike Back (2011). 

Hunted, produced by Kudos Film and Television in association with Spotnitz’s own Big Light Productions, is an international spy thriller starring Melissa George. He wrote and executive-produced the eight-part series.

Joining "The X-Files" as a writer in 1994, Spotnitz quickly became involved not only in developing the series' stand-alone episodes, but its elaborate "mythology" storyline dealing with government conspiracies and aliens.

Other awards accorded Spotnitz for his work on "The X-Files" include three Golden Globe wins for Best Dramatic Series, a Peabody Award, and three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series.

His other credits include co-executive producer of "Millennium" (1997-1999) and executive producer of the Ten Thirteen series "Harsh Realm" (2000) and "The Lone Gunmen" (2001).

Spotnitz began his professional life as a newspaper and magazine writer, working for United Press International, the Associated Press and Entertainment Weekly, among others.

Born in Japan, he received a B.A. in English literature from UCLA and an M.F.A. in screenwriting from the American Film Institute.

We are delighted to be able to welcome Frank as our final guest of 2013! 

October Event: Halloween Comedy with Natt Tapley

In addition to drinks and development chat, for our Halloween gathering we’re going to indulge in a bit of dark comedy at the Leicester Square Theatre, for an audience with Melmoth Darkleigh: Mindf*cker.

"The new creation of BAFTA-winning comedian Nathaniel Tapley, Melmoth Darkleigh: Mind F*cker is a unique mix of mentalism, séance, and character comedy. It’s got chills, jaw-dropping effects, and jokes about bums. Guarantee: no mind left unf*cked."
In Development member Natt Tapley is a writer and performer for TV, radio and stand-up. Natt is a regular contributor to The Spectator Arts Blog and has written for The Newsquiz (BBC Radio 4) and The Revolution Will Be Televised (BBC3). As a performer Natt reached the finals of The Loaded Lafta Awards, The New Act of The Year (formerly Hackney Empire) and The Laughing Horse New Act of The Year with his comic creation Sir Ian Bowler MP. His comic horror series In the Gloaming won a Parsec Award for Best New Speculative Fiction Podcast in 2010. Other writing and performing credits include Tonightly, Gigglebiz and Dick and Dom's Funny Business. You can learn more about him on his website, including reviews of his work like these; ‘F*cking amazing!’ Mark Thomas, ‘An Angry Masterpiece’  Radio Times. 
After the show there will be a chance to chat with Natt about developing darkly comic material, whether for live performance or recorded production.

August Event: Script Shoot Slice Screen 

This month, we’re teaming up with our friend and colleague Steven Russell’s S4 event, at the Genesis Cinema. 

A short film screening night with a difference, S4 looks at one short film each month. Over the course of the night, a series of events will look at the life cycle of the short's production, from the page to production and post, right through to a screening of the finished film. Guests include writers, directors, producers, crew and more!

This month's film is Oliver Goodrum’s This Is Vanity. See the trailer hereAll the details about the night are here

S4 producer Steven Russell also represents screenwriters at Collective Talent.  Before starting S4, he ran writing workshops and contests at the BFI's LOCO Comedy Film Festival, the London Screenwriters Festival and the London Student Film Festival.  This follows a strong history of working with production companies and film financiers, as well as a number of years working in script development for producers as well as consulting directly with writers.

July Drinks: Transmedia Storytelling

Our featured guest is member Adipat Virdi, joining us to discuss how we can all adapt our thinking to tell stories across multiple media. 

Adipat studied Architecture and practiced Socio-Spatial Analysis before changing career to write and make films. Having studied at both Oxford and Cambridge, Adipat has qualifications that include Creative Writing, Marketing and PR and MA’s in Screenwriting and in Design, Strategy and Innovation.

Adipat subsequently set up Maaji Productions to develop his media and entertainment ideas with the philosophy of creating socially responsible projects that nurture new talent and create innovative opportunities. Alongside TV, film and documentary projects, Maaji also organizes industry events and is developing training courses. 

