Patrick Uden Commentary Masterclass - £420.00

Patrick Uden is one of the most influential and sought-after executive producers working in British television today. In particular, he is called on by broadcasters and Indies to hone and tighten the commentary on their key series, one of the hardest skills in filmmaking.

This interactive one-day course will reveal Patrick's trade secrets to writing good commentary, including giving you a clear understanding of the function and evolution of commentary, as well as a toolkit for sharpening your own writing and editing skills. 

The course is structured around reviewing clips, discussion and practical exercises so that you will come away confident of understanding both the 'why' and 'how' of writing better scripts. 

Duration:         1 day
Cost:                £350 plus VAT


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Who it's for? 

Anyone involved in, or interested in, writing commentary - from producers to directors to series producers to execs. The course is primarily focused on factual programming but is relevant to other genres. 


Participants will come away with an understanding of what role commentary plays, how it has evolved into the form it takes in contemporary programme-making, as well as a set of tools and techniques for writing and editing scripts more effectively. 

Course Content

• An Analogue Art in the Digital World:  the importance of writing for factual; commentary that is integral to the story, not an addition, structuring your content and re-editing through words.
• Script Doctor:  Patrick Uden reviews trainee’s scripts and give feedback.
• Sources of Metered Writing, e.g. Philip Larkin ‘The Whitsun Weddings’
• Exercise in effective commentary.
• The Story of Commentary:  the evolution of commentary for factual programming – with illustrated examples.  A look at current styles of factual entertainment (from The Gap Year to Come Dine with Me to The Apprentice), polemic and observational styles.
• Key rules of commentary – empower the sync, facts not feelings, spoken not read.
• Case Study:  Patrick Uden looks at examples of commentary from the web and broadcast and discusses how to doctor/turn sentences around for more impactful writing.  Word efficiency for the Twitter generation.
• Design:  the importance of script layout for effective commentary.
• Exercise in Commentary Writing:  trainees get to practice their newly found skills by re-writing a personalised script into a neutral commentary.
• Exercise Writing to Pictures:  trainees watch The Apprentice without the commentary and write their own cues.  Comparisons between online and broadcast versions.
• Question and Answer session.

Venue & Times

Location:           DV Talent
                            6 Waterson Street
                            E2 8HL

Time:                  10:00-17:30  (Please arrive 15 minutes before the course starts)



Patrick Uden is one of the most influential execs working in UK television. Having made his name as a director and documentary marker at the BBC, where his credits included Tomorrow's World, Horizon and QED, Patrick set up his own pioneering production company Uden Associates, before becoming the creative force behind Channel 4's Bafta-winning FourDocs. More recently, he has worked as a consultant executive producer on some of television's most successful series including The Apprentice, The Restaurant, and Junior Doctors: Your Life in their Hands.  


Do I need to bring anything to the course?
It’s advisable to bring a pen and some notepaper. Otherwise, all you need is a receptive mind and your energy and enthusiasm.

Is lunch provided?
We keep you replenished with teas, coffee, biscuits and fruit. We don’t provide lunch – although there are a number of sandwich shops, cafes, restaurants close by, as well as a supermarket.

What if I have to cancel?
If you cancel more than 10 working days before the course date, you will get a full refund. If you cancel with less notice, or once the course has been confirmed the full course fees are still due. We will however endeavour to get you onto to a future course as and when we have a spare space. Although this cannot be guaranteed and will usually involve you being offered the place at short notice, we have a great track record of making sure people get their training – even it takes a bit of time.

What others say about this course

"Very good - well delivered"
- Sarah Veevers, Series Producer

"Informative and tailored to level. Good practical tips."
- Abigail Williams. Series Producer

"Very good. Strong point of view. Practical with clear, specific examples."
- Archie Powell, Series Director / Producer/Director

"I heard a very loud 'thunk' as everything fell into place. I wanted to stand up and applaud at the end of the session."
- Chester Dent, Producer/ Director

"Highly professional and perfectly pitched"
- Rachel Ramsay, AP

"Fantastic- I feel more confident, good to have straight forward emphasis on craft!"
- Kate Hampel, Producer/ Director

"Excellent, incredibly informative and opened my eyes"
- Tom Stove, Producer/ Director

"A fantastic insightful course which felt like a condensed version of filmschool! Traditional solid techniqies in commmentary writing"
- Cicelia Deane, Assistant Producer

"Patrick is a great teacher and I'm sure we'll be using his style of writing and way of thinking from now on"
- Phil Matthews, Executive Producer

"Extremely useful and informative"
- Alastair Blane, Producer/ Director

"It was excellent, essential course for anyone interested in telling stories in a clear, simple way, and get the attention of an audience"
- Alejandro Madine, Documentary Director

- Dan Balaam, Senior Creative

"A fun and hugely insightful romp thorugh history of commentary in documentary"
- Patrick Talbot, Producer/ Director

"Some very key information delivered really well by Patrick"
- Simon Paintin, Producer/ Director

"I found the course really interesting. It outlined in detail everything you should work towards when writing commentary"
- Lynsey Evans, Producer/ Director

"Engaging, useful take away ideas to work with"

- Helen Crocombe, Producer/Edit Producer

"It was well structured and full of useful information. Excellent."

- Chiara Messineo, P/D


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