Screenwriting Expo 2009 (Day 2)


Okay writers. I know I’ve been a little slack in posting, but I’ve got a good excuse. I’ve been frying my creative brain at the second day of this inaugural affair.

The main expo was divided into five key areas:
Pitchfest Sons of pitches could purchase four 5 minute appointments with industry development execs. They cost $25 each, and if you purchased four, you got an extra one free. I didn’t hear any gunshots, so I guessed it went okay. I interrupted the worried faces and told them to pitch me their script in the following way – title, genre and logline. What a wake up call! I told participants to wipe that worried look off their faces. Be confident, not arrogant! Development execs smell fear and if you aren’t confident about pitching your script, then why should they listen. I hope the Englishman who pitched an incredibly funny comedy that came in at 180 pages took my advice and told them that he actually wrote the sequel to it. Despite my unorthodox approach, I hope I helped my fellow writers. I was also amazed at the quality of ideas that emerged, from English royalty, to magical realism, hard nosed thrillers. A few small companies were represented. These included Warner Brothers, Fox Searchlight, Weed Road Pictures, Relativity Media, Dreamworks Studios and Mosaic Media.

Workshops This is where I focused my energies. I signed up to the five advanced courses which where high intensity courses. They were brilliant. I attended “Slaying the Dragon” (the metaphorical one) with fellow Aussie Linda Heys who talked about the floundering second act interms of the hero’s journey and called me a “dag”. Nice one! Her props included video clips of “Beauty and The Beast” and a Shrek mask. I also attended “Structure Check List” by Michael Ray Brown, “Writing For Emotional Impact” by Karl Iglesias. I was so impressed I bought his book and got him to autograph it. I attended “Inside Story – The Transformational Arc” by Dara Marks and “Dynamic Dialogue” by Pilar Alessandra who short changed us because she thought the workshops ran for 60 rather than 90 minutes. She was so good, that we eventually forgave her. At six bucks a session, you can’t be beat!

Special Guest Panel Discussions This was a major nuisance for those tied up with concurrent pitches and workshops, because we couldn’t simultaneously sit in the same room as Hollywood writing royalty. These were also 90 minute sessions which included a Q & A at the end. Despite my absence, I heard the one with Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich) and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) about female writers, kicked major female as* (notice how I’ve cleverly left out a letter of the mystery word). We need more diversity and gender balance in the screenwriting world based on talent rather than token gestures.

Exhibitors Another area housed representatives from a variety of companies who service the screenwriting industry. They included reps from Final Draft expounding the virtues of FD 8 (screenwriting software), Pitch Q (online video pitches and coaching), The Scriptwriters’ Network (writers group who organize craft sessions and guest speakers), Dramatica (the most comprehensive story structure software on the planet which I’m still trying to master), Script PIMP (online database of producers searching for scripts), Creative Screenwriting Magazine (Yo Jeff Goldsmith), iscripts (create an mp3 of your script and hear it on your ipod) and Story Solver (David Warfield’s story consulting outfit).

Networking Mixer and Script Competition to top things off. If you still had the energy you could attend the social mixer in the evening to pleasure yourself with more writers.

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