A key area of expertise is in Transmedia Production. Adipat's project, Searching, was a Sundance New Frontier Story Lab finalist that looked to raise awareness around honour-based crimes. Alongside this, he has set up Transmediology as a hub for designing experiences, engaging audiences and managing communities within brands and storyworlds. An article about Searching was published with The Huffington Post 

At the Torino Film Lab – Adipat was one of four Audience Designers chosen to mentor Independent Filmmakers with their multiplatform strategies. Adipat also attends TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) to talk about his projects and promote Transmedia, as well as speaking at DIY DAYS in LA .

Other engagements include:
- Visiting lecturer at City university
- Part of the specialist panel delivering training at Transformat Lab 
- Panel Speaker for Cross Video Days 
- Co-Opted Board Member of Euroscript 

Twitter: @transmediology

July 4th: Women & Hollywood Networking Night
In Development has joined forces with Melissa Silverstein, Founder and Editor of Women and Hollywood and author of In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, for a London-based evening of networking and fun.

Women and Hollywood is one of the most respected sites for issues related to women and film as well as other areas of pop culture. Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender parity across the entertainment industry.

Melissa is also the co-founder and Artistic Director of The Athena Film Festival. The 4th annual festival will take place from February 6-9, 2014 at Barnard College in NYC.

She recently published the first book from Women and Hollywood, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, which is a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on the site.

More information about the event is here – we’d love to see you!

May Drinks with Alrick Riley

Alrick Riley is an established director of high profile television. He has been the recipient of two British Academy of Film & Television Arts Awards, two Royal Television Society Awards and numerous other prizes for event television drama. He has directed Hunted, Ashes to Ashes, The Cops, Spooks, Silent Witness and Hustle as well as the pilots of the award winning Babyfather for the BBC, The Fixer for ITV/Kudos and Boy Meets Girl also for ITV. He was responsible for the pilot of the long running series Judge John Deed. Alrick has also participated on the juries of BAFTA, the Royal Television Society and the Directors Guild of Great Britain and also sits on the board of DIRECTORS UK. He has just wrapped shooting on BBC 1’s The Whale the true story on which Moby Dick was based. You can read his full, extensive filmography on imdb

Post Easter Drinks with Nicole Dade

Nicole Dade has 12 years experience working in development, production, commissioning and emerging talent. She is currently based in Sydney, where she is development executive at Screen Australia, the federal screen funder. She works closely with teams on feature film projects at all stages of development, from outline to late stage. Nicole was head of development at Atlantic Film Group (Dean Spanley, Love Birds) and was previously head of production and development for regional screen agency Screen South.

Nicole has designed and managed high profile UK development and production initiatives, including BFI London Film Festival’s Think-Shoot-Distribute and Warp X/Bird’s Eye View’s Last Laugh: Women Create Comedy. She also worked as story editor on Warp X’s Darklight horror film initiative.

Nicole was Production Executive at Screen East and executive produced Digital Shorts with the UK Film Council New Cinema Fund.  She started her career in film at First Take Films.

February Drinks with Sarah Scougal 

Sarah began her career making terrible short films and experimental theatre (her words, not ours), whilst studying English and Modern Languages at Oxford University. After graduating, she made tea at a number of companies including The BBC, New Line Cinema, and TWI. She studied for an MA at Drama Centre, was part of the Royal Court Young Writers' Programme, and finally fell into development after an internship on the Working Title Action! Scheme.

After two years at Working Title, Sarah moved to Stephen Fry and Gina Carter’s Sprout Pictures, building the film and TV slate from scratch and helping secure an investment deal with BBC Worldwide. In 2010, Sarah moved to LA to write a screenplay, work as a script consultant and improve her surfing, before returning to London in 2011 to join Vertigo as Head of Development.

Sarah continues to write in her spare time, and most recently completed a short film starring Michael Kenneth Williams for fashion website Mr Porter.

January Drinks with Roland Moore 

Roland is creator and writer of the forthcoming comedy drama series Ciao Britain (w/t), which he created for Chinese state television. He was also the creator and lead writer of the popular period drama Land Girls (BBC1), which ran for three series. During this time, the series won the Best Daytime Programme in the Broadcast Awards and four RTS Midlands Awards (including Best Drama). The series have been sold to territories around the world and been translated and dubbed into various languages.

