After a nationwide search, and hundreds of entries, we have found our winner. Grazia teamed up with BAFTA to find an exciting new talent in screenwriting – and we are thrilled to announce that Valerie Bundy is our pick.
The competition, which sought to find someone with the potential to be the next big thing in screenwriting, was judged by Rachel De-Laha, the award-winning screenwriter and playwright, Grazia’s Guy Pewsey and Harriet Kean.
Rachel started the script, called The Void, with entrants asked to continue on the story within 10 pages. The judges were bowled over by the originality and quality of the entries, but chose Valerie’s for its sharp wit, well-rounded and interesting characters, and plot that left them wondering what would come next.
‘I’m so thrilled about winning this competition,’ says Valerie. ‘I’m just really flattered to be chosen out of all the entries.’ Valerie will receive an exclusive mentoring meeting with an industry professional, courtesy of BAFTA, to discuss how she can continue in her screenwriting career, as well as access to 2019 BAFTA events.
How Rachel kicked off the scrip
INT. THE VOID – NIGHT
A black nothingness.
Then in the nothingness two figures. It’s unclear if they’ve just arrived or have always been there, and though difficult to see we’ll come to know them as KENNY and SAM.
Kenny journeys forward first, with a light trepidation.
KENNY Who are you?
SAM Do we do that here?
KENNY You don’t have to give me your real name. But something to call you by would be nice.
SAM By whom?
KENNY I’m Ken.
KENNY There’s no need to question it, it’s just a name I’ll answer to.
SAM Hi Ken.
KENNY You can be Sam.
How Valerie continued it
KENNY Oh, don’t you like that? We don’t need to stick with that. I just went to school with a Sam and she was really pretty, like you... I mean, er, that was a bit unprofessional.
SAM I’m fine with Sam.
KENNY Yay! I mean, good. Actually I shouldn’t have really picked Ken for me ’cos Kenny’s my real name and I’m fairly sure you’re not supposed to do that. Sorry, I’m a bit nervous – it’s my first day on reception.
SAM Is there a light?
KENNY Oh yes... I swear they do it like this just to be spooky.
Kenny reaches and switches on a light. They are in an underground car park. It is suddenly apparent that there is a MAN carrying a clipboard stood near Kenny. Sam looks surprised; the man speaks to her in a very casual way.
MAN I’m just here to monitor him.
KENNY (to man) How am I doing?
The man goes back to writing on the clipboard. It doesn’t look good for Kenny.
KENNY Well, we’re actually in the car park Sam. We need to go upstairs to The Void Offices.
INT. LIFT – NIGHT
Music plays in the lift. The man stands at the back, Sam is calm but Kenny feels the need to make small talk.
KENNY So... they don’t often take new recruits. You must’ve done something to catch the attention of The Boss. What kind of stuff you into?
SAM Drug-running. Racketeering. Theft.
KENNY Oh... great.
A PING as the lift doors open to reveal a huge woman waiting to escort Sam. The man pushes Kenny in the other direction.
MAN Not you. We’re going to see Charlie.
KENNY Charlie Knuckles? I didn’t get to say bye to Sam. Rude.
INT. OFFICE – NIGHT
Charlie is a proper East End thug, thick-set and menacing. He sits behind a desk and gestures to Kenny to sit opposite. The man stands in the corner behind Kenny.
CHARLIE ‘ow you doin’, Kenny?
KENNY I’m fine thank you Mr Knuckles. How’s the garden coming along?
CHARLIE The rhododendrons are coming up super since your tip!
Charlie is suddenly aware of how this may look to the man.
CHARLIE (stern, to man) How did he do?
MAN He gave his real name straight off the bat.
CHARLIE Blimey. Listen son, we had you on the counterfeit money, no good. The fraud racket was worse. And then Gino’s restaurant was a disaster.
KENNY It was going well, I thought.
CHARLIE The restaurant was a business front for money laundering. We didn’t want it to go well.
MAN (from clipboard) Kenny put a board outside of the restaurant advertising a special ‘early bird deal’.
KENNY It was to entice customers in.
CHARLIE Ken, we didn’t want to entice the customers in. It’s a front. We don’t wanna have to get more staff ’cos you’re making it a place to go. ‘Gino’ was not happy that he had to cook meals for two pensioners.
KENNY They were happy with alphabet spaghetti.
Charlie slams his fist on the desk out of habit, the man looks petrified, Kenny is a bit dejected.
CHARLIE It ain’t workin’ out. I’m sorry, the firm are letting you go.
KENNY What? No!
CHARLIE Sorry, you no longer work for The Void.
KENNY Well how am I supposed to fill that void now?
MAN The irony.
KENNY Wow. Is that it?
