London Screenwriters' Festival

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Up and at ‘Em!

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by Leilani No Comments

So it’s Friday morning and my first blog of the festival. I’ve got my business cards at the ready, a stash of chocolatey snacks to keep my blood sugar up, the obligatory bottle of water that we actors always carry, iPhone, itinerary, a massive handbag to put it all in.. sunglasses for that festival fabulous look (a must have for any festival dahlink) and I’m ready to rock!

The festival actually started over an hour ago with the opening keynote. It’s an important part of the festival that I think helps energise the day and just allows people to acclimatise to the building and each other. It’s a very large festival with a lot going on and a lot of people, the days are long and it’s pretty non stop all weekend. So to have a grounding positive introduction and just settle in helps things not to become overwhelming. It’s bustling here and I’m thrilled to be milling about in the milieu!

And it’s also a chance to spot some familiar names and faces. Fellow screenwriter Neal Romanek is alongside me also blogging and tweeting from the festival so hopefully between us we can offer different perspectives and cover a bit more of the festival flavour. Both of us and numerous others who are part of the festival familiars will be live tweeting and there will be blogs aplenty on the London Screenwriters Festival Blog Page. A few other twitterati of my aquaintance are here and I’ve already been greeted by friendly faces and faces of friends. It’s feeling good to be here and to be focussed on screenwriting again. The highlight I’m looking forward to this afternoon is the In Conversation with Duncan Kenworthy not only because I hugely respect and love his work and am really looking forward to hearing his views, but also because my friend is his assistant and a pretty darn good writer too, so hopefully will be along to the festival too and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with him and hearing his take on it.

Then after that I’ll hopefully make In Conversation with Joe Cornish, Writing Games 2.0: the sequel and The hero’s Journey Continues.. so quite a full day indeed.. where did I put that chocolate stash?!

Right now I’m off into my first seminars and I think I’m going to opt for Kate Leys Produced or Rejected? Is Your Script The Best It Could Be, which will take me up to lunchtime.. and then a bit of networking is in store. Like I said… I’ve got my business cards handy! ;)


Leilani Holmes


I Hate Pitching By Neal Romanek

Posted on: October 26th, 2011 by Lucy V Hay 1 Comment

Around the UK, screenwriters are practicing their pitches for this weekend’s London Screenwriters’ Festival. Speed-pitching to producers is just one of the Olympic-scale events offered by the Festival (which is the biggest, baddest film writing festival in Europe, I think you’ll find).

Pitching to producers is terrifying for anyone, but particularly terrifying if you’re a writer. We’re just not very good at it. In fact, just about anyone in the world is better at pitching to producers than writers are. Pitching requires an ability to “boil it all down” – to reduce a breathtaking vision of depth and weight to a manageable glue that money will stick to.

Problem is that writers – real writers, like us – by their nature, want to tell the whole story. Actually, no, it’s worse than that. We don’t want to tell the whole story – we want to write the whole story, then give it to you and let your inner voice tell it to you as you read it. Having to boil it down is the opposite of what we got into this ridiculous racket for in the first place and it’s especially galling because one of the real reasons your pitching is so that the pitchee will not have to actually read your script and can simply repeat the pitch to her higher-ups who will in turn pass the pitch further up the chain until finally – perhaps in some Chinese whispered iteration that bears nothing to your original idea – it is jumped on as a Vehicle for someone else.

I hate pitching. Have I made this clear? And it’s not just because I have given some of the Worst Pitches In Christendom – well, maybe that’s part of it.

But however uncomfortable we are with it, pitching is in the natural order of things. Creatives have had to pitch to money men since before Michelangelo went before Pope Julius with nothing more than a set of storyboards and an option on a popular book. I always liken screenwriting to architecture more than any other creative endeavour. We’re in the blueprint-making business really. And blueprints have little meaning to non-architects. They have to be translated, truncated, spiced up – they have to be pitched – if they’re going to be realized as living projects that are going to employ hundreds of people.

So if you are pitching at the LondonSWF don’t be terrified. Or at least be comforted by the fact that, if you are terrified, it’s probably because you’re a real writer and not just some salesmen who thought he’d get into the movie business. Not that real writers can’t be good at pitching too, but it’s a separate skill, one that, in my case, has required a lot of practice. I’m pretty good at it now, but there were many embarrassing moments – incoherent rambling, forty minute beat-by-beat-by-beat exercises in tedium, hysterical enthusiasm in search of a logline. I have given some lousy pitches. But doing a lousy job is the only way you get good. So don’t worry about the quality of the pitches this weekend, but get in as many as you can. I’ll be there beside you, sweating from my upper lip, clearing my throat convulsively, stammering “Did I – Did I say that already?”. I hate pitching.