Roland won the London Writers’ Award for best drama (Spring Chickens), and the Redemptive Films Storyteller Award for his 1950s sci fi horror film, The Survivor. He was also nominated for the TAPS Comedy Writer Award for his sitcom pilot, Tarts. His co-written sitcom pilot, The Diary of Tommy Crisp, won the Best Comedy Film Award at the New York Downtown Film Festival and is being developed into a series for television.

Other television credits include a commission to develop a primetime action/adventure series (Model Citizens) for ITV; over thirty episodes of Doctors (BBC1), Meeow (ITV), Peter Rabbit (Nickelodeon), Waybuloo (BBC) Rastamouse (CBeebies) and Sitcom Trials (ITV). He was also part of the writing team of the Emmy award winning Smack the Pony and has written for other sketch shows including Man Stroke Woman (BBC2).

Roland has lots of experience to share in a broad variety of genres, so come along and pick his brains on kids TV, comedy and in particular our topic for the evening; developing period drama. You can read more about Roland on his website

2012 Events

December Drinks with Richard Holmes

Rounding off the year with the third of a trio of UK producers, we’re delighted to welcome Richard Holmes to share his experience and insight of the feature film development and production process.

Richard Holmes runs independent film production company Big Rich Films. He has a string of successful credits to his name including Eden Lake, Shooting Fish (which he co-wrote) and the US/UK hit Waking Ned.

Richard has structured international co-productions, chaired UK trade associations, set up first-look deals with distributors & incentive bodies, and lectured at universities & academies.

His 2011 film, Resistance, starred Andrea Riseborough and Michael Sheen and won Sharon Morgan the Best Actress prize at this year’s BAFTA Cymru awards.

He is currently delivering his latest film, Jadoo, to UK distributors and international sales agents, Intandem.

Richard speaks and teaches eloquently on the subject of independent film production, so if you have any burning questions, do come along for a chat. 

November Drinks with Neil Thompson 

Neil has directed over one hundred and sixty music videos for all the major record companies, more than fifty television commercials for some of the world's leading brands, two award winning shorts and numerous TV shows as a producer/director.  

He has a European Film Award for best music video, a Taps award as writer of the year and was twice nominated for a Billboard award for best video and best director. He was an elected member of the PACT council for four years and chaired the film group of the DGGB for five years.

Neil co-founded Formosa Films as a UK based company to make edgy, commercial projects for an international market. CLUBBED written by BAFTA winner Geoff Thompson, starring Mel Raido, Colin Salmon and Maxine Peake was released theatrically in UK and France in 2009. The film has sold to over twenty international territories and was the top selling title in HMV on week of release.

TWENTY8K, co-written by Emmy and BAFTA winner Paul Abbott was released in the UK in October 2012. The film boasts a wonderful cast of British talent including Parminder Nagra (Bend it Like Beckham, ER), Nichola Burley (Streetdance 3D, Wuthering Heights), Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood, Prisoner's Wives), Kaya Scodelario (Wuthering Heights, Skins), Michael Socha (This is England, Being Human), Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, Topboy) and Stephen Dillane (The Hours, Savage Grace, Game Of Thrones).

Neil was a guest of honour for the Producer's Network at this year's Cannes Film Festival and was selected for TAP in 2012 where producers from Europe, Canada and the US attended movie case studies in Berlin, Strategic Partners in Halifax and No Borders in New York to facilitate new co-production projects between the companies taking part.

We're delighted that Neil can join us as he has much experience and knowledge to share on developing and producing the low budget feature, with particular insight into utilising EIS and SEIS funding schemes for both production and development.  

October Drinks with Nik Powell 

In the early 1970's Nik Powell set up Virgin Records with Richard Branson and in the space of ten years the pair turned a small mail-order record operation into a multi-million pound conglomerate.
In 1982 Powell went into partnership with Stephen Woolley, having sold out from Virgin in the previous year.  Together they formed Palace Video, followed by Palace Pictures, and then Palace Productions, soon establishing each as highly regarded entities within the film distribution and production industry.  Powell has acted as Executive Producer on all of Palace's productions including Neil Jordan's COMPANY OF WOLVES, OSCAR NOMINATED MONA LISA, Michael Caton-Jones' SCANDAL, and Neil Jordan's multi Oscar nominated THE CRYING GAME.
Nik and Stephen Woolley's new company Scala produced Iain Softley's BACKBEAT, Terence Davies' THE NEON BIBLE, Shane Meadows' TWENTYFOUR: SEVEN, Mark Herman's Oscar and Golden Globe nominated LITTLE VOICE, Fred Schepisis' LAST ORDERS starring Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Tom Courtenay, Helen Mirren, David Hemmings and Ray Winstone, Charles Dance's LADIES IN LAVENDER, starring Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Miriam Margolis and Daniel Bruer and Nik also executive produced CALENDAR GIRLS.
Nik was appointed Director of the National Film and Television School in 2005, although he remains as non-executive chairman of Scala Productions. You can read his full bio here.

