Writing for TV: WriteNow and BBC Studios webinar

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our next WriteNow webinar, taking place between 6-7pm, Tuesday 14th March.

In this hour-long panel, author Sathnam Sanghera and screenwriter Marek Horn will be joined by Suki Bergg, BBC Studios' Head of Development, and Charlie Silver, Development Executive at House Productions.

Chaired by Hannah Weatherill, Head of Media Rights at Penguin, this webinar will aim to expand your understanding of how a book becomes a TV show, as well as explore routes into the TV industry for writers.

Scroll down to learn more about the panellists, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

About the panellists

Charlie Silver started his career at Objective Media, before joining House Productions not too long after the company was founded. Having been at House for over five years now, Charlie works as a Development Executive across both the tv and film slates. His recent TV credits include James Graham’s 6-part series Sherwood for BBC One and the upcoming series The Good Mothers for Disney+/Hulu, an adaptation by Stephen Butchard, based upon the book of the same name by award-winning journalist Alex Perry.

Marek Horn is a playwright and screenwriter. His debut play, Wild Swimming, premiered at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and later enjoyed a sell-out run at Bristol Old Vic. A radio version was made for BBC Radio 4, and he is adapting it for the screen with Moonage Productions. He is working on further televisions projects of his own with various companies and is currently writing on Happy Prince’s upcoming adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s beloved novel, Rivals, for Disney Plus. He is also a Creator in Residence at BBC Studios.

Sathnam Sanghera was born to Punjabi immigrant parents in Wolverhampton in 1976. He entered the education system unable to speak English but went on to graduate from Christ’s College, Cambridge, with a first-class degree in English Language and Literature. He has been twice shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, for his memoir, The Boy with the Topknot, and his novel, Marriage Material. His latest book, Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain, was a Sunday Times bestseller and won Narrative Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. His first children’s book, Stolen History: the Truth About the British Empire and How it Shapes Us, will be published in June 2023. A sequel to Empireland, Empireworld: How British Imperialism Has Shaped the Planet, will be published in January 2024. He lives in London.

Suki Bergg has ten years’ experience in the television industry, and started out in comedy development at Objective Fiction where she worked across Gameface for C4, Witless for BBC3, Year of the Rabbit for C4, and Feel Good for C4/Netflix. She’s spent the last five years at BBC Studios, most recently working as Head of Development in the team that oversees the development, production, and distribution of BBC Studios’ ten scripted production companies.

Hannah Weatherill joined Penguin Random House in January 2023 as maternity cover in the Head of Media Rights role, representing media rights across the adult and children’s publishing divisions. Hannah has six years’ experience in the publishing industry, both in scouting and literary agencies. Most recently, she held the dual role of primary literary agent (fiction and children’s) and book-to-screen agent at Northbank Talent Management, securing drama and documentary options for fiction and non-fiction authors across all genres.

Joining the event

The event will be delivered through Zoom Webinar. To join the event, please click on the URL link that you will be emailed on Friday 10 March. This is your personal link to the event – please don't share it with anyone else.

If you get a pop-up when you click on the link, then select ‘open zoom.us’. If this doesn’t appear then there will be highlighted text that says 'launch meeting' on the main Zoom landing page. You don’t have to have a Zoom account to be able to attend the conference, but you will be asked to enter your email address and name. Please remember to enter your name and the email address you signed up to the event with (this will be the email we're contacting you on) so we can let you into the event.

When you log in, you’ll enter a Waiting Room prior to the broadcast of the event which will disappear when we go live. Your microphone or video will not be on at any point.

Illustration of a writer in the middle of question marks and speech bubbles

Jargon buster

Here's a handy A-Z of some of the terms you may hear on the day...

Learn more

Closed Captioning

Closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) will be active during the event. To switch on closed captioning you should see the ‘CC’ icon in the Zoom Toolbar (usually at the bottom of your screen).

Click on this and it should allow you to select ‘show subtitles’. This will switch on the closed captioning for you. If you need to change any of the settings, such as making the text bigger for example, then you can click on the ‘CC’ icon and you should be able to select ‘subtitle settings’ where there will be number of options available to you.

You can also view the subtitles on a separate web page for fully adjustable captions: https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=Penguin

Which devices work best?

We recommend connecting to the event on either a laptop or PC. Whilst tablets and phones work well, the viewing experience is better when using a laptop or PC.

Depending on your device there are different view settings, these are often active speaker or side by side. When a presentation is shared there should be the option at the top of your screen to ‘view options’ this should allow you to select ‘side-by-side mode’.

iPhones and tablets have different settings so we advise taking a little time to familiarise yourself with your device settings.

Asking questions

Video and audio will be automatically turned off when you log in and remain this way throughout the event, but you can use the Chat function to take part in discussions and the Q&A function to ask questions.  

There are two functions that will be available for you:

The Q&A function, where a Q&A box will appear in the black ribbon (normally at the top or bottom) of your screen. Please use this function, during each presentation, to submit any questions you may have for the panellists. Note that your name will be visible when you ask questions, unless you choose to submit anonymously.

As with the Q&A function, you can find the Chat function in the black ribbon of your screen. Please note that the chat function will not be monitored for questions to the presenters during the webinar, so please use the Q&A for this. Remember not to share your email address or contact information on here.

Recording of the event

The webinar will be recorded and made available to attendees in the week following. Your name and video will not be visible.

Any other questions?

If you require any additional information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at writenow@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

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