Summer Series: 28 Day Script Challenge

21 August, 2020

Welcome to Screen and Film School’s Summer Series!

We’re delighted to be running a range of inspiring and insightful events including Masterclasses, Workshops, Tech Talks and drop-ins for both current students and new starters.

The 28 Day Script Challenge took place in July as a collaborative project between Screen and Film School and Jumpstart Productions for our summer series. Hosted by Jamie Patterson and Natalie Purchase, the challenge saw 7 of our students step outside their comfort zones as they each attempted to write a feature-length script in just four weeks. The result was a small community of writers that met once a week on Zoom and supported each other throughout the week in a private Facebook group throughout the challenge.

“Writing can be a lonely task, so we wanted to foster a low-pressure environment for scriptwriters of all abilities, where they could share ideas, support each other, and provide some comic relief in these strange times,” said Natalie Purchase- Screen and Film School’s Industry Placement and Alumni Officer. “During the weekly catch up sessions, I saw our students come out of their shells, and I hope they’re all incredibly proud of the hard work they put in over the challenge!”

Co-host Jamie Patterson is a prolific British filmmaker and co-founder of Jump Start Productions. He wrote and directed Tucked (2017), a British drama set in the world of drag queens. The film premiered at Outfest Film Festival 2018 in Los Angeles, where it won the ‘Audience Award’ and ‘Best International Narrative’ and was released by Gravitas Ventures in 2019. Previously Patterson directed sci-fi thriller Caught (2016), which won the ‘Critics Choice’ award when it premiered at Portugal’s Fantasporto Film Festival.

We caught up with Jamie last week to ask some questions about the 28 Day Script Challenge, and why challenges like this can help aspiring screenwriters.

How did the idea of the 28 Day Script Challenge come about?

The idea came from wanting to do something creative during this pandemic. The idea of doing something productive and using this time to try and write something felt exciting to me. Our industry has been hit hard, but we’re all in it together and we will come back strong- when that happens I wanted students to have a script they could look at making.

Why does having a time limit benefit scriptwriters?

I pretty much always write to a deadline. Deadlines allow you to focus on today instead of tomorrow. It’s about being productive, so many people put off starting to write, they wait for the perfect time, there’s no such thing. A 1st draft will suck 99% of the time. There will be great moments and bad moments. It’s important to embrace that fact and not strive for perfection with every word you write.

What advice can you give aspiring screenwriters as they develop their projects?

I think it depends what you want from it, if you’re looking to direct your script and it’s your first film I would say keep it small and write what you know. If you’re looking to sell a script or get representation then write what you love. You need to have a great calling card!

What are your top tips for aspiring directors?

Direct. I think too many people don’t and there’s no excuse for it anymore. You can shoot a film on your iPhone and get into Sundance with it. You have to fight for your chance in this industry. You need to make films, lots of them. I would suggest making a feature film and aiming for a festival run: you need to generate buzz about you. Also making a film for no money isn’t exciting anymore, everyone is doing it, you need your first film to be great! Cast right, there’s no excuse for bad casting, 85% of actors are out of work!

What did you enjoy most about hosting the 28 Day Script Challenge?

The discussions. It’s exciting to talk to people who have a passion for writing, it’s inspiring! I can’t wait for the next one!


A huge thank you to Jamie, Natalie, and of course all of our wonderful students who took part in the challenge!

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