September Drinks with Angeli Macfarlane
Angeli is a very experienced script editor, who has worked with many top screenwriters in the UK, the US and Europe. In the last eighteen months Angeli has provided development support on THE GUARD (John McDonagh), I AM SLAVE (Gabriel Range), JUNKHEARTS (Tinge Krishnan) and BORROWED TIME by newcomer Jules Bishop.

Angeli is also the Head of Development at Altered Image, the company of Gabriel Range, director of DEATH OF A PRESIDENT and I AM SLAVE. Gabriel’s forthcoming films include: COSTA RICA - based on an original idea by Jake Arnott, THE RISING – a National Geographic Film, written by John Brownlow, THE 37 VOICES OF FARZAD ALI written by Patrick Harbinson (24, WIRE IN THE BLOOD) and AVAILABLE LIGHT written by Amber Trentham and Thomas Carty. Angeli is also working with Jeremy Brock (LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, MRS BROWN, HOW I LIVE NOW) on an original idea. Angeli is also currently script editing a feature by TV comedy writers Fay Rusling and Oriane Messina for the BFI and a female-led thriller by Australian writer Kris Wyld for Screen Australia.

Angeli previously worked at Pathé UK, where she ran a development programme for new filmmakers. During her time at Pathé they produced first films with Lynne Ramsay, Nick Hamm and Sara Sugarman. She went on to work at Film4, where she also ran a scheme for new talent in both writing and directing. Prior to these roles Angeli was deputy director of the First Film Foundation, a charitable organisation which funded early development of first time feature directors.

Angeli is fairly unique in the British development world in that she also works on scripts in French and Italian. She has script edited many features, most notably MARIEKE MARIEKE in Belgium, LA CORSA DELL’INNOCENTE in Italy, a Golden Globe nominee and STANDBY in France, which won two Césars. She has also worked with StudioCanal, the Centre National de Cinéma and Italian fund PREMIO SOLINAS.

Angeli is an expert for the Media Programme in Brussels, she has lectured in Europe, the Middle East and Australia in screenwriting, film and TV development and is a member of BAFTA, where she has been four-times jury member.

August Drinks with Justin Edgar

Writer and Director Justin Edgar made a series of award winning shorts using the architecture and character of Birmingham, which led to his first feature, Large, for Film Four in 2001, aged just 28. The film sold internationally to over 20 territories and sold 30,000 DVDs for Pathé.

His second feature film, Special People, premiered at the Edinburgh film festival in 2007, competing for the Michael Powell award, and came second in the audience award. The film went on to win audience awards at the Moscow, Calgary and Berlin Britspotting Film Festivals. It was critically acclaimed and the Guardian hailed it as a “Milestone in mainstream cinema” for its use of disabled cast. Writing in the Evening Standard, Derek Malcolm described it as “An excellent piece of filmmaking”.

In 2010 he co-produced the BAFTA nominated Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, starring Andy Serkis as punk icon Ian Dury. In 2011, he co-produced NFA (No Fixed Abode), starring Patrick Baladi - which premiered at the 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival - and Breathing for Film Four, which premieres on Channel 4 later in the year.

Justin is currently in post-production on his third feature film as director, We Are The Freaks, an anarchic coming-of-age tale set in 1990, starring Michael Smiley (BIFA award winner for Kill List), Jamie Blackley (Snow White and the Huntsman), Sean Teale (Skins), Rosamund Hanson (This is England), Amber Anderson (Your Highness) and Adam Gillen (Fresh Meat). The film is due for release in 2013.

