So, what happened at the inaugural Cheltenham Screenwriters’ Festival (“sponsored by FilmFour”)?
I decided to avoid the New Writers’ Day on the grounds that it was probably for total newcomers who are still worrying about whether to use Courier font, and asking what brads are.
By all accounts I was right. I got a lot of negative feedback about that first day from people who were there, but then they were all fairly well seasoned beginners, and, frankly, they’d have been better off at the professional part of the show. I heard good things about the pitching contest, and I heard rumours that those who were completely new to the game were well enthused. So, it probably depends what you expected.
For me, the professional days were great. I sort of sneaked in with some rather dodgy “professional” qualifications. But then I wasn’t the only one. Generally speaking, this wasn’t so much a shindig for established writers as a get together of those on the way up. And we all got an excellent opportunity to mix with some big names, to socialise, network, and pester. There were enough “real” writers, and interested producers etc amongst the delegates to give the whole thing some credibility.