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Free Training Course

Metlab ran for the first time last year and as regular readers of this blog know, I was involved in the course as a script editor. The brainchild of John Sweeney, the course has undergone some radical changes this year – not least the fact IT’S FREE! Read on for more details that were posted on the SP e-bulletin this morning below.

For anyone wanting any insights on Metlab, you’d do well to ask the lovely Elinor. She was a student last year and wrote a wicki-wicki script called Penny Dreadful (that some of you may recall from Alternative Pitch Fever) which has already got plenty of reads and her some meetings. As for me, I don’t know yet whether I’m going to be involved this year or not, but I’m hoping so. Watch this space – and if you apply, let us know as usual!
The new Metlab programme at London Metropolitan University will start in late Autumn and run, initially, for one year. We will be looking to select between 5 and 7 scripts for development over this period. The aim will be to produce well-made film projects – good stories, well told that are commercially viable. The working model for the development of the script will be based on my book Successful Business Models For Filmmakers, with special emphasis on the Viability Threshold Theory. This model also reflects the new business models emerging within the film industry both here and in the US. When the scripts are completed they will be presented, on a one to one basis, to key UK film industry executives, along with a business and marketing plan demonstrating their commercial viability. The business and marketing plan will be created by Metlab.

The programme will be free, but each writer must agree to make any changes to the script that Metlab request. Also, as with the studio system, in return for having spent time and resources developing the scripts and the marketing and business plans, if the script is made into a film and released, then a small percentage of the box office reverts to the university.

The criteria for selecting the scripts will be that they: can be made for £500K using digital technology; are genre specific; have a clear target market; have the potential to recoup 3 times their cost of their production.

As regards the book, although just published, universities have started to buy it and recommend it to their students on filmmaking courses, which means you may be able to access it free if you are a student. If not, you can read about it here and, if you wish, purchase it at nearly 20% discount off the retail price of £23.95.

I will be at the Edinburgh Film Festival chairing a panel discussing this year’s Metlab programme on Mon Aug 20 – 11:30 – 1:00 PM in the Talisker Room in the Sheraton. On Tues 21st Aug I will be talking about the book, Successful Business Models For Filmmakers, at 11:30 – 1:00 PM in the Glenkinchie Room in the Sheraton. So, if you want to find out more then come along and ask questions or just introduce yourself and have a chat.

To apply for the new Metlab programme, please submit a 1 or 2 page synopsis to

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