Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Screenwriters' Festival Update

If you don’t already know, there’s going to be a Screenwriters’ Festival this summer in Cheltenham (Tuesday 27 June - Friday 30 June): the first of its kind in this country.

Book Now
You can now book to attend the New Writers Day, which will feature Oscar winner Julian Fellowes, with noted agents, developers and talent spotters, and also the three Professional Delegate Days with Bill Nicholson, Jimmy McGovern, Barbara Machin, and a host of other writers, producers and directors examining adaptation, censorship and the impact of low cost digital filmmaking on storytelling. Follow the link for details on how to attend and how much it will cost.

To be a professional delegate at the festival (a writer who’s had their work optioned or produced) it’s going to cost a cool £323 beans for three days of networking and seminars. This is a bit sharp but it may well be worth it given the who’s who of peeps that are going to be there and the potential networking opportunities therein.

When the Festival was initially announced, it sounded a long way off but it’s fast approaching around the corner so probably best to register now and book accommodation if you are going. I’ve emailed them about accommodation so if I get any details I’ll put it up on the blog.

The weather’s getting nicer and summer’s beginning to show its face. The Screenwriters’ Festival in June should be a good few days but of course, this month is all about Cannes and swanning around the French Riviera like you own the place. It’s my first visit to the south of France so I’m a bit nervous and intimidated but also extremely excited by the prospect.

Luckily, Tim Clague and Suki Singh, two fellow Bournemouth writer/directors, have ‘been there and done that’ so they know all the ins and outs of the festival. We’re going to be in Cannes together, ostensibly as a ‘group’, but all pitching and doing our own things.

We practised pitching last night and although everyone knows all the effective techniques for solid, attention grabbing communication, it is easy to lose track and go off into tangents when you start to tell your own story. I’m not bad at pitching but I do get nervous and my mouth gets extremely dry as my heart rate picks up. If I forget to have a glass of water while I’m talking, I end up sounding like the elephant man. But usually, after the initial rush, I settle down into just telling the story and the guys had great tips on how to be concise and how to get the key details across.

Cannes is only a few weeks away now so the preparation intensifies as the excitement builds…

17 comments:

James Moran said...

There's a Travelodge right by the Cheltenham Film Studios:

http://tinyurl.com/mpu4p

They've got double rooms for 46 quid a night, presumably twins would be the same if people are sharing. The Thistle nearby is fancier, but 137 per night...

And the Studios themselves are about 2 miles from Cheltenham Spa station, so should be fairly easy to get to.

Still not sure whether to go or not - are the UK massive all going?

Piers said...

Plane booked, Hotel booked... All I need now is for them to confirm my accreditation.

Lucy said...

Damn it, I used to bloody live near Cheltenham. I leave and they make it the screenwriters' utopia. Maybe I should take this as a sign?? Can't go anyway unless I can take the baby with me... That'd go down well. Not. Anyway, that's supposing I ever give birth, which looks increasingly uncertain. I'm going in the record books as the longest pregnancy, EVER.

James - You can have up to three adults sharing a family room in a Travelodge for just £46...Tho that's a double bed and a sofa bed. If you don't want to get too close to another hairy fella, you may be better advised to go for the double room with 2 single beds which are still £46. Bargainous.

Howzat for PR, hey?? Everyone book there cos I'm on commission! ; )

Optimistic_Reader said...

I registered today for the New Writer's Day but still not sure if I'm actually going to go. Will have to seriously think about whether I can afford an overnight stay, and travel there etc. I'm sure it will be worth it but pennies are tight at the moment. Still the Travelodge deal isn't bad.

Lucy said...

Hey OR, you should share a room with one of these lads, then it'll only be £23 each. I know boys smell but it'll be worth it in the end...this is your career, after all ; )

Dom Carver said...

I can't go....too much to do. Poop!

Optimistic_Reader said...

I can't be doing with smelly boys! Plus my other half would probably object to me sharing a room with strange men, even if it was for the sake of my career!

James Moran said...

Yeah, the family room for 23 quid each is a bargain really - you can swap around, taking the double bed one night, and the sofabed the other. Looks like there are no twin rooms though, so it's a double or a family. No hanky panky. I'm never sharing a bed with a smelly boy again, because you always always always end up in a Planes Trains and Automobiles situation, it's inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I've just signed up for the New Writers day so will be interested to see what they mean by talent-spotters being around!! Can I just ask those of you who have agents a question and Danny you may have covered this in a previous post - if so apologies. After 6 months of touting a spec script round agents and had 4 'Good writing but not a world I'm interested in' type responses, I've finally been asked to come in and meet an agent. He's got a good client list and is with one of the biggies so I'm pleased but actually was wondering what I should be asking him about what he can do for me - are there things you wished you'd asked before deciding whether to go with an agent? It's easy to be so pleased that you've actually got someone who'll let you into the office that you forget it's supposed to be a two-way meeting!!

Paul Campbell said...

Just summoning up the courage to throw away £500 (attendance, plus getting there, plus bar bills).

Of course, if it turns out to be wonderful, then that's £500 well spent, but... Oh, I don't know.

And I suppose it will be tax deductible, so that brings it down a bit.

And then my poor wife will have to attend to the kids without support for three days.

Hmmmm.

Paul Campbell said...

In response to "anonymous", I'd say the big unanswered question was something along the lines of "where do you see us both being in five/ten years time?"

And what's the overall strategy for getting us there?

Danny Stack said...

Good question Anonny. Obviously, great to have an agent but if you're unclear about anything best to ask them about it upfront - what kind of communication & relationship (daily email/weekly phone call/or contact just when any breaking news)...

You should decide whether you're interested in pursuing TV (like Enders, Doctors etc) or if you're solely a features writer or however you'd prefer to see your career develop. And if the agent agrees and wants to push you, then that should work out fine. Good luck!

The SW Festival is a bit expensive but if all goes well this month then I should be able to swing by for at least a day or two.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Danny

Thanks for that - I know they sound obvious questions but sometimes it takes someone else to point out the bleedin' obvious.

Piers said...

Plane tickets? For Cheltenham?

[slaps self round face a couple of times]

That's better.

Dom Carver said...

I'm leaning towards going now.

So who exactly is going to the New Writer's Day??????

Tim Clague said...

Top tip for Danny at Cannes:

A bottle of water - its the small things that give you confidence.

Paul Campbell said...

I've just registered for the three days.

I'm trying to think of it as this year's treat.