CHARLIE We had a cake for you but Jimmy the butcher threw it at Sandra from accounts and she broke his arm.
KENNY Silver lining.
MAN It was well funny!
The man has forgotten himself for a moment and looks seriously back at the notes.
CHARLIE The boss wanted you to know that he has no intention of ever rubbing you out.
KENNY (touched) Oh that’s sweet. I can’t believe I’m being laid off from being a gangster.
CHARLIE Maybe you could think about a change of career? I mean, you don’t seem that suited to it.
KENNY No? What do you mean?
CHARLIE Well, perhaps you’re a bit too nice.
KENNY No, I can be nasty.
KENNY You’re a moron, Charlie.
KENNY Your mum was a two-bit hooker.
Charlie laughs heartily.
KENNY Your tie looks terrible with that jacket.
The laughing stops.
CHARLIE That was hurtful.
INT. SHOPPING CENTRE. TOILETS – MORNING
We see a cleaner, ABI, mopping up sick from the toilet floor. As she puts the mop back in the bucket, a large chunk of carrot falls back onto the floor. Abi slightly wretches.
EXT. INNER-CITY STREET – DUSK
ABI and NIMESHA have met up after work. They walk along familiar streets, chatting with ease.
NIMESHA …therefore, I need to stop calling it a mid-life crisis ’cos this article said that’s not what it is. It’s a mid-life malaise. And things get better when you’re in your fifties, when you stop putting pressure on yourself to succeed in your career.
ABI You’re 32.
ABI Well that’s hardly mid-life, is it?
NIMESHA Says the foetus.
ABI 32 is not remotely middle-aged. We’re not living in the ’20s. People live into their nineties and beyond.
NIMESHA Hmm, I s’pose. I just thought I’d be a bit further along.
ABI Well, about that... I may have a little job for us.
NIMESHA Oh God, what do you mean?
INT. O’SHAYS BAR – CONTINUOUS
Nimesha has a glass of prosecco and Abi has a pint.
ABI I’ve been planning it for a while. One of my clients at work, he has this swanky pad that I clean. He’s moneyed up – but dodgy money. He’s older, bit of a silver fox, actually.
NIMESHA Oh God, are you thinking of doing extras for cash?
ABI I know I’ve thought up some hare-brained schemes, but really. No, this dude would defo get it for free, if you know what I mean.
NIMESHA Yes, I know what you mean. Because you said exactly what you mean.
ABI The point is, this guy has got a stash of money so huge it would make your eyes pop out. And he keeps it all in his apartment - in a safe.
NIMESHA You been trying to twist the knob then?
ABI I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. No, it’s not a knob dial at all, it’s a hi-tech computerised blah-de-wotsit. You’d have to hack into the computer and get it out that way. Could be done by someone who works in computers...
ABI Someone who works in computers...
NIMESHA Yes, I heard you. I’m an HR Administrator.
ABI Yeah, I know, perfect.
NIMESHA I’m in H.R.
ABI But you work on a computer.
NIMESH Most of Britain’s workforce work on a computer. Are you thinking of I.T?
ABI Oh. It’s the letters... Confusing.
NIMESHA Unless you want to know the current legislation on using a company vehicle I can’t help you. So I’m out.
NIMESHA Sorry you can’t get your dirty mitts on his stash, if you know what I mean.
ABI I’m ignoring you.
INT. NIMESHA’S HOUSE. LOUNGE – EARLY HOURS
The girls are tucking into pizza, both really drunk.
NIMESHA You can’t break into this guy’s house.
ABI That’s the beauty of it. I’m already in. I have a key don’t I? I wait til he’s on my shift rota and then – blam!
NIMESHA Except you couldn’t do it when you’re on shift – cos he’ll know it was you.
Abi stuffs her mouth full of pizza and speaks through it.
ABI Oh yeah. That’s why I need you to help me Nim, you’re clever like that. You should think of it as a humanitarian act, to keep me out of jail... Pineapple on a pizza is just wrong innit.
ABI It’s fruit. You wouldn’t have grapes on a pasty. (lightbulb moment) Holy macaroni...that guy...that waiter guy from Gino’s Restaurant, the one that you like?
NIMESHA Kenny? I never said I liked him.
ABI We ate Alphabet spaghetti just so you could talk to him.
NIMESHA He’s just...lovely.
ABI He said he could fix your computer.
NIMESHA Yeah but next time we went there, they’d hired a different waiter and nobody would tell me where he’s gone.
ABI We could ask Kenny to do the computer thing on the safe. If I get him, will you do it?
NIMESHA Are you really suggesting pulling off a robbery with a waiter, a cleaner and an HR Administrator? It can’t be done.
Abi speaks like it’s the profoundest thing she’s ever said.
ABI It can