Well, I’m back from a hectic week at the Cheltenham Screenwriters’ Festival where I managed to network with some of the greatest names in screenwriting.I came up with the barmy plan to do a video blog for Shooting People, presenting a fast-cut, action-packed movie of festival events each day. How hard could it be?
Well, when it’s 3am on the first night and you’ve only just finished editing your first piece, which you started at 10.30 and it only lasts five minutes and you know you’ve got to get up in three hours and do the same again tomorrow, it doesn’t seem such a good idea.
I spent much of the first two days with Paul Green, NFTS talent spotter and drinking buddy from my local. As he so eloquently put it, ‘So, you’re a writer and you’re reporting on a writer’s festival for other writers. Did you not think a written blog might be easier and more appropriate?’
Don’t you just hate smugness?
By Day 2 any plans to do bits to camera were abandoned. The pic above is from the first abortive attempt and it was so shit I couldn’t foist it on an unsuspecting public. I have many talents, but being a TV presenter will never be one of them.
So in order to enjoy the festival and actually have some time to network, I decided I’d take a snippet from each session I filmed and put one online each day, and continue to post them all this week, and/or until I run out of tapes.
So they are all here on the YouTube channel I’ve set up :
I’ll leave them there for perpetuity as they are a useful resource for screenwriters and, who knows, I might even add to them when I have opportunities to film other things.
The festival itself was totally inspiring. Where else does a screenwriter get away from his desk and go mingle with hundreds of other screenwriters ranging from complete beginners to an Oscar winner (yes, I got to interview Diana Ossana for a future podcast).
We are the most isolated and fragmented people in the film industry and Cheltenham is the event where we can come together and feel that we belong.
It is the biggest event for screenwriters all year. It is the place to be if you are serious about screenwriting. It is our festival.
See you there in 2008.
My Cheltenham 2007 Top Ten Moments
1. Meeting so many people off the Shooters bulletin
2. David Hare’s screenwriting casino joke
3. Jurgen Wolff’s funny session on time-keeping
4. When the Day 1 video went live and immediately got hits
5. Diana Ossana doing a half-hour interview with me even though she was jet lagged and had just done five hours of sessions and two other interviews without a break
6. A private audience with Tony Jordan
7. The frantic, motormouthed 10-minute interview with Anthony Horowitz on the way to his car
8. Realising I’d met two producers tailor-made for scripts I’ve written
9. Paul Bassett Davies performing his deliberately rubbish script in the Euroscript session
10. Julian Unthank’s joke about the feminists and the light bulb