“For screenwriters life can feel pretty isolating. This is true for both the novice and the established writer. Notes from an expert are vital, because the relationship between a screenwriter and his/her script can become completely dysfunctional. The writer is often the last to accept what is plain for others, even non-professionals, to see. Those wonderful lines of sparkling dialogue that have you chuckling as you imagine them being delivered by Benedict Cumberbatch and Cate Blanchett? Those neat action lines you can’t wait to advise Ang Lee how to interpret and present ? I knew whenever I revised my script that something was still missing, that the plot lacked something I couldn’t put my finger on. I needed another pair of eyes.
For me, this is where Kath came in. I approached her on recommendation and she had the integrity from the start to ask whether she was the best person for the kind of project I was involved in. A deeper exploration of what I needed led to the agreement to work together. I have never doubted, for one minute, that I am in the hands of a true expert who loves the craft of screenwriting.
What immediately comes across is Kath’s generosity of spirit in her approach to her work. In conversations with her, whether face to face, or by phone, it has been clear that she has fully engaged with the script, its characters and its structure. Kath is almost forensic in her scrutiny of the script, always with an eye to the development of the plot. She immediately “got” my characters and helped me to develop those characters’ stories much more effectively.
This is not to say that I haven’t flinched at Kath’s frankness in challenging those parts of the script that weren’t working. What she has managed to instil in me is a more disciplined approach to scenes. We know intellectually that each scene must earn its place in the service of the plot, but it’s hard to delete scenes one has worked so hard on for so long. I have learned to trust Kath’s instincts about how a plot can be energised and lifted to another level, and that has meant that some much treasured scenes have had to either go or be incorporated into the narrative in a different way. I have found this liberating. With Kath’s help I have been able to unlock a more effective and creative approach to my writing and I am very grateful.”Dennis Hurleston
“I was extremely fortunate this year to be mentored by Kath on my final project of the MA in TV Fiction Writing course at Glasgow Caledonian University. Over three months I worked closely with Kath as she read my work and gave me notes from story document to scene by scene to script.
We first met in May when I showed her a one-page document I had written for the pilot of a relationship drama serial, ‘The Fame Game’. It’s always nerve wrecking sharing a not yet fully-formed initial idea for a screenplay and being honest about what you want to do, the motivations for why you want to do it and what aspects of the story you haven’t yet thought through.
From the very first moment we discussed that initial page, Kath’s insights were incredible. She made so many instant observations on the tone, characters and structure of my pitch which I hadn’t before-hand considered, but which once she had discussed with me seemed so obvious. I left this initial meeting absolutely buzzing with ideas and, inspired by Kath’s thoughts, feeling excited by the direction in which I was going to take ‘The Fame Game’.
Kath and I worked on the scene by scene for a long time and I only began writing the script one month before the deadline. This would have once terrified me - previously if I had a lot of writing to do the temptation was to get started as soon as possible and start writing specific scenes and ideas for dialogue. But the result of doing several drafts of the scene by scene was that I felt utterly supported by structure I had confidence in and the final writing process was much smoother because of it.
