The BBC Writers' Room is a great resource that also runs programs to nurture new and upcoming writers. During Lockdown, they launched Interconnected, a showcase that picked 8 short scripts from writers from different professional levels and experiences to film with actors, crew, and directors all working at home. The shorts were available in the UK in the BBC iPlayer but this weekend, the BBC released all on YouTube so everyone everywhere in the world can see them, and they are well worth a look.
"Party" by Alegría Adedeji and Jeremy Ojo
This one is a naturalistic comedy about a bunch of mates ribbing each other, especially the one whose hookup with a girl goes wildly wrong. It's a fun portrayal of camaraderie between guys in their own space together. The writing is zippy and the actors make it sound like they're making off-the-cuff remarks off the top of their heads. This is the most slice-of-life piece in the series.
"Solitaire" by Will Sebastian Clempner
This is one about the commodification of human company. A service sells itself to lonely old people to listen to them and keep them company for a price. It's like a low-key Black Mirror episode that runs for less than 10 minutes. In some ways, it's the most conventionally plotted story with a twist in the tail.
"Jack Gets Feedback" by Jill Worsley
Here's another shaggy dog comedy inspired by stories about people in lockdown calling up their exes to ask them what it was about them that led to them breaking up. Jack here just happens to pick a really mean and petty ex. This is where self-assessment becomes an exercise in masochism.
"A Month of Sundays" by Anna Mawn
A very British comedy about an attempt to launch a virtual book club gone awry, this is about the petty arguments that a bunch of flawed, if not outright dysfunctional, friends have when they don't want to be the one who's embarrassed, and everyone has something to be embarrassed about.
"Salvation Calling" by Sinéad Collopy
A story about a lonely widower who connects with a teenager desperate for company while her parents are working on the front lines. The two strike up a friendship across Northern Ireland's sectarian divide while stuck at home.
"Another World" by Lizzie Nunnery
A surprisingly tender story about a woman who accidentally reconnects with her ex when she tries to organize a virtual pub night to recapture her student days. A meditation on alternate worlds and what would have happened if different choices had been made.
"Psychic Overload" by Amna Saleem
A South Asian family comedy about squabbling siblings and their mother getting psychic readings for each of them, whether they want one or not. A portrait of how families are always close enough to drive each other crazy, even when physically distanced.
"Commuter Experience" by Munro Gascoigne
Saving the best – and funniest – for last, this is an extended comedy sketch about a man who pays for a simulated recreation of the horrors of the daily commute to work to remind himself of the normal life he had before the pandemic, just so he can appreciate staying home more.
The most common theme all the Interconnected shorts share is the need for human connection. Even the people most annoyed with each other don't hang up because they'd rather still be connected with each other than be isolated and alone. It's admirable that the BBC Writer's Room used the lockdown to invite writers to submit and develop their skills and produce their scripts for broadcast, even streaming them to a global audience. They get to kill several birds with one stone: to produce new content during lockdown and nurture new writing talent at the same time. You can learn more about Interconnected here.