Writing for Hollywood, with James Bartlett

Posted: 18th October 2012

Los Angeles-based writer and screenwriting tutor James Bartlett will be giving the inside track on how to tackle the US market in a day-long class at Toffee Factory in Newcastle on Thursday 08 November. Offering insight that all screenwriters need – experienced through to new entrants – this practical and interactive class will consist of two sections on ‘Hollywood Screenwriting’ and ‘Pitching: What, Why and How?’.

Hollywood Screenwriting: Jumping The First Hurdle

In Hollywood, thousands of scripts land on the desks of producers, agents, actors and studio executives every day – so how can you be sure that yours even makes it over the first hurdle? 

This hurdle is a person – a script reader – and he or she can be many things: a stressed assistant, a summer intern, or – if you’re lucky – someone who has spent years analyzing scripts and can recognize talent and potential when they see it. They are the first gatekeeper for your script, and since coverage is often kept on databases that agencies and studios share, a “pass” in one place can mean that your script might not even get read elsewhere.

This 3 hour lecture looks at the industry standards for scriptwriting, the business of script reading, the differences between the US and UK film industries, and the best ways to break into the US market. It will also look at the challenges that new and established writers will face when sending scripts to Hollywood studios, producers and companies.

Most importantly it will discuss the Unlucky 13 mistakes that screenwriters make – instant red flags – including simple-to-fix problems such as formatting, slug lines and transitions – and discuss agents, screenwriting awards, career advice, the marketing of your script and the real reality checks about working in Hollywood.

At the end of the lecture you’ll have the tools and knowledge to make your script a more professional and market-ready product, and to present yourself as an employable talent – no matter whether you’re entering a competition, applying for funding or sending writing samples.

Pitching: What, Why and How?

With the UKFC winding down and the future uncertain, all new and emerging screenwriters must be made aware of the industry outside the UK, and what it requires.

This workshop looks at script writing as a business and gives a professional insight into agents, competitions, marketing and career advice by looking in detail at the common studio/US practice of pitching ideas.

What is a pitch, how can you develop one for your own projects, and can you handle the pressure of pitching in front of other people? Exercises will include the participants initially pitching a famous film as warm-up exercise, and then moving on later to pitching their own idea.

If you want to pitch your script, email the TITLE and a 2 LINE LOGLINE to Northern Film & Media no later than Wed 31 October.

When: Thursday 08 November, registration from 9.40am for a 10am start; lunch at 1pm; ends 5pm.

Where: Toffee Factory, Lower Steenbergs Yard, Ouseburn, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 2DF

Cost: Tickets are priced £25 (or £30 with buffet lunch). To register please click here.

About James Bartlett

James Bartlett is a writer and journalist living in Los Angeles. He is also a story analyst for the Sundance Institute, Exclusive Media Group, National Geographic Films, Final Draft, New Regency, UCLA and the Nicholl Screenwriting Awards, the US consultant for Euroscript, and a reader for several regional funders in the UK and Ireland.

He began his career working in film production and music licensing and moved to Belfast in 1999, where he received funding on two feature projects and worked for ARISTA Development. In Los Angeles he co-edited the nationally-distributed FLM Magazine for Landmark Theatres, and is currently the voice behind “Only in America” for Jack 106FM radio in Oxford and a contributor to BBC Radio NI and RTE. 


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