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2009 Screenwriting Expo: the pitch meetings, the winning scripts, and the exposure

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Photo:  FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove. Writers crowd around a table to buy tickets to pitch to representatives for management firms, agencies, and production companies. In the background writers line up and wait for the call into the pitch room.

Some up-and-coming screenwriters are getting Hollywood attention and exposure from the 2009 Screenwriting Expo. Hundreds of scribes pitched their ideas and scripts during the three day Golden Pitch Festival in a huge room at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. The tickets were not cheap: $25 for a mere five minutes of face time. It was a gamble, but one worth taking for writers looking for a chance to jump start a Hollywood career or deal.

Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove. Writers answering the call to file into the pitch waiting room

I stood in that pitch line for several hours on Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18. The blisters are still healing on my toes from the cute shoes I insisted on wearing that weekend. While in line, I listened to the nervous chatter around me. I heard one writer say he had 18 pitches lined up on one day. Wow. That’s a lot of talking and moolah. Another writer in line for his next pitch was asked “How’d it go?”  He didn’t know, but said he was just glad he didn’t faint, throw-up or pee his pants. I’m sure the agent/manager/production company representative he pitched to was pleased about that as well.

A writer from London I met, pitched a romantic comedy and got a script request right on the spot at a pitch meeting on Sunday. I must admit the pitch festival has opened the door for a script opportunity for me as well. Last week, I got an e-mail from a production company representative I pitched to asking to read my romantic comedy screenplay, “He’s The One.”

My script is listed as one of the semifinalists on the 2009 Screenwriting Expo winners page. This is great exposure for me and the other writers on the list, some of them have had their scripts requested by production companies as well or have meetings set up with agents, managers, and producers. The Los Angeles Chronicle has an article about the early success of some of the winning scripts and screenwriters from this year’s Expo.

Photo: FLLewis/ A Writer’s Groove. Screenplay prize runner-up, Erin Donovan, is congratulated by Creative Screenwriting magazine publisher, Bill Donovan, and Screenwriting Contest Coordinator, Pasha McKenley.

Besides the pitching, script contests, and networking there were a ton of seminars, classes, and panels. I only managed to get to a few and all of them were pretty good.


Photo: FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove. Novelist/Screenwriter James Dalessandro makes a point in one of his classes.

A stand-out was a class from Novelist/Screenwriter James Dalessandro called,”How the Big Dogs Do It.” Dalessandro used video clips from movies like, “Chinatown,” “Unforgiven,” “Fargo,” and “Sling blade,” to show the writing techniques of the pros in the screenwriting biz. Dalessandro was on fire! He lectured, answered questions, and encouraged writers to use what they learn from the pros to elevate their own writing. The room was packed with people standing in back and sitting on the floor. Dalessandro said he asked for a bigger room. Maybe, he’ll get it at next year’s Screenwriting Expo.  

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One Response to 2009 Screenwriting Expo: the pitch meetings, the winning scripts, and the exposure

  1. Christinia Kulas Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

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