Monday, 3 August 2020

Script Life in Lockdown

Hey there! Really long time no see. Networking drinks have taken a big hit this year as we all went into lock down in March and group gatherings indoors, as well as use of public transport, are still no one’s favourite, high-risk endeavour. 

Like the rest of the population, some members have been hit hard, whether in terms of physical or mental health, financially, or emotionally. Loss of work, space/time, as well as increased isolation all take their toll, even if you are relatively safe from virus. I’m already at least two virus scares and one test, (negative), in and we’ve a long road to go before we can safely claim to be out of the woods. 

Like many, I went into full retreat at the start of the lock down, with illness, and have only very gradually begun to emerge. As a script consultant and screenwriter, I’ve been lucky to be able to gradually get back to working from home, providing online meetings, reports and story development, alongside home school and childcare. I managed to get my thriller pitch in for the Red Planet Prize and was delighted to get to the final 4% (top 50) of 1,280 entries, competing to develop a series for ITV.

Sometimes the best way to deal with the anxiety amidst rising danger is to switch off from social media and not engage too much with the news. I've been pretty absent out there. 

With the extra time at home I’ve made new forays into exercise, gardening, home organisation, d├ęcor and DIY (trying to fix a kitchen tap with guidance over video call, no easy feat), cooking (the same meal miles apart), hair experiments, home lattes, Warhammer and chess, family film quiz. For a while I was practically living on a popular video calling app, as a lifeline to loved ones far away. 

There’ve been darker times and humour, new perspectives, and experience. I’m very lucky to have a garden, but the impact of our world narrowing down to one little isolated box away from some of our closest loved ones, without enough hope of it changing soon, is not to be underestimated. 

It was momentous in June when I was first reunited with my partner after months, or able to get out of the local area and into the countryside for a day.

It’s meant a lot as I start to see more of friends and family and even look forward to a holiday perhaps. We may be back in lock down again at some point, so good to appreciate any freedoms while we have them. 

On that note, In Development will stay on ice for August. But all being well, we'll be back, at least in some form, in September. If it’s possible to gather in person we will, or if not then an online gathering to chat about what we’ve been up to and how projects are progressing. 

In the meantime, please do email with a photo from your lock down life and any thoughts you’d like to share, and I can post again in September. Stay safe out there In Devvers. Sarah x

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Celebrating our Network

The Cannes Film Market is in full swing, the Edinburgh Film Festival will be upon us in June and members are busy out there launching, selling and developing new films and TV. 

In January, our featured guest was writer/director, member Sean Spencer whose first feature PANIC had just been in cinemas. 

For our upcoming May drinks, our featured guest is writer, member Jason Arnopp whose well received first novel 

THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS was recently optioned by Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. Jason has just completed his first draft of the screenplay adaption and joins us to discuss this amazing experience so far.

In March our featured guest was member Fiona Kenshole who came along to share in her experience setting up an animation slate for Laika and developing a raft of Oscar nominated features including CORALINE, PARANORMAN, BOXTROLLS and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. 

While in April we were joined by writer/director, acclaimed photographer and new member Elaine Constantine, nominated for a BAFTA in 2015 for her outstanding debut feature NORTHERN SOUL.

A good crowd gathered for all events and writer/director, member Jeremiah Quinn was with us in April to take some pictures of the busy event. Amongst the guests were producers, development execs, TV writers, directors, playwrights, distributors, consultants and more, discussing current projects, new ventures and sharing their experience and knowledge of working in the industry right now. 

An invaluable resource for information sharing and building professional relationships.

The ethos of In Development is to provide a relaxed environment to put people together, foster new contacts, as well as support and celebrate the progress of members developing projects and getting things made. 

New connections and exchanges are made all the time and interesting new members join
us contributing to building a lively, active professional network.

We can learn from each other and become stronger and wiser in what we do. In a tough business, to steal a catch phrase; every little helps. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Burning through 2016!

We’ve had a run of top, female, featured guests this year and that trend continues this month with twice BAFTA nominated producer and marketing and distribution expert, Mia Bays. 

