Writing comedy for TV and Film – a workshop with Henry Normal

Henry Normal, better known as co-writer of award winning TV and film shows such as The Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, The Parole Officer, Coogan’s Run, Paul Calf and producer of amongst many others Oscar nominated Philomena, Gavin and Stacey, Moone Boy, Uncle and Alan Partridge is coming to The Hive to run a comedy writing workshop from 4.30 to 5.30pm on Wednesday, 16 May.

Henry recently returned to his first love: poetry and will be reading poems from his book Raining Upwards from 7 to 8.30pm. He is establishing himself as a headlining poet at Literature Festivals, theatres and other venues. His poems have recently appeared in the Guardian, regularly on various BBC radio 4 shows and are promoted widely by the National Autistic Society and other charities for which he works

Writing comedy for TV and Film – a workshop with Henry Normal – Wed, 16 May

Participate in a workshop with the hugely talented Henry Normal who has been working in TV and film for 25 years. Henry was co-writer of the Royle Family, Mrs Merton, Paul Calf, Coogan’s Run and the film the Parole Officer as well as producer of Gavin and Stacey, the Mighty Boosh, Moone Boy and the Alan Partridge film Alpha Papa and Philomena. Needless to say, Henry knows his comedy!

Wednesday 16 May, 4.30pm – 5.30pm

£15 per person and this price includes a free ticket for Henry’s ‘Raining Upwards’ poetry performance in the evening.

Book ticket


Henry Normal – Raining Upwards – Wed, 16 May

The Hive is delighted to welcome the award-winning producer and poet Henry Normal as he reads from his latest collection entitled Raining Upwards

Henry, born in Nottingham, is a writer, poet and TV and film producer. He is the founder of the Manchester Poetry Festival and co-founder of the Nottingham Poetry Festival.

Since retiring in April 2016 Henry has written and performed two BBC Radio 4 shows ‘A Normal Family’ and ‘A Normal Life’ combining comedy, poetry and stories about bringing up his autistic son.

Raining Upwards is Henry’s first book with all new poetry in over 20 years. It contains 100 poems exploring science, nature, humanity and other important matters we are usually too busy to think about.


‘Succinct, heartrending and peppered with gentle punchlines’ – Hannah Verdier, The Guardian


Wednesday 16 May, 7 – 8.30pm.


£10 per person. £5 for concessions.


For those who have booked onto Henry’s ‘Writing Comedy for TV and Film’ have their admission for this performance included in the original price.


Book ticket


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Screenwriting Festival Saturday 14th April – Programme of Events

Worcester Screenwriting Festival

The Hive, Worcester

Saturday 14th April 2018

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James Wiles – Social Media Producer

Former student James Wiles visited us today to talk about his work as a creative director of Social Media and viral video.


James Graduated in 2015. He went travelling after graduation and then started looking for work in the Film and TV industries. His first job about a year after graduating was as a freelancer in multi-cam video production. He found this work to be unreliable and a constant struggle and began to wonder if he should consider a different line of work completely. Then he saw an internship at a company making viral videos for the web. He applied and started working for the Viral Threads channel of Jungle Creations in London.

From there he went to their Twisted channel as a creative director and then moved to Birmingham to work for On The Tools.

James’ talk was a fascinating insight into the social media production industry and the huge opportunities it offers to students.

The Industry

There are hundreds of companies in the industry all employing full time, permanent staff to work in their video production departments. They also offer regular internships and training positions.

To get a sense of the scale of this he directed us to these statistics on Tubular Labs – notice the monthly viewing figures in Billions for the top companies…


The Work

Caption videos. Generally this is Filler but still attracts huge viewing figures. (Often 20,000,000+)

For example, one made by James was the 5kg nugget challenge made for Viral Threads, which also took off on Lad bible with 40m views.

News footage as short video. The work also involves serious content. E.g. Syrian chemical attacks.

All of this requires sophisticated professional writing for structure and captions, as well as quick creative decisions.

Top down video Mostly comprised of static overhead shots of processes. This could be cooking, making, unboxing etc.
Eg.Twisted Kitchen – supersize big mac ring. And game of thrones cocktails.


UGC Shot to look like User Generated Content

ALWAYS – first 3 seconds relatable and sharable. End with CTO (Check This Out)


The Job.

There are hundreds of companies making this work (see the Tubular Labs list) each employs a staff of permanent full time creatives to make the video content.

Work 9-5 mostly. Permanent contract, good salary and lots of chances to progress and develop.

Making at least 3 videos a day. Some days that’s 7 +, others just 1 depending on the nature of the content.

Can be very varied, working on lots of different projects in various locations all the time.

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[WoRFs] The Plan + Guest

The Lucas Plan

This years WoRFs Spring season launches with a Special Preview of The Plan – a film that has not even been finished yet. The two extracts explain the historical context of the and then show the development of the plan itself. These two sections have been edited together specially for this event by the films director Steve Sprung.

