New Writing North call to tender: Short documentary films

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1. Who we are:

New Writing North is the development agency for creative writing and reading in the North of England and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. We work in partnership with regional and national partners to produce a range of literary and performance activities including flagship projects such as the Northern Writers’ Awards, Cuckoo Young Writers, the Gordon Burn Prize and Durham Book Festival. We specialise in developing and investing in writers of all ages and act as a dynamic broker between writers, producers, publishers and broadcasters across the creative industries.

2. The Brief:

New Writing North would like to commission a filmmaker or company to work with us over a nine-month period to produce a series of short films about areas of our work. It is envisaged that each film would be between 3 and 8 minutes long. The films will entail filming live events, filming community and schools projects and setting up special interviews. We would like the films to link in tone and design but to be unique and individual and we are looking forwards to working with a filmmaker to generate creative approaches to how we can tell compelling stories about our work.

The films that we would like to commission

1. Talent and Commissioning: This film will demonstrate how our talent development activities (Northern Writers’ Awards, Verb New Voices) connect to our produced work and commissioning and how they offer long term legacy values for writers and other producers. (Timeline: pre filming of talking heads, filming of 2016 commissions at Durham Book Festival in 7-16 October 2016).

2. Cuckoo Young Writers/Young Writers’ City: This film will show how our Cuckoo Young Writers groups and Summer projects for young people in Newcastle, Amble, Cramlington and Sunderland support talented young writers across a range of forms including songwriting.

The film would also cover associated projects from our Young Writers’ City programme in Newcastle, such as planned work with ‘youth tribes’ in Newcastle, our project poetry/photography project with skaters; a billboard-making project with a young feminist writing group, LGBT reading groups in schools; spoken word/rap projects with hard to reach groups and creative writing residencies in schools leading to out of school activity.

We would also like to film our Cuckoo Reviewers in Residence projects which would include activity with Inpress/London Book Fair and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland.

The film will capture the breadth and depth of the programme and give an understanding of our approach to working with young writers. (Timeline: Various spring / summer).

3. Read Regional: The 2016 campaign and over 90 associated events will take place throughout the spring. This project connects libraries and writers via events, reading group activities and book promotions. A film could showcase literature organisations working with libraries through a connected project; profile how libraries support writers; explore local connections across the North as a region and show how the projects supporters the 10 writers involved and their publishers. (Timeline: Across April, May, June in various northern cities with some pre-recording).

4. Crime Story: The next Crime Story will take place in Newcastle on 11 June 2016. The project launches with an evening event in Newcastle on 10 March. Crime Story is a day-long festival event that explores the fact and fiction of crime writing and drama. The day begins with a fictional crime scenario written by Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train). Throughout the day experts from scientific, crime and justice world (from forensic investigators and data hackers to judges and barristers) discuss how the crime would be investigated and brought to trial and what the impact of the events would be on the victim/s. This event is produced with Northumbria University so could also profile university partnerships. During the day there are presentations and actual forensic workshops and events in courtroom settings. (Timeline: Event 11 June, also an evening of pre-filming of talking heads and an event in March).

5. Northern Writers’ Awards: Our flagship awards programme is sixteen years old in 2016 and we would like to create a film that told the story of the awards programme and what has happened to our winners since they won. To examine the impact of the awards on careers and creativity. (Timeline: 30 June awards event; 7 July London party and pre-filming of talking heads).

6. Gordon Burn Prize: We would like to make a film about the Gordon Burn Prize, our unique prize for writers created in memory of Gordon Burn and previous winners Ben Myers and Dan Davies. To include filming of the awards events, interviews with winners, judges and key prize partners. (Timeline: Awards event 7 October, filming at the Burn cottage in the Borders potentially 8/9 October).


7. Durham Book Festival: We would like to create a film which will encourage visitors to Durham for Durham Book Festival and which gives an overview of the wide-ranging nature of the festival programme from our Big Read community read project to high profile author events and our commissioning programme. (Durham Book Festival in 7-16 October 2016, plus some talking heads filmed over the period).

8. Touring Project Film: We produce a touring family theatre production each autumn that travels to non-traditional venues in small communities across the North with a specific interest in County Durham. We would like to produce a film that captured the process and the mission of the project alongside the excitement of the production, and which captured the audience engagement and the impact of the work on children and their families. (October/November 2016 – various northern locations).

9. DIY and ‘How To’ films: Whilst making some of the other films we would like to capture some of our speakers to make short films of them talking about defined topics such as ‘what does an agent do?”, “what makes a good review?’. These short films will go on to be housed on the writer support area of our website. They will have a fixed format and design so that they are presented as a group. We envisage 16 x 3-5 minute films will be produced during the process.

3.Timeline for delivery

Read Regional: July 2016
Talent and Commissioning: July 2016
Crime Story: July 2016
Northern Writers’ Awards: August 2016
Cuckoo Young Writers: September 2016
Young Writers’ City: September 2016
Gordon Burn Prize: November 2016
Durham Book Festival: December 2016
DIY and ‘How to’ films: Various—final films by January 2017

4. Project management

The project will be overseen by Laura Fraine, Marketing Manager for New Writing North in conjunction with Claire Malcolm (Chief Executive) and Anna Disley (Programme Director) alongside specific input and assistance from other Programme Managers.

5. Procurement

Submitting a proposal:

The applicant should supply the following information:

1. Fixed price quotation for carrying out this work plus day rates for any additional work requested by the client.
2. Portfolio of relevant previous work
3. Information on the availability of the applicant to undertake this work between March 2016 and January 2017.
4. A company biog and a CV(s) for the individual(s) who will be delivering the work
5. A proposal and timetable for how the work will be achieved and delivered which details key stages for review and deliverables.
6. Contacts for two references from the last two years for relevant work experience.

Submission scoring:

Applications for this work will be scored on the following criteria:

1. Examples and experience provided of similar types of work undertaken
2. Quality of the proposal and of those involved in delivering the work
3. Value for money
4. Reliability and risk assessment of company resilience

Deadline for submissions: 12 noon, Friday 19 February 2016.

Proposals should be emailed to Laura Fraine [email protected]. Any queries in advance of submission can also be made to this contact by email or by phone on 0191 204 8850.

To download the brief as a PDF, please click here. To view other briefs that New Writing North have put out to tender, please go to our News section.