Meet our 2017 Funny Women Writing Award winner Alex Hardy!

Kate Stone

Kate Stone

We trawled through 100s of scripts this year, all of which were very funny but we managed to pick a top three, Hitched by Rhiannon Nead, S&M Sissy and Mistress by Kiran Benawra and Nosh by Alex Hardy, who we announced as the winner at our 2017 Funny Women Awards Charity Final! Alex has won the opportunity to develop her script with the BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning Lion Television, producers of Horrible Histories (CBBC), When Bowie Met Bolan (Sky Arts), and Getting Animated (BBC3)! We talked to Alex about comedy writing and the discipline it requires…

Funny Women: How does it feel to win the 2017 Funny Women Writing Award?

Alex Hardy: Really lovely.

FW: What is your script, Nosh, about? 

AH: If you’ve ever ordered food from one of those food delivery services – Deliveroo, Uber Eats, that sort of thing – you’ll have a good idea of the themes in Nosh. Nosh is about a young lady who cycles about between London’s homes and offices and restaurants, fetching and carrying other people’s orders, while she’s not really holding together her own life. As usual with comedy, it’s about status, and reduced circumstances, and struggles with others and with yourself – but Nosh also has added saddle sores. It’s based on a few months around a year ago, when I was skint and miserable and cycled around doing that job for longer than was strictly comfortable. But I also got to nose into people’s houses and habits, and find weird characters and corners of London I’d never noticed before. It was a bruising but eye-opening time, and I hope that comes across in my script.

FW: How did you get started in writing?

AH: I’m still getting started, and I’ve spent a lot of time procrastinating about getting started. Basically, some of my best early memories were about writing and stories, and I often had silly things buzzing around in my head. But I didn’t have the nerve to do it properly and publicly. I became a journalist to satisfy some of those urges and ended up writing about TV and comedy because I value good writing so much. Eventually, I got too jealous of all the shows I was writing about and knew I had to take the plunge and make some stuff myself. So I resigned from my job and went to work in telly as a researcher with comedians including Dave Gorman. I also spent 18 months part-time at the National Film and Television School, doing a part-time diploma in Writing and Producing Comedy. This helped me to refine my writing and gave me a certificate to prove I can do it. Life feels better with certificates.

FW: What’s your best writing tip for any scriptwriters out there?

AH: I’ve still got a lot to learn so I don’t feel too qualified to answer this. But here are some tips I’ve been given over the years and am still trying to master. Firstly – to be a writer you have to write something. Write regularly, write every day, make it a routine. The Seinfeld Strategy is useful for this. And here’s something my favourite English teacher taught me and was reiterated at NFTS – think about your tone and voice; make it clear and consistent. If an audience is confused it isn’t laughing. Finally, the one I struggle with most: do a “dirty first draft”. Just get your thoughts onto the page, no matter how scruffy they are – you can always go back and refine them later. Sara Pascoe I think has said that to become a good stand-up she had to form a “consensus of mediocrity”, where it was OK to not always be the best because that’s how you get to improve. Give yourself permission to not be perfect, because then you’ll be more freely creative. I think it’s a great phrase and great advice.

FW: Who are your favourite funny women?

AH: I tend to like writers who are very funny, but also a combination of sad and real and brutal. So I love Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Daisy May Cooper (This Country), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe). Sara Pascoe is excellent, for the way she loads her stand-up and writing with so many interesting ideas, while never forgetting the jokes. Rose Matafeo is so much fun to watch and awesomely original. And there are some stupidly funny ladies I’ve met as part of the Weirdos Comedy Collective – I’ve helped them to produce live events over the past few years, including Tony Law on Ice. They’re doing really ace and imaginative things with character comedy and stand-up that goes beyond the conventional. The ones I’ve worked with most are Cassie Atkinson, Marny Godden, Kat Bond, Lucy Pearman and Eleanor Morton; all brilliant writer-performers.

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Get notified when registration opens

Comedy Shorts Award Entry Requirements

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

Funny Women NextUp…Comedy Shorts Award

Are you a budding Director? Producer? Screenwriter? Are you collaborating with friends to make a funny video? Then we are looking for YOU!

If you have a short film or sketch that you think is hilarious, then enter your work for our Comedy Shorts Award to be in with a chance of winning some life-changing support and mentoring from comedy professionals.

WHAT KIND OF FILM ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

A 1- 6 minute film that can take the form of anything comical. It’s a great opportunity to show us your creative flair and have fun!

WHO CAN ENTER?

This award is open to all women filmmakers and content developers. The film must be an original narrative created, produced and devised by a woman, or women, although male cast and crew members are allowed.

ARE THERE ANY ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MY FILM?

Yes – we require all films to be 6 minutes or under, to be entirely original dialogue, to not feature brand logos and most importantly, to only use music with the written consent of the performer and/or publisher either personally or via the PRS system https://www.prsformusic.com/ .

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH MY FILM?

We will broadcast selected entries on our Funny Women YouTube channel and social media (so keep an eye out) and the top 10 finalists’ films will also hosted on a dedicated Funny Women Comedy Shorts Awards page on our website. We will also broadcast the final 3 entries as part of the grand final night.

HOW IS IT JUDGED?

Films are judged for production, concept, delivery/performance, creativity, writing and overall funniness. The top 10 films are then viewed by an independent judging panel of top television and film industry professionals who will choose one overall winner and two runners up. The final three will be invited to attend the grand final in London on the 23rd September.

WHAT CAN I WIN?

2021 Funny Women Awards Prizes

The deadline for registration for the Comedy Shorts Award has passed.

If you need further information please contact us here