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Blog: London Screenwriters' Festival Day Three

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After all the excitement of the previous two days I was expecting day THREE of the London Screenwriters' Festival to be a bit more low key, and I must admit I didn't go in with QUITE the GUSTO for chatting to people as I had done the day before. It was all the fault of the festival really, as I was so KEEN to get on with WRITING stuff I was less in the mood for hearing about it!

The first talk was another slightly dreary one where someone spent 90 minutes doing, basically, a ten minute talk on how to identify the "theme" of a story. We did get to watch a big chunk of the film "Philomena" though, it looked really good!

There was a huge gap for LUNCH, during which I met Mr Donald Eke and had a chat, then went off to see a discussion between David Reynolds (again) and Steve La Rue, a Producer who worked on BUffy (amongst many other things). As with the previous David Reynolds talk there wasn't a VAST amount of solid info, but it was a very interesting look into how HOLLYWOOD works with a TONNE of gags from both of them. They were so DELIGHTFUL to listen to I could have sat there all day!

My final planned stop was a talk about writing sitcoms, featuring the hilariously dour John Lloyd, who did Spitting Image, Blackadder, Not The Nine O'Clock News. Other people were full of various opinions, but he seems to think that everything wrong with television - and perhaps the UNIVERSE - is due to iniquitous TV Commissioners. I know he has a BIT of a point, but CRIKEY he doesn't half go on about it! It was a good session though, and afterwards I RAN round with Mr James Huntrods to make sure we got a seat for the Script Chat, at the end of which one person collected up BUSINESS CARDS in order to form a mailing list of Supportive Sitcom Writing Colleagues. We were networking without even having a beer in our hands: RADICAL!

At this point I considered going home, but poked my head around the door of the FINAL David Reynolds session of the weekend and saw a seat, so sat on it. He'd been doing a "script to screen" talk about "Finding Nemo" - basically a live DVD commentary - which I'd missed, but did get to hear about half an hour of more CHAT and more GAGS. It was, once again, ACE!

As I turned to leave I saw Mr Ged Parsons sat behind me so we had a right old chat about IDEAS that went on until we were asked to sit down for the Closing Remarks. This was... um... a bit different. The organiser of the whole event seems to view himself as a bit of a Motivational Speaker, and did a whole ACT where he was SHOUTING about how FUCKING AWESOME it all was and how he was nearly in tears about how INSPIRING it had all been. It felt a bit weird for me, as I totally WAS inspired by the whole thing and it HAD been brilliant, but having someone shout at me about it like I was at a sales conference was almost taking away from it. Part of the experience was an extremely lengthy slide show of pictures taken during the weekend (including one shot of the back of my head, featuring my Weird Ears!) over a neverending LANDFILL INDIE song about how we've started a bonfire or something. It was SO AWFUL that it became funny, and then they did a bit where you had to turn to the person next to you and COMMIT to something you FEARED. Me and my neighbour chatted about how uncomfortably this whole bit was, but how brilliant the weekend had been, and I suspect that conversation was going on a LOT!

It all ended with everyone who'd worked there or spoken, and not managed to HIDE, getting dragged on stage for a long long long clapping along to a song session. It was a WEIRD way to end it all, made even more weird by the fact that when I got out I (and lots of other people) were amazed to find that the BAR had been closed down! At 6:30pm? At an event for WRITERS?!?

Still, the odd ending aside it had been a pretty bloody brilliant weekend. I'd met lots of lovely people, heard some inspiring talks, and got a whole lot of LEADS and HOT TIPS about what to do next. I'll definitely be going next year!

posted 29/10/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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