The London Screenwriters’ Festival is a great event for UK screenwriters, both apprentice and journeyman: Three days of seminars, workshops and panels; networking opportunities, pitching and full immersion into a world beyond the isolation of the writerly life. Chris Jones and his team always put a lot of effort into the event and the result is always a great show. But there are a few things you can do to maximise the benefits you can reap.
- Preparation is everything, even if you chose to go a different way on the day. So check out the schedule ahead of time, paying attention to which sessions are or aren’t filmed. You’ll be able to check those out later if needed.
- Get your specs, scripts, one-sheets and loglines up to scratch. While it’ll help to maximise your opportunities, you don’t need a full portfolio. But what you have should be as ready to go as it can be. And know your loglines, you’ll use them constantly!
- Get some decent looking business cards. Everyone else will have them, and they’ll feel just as awkward as you handing them out.
At the Event
- Talk to as many people as possible. Ask them what they’re working on or what sessions they’re going to, exchange business cards. Everyone’s in the same boat as you, they’re all nice people and keen to meet you. This is important whether you’re a first-timer, or an old stalwart breaking out of their clique. Practise your loglines on them!
- Do go to the PitchFest, doubly so if you have something that’s good to go. It’s a great opportunity to pitch to some great people; and at the very least it’s great practice because you won’t escape pitching in your career as a screenwriter! If you don’t have completed work, do still give it a go, but be honest with yourself and the pitchees, it’ll save you a lot of heartache and late nights.
- Do as much as you can, arrive early, stay late for the drinking and networking. But do make sure you take downtime when you need it. LSF can be an intense event and sometimes we all need a bit of processing time.
- All those business cards you picked up? Contact every single person. These are your peers, your future collaborators, your fellow travellers on the road to screenwriting glory. Meeting them all is a great privilege and real boost, but you’ve got to follow up with the contacts you’ve made.
- Most importantly, use the inspiration and wisdom you’ve gained and go out and write! Every day a little, if you can.