Hey, Stuart Perry just called me "very talented"! I'm sure the kind gent must be referring to my orienteering skill, as I managed to find my way down to Brighton yesterday evening to catch a Q&A session with two important development execs: Dan McCrae (formerly UK Film Council and Working Title) and Sarah Golding (current Head of Development at Potboiler Productions, was involved with The Constant Gardener).
If you tend to think of development execs as being icy cocaine-fiends, you'd be pleasantly surprised by the highly approachable Dan and Sarah. A room of around 30-40 people quizzed them for 90 minutes, and they managed to fend off a prevailing air of cynicism with aplomb. Over on my website, I've posted some snippets of Things What They Said, courtesy of my exclusive breed of Arnopp Short-hand (transcribe it within 24 hours or you're screwed). Be sure to check out Stuart's transcript too, as he'll no doubt have covered stuff that I missed.
If you can't be bothered to schlepp all the way over to JasonArnopp.com, here's a snippet of those snippets: a question I asked the duo in person, after the Q&A...
Which qualities does a writer need, in order to survive the development process?
Sarah: “A positive approach.”
Sarah: “Flexibility. While keeping a firm grasp on what they’re doing.”
Dan: “Open-mindedness. They can’t be too precious.”
Sarah: “A genuine ability to actually be excited by the challenge. So many writers seem like winged birds, poor things, when they come to us. It’s like they’re expecting to be shot down! You can’t be too defensive – listen and give out. It’s two-way traffic. Don’t expect to be given a recipe that you’ll be expected to go away and cook. It’s all about interaction.”