You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Creative Scotland’ tag.

Very Important day today at UWSAyr in Scotland as it’s the first day of Auditions for the 2013/14 BA(Hons) Contemporary Screen Acting cohort. Drama UK recognition has meant a record-breaking year for candidate numbers ! Good luck to all applicants

This Video was made by UWS Contemporary Screen Acting students.

Just got this on the hotline from my colleague Dr David Manderson

“Congratulations to Kirsty McConnell, a graduate of last year’s Honours Screenwriting/Film-Making degree, for winning first prize in the London Screenwriters’ ‘Fifty Kisses’ short film script competition for her short script ‘Enough.

You can read her script and the judges’ comments here:

Well done Kirsty! A career beckons.”

We would like to invite you to a Creative Renfrewshire Network Conference in Paisley Town Hall

Thursday 25 October – 12.30 – 4pm.

This is a FREE event.

Keynote speakers will address the conference on Cultural Planning – with specific relevance to grassroots influence on cultural strategy.

The conference will:

– continue to give local cultural organisations / individuals the opportunity to communicate

– focus on practical support through workshops in marketing and social media, business development, fundraising and the development of an exciting new film project that will profile local cultural activity in Renfrewshire.

Schedule for the afternoon:

12:30 – 13:00 – Welcome and Registration

13:00 – 13:30 – Keynote Speakers – Gayle McPherson UWS / Tommy Crummy Prestonpans

Cultural Planning / Lisa Whytock The Spree 2013

13:40 – 14:20 – Workshop 1 – Film Making – ‘The Pattern’

Workshop 2 – Fundraising – ‘Raising the Cash’

14:20 – 14:35 – Refreshments

14:40 – 15:20 – Workshop 3 – Business Development – ‘Creativity Pays’

Workshop 4 – Marketing and Social Media – ‘Creative Marketing’

15:30 – 16:00 – Networking

Please bring any promotional material for display / distribution round the main hall.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get together and share plans and strategies, look for opportunities for collaboration and partnership and to provide inspiration as we strive towards an even better cultural landscape in Renfrewshire.

We hope you will be able to attend and would be grateful if you could pass this information on to any other individual or organisation who may also have an interest in attending this conference.

Please let us know how many places you require – and an indication of which 2 workshops you would like to attend.

If you require any further information please contact – Elise Kelly


on behalf of the Creative Renfrewshire Network

I have wrtitten previously about the setting up of our UWS collaboration project “Studio Lab”  at our new Television Studios at University Of The West Of Scotland in Ayr . We have now reached Week 3 of the project and it is developing at a breathtaking pace.

Ten  4th year (level 10 )  Contemporary Screen Acting Students have worked on creating  the scenario, characters and script of a live recorded studio production of approximately 30-60 mins in length. Readers will, I hope,  appreciate that this is a substantial piece of work.It   will be recorded  “as live” at UWS Ayr  Studios on December 5th. It will be directed by professional TV Director Michael Hines , who as well as being one of Scotland’s leading directors, also lectures on our Camera Acting Techniques and Screen Drama modules. All the improvisational materials and exercises are being  been recorded , edited and disseminated online to the performance  team by volunteer Film Making & Screenwriting students as part of this crossover collaboration. The volunteer  recording team have put in literally hours of work to ensure that the acting team have the material in an edited form in order to reflect, and then deepen the characterisations which will be eventually reflected in an improvised  shooting script to prepare for the live recording.

Rebecca Skinner, Emmi Häkkä, Marius Pocevičius and Lizzie Kane in UWS Ayr Studios

As the project progresses closer towards  shooting, Broadcast Production students will become more involved, so that by the time we record, I expect a team of about 20 strong production team to be part of the behind the scenes efforts to capture the live recording of this experimental drama. Thus around 30 UWS Creative Industries students will have had the chance to take part in an authentic  hands on experience which we hope will arm them for the challenges of the Professional Creative Industries.