Mia produced feature music documentaries; BACKSTREET BOYS – SHOW EM WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF and SCOTT WALKER – 30 CENTURY MAN, as well as Oscar winning short SIX SHOOTER. She was creative producer on Film London’s Microwave scheme, working on fiction features including SHIFTY, LILTING and ILL MANORS. You can read more about her extensive experience on our profiles page

So far this year our excellent guests have included; Company Pictures exec producer, Claire Ingham, BAFTA winning writer Debbie Moon, writers’ agent Christina Pickworth and experienced script editor Karol Griffiths. 

Our last drinks were a busy occasion as we took over much of the main bar at the Phoenix Artist Club

A host of writers, directors, producers and development people kept up the lively discussion. With new members always joining us, long may our development drinks continue as a great monthly place to catch up with friends and colleagues and find new contacts, collaborators and advisors. 

Thanks to all our guests and to Jeremiah Quinn for the photos.

And if you’re up for more networking and discussion on the subject of screenwriting and development, don’t forget The London Screenwriters’ Festival comes early this year running on 2nd - 4th September. There are also a number of additional events in the week running up to the festival. As always, you can get a discount on the ticket with our code: INDEVELOPMENT-16X

Ticket holders can apply to take part in script labs, a writers room experience, pitch to execs and have an actors' table read of a section of script, on top of the three days of sessions. Speakers this year include; Jim Uhls, screenwriter of 90s classic, FIGHT CLUB, Andrew Macdonald co-founder of DNA and producer of Britain's own 90s classic; TRAINSPOTTING and Freddie Highmore; the star of BATES MOTEL, who also writes for the show. 

Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Monday, 21 September 2015

On offer this autumn!

After the August break some exciting new guests lined up for September and October drinks and not forgetting the In Development discount to the London Screenwriters’ Festival, 23rd-25th October.

Two more fantastic guests joined us in the summer; Nicky Stean, Film Development Producer at Ecosse Films and Sam Hoyle Head of Development at Imaginary Friends (as well as script editor of Broadchurch)

There was a big turnout of members for both events, including plenty of new faces.

From new development assistants to top execs, like Claire Ingham of Company Pictures and writers, including Paul Mendelson, (My Hero, May to December). Lots of interesting conversation and networking was experienced by all.

This September we will feature Meroe Candy, the Film & Drama Development Manager at the Wellcome Trust, to talk about the funding and opportunities available to producers and screenwriters developing material that engages audiences with science.

In October, In Development hosts our first formal Q&A session with writer/director/producer Marcus Markou discussing his experience of self-distributing his feature Papadapolous and Sons. Look out for invites to these events coming soon.

Also in October The London Screenwriters’ Festival plays host to talent from both sides of the pond, including Nicole Perlman, (Guardians of the Galaxy), Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) Debbie Horsfield (Poldark) and producing giant Iain Smith (Mad Max: Road Fury, The Fifth Element, The Mission, Local Hero and many more!) 

In Development members and friends can get £25 off the price of the three day ticket by using code: INDEVELOPMENT-15. 86% of tickets are sold at the time of posting and the event is likely to sell out once all headline speakers are announced, so check it out now if you’re thinking of attending.

Meanwhile 7th – 18th of October brings us The London Film Festival and a massive line up of great films to see, including the European premiere of Suffragette as the opening gala film. Hope to see many of you around at one or more of these upcoming events!  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

March Drinks with Olivier Kaempfer

A great turn out of members last month to meet Olivier Kaempfer, Senior Microwave Executive at Film London and BAFTA nominated producer with a film on release; Parkville Pictures'  Appropriate Behaviour

As we congregated in the members area at the Phoenix Artist Club

some excellent networking and discussion was had with plenty of new and familiar faces in the mix. 

Alongside Olivier were a range of directors, producers, writers and development people all with plenty of projects on the go and potential connections to be made. Big thanks to Olivier for sharing his experience and news of the Microwave scheme and Viva la network! 

This month we welcome Gideon Defoe, novelist and screenwriter whose adaptation of his own book, Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists with Aardman Animations was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Come along and chat all things comedy and animation at our upcoming April get together.  

