Is London everything?

Is London everything?

The map of film production companies might lean towards the south east but writers, agents and screen pros consistently assured me that you do not have to be London-based to succeed.

Creative England (http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/) have a mission to open up the regions to film-making. I recently attended a seminar in Norwich (above) at which Creative England outlined opportunities.

London is likely to remain a place of business but as a writer, the world’s your oyster.

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Case Study: Lynda Williams

Case Study: Lynda Williams

Image Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_radiantskies’>radiantskies / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Lynda Williams (http://lyndawilliams.weebly.com/) has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. Whilst at UEA, she was awarded the Skillset Bursary, a grant for film professionals with clear potential. She has a background in TV research and education.

To date, Lynda has made two features, one of which – Grace – has been screened at Cannes and won Best Producer award at the Underwire Film Festival 2013. Currently, she is developing a feature film script under Creative England/Norwich-based Write2Screen Script Hot House programme.

Her advice for new writers? Commit to the long-haul. Taking a work from script to screen tends to be a lengthy process, not for the faint-hearted. Remuneration may not be instant and it may take years of trial and error before writers see dividends. Lynda adds that it’s worth getting an agent but to take your time to make sure you get the right one.

To MA or not to MA……

Taking time to study screenwriting has its advantages.  Julian Henriques, from Goldsmiths Scriptwriting MA (http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/ma-script-writing/) listed them:

–          Studying on an MA Scriptwriting course accelerates progress

–          Peer and academic feedback leads to improvement

–          Studying in a writing community eliminates the loneliness of the writing process

–          Some MAs offer industry contacts, a mentor and the opportunity to attend master classes and screenings. Continue reading To MA or not to MA……

Voice of the agents

Dom Carver_networking extra pic

Image © Dom Carver http://www.thescriptwriter.co.uk/

Without an agent, writers have to negotiate their own terms. The end result may not be optimal.

Assuming you’ve followed the steps towards screenwriting success and have attracted the interest of an agent, how should you maximise your chances of being taken up?

I put this question and others to two agents working in the film & TV: Janet Fillingham of Janet Fillingham Associates (http://www.janetfillingham.com/index.html) and James Little of the Screen Talent Agency (http://screen-talent.com/about/).  Their answers indicate how you might succeed. Continue reading Voice of the agents

The role of competitions

There is an array of film and screenwriting competitions in the UK.  The BBC Writers Room (http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunities/)  lists opportunities and events.  These are not exhaustive and it’s worth keeping an eye on the BFI website (http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/festival-submissions) as well as others such as Sundance (http://www.sundance-london.com/short-film-competition) and Red Planet (http://www.redplanetpictures.co.uk/prize.php).

Murray Woodfield is one of the prime movers behind the UK Film Festival (http://ukfilmfestival.com/). Aiming to be the best film festival in London, The UK Film Festival also reaches out to new writers and filmmakers.

Murray Woodfield

Continue reading The role of competitions

Advice from Industry Professionals

Two industry professionals, Yvonne Grace, Television Drama Producer, Writer and Trainer and Catharine Ashdown, Writer and Script Editor (for film, TV and theatre) shared their recommendations on how to get a foothold in the industry.

Yvonne Grace’s tips

Yvonne Grace

CONTACT: http://www.scriptadvice.co.uk/index.html; Twitter: @YVONNEGRACE1; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/237330119115/

Top of Yvonne’s list is to create a body of work.  She also recommends using social networking to build up contacts.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and tumblr are helpful, as are industry-specific blogs.

Yvonne cites the importance of having an original voice as well as the full skills base (understanding of script layout, knowledge of ‘characterisation, dialogue, plot, subtext, visual imagery, pace and story line’).  Writers need to be true to themselves. The energy which you commit to the page transfers itself to the reader.  Clarity should be foremost: ‘Have something to say,” she advises, ‘and say it as clearly as you can’.

Catharine Ashdown’s tips

Catharine Ashdown

CONTACT: http://scriptdevil.co.uk/; Twitter: @scriptdev

Catharine works in drama development across TV, film and theatre but her break came from a temp role at the BBC where she showed a producer sher work. The outcome: a job reading scripts. Continue reading Advice from Industry Professionals

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