London Screenwriters' Festival

Archive for October, 2010

Writers… Learn how to write off your expenses?

Posted on: October 15th, 2010 by Anton No Comments

Life as a writer can often be taxing (no pun intended) from creative blocks to money restraints. What most writers don’t realise is that they are in fact paying too much tax on a yearly basis, but how can you tell if you’re entitled to pay less? Read on and find out…

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London Screenwriters Private Social Network Goes Live!

Posted on: October 15th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay No Comments

As part of the festival, all delegates, staff and speakers are invited to join our private networking community. This is a place where you can create your own page to represent ‘who you are’, ‘what you have done’ and ‘what you hope to get out of the festival experience’. Think of it as our own private Facebook.

Once you are a member you can share and hook up with anyone on the network. And already our online creative community is busy chatting, creating new relationships and helping each other.

Inside the network you will get…

• A personal page for all your details, kind of like a CV
• Access to all other members
• Access to the forum where you can ask and answer questions within the community
• Live chat so you can interact in real time with anyone on the network
• Share photos, videos, blogs and any other media
• Tight integration with Facebook and Twitter
• A short ‘how to’ induction video
• Plus loads more features, widgets and cool stuff

Best of all, the network is live now, and will remain active even after the festival.

To join the LSF Delegates Private Network, when you buy your ticket you will receive an invitation. Sign up here.

PS – Remember we have a FREE Social Media for writers workshop tomorrow (Saturday 16th October) for festival delegates. More on that workshop here.

Bring It On: Making LSWF A Success

Posted on: October 10th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay 9 Comments

Because it's not ALL about you...

So the fab Neal Romanek has asked this question via Twitter:

“It’s OUR fest – what do WE do to make The London Screenwriters’ Festival the biggest success possible?”

I think this is a great question. Too often writers go to an event thinking it’s all about them *personally* – I’ve been guilty of it, myself. However thinking of others as well is just as profitable to the individual too, if not more so.

But how, you ask? Here you go: (more…)

The Extended Pitch

Posted on: October 4th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay 1 Comment

When writing extended pitches, no one can hear you scream!

As everyone knows, I’m always advocating The One Page Pitch. That document where you grab a producer or agent’s attention for your script – make them WANT to read it. (Never send your script out without one!).

But this is not a post about one page pitches, but what I called “extended pitches”. Sometimes this is called merely a “synopsis”; other times a treatment or outline. The ”extended pitch” is usually up to 4-5 pages, describing EVERY BEAT of the story and how it unfolds. A blow-by-blow account, if you like. The extended pitch needs to be written engagingly, drawing the reader INTO the world of that story, NOT reminding them “this is a movie/TV show”. It’s usually all about the story too, rather than budget, who’s attached or other filmmakery stuff.

Extended pitches are usually used at a stage where *someone* (ie. a producer) is interested in a script and wants to show it others (ie. financiers). But why is one page not good enough for this stage? Because as rare as a GOOD one page pitch is (and they are rare), it’s apparently the well-written extended pitches that separate the men from the boys (or the women from the girls), especially in terms of evaluating the central concept of a script and its structure/plot.

And it makes sense. No one throws money away on something they *half* know about, especially when we all have pre-conceptions about what is *good* and *not good*. You wouldn’t walk into a Blockbuster and say:

YOU: Hi DVD storeperson, gimme a DVD.

DVD GUY: Sure, what would you like?

YOU: Oh I dunno, give me any DVD.

DVD Guy puts a random DVD on the counter.

YOU: Oh no, I don’t like Julia Roberts, she looks like she has a coat hangar in her mouth all the time. Hit me with another one.

DVD Guy hands over another random DVD.

YOU: Oh no, I wasn’t looking for Rom-Com, how can you give me that? When I have *ever* rented a Rom-Com from you?

DVD GUY: Hey don’t take it out on me, how about *this* one??

YOU: No way Jose, that’s directed by James Cameron, don’t you know he was responsible for Sarah Connor inexplicably turning into a man for the duration of T2: Judgement Day and no fella the world over appears to notice??

DVD GUY: You know what? Pick your own DVD!

In the same way we use DVD boxes and cinema posters to decide what to watch then, producers often use one pagers to get scripts into development. But whilst we’ve all heard *that* story about ALIEN selling in three words (“Jaws In Space!”), a producer rarely gets the green light from a one page pitch alone. Instead, those other people will want to make their own evaluation on the script itself and its potential, preferably without reading the actual script itself – which makes extended pitches invaluable.

Having felt the pain of pulling an extended pitch on an all-nighter only recently, I would recommend doing these in advance. Besides anything, writing a spec extended pitch of your **finished** script can explose flaws in plot or problems with its structure you may not have seen otherwise – so even if you don’t end up using them in the long run, it’s still time well spent, regardless of where your script is destined. To sum up, I’d recommend the following in your portfolio for EVERY project:

1 x one page pitch (sales document for grabbing initial attention – either for the script itself or the concept, if said script does not exist yet)

1 x script

1 x extended pitch (blow by blow account for evaluation, 4-5 pages)

Good luck!