The networking season is upon us, and I’ve just posted an article with tips on the Euroscript mailing list. See below.A Night at the Opera - networking

Meanwhile, I’ve very excited that my screenwriting book is almost here – and to celebrate I’m offering some great masterclasses and taking part in other events, at very reasonable prices.

They start in London this Sunday at noon with what promises to be a great masterclass in advanced screenwriting techniques – going way beyond the basics. I’m looking forward to them all immensely.

Here are the first to be confirmed:

September 28 – 12.00 noon – Raindance Film Festival – Advanced Screenwriting Masterclass – the things they don’t tell you in the books and workshops

September 30 – 6.30pm – Raindance Film Festival – Live Ammunition pitching competition

October 5 – 5pm – Henley Literary Festival – Screenwriting workshop

November 1  – 10.30am – Wantage Literary Festival – workshop: So you want to … be a screenwriter?

November 18 – 6pm – Greenhorn Festival, London – screenwriting workshop

And more to come in the next few weeks as we firm up dates. Keep checking here

So here’s the article:

Raindance started this week, LFF and LSF are on the horizon, and many other events are scheduled across the UK, Europe and US to give us a chance to meet the one person who can make our (screenwriting) dreams come true. But it can be a jungle out there.

Here are some tips for how to make the most of this challenging time.

1. Networking is not selling.

Don’t make the mistake of getting the two confused. Networking is making friends, extending your range of contacts. You wouldn’t make a new friend by immediately trying to selling something, so don’t use networking events to pitch.

Look out for open workshops and events where you can learn something and meet people at the same time – both those on the panel and other participants. You’ll often find that people relax more at such times. And fellow writers can be as usefully supportive over time, and as good a source of information, as big name producers. Often more so.

2. Enjoy the process

So you can relax. Take the long term view. Spend time finding out about people. Concentrate on how you can help them, not how they can help you. A career is for life: I have industry contacts who I’ve met regularly (say) at Cannes or in London, and swapped gossip. One day something might develop, or it might not. No sweat.

3. Always carry business cards

Offering your business card is a great way to get theirs! They may not keep yours, but you now have their contact details. The moment they’re out of sight, write down key details on the back of their card. At a busy event you may gather a dozen or more cards, and I guarantee you’ll forget who half of them were a day later.

Your own cards should be simple and, er, businesslike. This is not the time to show off your two dozen fonts and that silly picture a friend took of you last year. You don’t want to be remembered for your car-crash card design, but for your brilliant scripts. And, by the way, make sure that the back of the card, at least, is white. So that they can write down something memorable about you.

4. Be interested in them

Don’t just show interest – actually be interested. Even big name producers and directors like to be treated like human beings rather than targets, to be offered a drink or for you to listen to them talk about something they care about.

And if they’re focused on something else, don’t be pushy. If they don’t want to talk, that’s fine too – politely walk away.

5. Follow up contacts

Again you don’t have to sell anything, but send a brief email saying how nice it was to meet. And another maybe in a few months time, picking up perhaps on something they said. Maybe you’ve found that obscure book they mentioned, or remembered that they said. Keep the contact going if it feels right, but don’t stalk! Remember, you’re in this for the long term.

And when you do have a script that you are sure is right for them, go for it.

Finally, I hope you get to at least one of my events in the next few weeks – they’re all good networking opportunities too. If you do, make sure you come up and say hi! – and exchange cards…