July Drinks with Chris Jones 

Creative Director of The London Screenwriters’ Festival, Chris has made three micro budget feature films - The Runner (action thriller), White Angel (serial killer thriller) and Urban Ghost Story (paranormal thriller) – and, most recently, the Oscar-shortlisted short film, Gone Fishing.

He has written seven books on independent film making in the Guerilla Film Makers Handbook series, selling over a 150,000 copies worldwide.

His narrative work has always contained a slash of horror of the supernatural, a genre he began working in as a teenager with Super 8mm Zombie movies, which finally matured through serial killer thrillers and ghost stories. Of particular interest to Chris is the blurring between fiction and reality, his work often drawing from real life and presenting it in as authentic a way as possible. Chris is passionate about movies, and about stories that connect with audiences. He operates a very active filmmakers blog, at, where he shares filmmaking experiences.

This year, in conjunction with the London Screenwriters’ Festival, Chris launched the 50 Kisses competition, for screenwriters and filmmakers.

June Drinks with Marilyn Milgrom

Marilyn was Head of Development for almost four years at the New Zealand Film Commission (2007-2011), where the many films she developed included Tusi Tamasese’s debut feature O Le Tulafale/The Orator (Venice Orrizonti, Special Mention. Sundance Spotlight), Taika Waititi’s Boy (Berlinale - Grand Prix Generation K-plus, Melbourne – Audience Award) and Toa Fraser’s Dean Spanley, starring Peter O’Toole. Now back in the UK, she is working as regular Script Consultant to the BFI Film Fund as well as to several other producers and organisations, including the European producers’ workshop and network - ACE - and the Warsaw-based EKRAN workshop. In a long career in storytelling, Marilyn has worked as an actor, casting director, TV director and producer (of both drama and documentaries), and short film producer.

Before going to New Zealand, Marilyn was Senior Tutor at The Script Factory, with whom she devised and ran script courses in the UK and abroad. She has also designed and delivered training and development programmes for, among others, Arista Development, Screen East, EM Media and the Arvon Foundation. Internationally she has run writers’ workshops in Jerusalem, Mumbai, Kiev and Oslo and has been a tutor at film labs in Brazil and Singapore.  She has taught at the NFTS and London Metropolitan University and is currently a visiting tutor at the Central Film School in London.

Marilyn contributed the chapter on scriptwriting to the book Get Your Short Film Funded, Made & Screened (pub: ShootingPeople 2007).

April Drinks: From Film Script Editor to Screenwriter
With Jon Croker

Jon is a screenwriter working primarily in film. He began his career as a reader at Heyday Films, before working on the third and fourth Harry Potter movies. During his time at Hogwarts, he wrote and directed the microbudget feature The Best Man, which played at various festivals around the world, and wrote the feature Ealing Comedy. This starred Kulvinder Ghir and Alastair McGowan and was released in cinemas around the UK.

As a script editor, Jon has worked with a wide range of filmmakers including Jane Campion, Duncan Jones, Pawel Pawlikowski and Bruce Robinson, and on projects such as Attack the BlockThe Iron Lady and The Woman in Black.

Since moving in to writing full time, his credits include the upcoming Fast Girls for producer Damian Jones, and Big Talk's new horror film In Fear. His current writing projects include the true story Desert Dancer, with Reece Ritchie and Freida Pinto attached to star, a novel adaptation for director Anton Corbijn, and the sequel to The Woman in Black.

March Drinks with Jamie Wolpert

After graduating from Oxford with a degree in Psychology, Jamie went to the NFTS where he produced several short films, including the Oscar-nominated animation 'Badgered'.

 After the NFTS, Jamie was hired as Assistant to director David Yates on the Harry Potter films, a wonderful position that involved making up magic spells and playing the role of the Paperboy in Harry Potter 5.

After brief stints in development with some independent production companies in London, Jamie moved to Manchester to work with writer Paul Abbott, with whom he worked on several TV and Film projects, including 'Exile' and the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama 'Hit & Miss'. Jamie then moved onto 'Hit & Miss' full-time as a script editor with Red Productions.

