It's unlikely to be a frequent occurance that I get to say I spent Friday evening hooking up with John August! However, by the power of t'internets that is exactly what happened as a live linkup to a sunny LA morning brought the man himself into our midst to talk about his hugely popular screenwriting blog http:www.johnaugust.com, his writing career and the principles of being a good writer and one who can regularly get work produced.
I have to say it's a real treat after many years of reading blogs and seeing photographs, to get to see John August speaking live, and with genuine sincerity and charm, about the writing craft. A lot of what he talked about writingwise is information you can find on his blog where you can find a myriad of advice by searching whatever is of interest to you. In some ways I wished that more complex questions had been asked, however what I did really get out of the hook up was a clearer sense of the John August attitude, that writing is a profession as well as a passion and both of those aspects are equally important because if a script is green lit, producers need to know they can rely on a writer to deliver all they need for the huge amount of money they will be putting into a project. John cares about good writing and that's something I could see clearly in his face, he's animated about the great sides of writing, professional and engaging about the realities of working in the profession. The main advice he had to give was finish. Just finish the screenplay, there's too many half written ones out there that are no good to anyone and if you finish it and it's not good then what will be good is what you learned by completing the work.
John said lots of other great things about the craft and the industry and I hope more people will blog about his talk which was very rich in insight into the industry in Hollywood and none of which I can quite extract out of my fried brain in a meaningful way this evening, but I'm sure they will all come flooding back over the coming weeks.. probably when I am writing again.
I hung around after the session for a while and had a chat with a few folks and then I headed down to the bar for a cold drink to round off the evening. Nobody I knew was in the bar and my usual brevity failed me a little (I can be shy at times) but I stayed for a drink anyway and looked around the room to see delegates chatting like they'd known each other for years. Some maybe had but I'm sure some had come alone to the festival and one or two, like me, stood around the room alone not quite mingling in with the rest but comfortable enough to stay in the quite friendly bar with the nice atmosphere, nevertheless. One thing I'd like to do if I attend the festival next year is interract more on the online social network with other delegates first. I do feel so much more comfortable when there are twenty people in the room who I know a bit about and recognise on sight. But they do all look a lovely bunch and I hope I get time to talk to more people tomorrow.
A very full day is ahead tomorrow and I really want to exclaim 'bring it on' because I'm sure it will be amazing but I think I need some sleep first. I'm kinda tired now.