London Screenwriters' Festival

Archive for November, 2010

YOUR FEEDBACK IS IN… London Screenwriters’ Festival 2011, YOUR great ideas!

Posted on: November 10th, 2010 by Anton No Comments

Session

Right now the LSF2010 delegates are still filing out the exit survey – we have been asking about their experience so that we can improve the festival next year. So far the feedback has been both amazing and truly insightful. We plan to share a detailed breakdown in due course, but for now here are some of the broader stats and ideas.

Note – If you attended the festival and you didn’t get an email from us about the survey, there is still time to do it – drop me an email now and I will send you a link to the survey (mail@livingspirit.com)

These stats below are drawn from the 160 delegates who have taken the survey.

OK so first selected question…

We are working on longer breaks for lunch and dinner next year. Taking that into account, would you say the sessions were…

1. About the right length
2. Occasionally a little long, but that’s OK
3. Consistently too long
4.  Way too long

Length
We had heard lots of opinions about the ideal length for sessions and we ended up choosing 90 minutes for 2010. This was supposed to be 60 minutes with Q and A. I personally felt that anything less would end up with sessions that were too lightweight. And it looks like most people would agree that the sessions were about right, perhaps occasionally a tad long, but that’s OK. Reading through feedback we also noted that some people wanted longer breaks, some wanted shorter. We also recognize that some sessions could be ‘double sessions’, Linda Aronson for instance. This was repeatedly asked for.

So here is what we are proposing for 2011. Sessions will be ten minutes shorter, so 80 minutes in length. Morning and afternoon breaks will be shorter at 20 minutes, but lunch will be much longer at probably 90 minutes. We will also work on making lunch a ‘networking’ opportunity and not just a refuel pit-stop. We will be publishing our new proposal for the ‘sessions timing throughout the day’ in the coming weeks.

What format would you like for next years festival?

1. Stay as Friday, Saturday and Sunday
2. Change to Thursday, Friday, Saturday, with a relaxed networking Sunday

Days
So we just didn’t know what you would want. As a festival with no strings attached, it’s clear that Thursday to Saturday with a networking Sunday would be best. But we live in the real world. Reading through feedback we could see that issues such as child care, taking two days off work instead of one, staying in London an extra day, all seemed to load the cost (in time and money) to most delegates. So right now, the plan is to stay with the majority vote at Friday through Sunday, but we do want to figure out some ways of adding more networking, possibly via a lengthier and more formal networking on Thursday night. More on our proposed solutions in due course.

Do you have one crazy idea that we could incorporate next year?

This was one of my favourite questions and our creative delegates have left lots a terrific ideas. Here are a few that I am sure we will implement next year.

Answer number 84… Improv acting for writers, from Steve Turnbull

Great idea Steve, and believe it or not, it was part of our plan for 2010, but it got elbowed out to make way for other sessions. Hearing the feedback from the acting session we did provide, and from others asking for more interactive and practical sessions, I am certain we will have an acting session for writers at 2011. I don’t know if it will be imrpov, but it will workshop acting for writers and entail delivering actual lines that you write.

Answer number 44. Pub film quiz – the prize being the winning table gets to pitch to some really big producer / development exec… suggested by Aideen McCarthy, Writer and also suggested by Lisa Holdsworth, Writer (and LSF speaker)

This is a GREAT idea and I am sure we will do this. It was also suggested by Lance Nielsen one of our speakers who received consistently high feedback for his practical sessions. What this really feeds into is something reflected in other areas of feedback, that not all people like networking in a bar. It’s noisy, crowded and lubricated by booze. Great if you like it that environment and terrible if you don’t. And a LOT of our delegates don’t like that environment. So maybe the Pub quiz is one fun answer, as well as more relaxed chill out and networking environments. Great suggestion. Thank you.

Answer number 36. What about a giant game of “consequences” (the game where everybody writes one line of a story based purely on being able to see the last line written)? I saw this done once and it was really funny – it was done using a roll of plain white wallpaper. You could then list the entire, probably to tally stupid, story on the website! Suggestion from Chris Marshall, Writer

Again a great idea that I am sure we will integrate.

Finally, Would you recommend the festival to another writer, director of film maker?

Yes

For us the most exciting statistic… with 96.5% of delegates saying that they would recomend the festival. It says it all really. Though I must admit I will need to work on the five delegates who said they would not recomend it, I am determined that next year we get to 100%!

OK so once more, a big thank you to everyone who has taken the survey. If you are a delegate and haven’t taken it yet, please do so, or drop me an email for the link (mail@livingspirit.com)

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
www.livingspirit.com
mail@livingspirit.com

LSF2010 Delegate Feedback

Posted on: November 5th, 2010 by Anton 1 Comment

LondonSF2010

LSF 2010 : Delegate Feedback Quotes, the first round of feedback is in…! And we just had to share it with you all. We are still colating loads of data, as well as feedback and comments from our terrific speakers. More to come but here is a starter…

880664467 ‘It’s been an excellent experience for me – I feel inspired, encouraged, exhausted, educated, informed and I leave feeling that I can improve and achieve so much more’
TRISHA HOPKINS – Writer, Formby

Closeup ‘I journeyed from Switzerland to be part of the LSF and it’s definitely been worth it. The sheer raw energy bouncing from writer to writer and from room to room was something truly special. The conference was, in my opinion, as inspiring to fresh writers as it was to established ones’
DANIEL MARTIN ECKHART – Writer, Switzerland

880664467‘I was in heaven- surrounded by other writers, able to discuss writing all day for three whole days, meeting producers and directors and getting a wealth of tips and information that it probably would have taken years to have gathered on my own’
JUDY COOPER – Writer

Photoon20100305at16.09 ‘My brain has never been so well fed and I have come away from it full of enthusiasm, determination and a definite surge in self-belief’
EMMA CURTIS – Writer

VanessaMayfieldHeadshot ‘There was a great atmosphere, a long list of incredible speakers, and everyone was so friendly and happy to help, not to be missed!’
VANESSA MAYFIELD – Actor

Schmeee ‘As a producer and financier on the look-out for new projects, I found it surpassed my expectations. I only wish I could’ve been there for the full three days and met more aspiring and experienced screenwriters’
ROBERT STEIN-ROSTAING – Producer

ConfusedBLUEEYES ‘…my pitching improved exponentially…three days immersed in a sea of marvelously passionate people.  It’s energizing’
LEE APSEY – Writer, Leeds

001 ‘Meeting other writers and forming friendships and a support network is essential to mental survival’
MICKY McGUINESS – Writer, Brighton

880664467‘I got something out of every session but by far my favorite sessions were the ones where I learnt something that improved my writing skills’
LORREN BONIFACE – Writer, Leicester

Adam7bwsmall ‘A great festival – learned and re-affirmed a lot…I’m sure 2011 will be amazing and I look forward to it already’
ADAM ETHERIDGE – Writer / Director, Bristol

KatyPrague ‘I found the whole festival exciting, inspiring and fun…I came away feeling much more positive about my writing and with renewed inspiration and motivation’
KATY SEGROVE – Writer, London

JanePLUSNAME ‘It widened my perspective on how to actually make money from writing’
JANE FOSTER – Writer / Director / Producer, London

Scott2 ‘I’ve taken away so, so many useful hints and tips about how the industry works and how to present yourself properly.  Inspired me to come back in 12 months time to make even better use of the opportunities available’
SCOTT MARTIN – TV Production / Aspiring Writer

Standingwebsmall ‘I have a fuller understanding of my way forward. I know that I am not alone and one of many and also that I am in a better position to judge the quality and saleability of my screenplay’
DAVID WAUGH – Writer

880664467‘Exciting atmosphere – you get as much out of this as you put in… the quality and intensity of the presentations / discussions has moved me on significantly’
GORDON SLACK – Writer, Salisbury

DJ11July10 ‘There are too many nuggets of advice, chance meetings and great opportunities to list.  It has been very inspiring and helped me decide what not to do as much as what I want to do’
DARREN JONES – Writer, London

Carlaheadshot1 ‘The festival gave me a chance to look at various screenwriting markets, get feedback on my ideas and make contacts’
CARLA GRAULS – Writer, London

880664467‘Energising! I have a great sense of direction now, of being included, of real potential’
FELICITY McCALL – Writer, Northern Ireland

DegreeShowPhotos2202 ‘It was great having a ‘free’ chat with speakers after the sessions. I’ve learnt it’s all in my hands – not someone elses, I’m going to do more.  You have given us all a fantastic festival’
JAN BROWN – Writer / Film Maker, Liverpool

880664467‘Wonderful community feeling…made me aware that writing scripts is possible, no matter who you are or whatever your background’
ELIZABETH SWAN – Writer, Lancashire

880664467‘Experienced some great sessions from well respected writers about how they got to where they are now. This will help me plan where I focus my efforts going forward and what I can expect to come up against along the way’
JONATHAN REES – Writer, London

Selfportrait07.10 ‘Too many great events on at the same time!  (A great problem to have…!)’
JONATHAN BART – Writer / Director, London

880664467‘The festival was an excellent networking opportunity and actually helped me realise what the do’s and don’ts of screenwriting, pitching and networking are’
CHRISTINA GEORGIOU – Writer / Composer, Cyprus

CRW_0262 ‘I had the realisation that fear has held me back, fear of rejection, of failure, of not knowing anyone. I will be writing on Monday!’
STEVE BOOKBINDER – Writer / Director, London

Wow!

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
www.livingspirit.com
mail@livingspirit.com

Rounding off. Feeding Back. Packing Up. Round of Drinks!

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 by Leilani 1 Comment

And so it is over. I can hardly believe that so much has happened and how quickly it’s flown. I don’t yet feel changed by the experience but I’m completely loaded up with information that I haven’t fully assimilated yet so I’m expecting some form of epiphany about my writing over the coming weeks. As I stood in the office at the end of the day watching everyone packing up and gearing up for the wrap party drinks, I thought to myself.. I’m going to miss this.

There has been so much power in the amount of knowledge and advice that has been present for the taking in every room I’ve entered during the fest. But I think actuall I don’t have to miss any of it.. I am taking the knowledge and enthusiasm and the dedicated writer’s vibe home with me and I know now that I am going to build on that. Myself and all the other delegates will now go forth and replicate that vibe amongst the writing communities we interract with I’m certain. Writing is not just an ambition, it’s a profession, it’s a vocation. And sometimes, it’s a revalation.

The seminar day ended with a wrap up chat in the main hall of Regent’s College, A chance for festival organisers to speak directly to delegates about what did and didn’t work for this first festival and what can be improved upon for next year. The negatives seemed to be things that delegates want in order to make this the best event possible for them in future and the positives were just touching and everyone said they’d come away with something from the festival, and there were success stories of how people had found inspiration through coming here.

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Regent’s College itself is a stunning venue. It houses the London School of Film Media and Performance and I have to say that not only have they been supportive to the festival but everyone there is incredibly nice. It’s so lovely, such a beautiful and functional setting I think it prompts niceness, certainly every single person I’ve met has been nice and that is very very rare. Everything one could need is available on site and I just took a little bit of time today to walk about and like it all!

Quite a few of the delegates have been asking me what was my favourite bit of the festival. I’ve been answering ”the people I’m with”, for most of the day. When I was coming home though I realised that it wasn’t just that .it was also all this blogging I’ve been doing that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s been such a privilege to be able to share my experiences here. My task for the screenwriters festival has been to write. Even if it is blogging, it’s been fulfilling for me and I thank you all for reading, I hope it’s been of use and I hope to see you at the London Screenwriters Festival next time.

Bring it on!

Leilani Holmes

http://www.leilaniholmes.co.uk

Crime Pays

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 by Leilani 1 Comment

The last semiar I did today was Crime Writing with Rick Drew, Daniel Eckhart, Andrew Taft and Barbara Machin.

Crime is one of the most popular genres and in the workshop the writers discussed with us why that might be. The overall consensus seemed to be that the techniques of writing crime are techniques that would serve any genre of film well but set within the worlds of crime the stakes are much higher and so the human stories tend to be of larger intensity, often life or death. They can allso allow for smaller more identifiable stories alongside the main A story. A lost dog, a drunk and disorderly . People conquer their fears about their world and can identify and empathise. Time and again throughout the panel the writers reitterated the fact that character really matters.

Though the seminar was largely about TV crime writing the tips given could in some cases apply to film. Where there was a difference it was with regard to sustainability. Some of the most popular crime dramas run over many seasons and for many years. The characters need to develop whilst still remaining their familiar selves for an audience. Backstory is the key to this, it provides rich threads from which future stories and revelations can be woven.

As far as plot goes it was mentioned that the types of crimes themselves can tell you something more about the characters in long running dramas too. History and society issues can play a large part in this. A long running German crime drama Tatort (meaning ‘crime scene’) is a bit of a national treasure by all accounts and has been running for forty years now with each regional TV channel producing it’s own episodes with it’s own lead detective and stories set in that region (therefore very much connecting the dram with the people of that region and making it personal to them). This was a fascinating concept to me and again drew in the fact that characters and places/situations and even politics that people can relate to is a very big sustainer of long term drama.

The crime dramas that the writers spoke about were quite vastly different for various reasons. A new Canadian drama for both Canadian and US television, the German series just mentioned, the hit seasonal show Waking The Dead and the long running week in week out crime procedural The Bill. Each had issues to contend with and each had something fresh about them when the shows were comissioned. What seemed to come up a lot were again, character and character complexity, building on the premise and backstory and going back to earlier episodes to find small things that might fuel future development storylines for the characters and the writer’s voice, the freshness, the way you reveal character.

The seminar had to be moved to a larger hall so that peple could all fit in and ran a little overtime with the Script Chat proving highly popular too. Crime certainly is popular, no wonder it pays.

Leilani Holmes

http://www.leilaniholmes.co.uk

Cutting Edge #LSWF

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 by Leilani No Comments

Tim Clague, Alexis Nolant, Julian Gerighty, Andy Walsh and Rhianna Pratchet held a session this morning on writing for games. I think of all the workshops this is one that shows that there has been a large variety of writing advice taking place in all areas of screewriting.

I’ve been aware of the fact that Game companies were beginning to look for screenwriters to improve their game stories about five years ago when I began writing. This newer avenue of the screenwriting industry has it seems grown since then.

Similarly a session happened today about Transmedia For Story Telling. Transmedia is becoming quite a buzz word around film and screenwriting and it’s about telling stories in many mediums in order to allow expansiveness. I don’t know much about it at all yet but it’s certainly something I think we’ll all end up learning to master in future!

I din’t spend a lot of time in seminars today as I wanted to spend time just being with people and having time to talk and wander around, so I went to the #LSWF twitter stream to catch a few tweets about what was being said live from the workshop by my fellow delegates. I and many many delegates have been tweeting our best bits madly all during the festival and it’s been a great way of picking up tips from workshops we couldn’t be in.

Tweeting, blogging, gaming… the screenwriting industy is going all Tron on us!

Bring it on! :D

Leilani Holmes

http://www.leilaniholmes.co.uk

Fuelled by People

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 by Leilani No Comments

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Any festival is really only ever as good as it’s people. And screenwriting is about people, it’s about touching people, watching people, learning about people, and hearing people’s stories. I have to say that one of the things that will always stay with me, from the three days I’ve just spent, are the amazing delegates, speakers and staff, all of whom were incredible people to be around. I felt part of something big and I wanted to spend a little bit of today spending time with folk, and just enjoying being one of the screenwriters enjoying this shared experience of being a screenwriter. Something many of us never get to do.

Some people had come from America and other far away places just to be here at this event. Many had given time and expertise to make this happen. Still more stood behind the festival and supported it. All worked hard to keep it running like clockwork. Everyone contributed by their presence.

Here are some photos of just a few of the wonderful people who made this festival so fantastic. I enjoyed being around everyone. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

I look forward to staying in touch with the friends I have made.

Bring it on!

Leilani Holmes

http://www.leilaniholmes.co.uk

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