Storyliner Training Scheme
Applications for this programme are now closed.
Disabled? From a BAME background?
Passionate about plot? Can’t wait to find out who done it? If you are a soap and television drama junkie and want to get a foot in the door, the Channel 4 Storyliner Training Scheme may be what you need!
Channel 4 is offering twelve-week paid placements at their flagship soap Hollyoaks for two bright, energetic and passionate individuals, who can demonstrate a love for soap and a flair for story telling. If you want to help stories unfold on Hollyoaks and use your skills to help the editorial team, this is your opportunity.
The traineeships are based in Liverpool, one starting on 11th July, the other on 3rd October, working with the Hollyoaks editorial team at Lime Pictures.
Trainees will get hands-on experience of storylining a soap, from generating ideas to writing, editing and publishing detailed storylines.
By the end of the placement, trainees should have a solid understanding and grasp of the skills required to seek permanent employment in this exciting field.
Applications close at midnight on Tuesday 24th
What does a story liner do?
Storylining is like the engine room for a soap. We provide the blueprint for every episode. The writers use the essential story building blocks to then write the dialogue, the character moments and texture everyone sees on screen.
What is a typical working week?
On Hollyoaks, we live in a four-week cycle. The first thing we do is have a story conference which takes about two days with producers, writers and basically everyone on the editorial team talking about the aspects of the next month: all the events, twists and turns that are going to happen in the next block of Hollyoaks. We then go write up those story lines over the next three weeks.
During week 2 we ‘talk through’ the stories. We look at our main story our ‘b’ ‘c’ and ‘d’ stories and try to balance things like story/tone/comedy to find an exciting mix for every episode. We make sure at this stage that all our character and ongoing stories are covered and that we’re getting the most from each story strand.
By week 3 we go away and start writing the individual stories. Our bit of the writing can be anything from 8-9000 words across a week. We then go through an edit process and talk through individual episodes with the Series Producer and Executive Producer.
After the initial edits we write a more detailed version -- we call it ‘beating it out’ which means that we work out the story beats in each episode – usually about 20 per episode – giving more beats to the bigger stories. Storylines are across every bit of the soap – from characters and what they are thinking to how the stories play out – and at the end of four weeks, all the building blocks are in place to turn it over the writers, the execs and everyone at Channel 4.
Then we start it all over again.
How did you get to be a storyliner?
There is no typical way in or typical background you need to have. I have a Maths and Philosophy degree, but I did a lot of drama at University. I went on to a job at Coronation Street, which at the time was looking after content on the red button where I learned much more about soaps. It was there that I first learnt about what a storyliner does. I got some experience at Coronation Street then went on a short contract on trial with the story team with Hollyoaks. Many people come to us through workshops, or having been runners, assistant script editors or through the research department.
Where do you go from here?
Often storyliners take one of two routes – they become writers (both Paul Abbott and Russell T. Davies both worked in soap story departments) or they go the producer route. It is essential for both.
What is the most crucial thing you need to be a story liner?
Passion for it…you have to really want to do it. You live through four-week cycles and it is an intensive, demanding writing process – but it is your passion that gets you through and the reward is always worth it.