Thanks to Jeremiah Quinn for the photos.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Winter chills with supernatural screenwriter Stephen Volk

A bustling beginning to 2015 with January drinks at the Phoenix Artist Club with BAFTA winning screenwriter Stephen Volk

Stephen is well respected for his work on projects such as the notorious 'Halloween hoax' Ghostwatch (BBC 1992) and as writer/creator of the award-winning ITV drama series Afterlife starring Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln, as well as recent BBC Films release The Awakening (2011). 

There was therefore a strong turn out of members keen to chat to one of the Godfathers of British horror.

Among the group were writers, directors, agents and execs, including a representative from ITV where Stephen is currently adapting Midwinter of the Spirit into a three parter and Lesley Manning director of Ghostwatch; currently set to direct Stephen's much anticipated screenplay Telepathy.

A fantastic evening of development discussion and networking kicked off our New Year with a bang!

Looking ahead for the coming months we have a number of further great guests lined up for 2015. This starts in March with Olivier Kaempfer, Senior Microwave Executive at Film London 

and in April we're joined by screenwriter and novelist Gideon Defoe, Oscar nominated for Aardman's The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! 

With loads of great insights to share you don't want to miss a chance to chat with these guests, so look out for invites coming soon. Happy 2015! 

Thanks very much to Jeremiah Quinn for taking photos of the event.

Monday, 1 September 2014

September Update!

As summer draws to a close, a quick look forward to what’s coming up and a look back at some of what we’ve been up to so far in 2014. 

It’s September and there’s one month left to take advantage of our discount to the upcoming London Screenwriter’s Festival, 24th-26th October

Already 82% sold out, the festival always delivers a wealth of top screenwriting and film-making talent who come to share their knowledge. This year you can hear from big names like prolific, multi-award winning, writer Lynda La Plante, Oscar nominated, Disney Pixar writer David Reynolds, whose credits include the outstanding Finding Nemo and rising stars like writer/director Amma Asante (Belle) and Johnathan Asser writer of Starred Up. There are also numerous opportunities throughout for writers, developers and film-makers to network, build relationships and promote ourselves and our work. 

Until 30th September you can use our code INDEVELOPMENT14 to save £31 pounds off the three day ticket price. So check out what’s on offer and don’t forget to enter the code when booking.

Meanwhile September’s In Development get together will be an outing to The Royal Institution and their panel discussion Science on Screen, about the art of translating scientific subject matter into engaging screen drama. The talk on the 17th runs from 7 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. and afterwards there will be drinks and discussion in a nearby emporium, so check your invites for more details.

We had fun drinks this August with featured guest Martin Gooch writer/director of micro-budget, genre busters The Search for Simon and Death. Coming straight off a cinema release at the Stratford Picture House, Martin shared his experience of taking on the colossal responsibility of writing, producing, directing, distributing and even starring in The Search for Simon, as well as his plans for future projects.  

As the hour got late we also enjoyed live entertainment from the cast of the West End production of The Commitments.

Other featured guests this year have come to us from far and wide, including Ross Murray, Development Executive at STV in Glasgow and Justin Donoghue Development Exec at Screen New South Wales. Both studied on the NFTS Development Diploma, so it was great to catch up with a couple of our more far flung colleagues as well as help promote a little cross global networking. 

Earlier in the year we also welcomed Kristin Irving, Development Exec for Cascade Pictures and screenwriter David Varela, fresh from his success writing the hit Sherlock app. You can read more about them all on our profiles page.

At every drinks we’ve had an array of interesting and accomplished members to chat with, whether featured guests or otherwise and have settled nicely into our new venue, The Phoenix Artist Club

Thanks to Jeremiah Quinn for 
skilfully snapping our photos at a couple of these events and Martin's pic of the band. I look forward to more great evenings, meeting many more guests and members. 

If you’d like to be a featured guest for drinks, or suggest someone, then please contact me; Sarah, at:

In Memoriam

This month we lost long standing President of the NFTS and an all time great of the UK film industry, Lord Richard Attenborough of Richmond. If you're a graduate of the Development Diploma, or other disciplines at the NFTS, most likely you would have received your award certificate from him in the last few years - an experience that couldn't help but make us all feel like we were being welcomed as part of the British movie industry. Here's a little tribute.