Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Back To The Grind

It's been two and a half weeks since the fabulous London Screenwriters' Festival and it's taken me this long to find my feet again, after responding and writing those hundreds of emails following up with people I met and absorbing and making sense of all that information thrown at me over three incredible days.

The festival surpassed last years excellent event with assured ease and I got so much out of it listening to great speakers and meeting fascinating people that my writing batteries are now fully recharged for another year. To describe all of the fantastic things I got up to and the many wonderful people I met would require a week of writing to cover every angle, so for simplicity's sake I'll just stick to my highlights.

I was delighted to be awarded a place on the Gub Neal mentoring session on the Friday afternoon. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend three hours in the company of the man responsible for such legendary programs as Cracker and Prime Suspect and it was a delight to discover Gub was free with information and advice. Even though I was disappointed to miss Paul Ashton, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright I wouldn't have been anywhere else. The best part of the session was being asked to pitch not only to Gub but to the other five writers there, and I learnt a lot from that alone. The main lesson for me was discovering I really am rubbish at pitching and it is something I'm going to have to seriously work on if I ever want to sell my work to TV. My mind going blank is not an excuse for leaving out my USP, something Gub honed in on instantly, and was a fantastic reminder that practice makes perfect, and practice I will from now on.

Ashley Pharaoh was speaker I was eagerly looking forward to and I wasn't disappointed. It was fascinating to hear how he works as a writer, the mistakes he's made along the way and especially which ones he's determined to avoid in the future. He was so generous with his time answering all of our questions until we couldn't think of any more, and all the while suffering with jet lag after just returning from the US. What a lovely man!

I was also extremely happy to bump into Rob Thorogood at the bar and chat to him about his debut TV series Death In Paradise, a show I'm really enjoying. Rob was very candid about his 'overnight success' which took ten years of hard graft to achieve and it was heart warming to see him still worrying about whether he'd ever work in the industry again, despite DIP's opening episode attracting just under six million viewers. It's good to know all writers, at all levels, constantly fear failure. I suppose it's what drives us and keeps us going long after most other people would have given up.

The main thing I went to LSWF for was the networking and I made sure I set up a few meetings before I got there. I was ecstatic to discover there were more directors and producers than last year, evidence word is getting around the LSWF is the place to be for networking and to find up and coming talented writers. After three and a half days networking I came away with a pile of business cards, a ton of possible future collaborations and a deluge of promised paid work. Not all of those opportunities will work out, some will fall by the wayside, or naturally run out of steam, but what I truly believe is important is the forming of those new relationships, as you never know where they might lead.

There was one project in particular that was pitched to me by a producer looking for a writer to work on that I fell in love with (the project, not the producer). If I hadn't emailed him before the festival we might never have met and I would have missed out on the chance to write a feature idea that grabbed and swung me around by the passion plums. I really can't wait to get stuck into that idea and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

By the end of the weekend I was a little punch drunk after all that information and superb networking, but it was a nice tired, a tired wrapped in the warmth of a comfort blanket, a tired with a warm glow, a tired that...well I think you get the message. I honestly can't wait until next year.

Now if you will excuse me I must get back to my desk and work on my Red Planet Prize entry.

1 comment:

jem said...

Very good pointers on writing, some writers and actors I feel embody their role to much to the point detriment to their mind and body lol
thanks for sharing.