You will have an opportunity to view an hour of this long anticipated project and engage in discussion with John Routley, one of the original Lucas Plan committee and Louis Stephen from the Worcester Green party.

Friday 23rd February 7.00pm at the Hive Worcester
(Note doors open 6.45 film starts at 7.15)

TICKETS £5 waged £1 unwaged online or on the door.
FREE for Worcester University Students

LUCAS 40 years ago, a group of young skilled engineers at Lucas Aerospace UK, experienced economic instability that seems familiar today. Faced with huge job losses they responded with an ambitious plan – designing what they called socially useful and environmentally sustainable alternatives to the military products their company made, including wind turbines, a hybrid car, heat pumps and low-cost energy efficient housing.

THE PLAN asks why their remarkable story, which flew in the face of recession and the free market philosophy rising up at that time, is not more widely known. It tells the story of their Alternative Corporate Plan using a huge amount of archive material from the 1970’s as well as contemporary footage of our present day economic and environmental malaise. It shows the way the Lucas workers developed their plan and the numerous ideas it contained as well as reflecting on its broader social, industrial, environmental and political implications. Asking, how can their story help fill the void of 40 years lost to the idea of society being subordinate to so-called free markets? It’s a story that is wide ranging and full of socially desirable riches, not only in need of knowing and celebrating, but that still offers much to our time.



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Myrna Tsapa – Director/Producer

Myrna Tsapa

 21st Febraury 2018

Screening of Katinoula 12.15pm
Live Video Chat with Myrna: 1.15pm

Room EE1126, Digital Arts Centre, University of Worcester



Documentary , 2012 Greece,HD,Stereo,47 mins

Cairo 2010.
Katinoula has grown old, but still actively serves a Greek-Egyptian lady of her age and origin. She does the chores around the house, haggles with the Egyptians in the marketplace and blesses each day even though what s left of her loved ones is just smiling faces in a picture.

Where have all these people gone?

All these years?

Let them go… Let them be blown wherever…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katinoula-310832308966105/ 


Directoctor’s Bio

Myrna Tsapa studied film direction at the Stavrakos Film and Television School  in Athens. Her short films have participated the official selections of at Drama International and National Film Festival in 1996, the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier  in 1996 and Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in 1997 . Myrna received a special award from the Greek Ministry of Culture and the prize for best female director at Drama Film Festival in 1999. She has been working for Greek television directing TV miniseries and documentaries since 1998.



Preamble (1988), fiction short 9mins

The Stranger (1996), fiction short 20mins

Before it gets dark (1999), fiction short 8mins

Filoxenoumenoi (2010-2011)  9  Documentaries   for Greek National Television

Katinoula (2012) Documentary  47mins

At the Pharmacy  (2013)Documentary 41 mins

Rainbow Street (2014) Documentary 48mins

Faoueyia  (2017) Documentary 61 mins




* 14th TDF   Thessaloniki –March 2012 official selection

* 5th Documentarist Film Festival Istanbul-June  2012-official selection

*6th Festival de peuples  Ânûû-rû âboro New Caledonia-October 2012 official  selelction

*6th Chalkida Documentary Festival-Greece October 2012-official selection

*7thDOCSDF Mexico-November 2012- official    selection

*1st Beyond the Borders Documentary Film Festival-  Kastelorizo August 2016-official selection




*6th Greek Documentary Festival-docfest Chalkida:

Greek Critics Award/Best Short Documentary Award/Best Director Award

*1st Beyond the Borders Documentary Film Festival Best Socio-political Documentary Award




Trailer    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJIZDZiG-xA

Facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katinoula/310832308966105

Purchace  dafilms.com/film/9645-katinoula/

Synopsis in Spanish   http://www.entucine.com/pelicula/katinoula/sinopsis



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Ben Whitehead – Assistant Editor

Former student Ben Whitehead joined us on Skype today to share his experience of leaving university and breaking into the industry.

Ben graduated in 2013 and spent the first couple of years working on a feature film that he started as a student. During that time he moved to London and took a variety of jobs to support himself. The struggle to complete the film and the difficulty of finding interesting work in film almost lead him to give up. With his film completed and working in an unrelated job it looked like he would end up pursuing a very different career. But then he decided to try one last time and to focus fully on film. A useful tip about the post production industry encouraged him to quite his job and work full time to get a trainee position in a post production house. Hard work, persistence and a bit of luck eventually paid off. He has since been working as a trainee assistant leading to being an assistant editor. He has worked on loads of big TV productions that you have seen in the last few years including The Crown.

Ben shed light on the importance of technical skills in AVID and After Effects, and the value of the trainee experience in honing technical and creative skills. He has spent thousands of hours working closely with highly experienced editors.

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Shaun Dey – founder of Reel News.