5 Pitching Tips (includes a model pitch if you’re worried/stuck)

REMEMBER – A Logline Is Not A Tagline! Make sure you know the difference for your pitch.

More in The Required Reading List under “Pitches & Prep”, an e-library of resources

Neal Romanek will be live blogging from the festival, so make sure you check back here from Friday onwards – and follow him on Twitter HERE. You will also be able to see live tweets from delegates, speakers, volunteers and other participants by using the #LondonSWF hashtag on Twitter, so DON’T MISS OUT! 

Why A Ticket To @Londonswf Pays For Itself By Dom Carver

Posted on: October 20th, 2011 by Lucy V Hay No Comments

I’ve always been a shy person, very quiet when you first meet me, so when I bought a ticket for last year’s festival I was determined to make the most of it. I found it difficult to approach people at first, but once I got into things I really began to enjoy myself. Soon I was talking to anyone and everyone, amazed to find I was surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to share their passion for writing, just as I did…who would have thought it?

Needless to say I networked myself silly, but it was a chance meeting that brought the biggest surprise of the festival. I was in the bar networking my way around, politely refusing offers of drinks as I wanted to stay sober, when I spotted a friend. I hadn’t spoken to him since I arrived so I headed over to see how his festival was going. He introduced me to a producer. The producer offered me paid work on the back of my friend’s recommendation that I was a good comedy writer. It has taken a year to get to the point where writing is about to commence on my first paid feature screenplay, but it has been worth the wait. These things take time after all, even if I wish they didn’t. It just goes to show you only need one incident like this to make your ticket pay for itself.

Having learnt that networking works and it really is just as much about who you know as what you know, I carried on networking after the festival. This in turn led directly to getting another paid commission from a Dubai based director, this time on a short film, which went on to be chosen as an official selection at the Cannes Short Film Corner earlier in the year. Now the director and I are getting funding together to make our first feature, a thriller, looking to shoot in Canada late next year. Another London based producer has snapped up a comedy short of mine and has massive plans for it, which quite honestly made me giggle like a schoolgirl who had just met Peter Andre.

To add to all this I’ve connected with several script editors who like my work, producers who have offered me an open door to send them more of my work in the future and a great deal of others interested in me as a writer. Thing is I’ve had fun doing it and I’ve never felt networking is a chore. I’ve met a lot of lovely people, enjoyed their company, our chats, emails about writing and life in general and all of this has helped me improve as a writer able to market himself.

So don’t be shy when you arrive next Friday, dive in and say hello… It may just lead somewhere.


Dominic Carver is the winner of the Prequel to Cannes Feature Screenwriting Prize 2011 and has just completed the first draft of a spec comedy heist feature A Fist Full Of Euros. Read Dom’s blog here, his website here and find him on Twitter here or email him at domATthescriptwriterDOTcoDOTuk.

Laugh A Minute – We Have A Winner!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2011 by Lucy V Hay 4 Comments

First off, many thanks for all your entries – all NINETY SEVEN of them! There were entries from all over the UK and as far afield as Canada and the USA. Most followed standard spec format, as specified by the contest rules. There were still some curious variations: centered, underlined and/or bold dialogue seemed the biggest issue of those entries using the correct font (Courier) and otherwise OK format.  Stories included  supermarkets, family life, children, office life, baby sea lions, germs, fatherhood and God and Jesus even put in MULTIPLE appearances!

So without further ado, here is Team LSF’s Top 25 (in alphabetical order):

Allison Parker – DOMINOS
Amy Butterworth – JESUS AT THE DVLA
Andy Wooding & Mark Steele – THE KING’S SPEECH 2
Bernadette Groves – CLIFF
Charlie Boddington – JIM’LL FIX IT
Christiana Brockbank – ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Elinor Perry Smith – GLORY HOLE
Graham Inman – SCENARIO
James Armstrong – AQUAPHOBIA
James Hickey – BAD DAD
Jilly Gardiner – YELLOW ROSE
Keith Storrier – FATHERLY DATING TIPS # 1
Pamela Jane Geddes – WHERE’S YOUR TEETH?
Paul Schofield – MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Robert Gately – GET THE HELL OFF
Rosie Mathieson – FUCKACIA
Sandy Nicholson – PRIVACY SETTINGS
Stephen Brown – SWAT

From this impressive list, the team had the VERY difficult task of selecting a top 6, which ended up being (in no particular order):

Rosie Mathieson – FUCKACIA
Amy Butterworth – JESUS AT THE DVLA
Christiana Brocklebank – ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
Jilly Gardiner – YELLOW ROSE
Keith Storrier – FATHERLY DATING TIPS # 1

As you know, there are TWO winners of the Laugh A Minute Comp, so here they are:

Keith Storrier wins first prize for FATHERLY DATING TIPS # 1, so receives £50 and a free ticket to The London Comedy Festival in April. Keith’s one pager tells the story of a father who makes a CRINGE-MAKING faux pas when advising his daughter about meeting with a potential boyfriend. Team LSF described it as “laugh out loud funny” and “entirely plausible”.


“Highly Commended” is Jilly Gardiner for YELLOW ROSE, who receives a free ticket for the festival. Jilly’s script is about two hard-of hearing pensioners who go on a blind date together. Team LSF called it “amusing” and “sweet, yet sharp.”

Well done to both our winners – but also to the rest of our Top 25 and ALL WHO ENTERED. The contest totally went beyond our expectations in terms of entry volume and quality and that’s ALL down to you guys. We’re sorry we can’t provide feedback on the rest of the entries this year, but the festival is right around the corner – do you have your ticket yet?? Check out the blogs, Twitter and Facebook for the various discounts available.

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.

Work it, Baby: Networking at the LSWF

Posted on: September 18th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay 20 Comments

The lovely Rosie asks:

“What type of things/stuff/ideas to people take to the LSF? I’m sure people won’t want to leave with armfuls of scripts, so how prepared should I be? Treatments? Loglines? Synopsis? Or just talking about my scripts/stories with conviction and passion? I have business cards.”

As we all know, writing is not just about the actual writing; it’s about getting “out there” and selling not only your scripts, but YOU, the writer. You need to create a great first impression, make *that* producer or director WANT to work with you. It’s as hard as it sounds – but the things you need to remember are deceptively simple:

1) DO: remember your business cards. If you don’t have any, shame on you. This is the VERY LEAST you need in “working” the room. Try and ensure (more…)

First Impressions Count

Posted on: September 13th, 2010 by Lucy V Hay No Comments

My husband (whom I affectionately call Mr C on my Twitter stream) grew up in the back of beyond on a farm and as a teenager spent most of his time feeding animals, baling hay or blowing stuff up with illicit chemicals pinched from his Dad’s shed. As a result, Mr C was the poster boy for the phrase, “dragged through a hedge backwards”.

Fast forward ten years and Mr C, fresh out of university and a degree where he spent 99% of his time on his own at Porlock Bay’s gravel barrier measuring seawater levels (yes, seawater levels) and you can safely say he looked more than a little mad. He had long curly hair that would make that bloke out of The Darkness jealous; plus he dressed only in black and was so pale and thin you’d definitely think he was a vampire… (more…)

Rejection: Get Over It and Get On

Posted on: August 31st, 2010 by Lucy V Hay 2 Comments

Rejection is something every writer must get used to, not just newbies. Even the likes of Tony Jordan, Steven Moffatt, Shane Black, Joss Whedon, *insert your favourite writer here* gets rejected. It’s just the way of it – there simply is not enough money or space to include EVERYONE’S work, so it’s inevitable that even very good projects will fall by the wayside.

This is why I get angry when I hear writers doing one another down: “What’s s/he EVER done??” Just because you haven’t seen someone’s name on the credits or a DVD box does not mean they “haven’t been doing anything”… If you’re a professional writer, you know there’s every chance the writer in question HAS been writing – even been paid for it! – it’s just not made it out of development or distribution hell. We all hear the horror stories: the writer whose treatment gets optioned, but the feature gets dashed at the last minute because of a lack of funding for the whole thing; the team who develops a fantastic new drama series at a network, only for the very LAST  Yes man/woman to say “no”. The team that MAKES a whole TV pilot or feature but can’t get it picked up anywhere. It’s not unusual – and the last thing those hard-working people need is their peers questioning their efforts. (more…)

Being Heard in the Great Debates: Social Media Strategies for Engaging in the Big Stories

Posted on: July 31st, 2010 by Lucy V Hay No Comments

UK Film CouncilOne of the things that is fantastic about the web is its pure and simple speed.  No sooner had we all taken in the shock announcement of the abolition of the UK Film Council than people were Twittering, blogging and updating their Facebook status all at once.

The web – particularly screenwriting and filmmaking websites – was ablaze this week with torrents of tirades against the closure, or against the UKFC itself.

How, then, do you get your voice heard amid all this noise and bluster? (more…)