Sunday, October 30, 2011

London Screenwriters Festival 2011: Day 3

I'm awake at 5am. 5. A. M. And my watch is telling the correct time. I blogged Day 2 at 1.30am, for god's sake. What is wrong with me? I suspect it's the curry and the beer, and the general adrenaline buzz of being around such great screenwriting folk. Whatever the case, I'm awake.

Anyways, I don't feel too bad, and I watch the repeat of Match of the Day to keep me going 'till brekkie. I'm all bright eyed and bushy tailed, and make it to the festival just after 9am. I'm the first in the green room, and all seems quiet enough, but there's plenty of fresh coffe and I get stuck in.

The first session I attend is 'Hollywood Pitching' with David Reynolds (Pixar), Jonathan Newman (Foster) and Stuart Hazeldine (Exam). It's a lively, funny and informative session, full of tips on pitching in general, regardless of whether it's Hollywood or not.

Plenty of networking opportunities between sessions, and I enjoy an early lunch with Philip Shelley, Roland Moore, Lawrence Timms and Evan Leighton Davis, and grab some quick hellos with new friends.

After lunch, it's straight to the 'You're Commissioned!' panel (smoothly hosted by Jan Gilbert) with Roland Moore and Red Planet's own Robert Thorogood where they share their experience of creating and writing their own series, the lucky bastards. It all seems so simple. Well, um, not really. But it is possible! At the end of the session, I do a sneaky announcement of the impending launch of this year's Red Planet Prize (full details next week!).

I take it easy for a while, allowing myself some sugar to keep me awake, and then it's to the main stage for my final session (and the last of the fest) about 'Your Script and The 20 Most Common Pitfalls'. Hey, I started the festival on the main stage hosting a session and now I'm finishing it on the main stage as part of a panel. Now THAT'S the Chicago way. Or something.

It's a cracking panel that includes Paul Andrew Williams, Daniel Eckhart, Evan Leighton Davis and Steven Russell. We do a broad chat on some common mistakes, covering plenty of ground between dodgy creative choices in a script to equally dodgy approach tactics when you're trying to get a producer to read your work. There's some really good questions from the audience, too. Very enjoyable.

The discussion ends, and everyone gathers for the final send-off from festival guru Chris Jones. Sadly, I don't have time to stick around, and I head for Waterloo to get the train home (with Dom 'Schmoozer Is My Middle Name' Carver for company).

My phone is still playing silly buggers with its Bluetooth so, with muchos regret, I have no photos to share. My favourite photo of the festival is on Tim's iPhone, where he happily poses with his new agent Janice Day. But I'll let him fill in the details there.

HUGE thanks, and hats off, to Chris and his festival team for staging a terrific event; really slick, friendly and well-organised. Let's hope the festival becomes a firm fixture in the screenwriting calendar for many a year to come. As for now, time to go offline, go to bed, and tomorrow - get writing.

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