Can one say that a screenwriting festival is “the best in the world”? I think so.
It does worry me when someone says that a certain film is “a really good film”. It worries me because in another life I did a philosophy degree which taught me that one should use words carefully. If I hold up a glass of water and say “This is really good water”, I am actually talking about myself, not about the water.
So for me to say that the London Screenwriters’ Festival is the best in the world, I actually mean in MY world. However, I have been to many screenwriting events over the last 40 years. And I have been going to the London Screenwriters Festival for nearly 10 years. I never fail to think it is the best in the world. There are many reasons why.
Perhaps the most important, to me, is that the majority of the 100 or so events over 3 days are filmed and put online for the delegates. Over nearly 10 years that is a wonderful resource of panels, speakers, lectures and discussions covering a vast array of subjects to do with writing.
Second is the networking: phenomenal. About 1000 people for three and-blowing days. My advice is to miss the sessions that are being filmed and network instead. I remember speaking to a group who had come from one of the screenwriting degree courses. They went as a group to sessions, ate together and sat together in the garden together having coffees. I suggested that they split up, made sure they sat next to two strangers in every session and collect cards and then pool the net result after the festival was over. It worked. Their network was transformed.
Of course that was all pre-Covid. However the Festival was always good on social media and technology and they are about to do a month-long digital festival. The networking is via the delegate section of the website where you can make contacts with like-minded writers, ask if anyone else is writing gothic romance sci-fi, or whatever it is you would like to talk about. It is in some ways easier for more people to meet more people online because you don’t have to actually be in Regents’ College in Regents’ Park, London all at the same time.
Make up your own interest groups on zoom; join Bob Schultz’ group Screenwriters Galore, with the Screenwriters’ Cafe every Sunday morning at 9am and explore the dozens of top speakers and sessions.
So I am convinced that this is the best screenwriting festival in the world and also that the water you get there is superb.
Go one, you know you want to see if I am exaggerating. I am totally confident I am not. Go for it: