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LOOP - The UK’s First Audio Drama Development Fund Launches

Press Release ·

Free Turn Entertainment and Screen Yorkshire announce the launch of LOOP; the UK’s first audio drama fund offering paid development for writing talent who live, work or are from the North of England. The initiative is aimed at published writers in film, TV, theatre, games, radio, or literature, who have not yet been exposed to the incredible new creative opportunities presented by the rapidly growing immersive audio drama space.

The initiative, which will be delivered through a series of online and in-person sessions in Leeds will run for five months from August 2023. LOOP will offer writers from the North of England a best-in-class programme of paid development and mentoring to develop, pitch and create genre-spanning audio, for global audiences.

Applications open today via Screen Yorkshire’s website, with ten writers being selected to work with a panel of UK audio drama experts, including commissioners, directors, producers and established audio writers to develop their projects. The full list of the panel will be announced in May. The development fund will help the North’s most talented writers define, develop and hone scripted audio ideas into creatively and commercially exciting projects that dare to challenge the audio format and ultimately grab the attention of listeners. The ambition is to work with a diverse group of Northern writers to develop a varied slate of genres including YA, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Fantasy and Comedy.

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Jon Hamm, CEO of Free Turn “The UK has some of the best writing talent in the world and a great tradition of producing high quality audio. However at the moment a lot of writing talent is unaware of the creative potential of sonic dramas and how to craft those ideas for a sonic medium. We have a clear agenda for the initiative, to close this knowledge gap, develop underrepresented voices in the North of England and to support the UK’s potential to continue to lead the world in this new form of entertainment. By funding this initiative as well as supporting it with our time and team we hope to give back a little to the medium that we love so much.”

Free Turn has a proven track record of supporting new talent. Recent projects include an original 8 part sonic drama created by Grammy nominated artist Justin Lockey, that will launch a major new British sci-fi franchise, and an exciting new audio documentary format in the style of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” for award winning writer, creator and performer Kirk Flash whose podcast THIS IS GAY won him the Rising Star Award at the British podcast awards in 2022. Both of which are scheduled for release in 2023.

Jon Hamm continues “With massive advances in both software such as Dolby atmos and immersive audio hardware such as the latest generation of headphones this is a completely new playground for creatives and we want to play our role in supporting this in the U.K. “

Jo Schofield, Senior Talent Executive at Screen Yorkshire: “It’s incredibly exciting to be able to launch a UK first with a scripted audio fund for the North of England. Our region is jam packed with talent who are eager to explore and experiment, shaping brilliant stories on a multitude of platforms. LOOP presents an amazing opportunity to do this, and I’m genuinely so excited to see what ideas take shape”.

Established in 2002, Screen Yorkshire has more than twenty years experience growing and developing the film and TV industries on a regional and national level. It has achieved this through content investment in shows from Peaky Blinders to All Creatures Great and Small, and design and delivery of a range of screen talent development programmes, most recently the FLEX agile storytelling programme, ScriptEd to support a new generation of diverse editorial talent and the BFI Insight Producer Development Programme.

LOOP is open to writers who live, work or are from the North of England and who are published or have a writer’s credit. Screen Yorkshire and Free Turn welcome applications from anyone who may not have followed a traditional route into the entertainment industry or faced additional challenges accessing support and opportunities.

For more information and to apply, go to Applications close Friday 19th May 2023.

About Screen Yorkshire

Screen Yorkshire is the engine that drives the film and TV industries in Yorkshire and Humber, UK. Its aim is to secure and support the very best projects, companies and individuals, helping to make the region one of the most sought-after destinations for production in the UK. Screen Yorkshire launched its Yorkshire Content Fund in 2012, now recognised as one of the most influential investment funds in Europe, generating over £225 million production spend in the region. The YCF has invested in more than 50 film and TV productions, including: Peaky Blinders, The Duke, Ali & Ava, Official Secrets, Bonus Track, All Creatures Great and Small, Ackley Bridge, Sky Peals, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, A Bunch of Amateurs, Dark River, Yardie, Ghost Stories, Dad’s Army, ’71, National Treasure and The Great Train Robbery.

Screen Yorkshire delivers ground-breaking training and development programmes to foster talent and build a skilled, versatile and diverse workforce, to develop regional talent and grow the skilled workforce by devising and delivering programmes that include; Connected Campus, FLEX, ScriptED, Beyond Brontës: The Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme and Centre of Screen Excellence: Yorkshire (CoSE:Y), working with local educational and training institutions and national industry partner; including ScreenSkills, MetFilm School, NFTS and the BFI.

Screen Yorkshire provides the Film Office services for Yorkshire and Humber. Staffed by experienced industry professionals, our Film Office supports productions from all over the world to film in the region, with a support package that includes sourcing skilled local crew, locations and filming permissions.

Screen Yorkshire has been supported by the BFI’s National Cluster Growth Fund using National Lottery funding to support the development and growth of the Yorkshire screen sector.

About Free Turn

Free Turn Entertainment, was set up in 2020 by BAFTA winning director Nick Hamm, his executive producer brother Jon Hamm and ex WPP alumni Gemma Batterby to produce premium film, television and immersive audio for global audiences. Recent credits include last year’s hit feature film “Gigi and Nate” starring Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, Charlie Rowe, Josephine Langford, Zoe Colleti, Hannah Alligood, Jim Belushi and Diane Ladd, the film was released by Roadside in the U.S. in 2022. The company has grown significantly in the last 18 months with a number of new projects coming to the screen or headphone in 2024.

This is a press release which we link to from Podnews, our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions.

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