Shaun will be talking and showing examples of his work at the University of Worcester Video Studio (EEG185) on Tuesday the 5th December at 13.15.

All Welcome.

Shaun Dey is the founder and principal film maker with Reel News, a media activist collective that works closely with progressive working class movements, producing a bimonthly newsreel, posting videos and slideshows online and arranging screenings.

Reel News uses film as an active tool in creating change, grounded in our belief in social and economic justice and the centrality of the working class in achieving change. We aim to amplify the voices of struggles on the ground to help campaigns achieve victories, make information available and facilitate communication between different struggles.

Since 2006 we have made over 350 films, which increasingly have been key elements in campaigns and strikes that have ultimately been successful. Recent examples include advances in campaigns opposing police surveillance  and blacklisting, strikes for proper rates of pay on building sites, reinstatement of workers who were blacklisted for trade union activity, living wage campaigns,  the successful struggle for a living wage by British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew after 85 days of strike action, and resistance by public sector workers to austerity cuts, often by Labour councils, such as the successful Birmingham refuse workers strike.  Over the past 12 months, we’ve had two million views of our videos on Facebook.

Other campaigns we are currently involved with include the McStrike campaign at McDonalds for union recognition, a £10 per hour minimum wage and an end to bullying, the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, the struggle for justice over the Grenfell fire,campaigns to save the NHS, the Million Climate Jobs campaign and other initiatives for a worker-led jsut transition, and a global network of anti-airport expansion campaigns.

 In September we went to Catalonia to work with the anti-capitalist left, militant trade unions and neighbourhood assemblies who are at the heart of resistance to oppression and violence by the Spanish state over the right to decide on independence. We are using the film we produced to help generate working class solidarity in Britain, and are now in a position to take a delegation of trade unionists and activists from social movements over with us to make links when we return just before Christmas.


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Anne-Marie Sweeney – Documentary Director

Tuesday 21st November 13.15 – 14.15

Anne-Marie Sweeney is an acclaimed campaigning film maker. Her films, revealing the often unsung role of working class women as agents of political change, are imbued with humour and resistance. They have been commissioned by Channel 4 and internationally screened by German, French, and Australian television.

She will be talking about her experiences of working independently, for big broadcasters and as a self financing campaigner.

This is part of the Documentary Perspectives season. 

All welcome.

Anne Marie

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Morag Livingston

If you weren’t here you missed another great guest speaker today:

Moving from corporate world into Arts

Making films and keeping the subjects anonymous

Working with vulnerable people.

How to sustain a passion project.

Building a story.Applying visual elements. Using stills to draw out emotion.

Story boarding and organising assets

Visualising an imaginary critical audience member.

Ownership of cinemas and distribution.

“Where conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact”

Some useful references to follow up:

Part of the Documentary Perspectives lecture series.

Next Week

Anne-Marie Sweeney is an acclaimed campaigning film maker. Her films, revealing the often unsung role of working class women as agents of political change, are imbued with humour and resistance. They have been commissioned by Channel 4 and internationally screened by German, French, and Australian television.

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Morag Livingston – Director – Guest Lecture

Tuesday 14th November

11.00- EE1126 – Screening of Belonging
13.15- EEG185 – Directors Talk

All welcome.

Morag Livingstone is the Director of Belonging (2017). She is an experienced short filmmaker, writer, and documentary photographer telling the real stories of real people in order to bring about real change. She is co-author of two best selling books, Hackney Child and Tainted Loveboth published by Simon & Schuster in 2014.

Morag Livingstone has an eclectic, portfolio career:  an investigative journalist, award winning film maker, a published author (UK and France), editor in visual and written communications, tutor and lecturer. Working closely with a range of organisations from news, corporate, government, medical and not-for-profit she understands the need for effective communications, maintaining audience attention and keeping focused on the key elements of the story for that audience – always asking, why would this audience care about this topic?

She has made film projects for organisations as diverse as  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Unite the Union, Jessica Kingsley Publishing, World Bank IFC, National Health Service (NHS), London University of the Arts, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP). (A pioneering “corporate social enterprise” ), Simon and Schuster (A division of CBS Corporation), European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (Training and development of Communications Staff in multimedia communications (2013)), Flexenclosure, (designer and manufacturer of prefabricated data centre buildings and hybrid power systems for the ICT industry), OffCentre (Various projects on young people, 2005 – Present), HYPAC (Hackney Young People Affected by Crime – (Help Change the Headlines, 2010), Haydons Road Campaign (Road Safety, 2011), Citizens Advice (Life After Debt, Nov 2009 – 2011), RNIB, RNID, Oxfam, MENCAP, Contact a Family, Ethiopia Aid / Project Harar  (Noma: the face of Poverty, 2008); Comic and Sports Relief, (2005-present) The Carnegie Trust (2006), Stepping Stones for Families (Living with Low income in Scotland, 2006).


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