We met up once more, frequently emailed and spoke on the phone. Kath was always able to leave me more inspired than I had been before we spoke: she has this fantastic way of communicating with a writer on their work which is clear, honest, constructive and always motivating. What I loved about our sessions was she really challenged me to be honest about every single one of my motivations in writing this serial, so that every character, scene and moment truly earned its place. As I was dealing with sensitive subject matter (one of my main characters undergoes a biopsy to determine if the cancer she has suffered previously has returned), Kath really challenged me to do my research and justify every single beat - would the nurse really say that? Would the patient be able to drink anything before the surgery? What would her husband be doing whilst it was going on? What would the timescale be between appointments? What would they say to each other the night before? How would this terrifying ordeal affect their marriage? There was a lot to think about and I felt so lucky to have Kath to go to whenever I hit a mental brick wall. She is an excellent mentor and if you get the chance to work with her, take it. I’m convinced her guidance was instrumental in the distinction I was awarded for this piece of work, and thanks to Kath I have a strong spec TV script to show to agents and drama executives. “Amy Hawes
“A recent meeting of UK broadcasters and producers identified a significant gap in the training of UK TV writers. Kath’s workshop fills this gap. There are plenty of courses, schemes and initiatives to help writers get a career started. There are few to help writers move on to the next level. The art and practice of storylining is crucial to any long form drama and particularly for anyone wishing to work in long running series. The first time I attended a real storylining conference, I had no idea what to expect, was nervous as a kitten and made pretty much every mistake in the book. Had I attended Kath’s course first, I would have coped far better and short-circuited a learning process that involved a great deal of painful and expensive trial and error on the job. Even after having done that, getting the benefit of her considerable experience and professionalism in the relaxed, pressure-free and very enjoyable atmosphere of her workshop was invaluable. Whether you’re still waiting for that initial commission or have made the first step and are looking to develop the skills and confidence to move on - Kath’s workshop is a must.”Bill Armstrong
“It was very exciting to see the different story ideas that everybody came up with when pitching. Fascinating to see people’s differing interpretations of who the characters were, and where they could potentially go! It also showed the wild range of storyline possibilities that can be spun off from the same starting point.
I felt that Kath really ‘got’ where my interests lay in soaps, and her feedback on how to approach the industry has been invaluable. I also appreciated how open she was with us about her own moments of nerves, procrastination, etc, along the way.”Adam Beresford
“As a massive fan, wannabe writer and story-liner for continuing drama, I jumped at the chance to take part in Kathleen’s Story-lining for Continuing Drama workshop in the hope that I could learn exactly how the story process on continuing drama works from one of the UKs most successful executive producers. Having had some experience writing plays and screenplays I was very keen to better understand story generation for my favourite programmes. I can safely say that my hopes and expectations were met resoundingly. Kathleen’s background working on the country’s biggest continuing dramas ensures that she is a perfect teacher and mentor with an unparalleled knowledge of story and an expert precision in creating compelling beats with narrative drive.
The workshop itself was fun, collaborative, spirited and energising and it was great to see the very different personalities around the table get behind the right idea as collectively agreed, rather than stubbornly sticking to everyone’s own individual ideas. Our egos were happily parked outside and the focus was entirely on the best possible story we could create. I loved the balance of the collaborative team environment of the workshop to brainstorm and settle on story, coupled with the individual process of writing out the two agreed storylines as well as my own proprietary storyline. Kathleen’s subsequent expert edit gave me great constructive feedback and her generous words of encouragement gave me real confidence in my storytelling abilities.
Overall, the workshop was a hugely challenging and enjoyable creative whirlwind and the entire story-lining process proved to be an invaluable learning curve for me. There is no doubt that as a result of participating, I am now much better equipped to hopefully move into a story or writing team. If you are interested in developing story skills in an open, collaborative, professional forum, while learning how it really works, from a genuine industry specialist, then I would highly recommend Kathleen’s excellent workshop. You’d better be quick though, places go like hotcakes!’
“Of all the training days I’ve been on, Story Script Action was one of the very best. Kath’s welcoming approach and thorough preparation meant that I felt I was in good hands from the moment I walked in. I was determined to get as much as I could from the experience and had spent a lot of time going through the material provided in advance, wondering if I’d be the only one who’d taken it so seriously. Not so! The other group members had clearly done the same, and we pitched stories for the non-existent soap as though it would be filmed the next week. Some were more nervous than others, but that was okay and Kath managed to get us competing cooperatively, or cooperatively competing so that we developed the most exciting - but feasible - of our ideas into fully-formed storylines.
We agreed on strands from many of the pitches and weaved them together. We got stuck and Kath helped us plod through it. We got into heated debates and Kath managed to guide us through them. All the while, I felt as though this could be a real process on a genuine soap and these might be my teammates. How I wish that were so. I drove home in a haze of murder by kebab (sadly nobody took me up on that one) and with vibrant images of scenes we’d conjured up together. It was over. But I consoled myself with the knowledge that now there was more work to do. A very real deadline, less than a week away, when I needed to submit my fleshed-out and detailed storylines in the format Kath had provided. I have never enjoyed a challenge so much. There was enough complexity in what we’d developed together that I knew what I was doing, but plenty left to my imagination so that I could make it my own.
