This morning in my TL there was a very helpful post from @screencrafting on the most useful Twitter accounts for screenwriters. I worked my way methodically through it and found I was already following most of them. Twitter is a fantastic tool when it comes to pointing writers to resources that hone their skills to match their passion and ambition, so those accounts that were new to me I immediately followed.
Naturally, ScreenCraft’s list is Hollywood-centric. Don’t get me wrong. I would be as happy as the next emerging screenwriter to work FOR Hollywood – but not necessarily IN Hollywood. I’m a European and I like living in Europe. That got me thinking: what are the accounts all UK Screenwriters should follow? So I cheekily stole ScreenCraft’s headline and inserted the UK into the equation…
Here is my list. Allow me to point out a major caveat before somebody takes umbrage: it’s a highly subjective list. Feel free to contact me with suggestions for deletions/ inclusions. You’ll notice some of the accounts I suggest are European rather than British. It would be fun to get a European list going. Anybody out there up for that challenge?
I. Inspiration & Motivation
1. Top of my list is @londonswf. I’ve been a London Screenwriters’ Festival (LSF) regular since 2012. It’s no exaggeration to say LSF is the number one factor (aside from hard work and dogged determination) in advancing my writing skills and career, plus it’s now the biggest festival of its kind in the world!
2. Every great festival needs an enormously talented creative director to lead it and LSF is fortunate to have the awesome, generous, kick-ass @livingspiritpix (Chris Jones) at the helm
3. Closely associated with LSF, as well as being herself a writer, producer, script-editor and bloggeuse extraordinaire (if you’ll pardon my French) is @Bang2write’s Lucy Hay
4. @Julie_Gray is another notable screenwriting guru – OK! OK! I know she’s a Hollywood expert now based in Israel, but she is one of the perennial favourite speakers at LSF, so I thought I’d sneak her in… Besides she runs the LSF Writers’ Salon on Facebook, so there!
5. Last but not least in this section, @TheWritersGuild does a stellar job of defending the interests of UK writers in all fields and organises events/resources that give writers a helping hand
II. People Who Know Stuff
All writers need feedback from people who know about storytelling. If you’re new to writing, I cannot impress upon you enough how important it is to build relationships with screenwriting gurus and script editors to help you see the wood for the trees in your story. I’ve already mentioned Lucy Hay and Julie Gray in the “Inspiration & Motivation” section. Here are a few more of my personal favourites:
6. @jyintothewoods by John Yorke, CEO of Company Pictures - one of the UK’s most exciting production houses, teaches you (as his book “Into The Woods” promises) all about how stories work and why we tell them
7. @AronsonLinda is possibly the world’s greatest expert on non-linear and multi-protagonist stories
8. Writer/producer @StephenFollows has a fascinating sideline in film data, collating and crunching numbers in a way that shines a light on unknown facets of the UK film industry
9. @Steve_Ince is a leading game designer and interactive narrative consultant, as well as being a writer himself
10. @HayleyMckenzie1 founded Script Angel and generously runs the LSF Script Angel competition, while @PhilipShelley1 organises Channel 4’s annual search for new talent, leads a script lab at LSF and provides a vast array of services to writers, and @Euroscript is a co-sponsor of LSF as well as being the UK’s oldest and leading provider of training and international script development for screenwriters…
Yep! I know I cheated by including several people in a single point… glad you’re still paying attention!
Inevitably you will experience a heap of rejection as a writer. Try a Table Read to help you understand where your script needs work, or just for the thrill of hearing YOUR WORDS spoken by real live actors. Competitions can be fun too. They may be a springboard to getting your script made or just a boost to your confidence when you see YOUR NAME on a list of quarter-finalists, semi-finalists, finalists or even winners.
11. @WatermarkCollec provides a table read service that is accessible to even the most impecunious of starving writers
12. @ShootingPeople is one of the UK’s leading networking sites for film and TV industry professionals (together with LSF-Net of course)
13. Newly merged @stage32online & @TheHappyWriters is American, but this is a global industry after all and IMHO Stage32 is THE best networking site
14. @bbcwritersroom and @Writers_Couch provide amazing opportunities for non-repped writers to enter the business
15. @RedPlanetTV, @screengoldmine and @ShoreScripts are three of the UK’s top screenwriting competitions IMHO
IV. Getting Stuff Made
In the UK it’s not enough to just be a writer; you have to be a bit of a producer too…
16. Follow the largest UK production houses to understand the trends in UK filmmaking, such as @BBCFilms, @Film4 and @Working_Title
17. At the heart of the British film industry, @BFI provides writers with a wealth of resources and also helps filmmakers to finance their films, while for those making micro-budget films, @Film_London and the @FL_Microwave scheme are invaluable resources
18. The name @BAFTA may not be as catchy as “Oscar”, “Goya” or “César”, but the British Academy of Film and Television Arts hands out the most attractive gong IMHO and their new account @BAFTAGuru is a golden resource for writers
19. Creative England invests in and supports creative ideas, talent and businesses, so follow @CEFilm for film & @creativeengland for TV, Games and Digital Media
20. @TheKnowledgeUK is the definitive source of suppliers, crew and companies within UK Film, TV & Commercials
V. Film/TV Markets, Distribution and Exhibition
21. Cannes Film Festival @FdC_officiel – no introduction needed!
22. Venice Film Festival @venicefilmfestival – likewise!!
23. Berlin Film Festival @berlinale – ditto!!!
24. @ArtificialEye is the UK’s leading indie film distributor; this is the market sector most new writers aim to serve, even though it’s awfully crowded, representing only 9% of the total UK box-office (as per a statistic @robthor quoted at LSF)
25. Picturehouse Cinema @picturehouses is the UK’s largest boutique cinema operator
Behind every good writer, there’s a cat. To put a smile on your face each morning, follow the feline musings of Tom Cox’s “Why My Cat Is Sad” @MYSADCAT…
Britain too boasts its fair share of parody accounts, my personal favourite being Miss L @proresting whose hilarious tweets about the pitfalls of casting calls have me in stitches, while simultaneously thanking my lucky stars I’m not an actress…
To finish on yet another of my ‘IMHO’s, Spain’s “Días de Cine” is the world’s finest TV programme about movies. You can follow @DiasDeCine, but you’ll need to learn to speak Spanish first…