I managed to make it to the first day of the Screenwriting Expo held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in beautiful downtown LA. This annual screenwriting extravaganza organized by the good people of Creative Screenwriting Magazine boasts workshops, a pitchfest, screenwriting contest and network parties to nurture our screenwriting souls with the creme de la creme (that’s French for VIP) of the screenwriting world. Apart from a few administrative and communications problems with people not knowing if they were booked on the pitching bootcamp or not, it was a worthwhile first day.
Our good friends at the Scriptwriters Network hosted a Pitching Bootcamp which prepared us for the horrors of pitching to live studio executives. They’re probably more scared of you than you are of them. Basically, tables were arranged around the ballroom where we each took turns at pretending to be a studio exec listening to a pitch and being a pitchee. There were some problems with the rotations (mainly with me) despite arrows being placed on the floor. Some of us claimed that this session was the first time we verbalized our stories. It was a chance to be brutally honest (read constructive) and give each other feedback. It doesn’t help a writer to tell them their pitch sucked or was great.
We were each given a card with pitching tips and we scored each other on the following aspects of our pitches on scale of 0 to 3:
Anatomy of a Pitch
Main character, setup, inciting incident, character goal and conflict
Conciseness, interest, pitchers’ ability to answer questions. personality and passion
Now that’s comprehensive! I think we all got something out of it, both in terms of what our fellow writers are doing, and how our projects are perceived. Despite the hiccups with assessing who had pre-booked or not, it was a worthwhile event. You never know when you’re going to meet someone who puts you on the spot and asks you to tell them your story.
The other events for the evening comprised registration for the expo and the awards ceremony for the screenplay competition. I didn’t enter this year in protest for not winning in 2008.
There was also a welcome reception, but I was too exhausted to attend.