Still there was more. I waited nervously for the feedback and received detailed notes from Kath, with plenty of time to read them before an hour-long phone-call to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of what I’d written. I learned on the day; I picked up still more in the writing that followed; extra pearls of wisdom from the written notes and if that wasn’t enough, a whole hour on the phone to ask whatever I liked about the process, the industry, you name it. By the end of it I really wanted to see our storylines filmed and broadcast. It felt like a real project.
In the weeks since, this workshop has really transformed one of my current projects, which I’d been struggling to get past the first section. I was lost in the muddle of it all. But after the workshop, I could suddenly see how to break down the complexity into several key storylines, understood what I needed to put in each, the level of detail I needed to aim for and the ‘writerly stuff’ I could leave for later. Genius. I’m seriously considering attending again to see what I can learn from another bunch of people. “Tracey Parsons
“The insight found in this workshop really is priceless. I had the full experience of what it’s like to be part of a storylining team, pitching my own ideas, tussling through plot problems together and finishing with something that everyone was excited about. This all being lead by an Executive Producer and Writer with deep experience in the trenches of storylining, I really feel like I walked away knowing exactly what the industry would expect of me when approaching this for real. A lot of work has been put into actually creating a soap opera with rich characters and back story, so you really get a feel for what it’s like to dive right in with a team. As a writer used to always working alone, it was a thrill to work in this way – and a lot more fun that I ever would have guessed.
Learning about the process of storylining has really helped me in my approach to creating plot. It cuts out the temptation to get sidetracked on details or images, and helps you keep focused on the real meat of a living breathing story. I’m highly recommending this workshop to other writers I know.”Christopher Young
“I have never hosted or organised a workshop of any kind myself thus far in my life, however, if I was to put one together I would surely use Kathleen Beedle’s workshop as a benchmark (though in so doing I may be setting the bar rather high for myself!). Whenever you wish to learn something you need an environment that is conducive to that learning process and Kathleen’s workshop is certainly one of these environments. From the moment I arrived I felt at home, Kathleen is genuinely interested in you as an individual and keen to bring your strengths to the fore whilst making it possible for one to realise areas that they must improve upon. Everyone is respected and encouraged to partake in the discussion, there is a real positive vibe which naturally promotes teamwork.
Furthermore, the workshop is not merely a crash course to writing drama. It is in fact a process whereby Kathleen guides you before, during and after. Before the workshop everyone receives comprehensive notes that really puts you in the picture. The workshop itself builds on the information already received and the one to one feedback post-workshop is invaluable and a great opportunity to ask questions of an industry expert. Constructive feedback is given in a warm and friendly manner with a genuine interest to foster new talent is clear. In the Indian culture a teacher is regarded as a teacher for life; if this is the case then I am glad to have have Kathleen Beedles as one who taught me how to write effective drama. All too often there is a negative picture painted of media professionals; snooty producers out for themselves. Kathleen is the antithesis of this stereotype.”Ramman Gautam
“I am a complete beginner when it comes to storylining. Although I enjoy writing, the technicalities and the skills that it takes to compose compelling storylines were completely foreign to me when I went into the workshop. However Kath’s workshop didn’t make me *feel* like a beginner. Although we were in a simulated session, it felt like we were in a real-life story lining session- and yet every concept was thoroughly explained. Kath taught us without being didactic. She was very encouraging; guiding and suggesting, letting us come to our own conclusions rather than telling us why a particular storyline may not necessarily be the right fit.
The session was a safe creative space where ideas bounced freely, and everybody’s ideas grew and developed from listening to others. It was exciting to see how our skills developed in the space of a few hours! Although the session was intense, it was enjoyable. I think the creative intensity is what made it enjoyable - as well as Kath’s warmth and very obvious skill and expertise. I left the session feeling loaded with new skill and a wealth of knowledge. It is definitely a knowledge that I know has deepened my ability as a writer, and developed the way I think in terms of writing for television. It was an amazing session, fun, vigorous and productive. It was challenging but in a way that encouraged you to discover new depths in your ability and creativity. It was completely enjoyable and I loved every minute of it.”Bolu Babalola
“A lucky participant of Kathleen’s first storylining workshop in May, I started that day without any previous experience in storylining or development and ended it positively exhausted, enthralled and with so much more insight I could have hoped for.
