WGGB at London Screenwriters’ Festival

Carl Gottlieb (Jaws), Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless) headline an enviable line-up of writers, directors, producers and instructors at this year’s London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF), which runs from 23-25 October 2015.

The world’s largest screenwriting event sees 1,000 delegates converge on Regent’s University in London over three days, to hear over 150 industry speakers and take part in 100 sessions.

Parties, panels and networking will be capped off with LSF’s popular Script to Screen live event, where participants get the chance to read the Jaws script, then enjoy a screening of the film with Carl Gottlieb in attendance, providing a live ‘DVD commentary’.

WGGB is proud to be a sponsor of the festival again, and will be holding an information/recruitment stand over the three days.

WGGB members speaking or appearing on panels at the event include WGGB President Olivia Hetreed, Videogames Chair Steve Ince, plus Sally Abbott, Tracy Brabin, Danny Stack and Dan Pinchbeck.

WGGB members are entitled to a £53 discount off tickets to LSF – go to the Members’ area of our website to find the discount code, or keep an eye on your weekly ebulletin, which goes out to members every Friday.

We caught up with Andrea Gibb and Line Langebek of the WGGB Film Committee, to find out what you can expect from the festival, and by becoming a member of the Writers’ Guild.

This is WGGB’s second year as a sponsor at London Screenwriters’ Festival. What can delegates expect to take home from the three days?

Writing can be an isolated and isolating business. LSF offers an excellent focus for writers to come together, meet, share, listen to and give advice to their peers. They also get the opportunity to hear a vast range of experienced writers impart the wisdom of their own experience in the trade. To have a festival geared specifically to the craft of writing is an invaluable resource.

What will WGGB be doing there, and why should you call by the Writers’ Guild stand?

We’ll have a stand in the main hall with information about WGGB, what we do and how much it costs to join us. Delegates will be able to sign up as WGGB members at the festival, too. WGGB staff and Film Committee members will be on hand to discuss what we can do for screenwriters, and the positive advantages of membership, as well as just chatting about issues within the industry in general. We’re a friendly bunch and all of us are working screenwriters with many of the same concerns as all the festival delegates.

What does WGGB do for screenwriters in the UK?

WGGB is a TUC-affiliated trade union and works tirelessly to protect and improve the rights of all writers in the UK. The WGGB Film Committee deals specifically with the issues concerning screenwriters for film. This involves negotiations with Pact on contracts, hosting events for and with screenwriters, commissioning statistical research and building meaningful relationships with the groups that represent producers and directors. We firmly believe that we are stronger together. WGGB also has a TV and other craft committees representing writers in areas like theatre, radio, books and videogames.

You don’t have to be an established writer to join WGGB. What are some of the benefits of being a WGGB member if you are an emerging screenwriter?

Writing can be an even more lonely profession if you are just starting out and are baffled by the processes. Being a WGGB member gives you access to all kinds of advice and information from specially trained staff. You will receive a weekly bulletin which is packed with information about courses and writing opportunities. It’s the resource that keeps on giving. The WGGB website also has regular articles by other writers on their own experiences, what they joined WGGB for and what they get out of it.

And we hear you put on very good networking events, too! Can you tell us about some of those?

The Film Committee awards two screenwriting awards at the annual Writers’ Guild Awards ceremony (Best First Screenplay and Best Screenplay). We then host a Q&A screening of one or either of these films to celebrate their writer. These are always illuminating events and the writers are, without exception, eloquent and passionate about their work. We also have networking evenings with Directors UK, which give writers and directors a chance to meet and talk together. We host regular industry panels at Edinburgh International Film Festival and are in constant discussion with other industry groups about working together to co-host different events aimed at writers.

If you had to give one tip for emerging screenwriters, what would that be?

Learning about the business side of the industry is as important as mastering the mechanics of structure and storytelling. Know your audience. Know which companies in the industry make what kind of films. Listen. Always be prepared to listen. And write, write, write. Good luck!