4Stories, the new-talent scheme, designed to bring on and help establish the next generation of writers and directors, is back!
The scheme is aimed at finding genuinely diverse voices, exploring contemporary stories of and by communities that are rarely seen on mainstream television. We encourage applications from talent currently under-represented in TV Drama – including women, disabled talent, ethnically diverse talent, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We want to hear from emerging UK writing and directing talent who bring a distinct and alternative view of modern Britain.
Initially we are looking for six writers who will be commissioned to write a treatment for an original half hour idea that can form part of an ambitious anthology series. Of those six, three will then be commissioned to write scripts for production. They will be tutored by and work with experienced drama producers at BlackLight Television to develop and showcase their unique voice.
We are also looking for three new exciting directors to direct the final scripts. The series will be broadcast on Channel 4.
At the end of the process the three chosen writers will also have the opportunity to develop an original series, serial or single with BlackLight Television and Channel 4.
Directors will learn how to hone their skills and deliver their vision under the guidance of experienced drama professionals, kick-starting their careers directing drama for television. This is a unique opportunity for emerging writers and directors to make an authored TV drama with a guaranteed network broadcast.
Commissioned by Channel 4 from BlackLight Television, and supported by Directors UK, the aim is to create an eye-catching, original and bold anthology. We aim to start pre-production in the summer of 2022.
Before completing this form please ensure that you have read and understood the guidelines for the scheme. We can only consider fully completed forms.
This initiative is aimed at reflecting the diversity of all of the UK and we encourage talent currently under-represented in TV Drama to apply – including women, disabled talent, ethnically diverse talent, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I can’t tell you how instrumental this scheme was for career progression but also honing my craft as a director. Ben and Phil’s support was second to none. They create an environment which gives filmmakers the autonomy to develop their skills set.”
“These two are a powerhouse. Extraordinary producers, script editors, artists in their own right and, crucially, the most kind and encouraging nurturers. 4Stories gave me confidence, access and a sense of self worth like I had never before experienced in this industry.”
“Taking part in 4Stories was a real pleasure and a privilege. Prior to this I had almost no experience in writing for screen (I hadn’t even bought final draft). Not only did the team at Blacklight guide me through the process of pitching, writing and rewriting – they also patiently helped me with the nuts and bolts of screen writing. What it should look like on the page. Dos and don’ts. And my personal biggest challenge – story!”
“Being able to write ‘Adulting’ has been a big career moment for me. Having spent many years trying to find a door open enough for me to find the support I needed, working with Blacklight, through 4Stories, has been invaluable. For the first time, I feel that my unique voice as a writer might have a place in the screenwriting world in the UK.”
“4Stories was a career-changing experience. I learnt a huge amount on a professional level, adjusting to the bigger production scale and longer shooting period in a way that felt manageable. Most importantly, it was a piece I felt immensely proud of creatively, which was hugely thanks to the opportunity that Blacklight and Channel 4 gave us to really author our three separate films in distinctive ways.”
“I loved that the directors and producers share an office and you feel very supported. There’s a really nice family vibe with the crew that makes you feel comfortable.”
“When I went to my first 4stories interview I was nervous about telling the producers about my newly born baby…In my head I thought this was going to be something that would stop my career or at least make it very difficult to work. However, the producers quickly reassured me that they would support me in every way and make sure I could have an equal experience to the other two directors. And they really did. I felt supported by production, by channel4 and it really made me believe in myself as a director and a mother, that I could achieve anything I wanted. It was such a great experience to work with such an amazing team.”
“Through 4Stories I found my true authentic voice in my filmmaking. It taught me that I have the ability to elevate a script and find a visual poetry within it. It’s been an amazing career progression”
“There’s essentially nothing quite like this opportunity in the British TV industry – there are lots of talent labs and hot talent lists and a bit of mentoring/shadowing, but 4Stories is unique in actually enabling three writers and three directors to make their first piece of television, and get that all important first credit. I went on to direct a second block of The Flatshare for Paramount+ and I’m now back at Channel 4 directing the opening block of Truelove. This trajectory just wouldn’t have been possible without the huge leg–up of 4Stories”
“’For You’ was a career breakthrough. Through the comprehensive support of the 4Stories initiative, both BlackLight and Channel 4 have helped me to grow my industry network and access new opportunities in TV and film. I have emerged from the process with an all-important first credit, a treasure trove of insight and a belief that more is possible.”
“4Stories was a baptism of fire in the best possible way. It was my first experience working in TV and a brilliant chance to gain experience in every aspect of the process – from the seed of the idea right the way through to production. Since 4Stories I haven’t stopped working.”
“The experience gave me a valuable insight into how TV production works. I enjoyed the collaborative process – shaping the story, working closely with the Producers to realise the vision for the film and crafting performances from the cast. You learn about pacing, how to build tension and story editing, you really learn the mechanics of storytelling for the screen”
“I learnt so much as a director on 4Stories; the importance of collaboration; picking your battles and fighting for what you think is important but also learning to listen and compromise when it’s right for the film.”
“To see something through to production early on in your writing life is – I think – almost unheard of, and in my opinion the most incredible opportunity to learn. Casting. Visiting set. Working with a director. Meeting deadlines. Incorporating a commissioners notes. Rewriting around budget or location restrictions… I couldn’t have experienced this stuff writing on spec. Without sounding too X factor about the whole thing, 4Stories has undoubtedly changed the landscape of my working life”
“Thanks to the 4Stories experience, I wasn’t phased when it came to pitching or notes sessions or tight deadlines. I’m really proud to have worked with such an amazing team and to have That Girl as my first TV credit.”
“There is no other entry point into the industry for writers like 4Stories. A single drama being produced is a rarity for any writer, let alone an early career writer, from a working class background, who is neurodivergent and from the global majority. It’s vital that 4Stories continues not only for writers, but for audiences. 4Stories is a way into new voices, new worlds. It scoops up the unheard, the marginalised, supports them, and, most importantly of all, produces their work, placing it at the heart of primetime British television.”
“BBW was a defining project for me. Immediately following, I directed the season finale of Armando Iannucci’s new HBO comedy Avenue 5.”
“Before 4Stories I had no film or TV agent, no broadcast credits, no industry contacts. On the scheme I learnt how to work with an incredibly talented writer, a script supervisor, how to work with executive producers, the dynamics in pre and post production and so on. This was such a wonderful and invaluable experience. My career has been non stop since.”