First, Kath provided us with a very elaborate and detailed groundwork for a fictional series a week before so we had time to get acquainted with characters and story agenda. Once we arrived and briefly introduced ourselves, we hit the ground running. Enthusiastically, Kath gave each of us the opportunity to pitch our own ideas before the group. Such a rare and valuable experience! She encouraged our ideas, generously navigated us through the challenges that come with drafting storylines, always focused on progressing the work and ready to help out if we got stuck. The workshop really gives you a true feeling of what it is like to storyline a TV series!
Kath’s genuine love for storytelling comes across in an instant. So does her generous willingness to support and nurture aspiring writers and storytellers, letting them participate in her vast knowledge and experience as an executive producer, script and story consultant. I warmly recommend Kath’s workshop to everyone who wants to learn about storylining and –telling, myself having taken so much out of one fun, inspiring and goal-oriented day with great people and a great mentor.”Zahra Rahvar
I worked with Kath when she was a Story Producer at EastEnders. Although I had written a few scripts, this was my first experience of working in a story office, and Kath’s encouragement, belief and support was amazing.
Kath is an advocate for new talent and will take a chance on a person, regardless of their experience or skills. For Kath, it is all about the talent and she will go out of her way to nurture and guide a writer.
Kath has a fantastic eye for story. If you find yourself hitting a brick wall with an idea, or in a haze over a script, she has the ability to help you find a solution, without giving you the answer, or telling you what you should do.
This site offers brilliant options and opportunities to budding writers, producers and storytellers. Kath’s years of experience on working on some of the biggest shows on UK Television, will make her story workshops and one to one script feedback invaluable.Shazia Rashid
I worked under Kath during my first television role as a storyliner for Hollyoaks. Kath taught me everything I know about storytelling and gave me the tools and confidence to go on to work on continuing dramas Emmerdale and Eastenders. The lessons I learned from Kath have proven to be invaluable and continue to help me in my career to this day.Jerome Bucchan-Nelson
I had the pleasure of having Kathleen as my mentor for my Independent Script Project for the MA in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.Kamal Kaan
Her industry knowledge combined with an enthusiasm and personal interest in the subject matter led to a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful process. She is generous with her time and her feedback and notes were well constructed, very detailed and precise. Her commitment and investment in my work gave me the confidence to tackle challenging issues. I would highly recommend her services as a script and story consultant.
I love working with Kath, she’s great to bounce ideas off and very quick to see where the drama lies. She has bags of experience and it’s a joy to work with someone who’s so good on both character and story.Tom Needham
I worked with Kath when I got short listed to storyline for Hollyoaks. I got to the final stage and spent a week in the Story Office at Hollyoaks. I had never storylined before and didn’t have a clue how to do it. Kath looked for talent rather than skill (skill can be taught and nurtured) and unlike anyone else in the industry I’ve come across, she was open minded, intuitive and actively looked for new voices. From the application process, all the way through to working in the office, Kath was a dedicated mentor and coach to me. She taught me the craft of Storylining and it is with her that I developed this unique skill. Kath has a natural ability to nurture talent and develop it, she used the skills I already had as a writer, and showed me how to adapt these to storyline. She taught me a lot in such a short space of time, with great generosity, kindness and patience. She shared tricks of the trade and because of her, I recently got short listed to storyline for Coronation Street! This involved me going into the studios and having a 1 day workshop with their existing story team. This would never have been possible had I not learnt the craft from Kath - a truly professional, inspiring and passionate drama producer.Farrah Chaudhry
I’ve worked with Kath for a couple of years now and always found her drive and passion for projects amazingly inspiring. She has a seemingly effortless way of dissecting a story or an idea and making you see different options and ways forward with it. Plus, she is supportive, open and honest, which means that the working relationship can thrive in a straight-forward way. Work with her now!Roland Moore