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Blog: London Screenwriters' Festival Day Two

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The second day of the London Screenwriters' Festival started a bit late for me, as I spent the morning MENTALLY PREPARING. I was booked on to do the Pitchfest in the afternoon, and as there weren't any talks I was hugely interested in I thought my time might be better spent practicing for it.

I eventually arrived at the festival just before 2pm, in time for a talk about "getting your first gig in radio" that was Quite Good as it was chaired by Mr Paul Bassett-Davies who kept a FIRM HAND on there being too much "sorry" and "this may not be right", and it also featured Mr Danny Robins, who was very good. At the end I heard a couple of people talking about writing science fiction, so i joined the heck in with them, and we all swapped cards. Networking is PEASY!

We went round the corner for the "Script Chat" section, which was an extra bit in a smaller room, but i didn't get there in time for a seat so didn't stick around for long. Instead I wandered round to the room where the Pitchfest was happening. There didn't seem to be anyone there so I went and got a coffee, and it was only when I came back that I realised that the queue was round the corner!

I LEAPT in and spent the next half hour chatting to some of the other people waiting. This was a really nice way to CALM DOWN, as I was feeling a bit TERRIFIED. The Pitchfest is a 90 minute session where you queue up to get five minutes with your chosen Pitchees - a producer, commissioner, agent or whoever - to PITCH your idea, a bit like speed dating. There were meant to be 35 pitchers and 13 people to pitch to, but when we got in it turned out that although all the pitchers had turned up only 7 of the pitchEES had! This was a bit upsetting for lots of people, including me, as it was mostly TV people who hadn't come. I had three ideas ready and a HITLIST of people to talk about them to, but ended up concentrating almost entirely on my film idea, "Alpha Male". The nice thing about this one is that it's a "High Concept" story with a VERY high concept (ask me in a pub, I'll tell you!) which made it good fun to tell people about. The only downside is it is by far the least worked out of my ideas, so if someone asked for a script it would mean a busy few days (at least!) getting it ready to send!

I only got to pitch "Storm House", my main idea (i.e. the one that I wrote for the MA, which has a completely completed script, bible, treatments and all sorts) to one person, who wasn't interested at ALL, which was a bit disappointing, and there was nobody there to do my sitcom, but still, one person DID ask for a script for "Alpha Male", a few others took one-pagers about it, and EVERYBODY looked a bit stunned and said "That IS an original idea", so I was very happy!

After all that I definitely need a BEER, and ended up not going to any more talks at all, spending my time Effectively Networking (drinking). Mr Phil O'Shea, head of the aforementioned MA, was there and introduced me to some other graduates from other years, who were ace, and I ended up talking to LOADS of people. I realised that you can say things like "Can I network with you?" or "Let's do business cards!" and people tend to be PLEASED that someone else has said it so you can get it all out of the way then carry on CHATTING. Basically, if you swap a business card then you are doing Professional Business and NOT just drinking. Definitely.

By the time I'd wandered around a bit I was slightly tiddly but VERY happy with how it had all gone. I'd pitched and I'd networked - I felt like a Hollywood BIGSHOT!

posted 28/10/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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