Things I have learned at the London Screenwriters’ Festival, besides screenwriting! By Dorothee Kuepers
When I went to the LSF for the first time in 2015, my intention was to learn more about the craft of screenwriting, attend lectures and hopefully meet some nice people.
It was that and so much more. Of course I learned a huge amount about screenwriting from some of the best professionals, currently working in the industry, gained pitching experience and learned about the industry itself in a way that you possibly could not imagine, but it was something else that blew my mind even more, something that has changed me as a person in a profound way.
It was the networking.
The word itself can be a bit daunting, but I quickly realised that it’s just talking with intent.
The networking drinks quickly became my favourite thing, because I could chat to fellow writers. People who had travelled in from the four corners of the world to come together and celebrate the thing we have in common, the passion, the dream, the doubts, the obstacles and the joy of stories. You can find yourself having the most fantastic conversation with somebody and then realise they are a producer, or executive and it’s great, because we all love the same thing!
The networking drinks are such an inviting, safe, welcoming occasion, where you do not feel intimidated in the slightest. As a person, who used to be a bit shy about approaching strangers, I felt comfortable in approaching any group of people, because everyone welcomes you into their current fold. You chat, you laugh, you talk about your projects and before you know it, you have formed bonds and genuine friendships very quickly.
After swapping business cards and sharing yet more stories, you bump into your new buddies the following day, between talks and lectures, queueing for food, sitting near you in one of the lecture rooms and you share experiences that will bond you even more.
It was after I got back home that I felt the change even more. I stayed in touch with a lot of my new friends. We read each other’s work and give honest feedback. We encourage each other, help when there’s doubt, focus when we procrastinate and rejoice in each other’s successes, as well as keeping each other’s spirits up, when we don’t succeed.
Those friendships are special, unique and for life!
Having recently moved to Ireland by myself, where I don’t know anybody, I have found that I now have the courage to walk up to groups of people and introduce myself, when at an event. I go to film/writing related events armed with business cards, chat to people, ask relevant questions with confidence. That is all thanks to the LSF!
Not only has the LSF taught me about screenwriting, the film and TV industries, networking, pitching and craft, but it has given me life skills I didn’t have before, given me more confidence, a sense of belonging and the courage to tackle pretty much anything.
You can read more feedback from delegates HERE.