Cheltenham Screenwriters' Festival: To Go Or Not?

It's certainly a question worth pondering. Be advised, however, that if your answer is "No", I will have to nail you to the nearest ceiling. Harsh? Sure. But listen, I don't make the rules.

First of all, take a little trip in my Blog TARDIS and examine my reaction to the 2007 Screenwriters' Festival at this brief post here, in which I quack about how fired-up it's made me; and then this much longer post here, in which I list 11 tremendous things about it. That'll be me nailing my colours to the mast. The event was a revelation, in which I not only learnt things about the industry on many levels, but made very good friendships indeed. I now view it as Christmas For Screenwriters.

But hey, fair enough, maybe you think that 2007 is, like, so 2007. "What's going on this year, Arnopp?" you shriek, gripping my shirt collar like a lunatic and frankly getting me quite worked up. "That's what I want to know. WHAT'S GOING ON?!"

Calm down, and I'll tell you. Quite literally for starters, there's an opening address by Barbara Machin, the lady who damn well created the sublime Waking The Dead. Barbara will be talking about the key importance of innovation in TV's current climate. A handy session titled How To Make A Living As A Writer will explain just that, while last year's attendees will be pleased to see the return of Scriptbites - a series of nicely informal gatherings which see speakers hosting round-table talks with delegates (that's you and I - sounds fancy, hmm? I like it, me) on different topics. Then there's a session about comic book writing, with guest speakers including the scribosphere's David Bishop. Screenwriter Ronald Harwood will be interviewed by psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud, who has solemnly sworn to reduce the man to tears (note: this last part is not strictly true, or indeed at all true.) Another session will explore how to climb the career ladder as a writer. The in-vogue topic of adaptations will be covered when the BBC's Kate Harwood interviews novelist/screenwriter Deborah Moggach; the latest state-of-play as regards the writers' code of practice will be revealed; the anatomy of a script meeting will be mercilessly poked and prodded; we'll find out exactly what should be in a blazing script treatment; and Brit legend Mike Leigh will discuss his approach to writing and directing.

Jaysus. Sounds like quite the bundle of delights, no? Well, that's just the first day. Sweet Jesus, I'd reel off what's happening on the other two days, but I think my brain might fall out with the giddy, membrane-threatening glee of it all. Check out the full programme at the official website here.

I'm completely and utterly attending the Cheltenham Screenwriters' Festival. If you're not signed up yet, and money is stopping you, then as organising supremo David Pearson pointed out in this morning's Shooting People Screenwriters Network Bulletin, "There is support available for writers to attend from some screen agencies and others." If anyone knows exactly what these may be, then please list them in Comments. I thank you.

Footnote One: I'm off on holiday on Friday. Another one, you say? Yes, another one. But it's only a week. If the last one had been two weeks, you wouldn't have batted an eyelid. And besides, what's it got to do with you, hmmm? Oh, you're my bank manager? Ah. I see. Well look, it'll all be fine. Screenwriting work will pour in like liquid gold upon my return, and even if it doesn't... well, God knows. You can sell my arcade machine or something. But it'll all be grand. Honest. Good day to you.

Footnote Two: Dear God, that insaniac James Moran has just baked a remarkable Wisdom Pie, over at his gaff. The kind of stuff that he really should've saved for a book on the realities of being a screenwriter. Go cut yourself a slice. Just say no if he asks whether you'd like some "special custard" with it.


Jason Arnopp said...

In this morning's Shooting People bulletin, Sally Abbott speaks like this: "I got a grant to cover around 60% or so of my costs of going [to SWF '08] from my regional film council. This has paid for the ticket and part of my accommodation - I'm paying the balance plus travel and food. Big thanks to Screen East!"

Danny Stack said...

Film London is probably your 'screen agency' Jase, check 'em out. See you at the fest!

Helen Smith said...

Love the re-design xx

Stevyn Colgan said...

Good post matey. And cheers for the comment on my blog!

Stephen Gallagher said...

Barbara Machin! She was starting out as a promotions scriptwriter at Granada when I was starting out as an ATC in the same department.

Which I realise in the great scheme of things means nothing at all...

Tim Clague said...

see you there Jason


Have a good holiday. I'm off on mine Friday.
A prezzie for when you get back -You're meme'd -if you have time!

Gavin Williams said...

Hey Jason.

I applied to my local film chaps (Northern Film and Media) and got half my trip (ticket, accomodation and travel) covered. Which is nice.

It's my first go, so I'm all excited. I'll keep an eye out for you and say hi. Lucy V has recommended you as a fine drinking buddy, and that's good enough for me!

I'm getting into town on the monday, so I'll be trawling the travel lodge bar looking for anyone who looks "screenwriterly" to talk to/ stalk for my dead evening.

Happy days.

Take it easy


Jason Arnopp said...

Gavin: marvellous. Look forward to meeting you.