Today there were 3 opportunities to choose, and a film. Your choices become like a self-portrait, much like the choice of photos I made when I put together a collage frame recently. Here are the titles, the presenters, and my big take-aways.
- Pitching your Fantasy and Mythic Stories by Pamela Jaye Smith and Kathie Fong Yoneda. This was my first awakening to the "business" of writing. The word "pitch" implies that you want to sell your project. But it was a wonderful soft way to be introduced to that idea. As a storytelling advocate, I loved how these 2 women framed their ideas in myth and in real projects.
- Insider's Guide to a Screenwriting Career by Lee Jessup. Now here was the opposite of a "soft" introduction to the business of screenwriting. I never really thought that I would want to have a career as a screenwriter, and it made me realize what it would take to do this. I don't regret attending this even though I don't want to be a career screenwriter. I did learn a lot about pitches and if I ever want to get a film done, I will need to do this. (Although she warned against "one and done" projects.)
- Star Speakers: Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander. (filmmakers of Ed Wood, Man in The Moon) This was more like a conversation with the moderator and then the audience asking them provocative questions and them running with it. It was funny and helpful. Loads of good advice, e.g. "Don't give an early draft to anyone who matters." "Never have a block of action more than 6 lines long."
- Syd Field: The Seminar (film) This is THE screenwriting guru who recently passed. I used his book when I tried to write a screenplay. This film was a recording of a seminar he gave in 2011. Watching it made me think of one of my many unfinished projects and when he made points, such as "What is the main character's dramatic need?" And "Can you use an inciting incident to set the story in motion?", I thought of this one particular project and made a mental note that I will finish this screenplay within a year.