A Festive(al) Morning!

From guest blogger Leilani Holmes at the London Screenwriters Festival 2010

There aChrisblogpicwithshadowsmallre so many things going on all over the place at the festival I thought I’d give a flavour of just one mornings movement around the building and the sort of vibe that is around with everything going on.

Firstly in the LSF production office staff are organising themselves for the day ahead and dealing with enquiries from delegates and sorting out all the administrative details, ensuring that everyone is getting the best out of the festival. On radios from rooms around the college quadrant there are more festival staff ensuring all the speakers get to the right rooms at the right times and if any speakers get to the wrong place it’s a swift job to find them and help them relocate.

The speakers are very prepared for the sessions they’re running. They’ve turned up with huge amounts of advice and information and each has a great deal to share about their areas of expertise as well as the day to day challenges and rewards of living as a writer and making that work out long term. It’s a dance of efficiency that turns would-be chaos into calm. One could walk into any area of the festival and find benefit from the people there. There is nothing disappointing because there is always something else to be absorbed by.

This morning, day two of the festival, begins with calm quiet birdsong in the beautiful Regent’s Park setting and quickly swells into a buzz of activity as delegates and speakers arrive and the clockwork begins. Here’s a small outline of what’s going on.

8am networking breakfast in Harrington Hall, a chance to arrive, eat, drink beverages and prepare for the day whilst saying hello to a few people. It’s also a chance to wander out to the beautiful quadrant that sits in the centre of the four buildings and enjoy some air and sunshine.. people mill about chatting about their day ahead. Harrington Hall is the chillout room for delegates throughout the day and offers a quiet space to go for a chat or meet with someone. I’ve seen a few important looking discussions in there and I wonder what projects may stem out of the festival networking that’s been going on.

9am Begins The Hour of Power in the cinema with Charles Harris who is running both this morning session and an evening Pause to Reflect session, helping delegates to get the best out of the festival, deal with any self-doubts, get motivated and learn tips and tricks for getting the most out of the weekend. The Hour of Power is about getting your mental game in gear, finding out the most effective way to use the day, focus on goals and learn methods of ensuring you do your best. It’s a great way to start the day among supportive friends.

10am brings the first round of seminars, In Conversation with Barrie Keef, Why 80% of Scripts Get Rejected by Noelle Morris, Chloe Sizer and chaired by Stephen Follows, Getting an Agent and Beyond by Katie Williams and Gary Wilde and chaired by Mina Zaher, Being a Parent and a Writer by Amy Walker, Rebecca Getward, Marc Pye and chaired by Lucy Vee Hay. There’s also two Euroscript clinics of one hour each where delegates can get a personal one-on-one session with an expert script-doctor from Euroscript, there’s also a drop-in desk where people can turn up and on a first come first served basis take part in sessions which could be in a small group. These run throughout the day. More delegate meetings and chats take place in the chillout room

11:30am starts a half hour break that allows for any seminars that run over time and gives people a chance to rest and absorb info, grab refreshments and take bathroom breaks. Breaks are an important time as nobody wants to miss anything so having that time to reboot and refresh is vital to enjoying the day.

12pm brings another round of seminars and the building shifts as people swap rooms and find new things to do. Writing for Hollywood with Dean Craig and Michael Bassett is chaired by Jenny Newman, a Non Linear Story Workshop with Linda Aronson, How Do You Write For A Digital World with Phil Parker and Writers Guild Contracts for Film and TV with Bernie Corbett, Gale Renard and Sam Snape. In addition to these there’s a Script Chat in the Knapp Gallery which is a chance to meet the speakers from the last sessions and chat, ask questions & just spend a little more time seeing the various speakers. There’s also more Euroscript Clinic and Chillout Room happenings going on.

1:20pm A fifty minute lunch allows another refreshment break before the very busy afternoon begins, There’s a Brasserie and Café, Refectory and Shop on site and the park is outside with it’s many treasures. The quadrant is buzzing with life and talk about writing and speakers and friendships being forged. And this is just one typical morning of a very full fest. The rest of today brings a whopping twenty-two more seminars and socialising happenings to partake of. And that’s not including the breaks!

Bring it on!



Leilani Holmes


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