Convergence Application Guidelines

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Short Circuit is committed to offering clear and accessible application processes that are open to everyone.

We can provide this information in alternative formats including:
• Audio file
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We can also offer support tailored to individual requests including:
• Sign Language interpreters for meeting with us prior to submitting
• Scribing support for dyslexic applicants.

Please email the Short Circuit team at hello@shortcircuit.scot if you require support to make your application.

About Short Circuit and Convergence

Short Circuit is the key hub for new filmmaking talent in Scotland, delivered by Film City Futures in partnership with Glasgow Film, and funded by Screen Scotland and BFI NETWORK.

Convergence is Short Circuit’s programme aimed at Scotland-based writers and creators currently working in other mediums and interested in making the transition to writing for screen. Applicants must have a proven track record in theatre, literature, radio, documentary or artist’s moving image. 

Convergence is delivered by Short Circuit with Script Consultant and Screenwriter David Pope, who has worked with Academy and BAFTA nominated producers and screenwriters. His recent work includes consulting for the Rotterdam Lab Cinemart, the Rawi Screenwriting Lab for Royal Film Commission Jordan, Cannes Cinefondation, BFI, Irish Film Board and the British Council, among many others. He is also a co-founder of Stowe Story Labs in the US. 

Short Circuit will select up to 10 applicants who will develop their screenwriting skills and industry knowledge through online development workshops, peer group discussions, masterclasses and 1-2-1 sessions. The programme will start in early January 2022 and will run for three months until March 2022, where a final pitch event will take place – also online – in front of an industry panel. There is no cost to participate in the programme.  

Applicants will finish the programme with a short film screenplay and a feature film treatment ideally positioned to apply to Short Circuit’s Sharp Shorts and First Features funds. 

Access

If you have personal access needs that will incur a cost during the period you are taking part in the programme, you can include these costs as part of your application. 

These costs are not just Disability access focused and may also include additional costs that help reduce barriers faced by you as a creator.

We define such needs as specific support required in relation to a protected characteristic of the Equality Act. 

If you are unsure whether your needs can be covered, please contact a member of the Short Circuit team at hello@shortcircuit.scot to discuss.

Access costs in this context can include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Childcare costs, where applicants are unlikely to be able to undertake the planned activity without this support. Please note that childcare costs are classed as a taxable benefit, so whilst we will reimburse these costs, you will be responsible for reporting this to HMRC.
  • Personal assistance support
  • Transport
  • An advocate (to support you with communication)
  • Accommodation
  • Equipment including adaptations
  • Communication support such as BSL interpreter, note taker, speech to text reporter, lip speaker, translation of documents into other formats/language, translation of documents into Easy Read or other formats such as large print or audio, translation support if English is not your first language
  • Communication support provided remotely or purchasing software and equipment to deliver communication support. 

Who Can Apply?

Submissions are invited from Scotland-based professional writers, filmmakers and creative practitioners from other mediums who are interested in moving into writing for screen. Applicants must have had work professionally published, performed or produced but will not yet have a short film or feature writing credit. 

Eligibility Checklist:

  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over
  • Applicants must be based in Scotland
  • Applicants must not be in full time education
  • You must be available for weekend workshop dates commencing in January 2022

Convergence is an inclusive programme, and is open to applicants regardless of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, or socio-economic status as defined by the Equality Act. We are particularly keen to encourage applications from individuals currently under-represented within the Scottish screen industries, including those from Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority backgrounds, Disabled and D/deaf people, the LGBTQI+ community and women. 

How Do I Apply?

Applicants will need to submit a completed application form containing the following: 

  • Short bio (max. 100 words)
  • Samples of previous work (to view or read). If you are applying with a written sample this must be no longer than 15 pages, of either your best work or a piece you feel has similarities with the ideas you are applying with. 
  • Personal statement (max. 500 words) outlining why you wish to participate in the programme and the kind of stories you would like to tell in film.  
  • Short Film Story Outline (max. 250 words)
  • Feature Film Story Outline (max. 500 words)

Ideas for short and feature films can be original material or an adaptation of the applicants’ existing work, as long as they own the underlying rights to the material. 

You will also need to complete an Equal Opportunities online questionnaire. 

Once you have submitted, you will be sent an email confirming that we have received your application. If you have not received such email confirmation within ten working days of your submission, please contact us by emailing hello@shortcircuit.scot

Application Deadline

11.59pm on Sunday 12th December 2021.