After a stint on EastEnders, Jamie has recently started as the new Development Editor on the BFI's Film Fund, where he's responsible for working with producers and writers on BFI-funded projects as well as helping identify the next generation of UK writing and directing talent. He joins us to celebrate his first month at the BFI, the upcoming launch of 'Hit & Miss' and to share insights from a glittering career rise to date.

February Drinks with Lucy Scher

Lucy is Co-director of The Script Factory. She joined the organisation in its earliest days, producing the first season of Screenplay Readings in London. She then headed up its development and training programmes and has been Co-director since 1997.

Lucy has worked closely with numerous writers on short, feature and documentary projects including Paul Fraser, Lana Citron, Sean Hughes, Ash Ditta, Justin Kerrigan, Nick Broomfield, Gavin Hood and Richard Jobson. She has devised and delivered courses for numerous production companies, MEDIA training courses and the UK Film Council; has worked extensively for a number of regional production funds; and conducts regular development training for The Script Factory, throughout the UK and internationally.

Having devised the UK's first ever course for Script Readers over ten years ago, Lucy now heads The Script Factory's Diploma in Script Development, the first study programme of its kind staged in partnership with the NFTS. Her book, Reading Screenplays, was published in 2011. Read her full bio here

January Drinks: Slate Development (and Raising Finance!)

Sascha Hecks – Producer, Lex Filmed Entertainment
After working on the feature documentary TROLLYWOOD (nominated Best Documentary at the British Independent Film Awards 2004 and won Best Documentary at the Cinemanila International Film Festival), producing partners, Tracey Adam and Sascha Hecks went on to produce their first feature film THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dougray Scott and Jimi Mistry.

Following its worldwide release in 2006, Tracey and Sascha went on to raise over £1.4million in development finance which enabled them to oversee the careful acquisition and development of ten feature films, building a slate of viable commercial projects. 

Coming up is HEMLOCK DRIVE, a dramedy shooting in Louisiana starring Susan Sarandon, Malin Akerman, Adam Brody and Dermot Mulroney. Donald Petrie (How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, Miss Congeniality, Mystic Pizza) is directing.

Hot on its heels is THE LAST BACHELOR, a comedy set in New York and Alaska that Tracey and Sascha are producing alongside Ginger Sledge (Bernie, Appaloosa, Miss Congeniality) and LA’s leading management company, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and ALL ACCESS a romantic-comedy set in LA which is currently casting. Mark Canton (300, Letters To Juliet, Piranha 3D) is Executive Producing.

The remaining Lex slate ranges from kids action-adventure to thrillers, dramas and tween comedies.

Simon Bates - Screenwriter
Simon Bates knew he wanted to write and direct films ever since he discovered his Dad's Super 8 camera in the attic and started filming his brother falling out of trees. He started acting at school and directing plays in university. He decided to get a job in the film industry, then chickened out and got a proper job instead. In his spare time he made short films, the last of which played in festivals around the world and was nominated for prizes at a couple.

This gave him the confidence to finally quit his job and give the film thing a proper go last August.

In May this year he had a screenplay optioned by an established Hollywood production company. Off the back of that he was commissioned to write a $20 million action movie scheduled to shoot in Hawaii next year. Watch this space!

Simon and Sascha have developed projects together, so members will also be able to find out more about their working processes.

2011 Events
December Drinks: The Red Planet Prize
For our Christmas drinks we welcomed Robert Thorogood to chat with us about The Red Planet Prize - which has just reopened its doors to entries. This coveted annual prize is offered by Tony Jordan's Red Planet Pictures as a method of finding new writing talent. The idea was originally thought up by screenwriter Danny Stack and there are now over 40 upcoming writers in its mentoring scheme. Screenwriter Robert Thorogood is a Red Planet finalist who went on to develop his series Death in Paradise with the company (currently showing on the BBC).

Robert Thorogood

Robert has been writing for many, many years without much success. He's written three feature films for independent producers, two one-off comedy dramas for ITV and a one-off historical drama for the BBC (none of which have yet been made). As well as this he's been constantly developing series and film ideas - and selling the odd treatment or pitch - but nothing much ever came of them, either. In fact, his primetime BBC 1 show Death in Paradise is his first ever broadcast credit. It's been an interesting journey to say the least, and he's learned a lot about why all of his previous ideas never quite made it and why Death in Paradise was the one that 'got away'.

