Job title: Writer
Industries: High-end TV
After studying writing, directing and acting at university, Manchester-based Sharma Walfall had a taste for screenwriting life. “I wanted to pursue a career in screenwriting, but it was difficult to know where to start,” she says. “I am lucky that I have had some great opportunities in the last couple of years."
One such opportunity arrived in the form of TriForce Creative Network’s Writers Incubator programme, which ran from April 2017 through to July 2018, supported by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund. As one of six participants on the programme, Sharma undertook a paid development commission, attended industry led workshops and found a mentor in development producer Henry Swindell.
“During the incubator I learned a lot from the guest speakers who are in the industry,” says Sharma. “Their advice and words of wisdom were invaluable and have stuck with me ever since. Henry gave me great advice, encouragement and recommended contacts. He also gave me notes on my script that was instrumental in the shape of the first episode.”
Sharma’s drama Out of Bounds was subsequently selected for a Sky table read, where she ended up meeting her agent. It was through her agent that Sharma’s work fell under the eyes of Jack Thorne, whose credits include This is England ’86, National Treasure and Kiri. Impressed with what he read, Jack decided to take Sharma on as a mentee for the ScreenSkills-supported writing programme, delivered by Dancing Ledge Productions.
The programme provides bursaries and introductions that sees emerging writers paired with established screenwriters on a mentorship programme, where the mentee will develop an idea through to draft and second/ final draft stage with the help of their experienced mentor. Sharma is excited about her mentorship with Jack Thorne and hopeful as to the results it may reap. “I am really looking forward to the scheme” she says.
“I ran my idea by Jack and he loved it, which I was so happy and relieved about. I have written and sent him a treatment for the first episode and I am working on the first draft of the script. The plan is to take it out to production companies once completed and ready to be seen. I am a huge fan of Jack’s work as he is one of my favourite writers,” she says. “I am thrilled and honoured to be mentored by him.”