Is the London Screenwriters’ Festival worth going to if you have to miss so many sessions?

This post has also been published at website (ScriptWriter magazine online). This is meant to be a kind of diary about my preparation for the festival, then about the sessions I’ll attend… so keep coming back for more!

I write scripts so a screenwriting festival in London seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I went onto their website to see if it was worthwhile (here’s the schedule) and the idea of having a clone has never seemed so ideal. Not just one clone, many clones. One for each LSF 2010 session. Right, back to reality. This is not Sci Fi, it is an event in Regent’s Park! It’s my first time at a Screenwriters’ Festival and I’m stunned at the number of sessions I cannot go to. So, is it worth going if I have to miss so much of it? Can I prioritise and not feel cheated?

OK, there’s always the MUST ATTEND NO MATTER WHAT session. My top MUST see is John August – he’ll be at the Hollywood Hookup LA Players session via Skype, Friday, 29th, 6pm, with Chris Jones. I love John, he’s one of the most generous bloggers when it comes to advice on screenwriting, apart from being a pretty good screenwriter himself.

I can’t miss that, although wanting to see him may be a bit self-indulgent because that MUST will make it impossible for me to attend: I Have a Great Script, Now What?, with screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth (Fat Friends, Emmerdale) – her favourite film as a kid is Pretty in Pink and she is utterly adorable; Rosie Alison, co-producer of The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas; and writer/director Olly Blackburn whose first feature, Donkey Punch, was considered by the Daily Mail “the sickest, vilest, most depraved film I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.” Hmmm… quite a contrasting panel, isn’t it? I wonder how one would pitch Donkey Punch

I’d also be missing Networking the Room, with Janice Day. Janice is a networking genius, a brilliant writer, a comedienne and a blast. Networking made fun – which is almost a contradiction. I definitely could do with some help on the networking front, so in practical terms maybe my MUST ATTEND should be a practical choice. Or maybe I can buy Janice a drink and get a private lesson?

Tough call. What is a girl to do? Julian recommended teaming up with others to share the load so we do different sessions at the same time and give our notes to each other. Maybe… but not all notes are equal. I will struggle with more choices because with over 70 sessions in three days I must make sure that my short and medium term career goals are the focus. That will make it easier. Except that I need advice from festival sessions to help me decide on what those goals should be. I am writing two scripts at the moment, one for TV and one feature, Actually that doesn’t make it easier. Why did they have to have so many sessions? Tomorrow I will explore another difficult decision. Do let me know what you think about the choices and how you are making your choices.

Book your ticket before they run out! offers £37 discount when you quote code “twelvepoint”.


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