James popped by and asked a question about the Academy workload and whether there was time to do anything else. I thought a few of you folks thinking of applying might be interested, so here goes...
All of us found last year that the workload during the initial 13 weeks of lectures leading up to Christmas was really heavy. Certainly it used up most of my available time. In addition to the lectures themselves we had a lot of written homework exercises. And we wrote four half hour dramas - an adaptation of a fairy tale, two dry runs at a Doctors episode and the real thing.
After Christmas we all had to wait different amounts of time before getting our first commissions. I had until the beginning of February. And there will be gaps over the course of the year between assignments. So, yes, there is time to do other stuff and/or earn some money, so long as you're flexible about dates.
So far, I've just done Casualty. It hasn't been an easy ride for me, but I have worked on it almost solidly for over three months now with hardly a day off. A better writer, or one who adapts more easily and quickly to the Casualty house style, wouldn't have found the workload so hard, but, even so, it's quite a lot of work with some tight deadlines. James Moran apart, I think most people would struggle to do any more than get the episode done. It might be different on EastEnders or Holby City, but I doubt it.
But, if you can find the time to write other stuff, then the Beeb don't frown upon it (so long as it doesn't prevent you completing your work with the Academy). The only thing to note is that there's a little bit in your contract which says that the Beeb have a first refusal on anything you write during your extended "year" in the Academy.
So, there you go, James. hope it doesn't put you off applying.
Deadline is this Monday, I believe.