We have now reached week 3 of the project. So far students have worked on Object, Situation and Interactive  improvisations. This has produced approximately 3 hours of edited material. The first part of each session is taken up by watching, discussing and reflecting upon last weeks material. All the edited material has been previously posted on a closed Facebook Group where all the participating students, both voluntary and assessed, take part in creative online discussions through the week.Screen Acting  students are tasked with creating three dimensional authentic characters with a backstory, personna, and  psychological underpinning which will propel them into the creation of a fully integrated live drama.

Having now gathered a wealth of material, students are  engaged in the process of “locating” the precinct within which the final production will be based. Will it be an airport? An institution? A city street? A Spaceship? Inside John Malkovich’s head? The decision of what, where and how the precinct will be will evolve over  the next two weeks, so that by week 6, students have a firm grasp of the creative parameters of the project. By weeks 7 and 8, the  now located script will be further improvised, developed and honed. At this point, UWS Screenwriting students will distill all the material into a developing script, so that by the time we get to the Technical Rehearsal in Week 10 on Nov 28th, we will have an agreed shooting script  which fully reflects the creative input of all participants. We are then planning a final screening in our Campus HD 7:1 Movie Theatre in Week 12.

Next trimester, all the Contemporary Screen Acting students are tasked with writing a 4-6,000 word Ethnographic survey of the lived experience of the entire process.  This part of the process is has been devised and delivered by my colleague Dr John Quinn at UWS.

The combination  of the two processes, Recorded Artefact and Ethnographic Survey will combine in a 40 Credit Module to complete the Contemporary Screen Acting Research Project. We plan to have all student work submitted in a digital form and be deliverable online in the first ever truly paperless  I will update progress with the StudioLab project as it develops.

Katie Power,Catherine Lockhart,Stuart McGowan,Anna Kennedy & Claudie Baker Park improvise. Photos by William Aldridge

Gaiety Theatre , Ayr ,  Stage

The Gaiety Stage

I am indebted to my colleague at UWS, Graham Jeffery for the following news :
Marking a creative new chapter for arts in South Ayrshire, Ayr Gaiety Partnership has been awarded Capital Investment from Creative Scotland to redevelop Ayr’s Gaiety Theatre; transforming the historic South Ayrshire venue into a vibrant hub of theatre and arts activity for South Ayrshire, including a studio, education space, digital screen facilities and flexible spaces. (Development award £52,298; provisional Stage 2 award £1,176,277).

Ayr Gaiety Theatre

The Gaiety is one of sixteen projects for development announced by Creative Scotland on 25 September. The awards, for buildings and public art projects, will support organisations to develop ambitious new plans taking place across Scotland. Each project will now begin a detailed development stage and almost £15 million National Lottery funds has been set aside by Creative Scotland to support successful final plans.

Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland said:

“Great cultural facilities in every part of Scotland allow many more people to experience, enjoy and learn about a range of creative work. We are delighted to support Ayr Gaiety further develop its ambitious plans and we look forward to receiving full project plans that can invigorate the arts and creative industries across South Ayrshire. Involving local people in all aspects of activities, the hub will provide a platform for Community participation”.

Ian Welsh Chair of  Ayr Gaiety Partnership said:

“AGP welcomes the announcement of development funding from Creative Scotland. We hope to secure the full award in due course and augment this with other sources of funding. This will then form the basis of Phase 4 of the Gaiety Capital Programme on a basis to be determined. Meanwhile we look forward to the reopening of the theatre in December with our inaugural pantomime, Cinderella”.


The development of the Gaiety will invigorate the arts and creative industries across South Ayrshire through wide ranging partnership working.
The Gaiety will provide a base for arts programming, education and participative activity, and a social hub for those interested in the arts and creative industries.
The hub will directly improve the quality of life and opportunities for local residents, involving local people in all aspects of activities as audience, participant and volunteer.
Practitioners and students will benefit from training and showcasing opportunities, and a year round programme of activity will contribute to economic regeneration and the visitor economy.
The Gaiety will be the premier performing arts venue in South West Scotland, presenting the best of mid and small scale Scottish touring.
An innovative learning theatre will be developed in partnership with the University of the
West of Scotland (UWS), alongside a creative platform to support both aspiring and established practitioners in the arts and creative industries.
To create a platform for aspiring and established professionals in the arts and creative industries
To be a vibrant community hub to support and stimulate participation in arts and creativity.
To showcase the best creative work from professional, amateur and educational practitioners.
To help form close working relationships with Scotland’s small and mid scale producers and touring companies and selected international companies.
To develop capacity to provide a programme of outreach work in partnership with local venues and festivals.
To seek out and develop new audiences for all artforms.
To work as a catalyst for innovation, including initiatives in youth theatre, community music and disability arts.
To provide a ‘thinking’ venue with a range of talks, seminars, summer school, and training opportunities.
To stimulate the local economy as a destination venue for residents and visitors, improving the fabric of the town centre and contributing to the tourism offer of the area.

Best Writer – Daryl Cockburn for ‘Fate’
Best Director – Colin Ross Smith for ‘The Lost Purse’
Best Editor – Ray Paterson for ‘Run with the Wolves’
Best Sound – Scott McKay for ‘Your Number’s Up’, ‘Cloud Nine’ & ‘The Waster’
Best Script edit & development – Cheryl Belcourt for ‘Your Number’s Up’, ‘Cloud Nine’ & ‘The Waster’
Best Original Music/Composer – Frank McDonald for ‘The Lost Purse’ (collected by Producer Colin Ross Smith)
Best narrative in a music video – Ray Paterson for ‘Run with the Wolves’
Best Cinematography/DOP – Basharat Khan of Bash Art Creative/’See you in my dreams’
Best Production Design – Basharat Khan of Bash Art Creative/’See you in my dreams’
Best After effects – Colin Chaloner for ‘Cloud Nine’ (collected by Producer Andy Cassels Moniton Pictures)
Best Male Actor – Declan Michael Laird for ‘The Lost Purse’
Best Female Actor – Shona Denovan for ‘The Consultant’
BEST FILM & Cash Prize – ‘The Lost Purse’ by Colin Ross Smith (cash prize being used for festival entries!)
Audience Award Best Film – ‘The Lost Purse’ Always great when the Judges AND the audience agree!!!Special Achievements: Jason Weidner for innovation with ‘The things we do’, Mark Loftus for assist after effects ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘The Waster’ and, Sarah Michael for Costume for ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘The Waster.’
Below you can see a photo of Stuart Hepburn with Screenplay  winner Darryl Cockburn and the Cast & Crew of “Fate”
Special mention was made by many afterwards on Andrew McIntosh performance in ‘Your Number’s Up’,  (so versatile some folks didn’t realise he also played Mad Mitch!) John McQuiston in ‘The things we do’ and Lucy Goldie in ‘See you in my dreams’; but as I say I could go on on on and it took ALL involved to get all the films to screen!  There are also a heck of a lot of winners behind the scenes and I’d like to thank just a few of them here in particular, but a huge thanks to all of you who make WCA! constructive, motivational and fun throughout the year – Support Home Grown!So, a HUGE THANK YOU to the fantastic work and dedication behind the scenes to pull the event together from (in particular, and in no particular order!!!)  Cheryl Belcourt and Mark Loftus for fantastic support & skills work throughout the year culminating in the nights event – our host venues CCA who support us all year long with fantastic work spaces and liason with Events ManagementArlene Stevens, and last nights amazing platform to showcase our Screening & Awards night at Cineworld! liasing with Lisa Henderson Manager and the Duty Manager Helen and staff on the night kept up the excellent support.  Event specific Teams of Charlie Francis and Colin Ross Smith who managed the dvd compilations of screenings and ‘what WCA does’ – Interviewers from FLICKER magazine Sean Wilkie and Melanie, our Event Photographer Chini Obiechina – Event Assistants Kyle Spence, Katie White and Anna who put up with my hissy fits in the run up –Isla McTeerwho done all our lovely posters, flyers and tickets and Katie White for the amazing Awards that are now adorning your walls and putting a smile on yer face when you see it and think ‘I won that’ and deservedly so!  Lastly, a huge thanks to all the folks who came along to support Home Grown Talent, and to the Industry Judges who took time out from their busy schedules to watch the films and vote;Lizzie Gray, Bernard McLaverty, Eleanor Yule, Martin McCardie, Alan de Pellette, Nick Farr & Derek Morrison, and those who voted but were also able to attend the event to support and network in person; Zam Salin, Stuart Hepburn, Karen OHare & Dale Corlett. Big thanks! 

I have blogged in the past about using new media platforms as a learning & teaching resource. The entire content of our  BA (Hons) Contemporary Screen Acting Programme at the University of the West of Scotland is delivered using Twitter, Posterous and Youtube at the very core of Teaching , Learning and , crucially Assessement. From it’s inception in September 2010, student engagement with these platforms was developed gradually over the first 15 weeks of the programme. In the second trimester of the programme there is now 100% participation from  the students and participating  staff across a wide range of New Media . However I had carried out no empirical research on the pace of takeup from the students. This was due to the fact that September 2010 was the first time I had run the programme and I had other things on my mind more pressing than research.

However it has become clear from the level of student engagement and their enthusiastic and positive feedback that the experiment of using the new media in this way been a qualified success. Obviously I was hampered in that I had no data to demonstrate to what degree this had been the case . I also did not know if the alacrity with which my small group of 15 Performance students engaged with these new platforms could be replicated across the board with other Creative Industries students. The students had, after all, been interviewed and recruited on the basis of using these new media platforms as the key deliverer of their creative screen acting work.

My colleague John Quinn and I teach a module on the Film Making and Screenwriting Programme here at UWS titled “Team Writing For Television.” You can read about the background of TWFTV as I have blogged previously about the module here .We
decided to attempt to use Twitter as a platform at the centre of the module for student feedback ,f eedforward and reflecti0n, using the #TWFTV hashtag.

Since the start of the Module in February 2011, there have been over 300 (and building)  separate #TWFTV responses from the students. You can carry out your own #TWFTV search on twitter to have a look at them right now.  They range from reflections on  lessons, suggestions for new themes and Television Series to studied , and real time comments on shows I have asked them to watch out of class.This has been a voluntary process. Every time John or I get an interesting tweet on #TWFTV, we RT this to our own followers. There are no marks or brownie points for the students, other than the fact that we have shown them that we read their tweets, and will respond to them if we can. The sight of a student’s face when you reveal that you are indeed going to analyse their favourite long running TV series because of a casual mention on Twitter makes the whole exercise worthwhile. Thus, they KNOW that we listen to them , and the engagement goes up steadily as a result. A point to note is that the content of the students tweets,( contrary to fears expressed by colleagues) has been overwhelmingly positive and creative as the take up has grown steadily. It takes a bit of courage to throw open the doors of the classroom to one billion potential eyes and ears, but so far no one has flamed us online, and even if they did, as is the way with Twitter, the dogs would bark, and the caravan would move on. At least I hope that is what would happen. We shall see.

As the module has progressed,John Quinn and I have been monitoring, reflecting and reacting to the tweets, and have now carried out a short interim survey of the up take and use of Twitter and feedback from the students, to see if we can draw any general conclusions. We are specifically interested in exploring the use of Twitter as a tool for enhancing the Teaching and Learning experience from the perspective of the student.

There have been some serendipitous events as a result of this process. Peter Kosminsky (@kosmoSFL )  tweeted back to us on our response to his recent mini series “The Promise”. Francis McKee of the CCA in Glasgow  ( @CCA_Glasgow) RTd one of our responses also using the hashtag.  Reaction to our discussions have come from followers of The Glasgow Film Festival, Step2CollaboTV, and even as far afield as the States and Australia. In this way, the #TWFTV hashtag, which started off as a modest attempt to engage some students in Ayr with their teaching and learning has spread its wings far afield. It’s no Justin Beiber, but at least it is causing a small ripple or two in the Tweetoshpere. I even recieved an email from New Zealand asking me about the module and if we taught it by distance learning!

Below are some of the preliminary data and findings of this anonymous survey.
It is worth noting that the *12.82% of students who had used Twitter in the past for academic communication were all studying on my Contemporary Screen Acting programme. None of the remaining students had used Twitter in this way before. This survey was carried out in Week 5 of a 15 week module, so we are one third of the way through the process.

Response rate 78% (39/50)

1. Prior to the start of the TWFTV module, had you ever communicated with your tutors about class matters via a social networking platform?
Yes: *12.82%
No: 87.18%
2. Since the start of the TWFTV module, have you communicated with your tutors about class matters via a social networking platform?
Yes: 53.85%
No: 43.59

3%. Do you think that social networking platforms are a useful tool in communicating feedback to your peers and tutors?
Yes: 94.87%
No: 5.13%

4. Would you like to see more modules using social network platforms for class feedback and engagement?
Yes: 82.05%
No: 17.95%

5. Do you prefer using tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Docs to the university VLE Blackboard for feedback and communication?
Yes: 76.92%
No: 23.08%

We also asked for comments from the students about the use of Twitter. These were almost wholly positive .

One note of criticism was that ” It’s not fair that students who don’t use Twitter have an advantage by getting their views across.” my response to that was , if you think that they are gaining an advantage, then engage!

Another comment was ” You should use Facebook. Students don’t like Twitter”

Actually we ARE using Facebook, all my Tweets are delivered to my Facebook site, and at least two of our  teams use Facebook pages to communicate with one another, as well as Googledocs and , suprise surprise, Blackboard. However I am happy not to use Facebook directly, as that’s where students tend to hang out and discuss…well everything. And I don’t want to hear everything, I only want to hear about stuff relating  to TWFTV. I don’t have to follow them or find out what they did on Friday night, but I am able to key into their thoughts and comments every time they decide to use the TWFTV  hashtag. I make sure that I do a #TWFTV search once a day , and then RT any interesting material, and also ensure that I act upon any good suggestions. One very interesting corollary to this is that it is many of the most reticent students who use Twitter, the ones who never ask questions in class, the silent majority. Twitter gives them the ability to ask questions and make points without having to intervene at class.

I should add that Twitter is used exclusively as an ADD ON platform to our VLE, Blackboard. All important messages, assessments,dates, pdfs of lectures and the like are posted on Blackboard, and these are supplemented by a weekly videocast from me which you can see on the blog above.

These findings were  presented and discussed at the Student Engagement in Learning & Teaching Forum (SELT) in the classroom of the Future at the University Of The West Of Scotland on Thursday 3rd of March at 10.45 GMT. We carried out a real time discussion with the students and staff, and  demonstrated  a real time Twittter Ticker on display. The idea that a group of students can contribute any where , any time , to a discussion about the delivery of their own teaching and learning is a relatively innovative idea, and one that I will continue if I present the final figures. Another interesting point which came up in discussion is that we fully expect the students to continue engaging in online discussion using #TWFTV after the module has finished. We will archive the searches and use them as a resource for next years class. It may be the case that this cohort of students will carry on this method of feeding back in other classes. Time will tell.

We will continue with the monitoring process as the weeks go by, and share our data and findings in a concluding blog. along with a set of  conclusions.

Watch this space, and for a real time update, carry out a #TWFTV search on Twitter right now.

I will be presenting the final results at the TeachMeet event at UWS Ayr on Thurs  April 23rd.

Back Burners

David Simons The Wire

Weekly Video Blogs

Week 12 Video Blog

Week 11 Video Blog

Week 10 Video Blog

Week 7 Video Blog

Week 6 Video Blog

Week 5 Video Blog

Week 4 Video Blog

Week 3 Video Blog

Week 2 Video Blog

Week 1 Video blog

Team Writing For Television is a level 9 Module I deliver along with my colleagues Dr Jill Jamieson and John Quinn as part of the Film Making & Screenwriting and Broadcast Production Programmes at the UWS Skillset Media Academy Ayr Campus.

