As many of you know, I have spent the beginning of June networking and visiting friends in Los Angeles. I am exhausted but had a great time. These posts about my trip will be part tips and part jibber jabber. Met many of my screenwriting friends from twitter in person. I was surprised at how easily our twitter relationships transferred to real life. Those with who I have a more networking relationship, felt that way in real life as well. Same with the more playful vibe I have towards others. Once again, I’m going to stress the importance of joining and being active on twitter. If you are a screenwriter and are not using twitter as a networking and learning tool you are really missing out.
On June 2nd, I spent the majority of the day at The Great American Pitchfest (GAPF) in Burbank. The night before I was still struggling to decide which of the free classes I was going to attend.* When Danny Manus posted a plea on twitter for people to help at his No Bullscript booth. So, I attended Danny’s morning class on the first 10 pages of a script, and then went to tend his booth. Most people who came to the booth were pleasant and had good questions. Others concerned me. I met someone planning to pitch the next day without knowing what Final Draft was. If you do not know what one of the main tools of screenwriting is you are not ready to be part of the business of screenwriting. It would be like someone saying they are ready to perform surgery but have never heard of a scalpel. You say the steak knife you used on your cat last winter worked just fine, but trust me a scalpel is better. I know it’s hard, but calm down. Don’t be in such a rush. The only way it’s going to happen overnight is if you film it all by yourself in your granny’s private studio overnight.
The other strange question I got asked was if Danny got paid enough money so that he wasn’t just at GAPF to steal other people’s ideas. Now, I haven’t seen any of Danny’s financial statements but I’m sure he doesn’t go home after the Pitchfest, glue on his mustache, and laugh maniacally as he writes down everything he heard. No matter how many times you say no one can steal your idea, just the execution thereof, people still freak out. Even if someone did want to “steal” ideas, a place filled with mostly new writers is not the place to do it. Most of you stink at execution and ideas. That’s right. Most of you could not pay someone to steal your idea or your script. Yes, it is just that bad. Check out the article Danny Manus wrote about GAPF to learn more about what kind of ideas were pitched.
I was lucky enough to sit with him for two hours of pitching the next day which I will go into in Part 2.
*The ability to attend multiple classes for free at GAPF is an awesome service for new writers but many of the classes were below my current skill level. I still would have attended the whole day of classes because even if 99% of the information is stuff I already know there is always something new to take away from any class.