Saturday, 11 February 2012

January Drinks: Slate Development (and Raising Finance!)

One of the joys of meeting up every month is that our ‘new faces’ quickly become ‘old regulars’. It is great to have the opportunity to meet and get to know the many talented people working in our field of expertise.

This month again, it was a case of so many people to catch up with (or introduce ourselves to), so little time! With possibly our largest turnout yet, we’re starting to overspill our corner of the Soho Theatre bar, and the very real buzz at our first get-together of the year was in no small part down to the welcoming friendliness of our two special guests, producer Sascha Hecks and screenwriter Simon Bates (and interest in this hot topic!). Both Sascha and Simon were quickly surrounded with eager ears, and we are incredibly appreciative to them both for the time they took in talking to us all.

Sascha and Simon first met at a London Screenwriters’ Festival party, which is a great reminder for writers - and the rest of us - that ‘getting out there’ and meeting people you click with is crucial in this industry. We know that work connections have already formed through In Development, and we are very much looking forward to seeing more of these develop, as well as the fruits of these relationships. We pride ourselves on the relaxed, informal nature of our meet-ups, and aim to be the antithesis of the stereotypical ‘networking’ event (with all the negative connotations those can bring to mind!), so we’re pleased that many of our guests have commented that we’re going about things the right way. Thanks to all who have given us feedback so far – we welcome all of your thoughts!

It was lovely to see two old friends of In Development: upcoming screenwriter/filmmaker (and Tisch Asia graduate) Ashish Ghadiali, who has several exciting international projects on the go, and the multi-talented Melody Bridges, whose play, Occupy: The Silent Scream, has just had a reading at the Occupy London Stock Exchange site, outside St Paul’s. It was great too to hear Sascha and Formosa Films’ Neil Thompson, discussing their experiences of producing, working with writers, and the nitty gritty of raising finance. Formosa Films have just completed the Paul Abbott and Jimmy Dowdall-scripted feature film, Twenty8K - so make sure you look out for that.

Thank you to everybody who came along, including development assistant at Parallel Films, Vicki Kisner; director, and National Film and Television School alumnus, Chamoun Issa; assistant at the Blake Friedmann agency, Daniel Nixon; agent, Simon Williamson and script reader/writer, Blaise Hesselgren.

With Jeremiah away in Italy, it was down to us to take the ‘official’ photos of the night – and we just don’t have the lenses… We look forward to his return in February!

Next up: Lucy Scher, co-director of The Script Factory, who helped us launch In Development last March, will be joining us to talk all things development, the Script Factory and her invaluable brand new book. Invites are on the way…