We investigate the theoretical underpinning of shows such as David Simons’s The WireTrue Blood (Ball 2008), and Sky Atlantic’s Boardwalk Empire,  and then apply these lessons to the practical task of writing a long running TV series.

This year we are  by the fact that for the first time this year we will be using Twitter at the core of our delivery. We will be using #TWFTV hashtag to allow students to receive feedback, for them to feed forward and also to reflect on their learning experience on an ongoing basis .You can read the preliminary results here on the BCI Research-Teaching Link.  This innovative online discourse both in class and outside should  hopefully provide us with an instant two way creative relationship between staff and students.You’ll be able to follow developments on Twitter by simply performing a #TWFTV search so there will be no hiding place from negative or positive feedback.

The students are all skilled in using Screenwriting Formatting software (such as CeltX and Final Draft, ) and have learned elementary Screenplay narrative structure in previous Modules such as Introduction to Scriptwriting and The Short Film. In week one they took part in an initial skills audit where we assessed their likes, dislikes, preferred genres and technical skills . From this data we have formed them into nine hopefully coherent teams whose task is to create the Bible for a long running TV Series. Each of the teams nominates a scribe whose task it is to record and publicise the discussions and action points of the individual groups online in a WIKI on our VLE , Blackboard.

Stuart Hepburn Working "The Grid"

The cohort of 68 students are now about to enter week seven  of the fifteen week TWFTV process. What started off for all of them in the first week was  a 30 second elevator pitch of their own individual idea. Gradually, as the classes go on, each individual student’s creative idea has  been  honed down to one per team, and the teams are constructing a Bible, Series Arcs, Character Arcs and outlines for each individual episode of their Team Project.

Over the next few  weeks  they will work on their project,using the creative grid system to develop their Team  Bible into a coherent 15 minute pitch which they will then deliver to Industry Professionals from the BBC, STV and MG Alba on Monday 18th of April.

In this way, Work Related Learning is embedded right across this level 9 module. (It’s worth noting that some of our best writers have gone on to work professionally on Shows such as River City and Waterloo Road.)

After the pitching session in week 10, each team member then writes an individual Episode of the Series. They also contextualise their learning by researching and writing a 2,500 word essay on a specific theoretical aspect of Team Writing. The end product is an entire scripted season of a long running Television series, from opening Episode, to the Final springboard to the second series.

As the Module rolls out, I’ll blog most weeks on the development process.

Stuart Hepburn with Julian Colton, Tom Murray, Carol Norris and some of the workshop delegates

I had a wonderful creative afternoon in Hawick on  the 30th of October  with my colleagues at the Eildon Tree  New Writing Festival. The festival, organised around the Borders New Writing Magazine,  is  a celebration of the past  11 years of new writing in the Scottish Borders. The three hour practical TV Writing Workshop I held included creating ideas, narrative structure, script formatting and how to get your script marketed in these straitened times.

The workshop was attended by amongst others, a documentary film maker embarking on his first fictional drama, a poet looking to create a short film, an actress developing her career options, three 21 year olds making a sketch show, as well as a couple of novelists and short story writers for good measure.

As usual with these events, I learned more from them than they did from me.

There is a vibrant creative writing community in Hawick and it’s surrounds, and it was a privilege to be asked to share their hospitality in the environs of the wonderful Mill Tower building. I am indebted to Tom Murray, Julian Colton and Carol Norris of the Eildon Tree for their invitation, and to the attendees for their energy and creativity.

There is an interview with me by Tom Murray in the latest copy of “The Eildon Tree”. Page 10. 

Stuart Hepburn and Creative Workshoppers in Hawick

Stuart On Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,023 other followers

Past Blogs

Flickr Photos