Happy New Year! Any resolutions on the cards? To get that commission, or produce that film? Bag a new job, launch a new business or write that screenplay? Now is the time to set some goals and christen 2012 the year of kicking ass and taking names!
At the close of The Screenwriters’ Festival 2011, Chris Jones got us all to tell the person next to us what we were going to achieve over the coming year and to make sure it was something big. Scary perhaps, to set ourselves a big challenge, but how else do big things get done? In the spirit of building a real network, we look forward to sharing our goals, hearing yours and getting on with making things happen.
As for In Development, we resolve to bring you more fantastic industry guests in 2012, discussing all aspects of developing screen fiction, and more great member discounts on courses/events of relevance to you. The group may evolve over the year and if you have ideas for this, or want to be part of it, then please let us know.
Our first meet-up of 2012 is on the subject of raising slate finance and managing a film development slate, with film producer Sascha Hecks. Screenwriter Simon Bates will also join us to give a case study focus on the process of developing his feature project with Sascha and her company Lex Filmed Entertainment. You can read more about both guests on our profiles page.
We closed out 2011 with sessions featuring Industrial Scripts and The Red Planet Prize. In November, we shared a drink with Industrial Scripts founder Evan Leighton-Davis and one of his team of consultants; script doctor, Aaron Anderson. Former Creative Editor for the UK Film Council, Aaron currently re/writes for hire through Industrial as well as pursuing his own projects independently, including a feature in the current Microwave scheme.
With Evan, we chatted about going it alone as a freelancer in an industry where development jobs are few and far between and almost never advertised. Though only established a couple of years ago, Industrial Scripts is now firmly on the map, and keeping busy with its range of report services and training. Evan has also recently established a production arm to Industrial, Takedown Pictures, with a new feature project to be adapted from the sports book The Grudge. We look forward to watching the progress of the project, and getting Evan back in as a guest again to chat about the production!
In December our guest was TV screenwriter, Robert Thorogood – hot from his success as creator of the BBC’s Death in Paradise. The show was produced through Red Planet Pictures, and Robert’s relationship with the company was born through the Red Planet Prize. As a finalist of the competition, he became part of the Red Planet family, able to pitch ideas to Tony Jordan and his team and this is where the project took off.
Despite a long career as a screenwriter, developing numerous projects, this prime time commission is actually Robert’s first TV screenwriting credit! He chatted with us about the realities of the business and lessons learned along the way, and offered some reassuring insight.
Getting a commission is ridiculously difficult, and as seemingly unlikely for anyone. You have to understand what people want to watch, have that great idea that chimes with a commissioner at the right time and the evidence that you’re the right person to deliver it. Once you’re in of course, if you want to stay, you just have to keep having those great ideas! We’re pleased to say that Robert will be staying, as a second series of Death in Paradise has been confirmed. We wish him best of luck with shaping the second series - and hope to welcome him as our guest again to discuss that second adventure!
Thanks again to all our guests in 2011. We look forward to sharing more great evenings with you in 2012; celebrating successes, making connections, sharing experiences, building our networks and getting some great projects in development and ultimately to the screen. See you out there.