I was helping to run the "My One Word" Development Day over the weekend. 10 finalists, getting together to learn from each other and gain new insights into their 3-minute scripts.
I've been on quite a few of these things myself over the years. They range a lot in terms of quality and output. I feel that many prodcuers / competition organisers see a development day as a prize in itself. But of course, in what other industry would a day's work be seen as a prize?
However, if done right, a workshop day can be really useful. The reason is - writer's generally want to share their work, to get better and to discuss ideas. And yet too many of these days fight that natural good will. Instead, they have a series of one-way talks / lectures that go on all day. This, to me, seems so counter-intuative. This doesn't replicate at all the thinking process that a writer must go through while in development. PLUS, it doesn't reflect the fact that everyone there must be good writers already, due to the fact they are in the final.
Writing is about doing it. A development day should be about doing it too. And we tried to follow the spirit of that idea. Lots of activity, lots of sharing idea, lots of challenges.
Here are just three of the things that I picked up from the day.
- Talking about / pitching your film must be more than simply; this happens, then this, then this. Practice with another writer, pitching back and forth, to find out what really counts in your story.
- Film makers and writers watch a lot of films. Thousands in fact. As Gary Young said, "If I'm not writing films, I'm watching films"
- A technique for learning structure - rewrite your favourite film, with a new angle. A great way to see how they put it together.
And a bonus quote; "Scriptwriting is like going to toilet; you just have to sit down and do it"