So 95 days until London Screenwriters’ Festival. That’s loooooooooads of time, right? No need to think about all that stuff right …
… OMFG ARE YOU SERIOUS??
Dudes, if you want to get the most of the fest this October? You gotta be prepared. And I mean SERIOUSLY prepared. To the max.
And you gotta get started NOW, like an uber-efficient girl or boy scout that never sleeps Zombie-style but is a lean mean writing machine like that bloke out of that thing. TBH I was never in the scouts, but had I been, I would have been an EVIL SCOUT and been the most prepared and most dastardly scout the world ever did see, bit like these grrrrlz:
So, for this first post then – in case you were unsure – our motto is:
And here’s how.
1) Figure out what you want out of the festival and why. Are you going to the festival for a specific purpose? Or to get inspired? Or both? Work out the best case scenario for you, whether that’s finding collaborators to make a short film; meeting industry pros and hearing them talk/sucking their braaaaains dry; getting an agent; adding to your existing skillset; getting an option/making a sale and so on. And then work towards that target with your preparation. 5 Strategies For Writers.
2) Make sure your profiles and sites are all updated. This means JOIN the various social media platforms if you haven’t already (and make sure you use them well). This is the very least you should do (and yes, personal websites are fine, but just don’t make them uber-fancy). People – including industry pros – DO Google names, so be aware of what your name throws up in the rankings. Construct your online presence, don’t just let it “happen”: no it needn’t be a lie, but it does needs to be professional. Using Social Media.
3) Find out who else is going # 1: Writers. No they’re not your competition, or “just” writers. They are your ALLIES. Remember, the more people who know who you are and what you do? The more likely it is your work will end up in front of someone who can take it to the next level. Fact. So get on the LSF Delegates’ Network; on social media; and on e-bulletins and forums and NETWORK LIKE CRAZY. Find out who is who and what they’re interested in. If you can, meet them in real life BEFORE the festival. If you’re struggling to connect with others, ask those with bigger platforms to hook you up. And so on.
4) Find out who else is going # 2: Speakers. Study the speakers’ bios on the LondonSWF site; work out in advance who you absolutely can’t miss in the flesh and those you can watch on video after the festival. And see if you can connect with any of these speakers! Why not? Most of them are on Twitter or at other events in real life. What’s the worst that can happen?
5) Work on those loglines. Make them as shiny as you possibly can; get feedback, make sure they sell your concept brilliantly. And know them inside out. And PRACTICE delivering them in a conversational manner, so you can answer the inevitable question, “What are you working on at the moment?” Because you WILL get asked this at LondonSWF. This will also help you out during The Pitchfest, too. All about loglines.
6) Have 2 or 3 One Page Pitches Ready (at least). Make sure they TOTALLY ROCK and sell your idea “off the page”, making people want to read your screenplays. Get feedback and make sure they make sense and aren’t too dense, too weird or lofty prose-wise.
5) Have a couple of short treatments ready to go. We’re talking 4-10 pagers here, or “extended pitches”: blow by blow accounts of the plot of your screenplay. These days, I’m told by agents and producers they want them to be as short as possible, so try and aim for 4 pages. And make them as INTERESTING as possible – not a dull load of “And then … And then … And Then …” YAWN! If you script is a comedy? Make it funny. If it’s a Horror? Scary. If it’s a Thriller? Thrilling. You get it. BOOM. All about writing treatments.
6) Save the first 10 pages of each of your screenplays as a PDF, ready to go. As it says on the tin. Again, make sure they’re the best they can be and that they don’t do any of these things: 600 Seconds That Could Kill Your Script Dead.
7) Enter for all the LondonSWF initiatives. The Script Labs are back again this year (NOT open yet) and we’ve also got The Actors’ Table Read. CHECK OUT THE SUBMISSIONS DATES & GUIDELINES ASAP.
There will likely be others too, so watch this space. Take advantage of everything you possibly can and remember: the more people who read your work – even if it’s just my reading team – then more likely you can get hooked up long term with someone. If you want to make new contacts and advance in your career, you MUST not hide your work or yourself away.
So, what are you waiting for? GO GO GO!!!
Good luck x
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