Masterclass with Toby Whithouse

Toby Whithouse is a writer and producer, known for creating Being Human (2008) and The Game (2014), as well as writing many much-loved episodes of Doctor Who. Toby came to Screen and Film School for a Q&A hosted by Industry Engagement Manager, Fiona Adams, where they delved into the details of his early acting career, how that transitioned into writing and the ups and downs of creating content for the BBC and beyond. Marking Screen and Film School’s first masterclass of 2020, (and the decade!) this session certainly didn’t disappoint.

Toby Whithouse’s Top Tips for Pitching

  • Prepare more than you think you need to!
  • Get visuals together and make sure they have a real connection to the piece. Think about the look, feel, tone, costumes, scenery- everything. Then get a lookbook together and use it as a visual explanation when you’re pitching.
  • Script the pitch and keep it to around 10 minutes.
  • Make sure you give an overview of the plot and characters. If it’s for a TV show, include an overview of the pilot and the first 5-10 minutes.
  • Have Passion! Believe in your ideas. If you aren’t interested in your pitch, why should they be?
  • Remember: they may have seen 3 pitches that day already. Make yours stand out.

Top Tips for New Writers

  • Read everything- it will help you find inspiration, plus, that way you can tell what has already been written and spot gaps in the market.
  • Watch the pieces you would like to create. Learn and use their structures and formats in your writing.
  • Your idea has to be unique- production companies will see the same scripts over and over, so yours has to make an impact.
  • Write something you would like to read or watch, but understand that it may never get made. It will be the easiest piece you’ve ever written.
  • Be you: write a script that only you could write!

Write something you would like to read or watch, but understand that it may never get made. It will be the easiest piece you’ve ever written.

Toby Whithouse