Please read both the Guidelines and the FAQs below carefully before submitting your application. 

Project Selection

Successful applicants will be notified by no later than Friday 17th December 2021.

This programme will include three full-weekend workshops in January and February 2022, with additional 1-2-1 sessions over the course of the three months. A Pitching and Feedback Industry Panel will take place on Saturday 26th March 2022, where participants will pitch their projects to a selected panel of producers and industry executives.

Participants will come out of the programme with a wider understanding of the film industry and the process of developing a screenplay from story outline to draft.  

Assessment Criteria

All applications that meet the eligibility criteria outlined within these guidelines will be assessed in full.

If your application is eligible, an assessor will look at your application, taking into account the following criteria:

  • the creative strengths of the ideas
  • the strengths of the applicant
  • the likely career progression benefit for the applicant
  • how the story might connect with audiences
  • consideration of how your ideas reflect good practice outlined within relevant BFI Diversity Standards and provides opportunities to under-represented groups in Scotland
  • the ideas’ viability at short and first feature budget level

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: 11.59pm on Sunday 12th December 2021
  • Selection: applicants will be notified by Friday 17th December 2021
  • Workshop 1: Saturday 8th January 2022
  • Workshop 2: Sunday 9th January 2022
  • Workshop 3: Saturday 5th February 2022
  • Workshop 4: Sunday 6th February 2022
  • Workshop 5: Saturday 19th February 2022
  • Workshop 6: Sunday 20th February 2022
  • Workshop 7: Saturday 12th March 2022
  • Pitching and Feedback Industry Panel: Saturday 26th March 2022

Convergence FAQs

1. When is the deadline for submitting applications?
All applications must be submitted by 11.59pm on Sunday 12th December 2021 via the application form available on our website.

2. Who will read my application?
Applications will be read and assessed by Short Circuit Talent Executives and Convergence Programme Leader, David Pope.

3. I have had television work produced, am I eligible?
Convergence is primarily for writers who do not have experience writing for screen. If you have only written for TV specifically and feel you would particularly benefit from the course, you are welcome to apply; however please note that applicants with no prior screenwriting experience may be prioritised.

4. When will I hear whether I’ve been selected for the course?
We will notify all applicants no later than Friday 17th December 2021.

5. What should I include in my personal statement?
This is an opportunity for you to tell us about yourself and why we should offer you a place on the course; tell us about your background as a creative, why you’re interested in writing for film, and the kind of stories you are interested in bringing to the screen.

6. What type of films are you looking for?
We will consider any genre of film. For Convergence, we are expecting to see exciting and authentic stories that show potential for development as a screen-based work.

7. Can I apply with an animation project?
Yes, we accept projects intended as an animation, as well as live action. It just needs to be fiction.

8. What level of experience are you looking for?
You must have been the lead writer, creator or practitioner in at least one shortlisted or commissioned project from another artistic field, such as theatre, literature, radio, documentary or artists’ moving image.

9. I am a Scottish writer but am not based in Scotland. Can I apply?
No, you must be resident in Scotland to be eligible.

10. I am currently in further/higher education (university, film school, etc), can I apply?
No, you cannot apply if you are currently enrolled full-time in further or higher education.

11. I am under 18, can I apply?
No, you must be over 18 to apply to Convergence. If you’re 16-25 years of age, passionate about film and interested in a career in the film industry, you should get involved in the BFI Film Academy. Find out more here: https://www.bfi.org.uk/bfi-film-academy-opportunities-young-creatives.

12. What access support is available for course participants?
There is a space in the application form for you to inform us of any access requirements you might have, including those relating to a disability, communication support or contribution to childcare. Please consult the ‘Access‘ section of these Guidelines and then contact us at hello@shortcircuit.scot if you have any questions relating to your needs.

13. What is the time commitment of the course? Can I participate alongside other work?
The course is not full-time, though you should be prepared to devote significant time to training dates and your own writing. It is up to you to manage your workload for the course alongside your existing commitments.

14. I was a participant on SFTN’s ‘Write4Film’ course – can I apply?
While Convergence is a different programme, the learnings and outcomes are very similar to the training offered by the Scottish Film Talent Network. Therefore if you participated in this course previously, we would not advise you to apply for Convergence.

Please contact hello@shortcircuit.scot if you have any further questions not answered here.