Welcome to my interview with Graham Trelfer, from London Comedy Writers.
Hello Graham, can you tell us a bit about your writing group?
There is nice history of the group here. But basically it was set up by Jack Milner in 2001, back then it was known as the “East London Comedy Script Writers”, the group back then was based in Stratford. It later moved to the Old Kings Head pub near London bridge and was renamed “London Comedy Writers” or TheLCW. Meetings are held on a Tuesday night every 2 weeks.
How many members, on average, does your group have?
It is hard to know. Our newsletter goes out to over 1000 people, attendance goes from 30-50 people at a meeting.
Who are you and what is your role within the group?
I am Graham Trelfer, I run the website and chair the meetings.
How are your sessions structured?
Prior to the meeting a sitcom and a couple of sketches are selected, these are passed onto Robin Bailes who does the casting. The meeting starts with everyone introducing themselves, the first writer then introduces their sketch, the actors read it and then people offer their feedback. This is then repeated for the sitcom and another sketch. On occasion the format changes and we do all sketches, read the first 10 pages (for the Red Planet Prize) and 10 page sitcoms (for Sitcom Trials and Sitcom Mission).
What types of things do you cover in your group?
Mainly sitcoms and sketches. We have tried film, plays, treatments and extracts, but they never go down as well so we banned them. I would love to do more webisodes.
[More information about webisodes can be found here - RG]
What have been some of your most popular/successful activities?
We have had scripts produced, competition entries shortlisted and won.
Have you ever written collectively as a group?
We produced a stage show “Sketchageddon Live”, and its sequel “Sketchageddon Live 2” is due to be performed in November. The show features the best sketches that have been produced in the group.
Sketchaggeddon Live 2 will be held at the Canal Cafe Theatre on 23rd and 24th January 2013. Tickets are available here.
What kind of support does your group provide for its writers?
Networking opportunities and a forum to receive constructive feedback.
Do you have guest speakers at your group?
Only once and it was good. Would love to do it again, but it is just case of sorting it out. The group needs more unpaid staff.
Do members of the group get a chance to run/lead a session or part of a session?
Everyone is free to participate, but I moderate and run the meeting.
Where do you get your ideas/prompts from?
Reading and research.
What is the best piece of writing advice you've been given?
What is the best piece of writing advice you give?
Characters drive story not events.
Does your writing group have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook?
How would someone go about joining your writing group?
Easiest way is just to turn up on the night. The group is free and no booking is required. Check the website for the next meeting.
Thank you very much, Graham.