November Drinks: Industrial Scripts
In November, Evan Leighton Davis and Aaron Anderson of Industrial Scripts joined us as our featured guests. Evan set up Industrial Scripts only a couple of years ago and already he's put his script consultancy business firmly on the map, with hard work, industry backing and a high, online profile. Evan joined us to talk about the business along with one of his list of talented consultants, Aaron Anderson (left), who currently undertakes script doctoring and rewrite work for Industrial after five years on the UKFC's Premiere Fund. They chatted about their work and experiences, including recent launches of both the Talent Connector programme and new production arm; Takedown Pictures.

October Drinks with Charlie Hanson
Charlie's work as a producer spans over two decades of television drama and comedy. His award-winning work includes BBC Television's Birds Of A Feather, Channel 4's DesmondsChef, starring Lenny Henry for the BBC, Kelsey Grammer Presents The Sketch Show for Fox Television, both Harry Hill and Garth Marenghi for Channel 4, Alistair McGowan's Big Impression, winner of the BAFTA award for Best Comedy Programme in 2003, and ITV's The Sketch Show, winner of the BAFTA award for Best Comedy Programme in 2002. 

In 2003 he produced his first feature film, Amma Asante's BAFTA award-winning A Way of Life. The film, which had its world premiere at The Toronto Film Festival, was released in the UK in October 2004 to critical acclaim, garnering 12 international awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film, and the International Critics' Prize at the Miami International Film Festival in 2005, and four BAFTA Cymru awards. 

He has since produced two series of Extras for HBO/BBC, and won a Golden Globe for the Extras Special Finale.

More recently he produced the new Reggie Perrin on BBC1, and Whites for BBC2, starring Alan Davies, filmed in Cardiff, as well as his second feature, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's movie Cemetery Junction for Sony International, released in April 2010.

In 2010 he produced Pete and Dud: The Lost Sketches, A one off entertainment documentary special for BBC2 resurrecting sketches wiped from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s hit sketch show Not Only…But Also, hosted by Jonathan Ross. 

Charlie has recently completed filming Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s new HBO/BBC television comedy series Life’s Too Short starring Warwick Davis. 

September Screening:The Strange Death of Harry Stanley 

Jeremiah Quinn

Jeremiah is a screenwriter and In Development’s official photographer. He wrote and directed the short film, The Strange Death of Harry Stanley, premiered with our members in attendance (write-up to follow).

He sent his first spec screenplay, The Clerk of Madras, to Working Title, and the development executive who read it left, optioned the script and set up a company to get it made.  A few years on, there have been several books, plays and proposed films on the life of Ramanujan, the Indian maths genius, but Jeremiah’s script was the first.  It is still the highest-rated ever at and was selected for a BAFTA Rocliffe reading in 2008.  The rights have 

now reverted to Jeremiah. 

He has just signed a contract to write a feature film treatment of his own nautical thriller, Dead Reckoning, for Poisson Rouge Pictures - with Christopher Granier-Deferre attached to direct.

July Drinks: Critic and Creative

Danny Leigh
Danny is a writer and broadcaster. He has written two novels The Greatest Gift and The Monsters of Grammercy Park and is working on a third. As a journalist he has written for numerous newspapers, magazines and websites and has been writing The Guardian's weekly film blog The View since 2007. He is currently co-host of the BBC's Film Programme with Claudia Winkleman.  He joined us for a discussion about combining the role of Critic and Creative. How do we move between one end of the process and another and is it beneficial to do both? 
Jason Arnopp
Jason has written official fiction for Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Friday The 13th. His BBC Audiobooks release Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion, starring Matt Smith’s Doctor and Amy Pond, was issued in March 2011. His first novel, Friday The 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat, was published in 2006. Jason’s background is in journalism, having written for the likes of Heat, Doctor Who Magazine, Q, The Word, SFX, Kerrang! and Bizarre. 

Jason is a scriptwriter and novelist. He wrote and executive-produced Stormhouse – a horror film about the military capturing a supernatural entity – which had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2011.

June Drinks: Script Editing Comedy
Andrew Ellard
Andrew has been script editor on The IT Crowd and BBC One's Life of Riley and was in-house script consultant for ITV Comedy. When Red Dwarf returned to British TV, Andrew script edited the three-part special, Back to Earth. He also worked as associate producer and directed The Making of Back to Earth. After script editing on series 4 of The IT Crowd he joined a team of writers contributing to the fifth series.

In-demand for his work in script development, Andrew has also sold options on several comedy shows and released I'm Not With Him, a pilot audio sitcom, on iTunes. He’s currently writing two commissioned features, horror-thriller Chamber and road comedy Friday. You can find out more about him on his website here.

Paula Hines
Paula is a writer and script consultant who has script edited and developed numerous narrative comedies in production and development at the BBC since 2004.  Her experience spans single camera and multi-camera team written TV shows, as well as radio including After You've Gone, The Visit and the RTS winning I'm With Stupid among others.  Her writing credits include CBBC comedies Hounded and Hotel Trubble (rated No. 1 on CBBC’s iPlayer) and Radio 4 sitcom Rudy’s Rare Records (starring Lenny Henry).  After almost ten years at BBC Comedy, she is now freelance. You can learn more about Paula and her work on her website.

May Drinks: Building Developer/Agent Relationships

Katie Williams
Katie is a writers' agent at the Blake Friedmann agency. She works closely with Julian Friedmann and Conrad Williams, as well as developing her own list of clients. She is also involved in editorial, contractual and administrative areas across the film and television department. 

Katie studied English & Drama at Queen Mary, University of London, and worked for Elspeth Cochrane after graduating. She moved to The Agency (London) Ltd in 2004 and joined Blake Friedmann in 2007. 
Tanya Tillett
Tanya is an agent for writers and directors at The Rod Hall Agency. Her clients work across film, tv, theatre and radio and she also handles theatrical rights in books for the agency.

After finishing a degree in English Literature at Oxford University Tanya worked in various script development and production roles and graduated from the National Film and Television School’s post graduate diploma in Script Development.

Tanya is currently continuing to develop her client list while also assisting on the BBC Radio Drama Forum. Her clients are currently working with a range of independent production companies as well as BBC, Channel 4 and Sky.

April Drinks: TV Script Editing and Producing

Yvonne Grace
Yvonne is a producer, script editor and writer with over sixteen years experience in British TV on some of our most famous series including Eastenders, Coronation Street and Holby City. She was brought in by ITV to revamp Crossroads in 2003 and the series was watched by 1.5 million people a day, 5 days a week.

Yvonne is now a freelance consultant, writer and trainer. You can read her full, impressive bio on her website here

Philip Shelley
An independent producer with several projects in development. Philip has worked extensively in TV as both producer and script editor. As producer: Margery & Gladys (ITV); Making Waves (ITV); First Sign of Madness (Carlton\ITV), which won awards at the New York TV Festival, Worldfest Houston, and the Columbus Ohio TV festival. As Head of Development for Drama at Carlton TV: script edited Anybody’s Nightmare,  2 Inspector Morse films, The Wench is Dead and The Remorseful Day; Kavanagh QC, Plain Jane, Cider with Rosie, Noah’s Ark and The Waiting Time. As script editor: 2 series ‘Waking The Dead’ (BBC), ‘A Good Murder’ (Sally Head Productions \ ITV), Medics, Staying Alive and The Knock (ITV).

Philip runs the Channel 4 screenwriting course. Read more about him and his screenwriting consultancy here.


Hannah Billingham
Hannah is a freelance script editor and developer. She script-edited the hit Finnish feature film, Princess (dir. Arto Halonen), for Art Films Production, Helsinki. The film was released in Finland in September 2010, spent five weeks at the top of the Finnish box office (out-grossing films including Toy Story 3 and Inception) and picked up numerous awards, including a Jussi ("Finnish Oscar”). The English language remake rights were acquired by LA-based W2 Media, at AFM 2011.

Other clients include Sky 1 Drama (including research on the series that became Channel 4's Utopia), 104 Films (including script consultancy on Justin Edgar's latest feature film, We Are the Freaks), Picture Palace Films, AL Films, The Script Factory, the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum, and numerous freelance producers and writers. Hannah also currently writes the on-air continuity announcements for Fox TV UK. Read her full bio on her website.