Sunday, 17 November 2013


With the great choice of festivals, seminars and conferences of late there has been no shortage of opportunities for inspiration and networking for filmmakers. Nothing gets us more fired up and reinvigorated than spending time with other filmmakers talking passionately about the craft and new opportunities. I always keep loads of notes to draw on, which prove invaluable, in the weeks that follow. After any festival, I schedule a morning purely for writing to everyone I met. It is my way of keeping up the momentum, avoiding the post-event doldroms and making the experience last. You have a window of opportunity. To capitalise on this, here are some survival pointers which also help to avoid post festival blues.  

My Ten Rocliffe Tips:
  1. Whenever you meet someone new and they give you a card, write which event you met them at. You only need to meet someone once, to 'know' them - Mitch Hurwitz's words not mine! 
  2. Carry a notebook to every event so that you can note down things. You will forget what you learned. List every production company, channel, show that a speaker references. At the end of each day, write down ten things you learned from that day. Reading these through after the festival will re-inspire you. 
  3. Write an email to all the peers you met. Send them links to your website or youtube clips or any online info about you. Ask them for their twitter accounts. Start to follow them. 
  4. Search every speaker's name on twitter and follow. Tweet them how fab they were or what you liked or learned from their talk or work. 
  5. If you go to a pitching session (always try to take part in one), write a thank you card to the people on the panel (via their companies). Ask what else are they looking for and what is the best way to send them pitches. 
  6. Look for the production companies logos in the festival programme. Then log on to the company's website and seek out their submissions process. Write to their contact email address and ask them how to submit if it is not apparent.
  7. If you have an agent, send them a list of who you met, requesting advice on to best follow this up, can they be of help?
  8. Drop your festival contact a line and thank them for the opportunity. Festivals love longevity, building relationships with people who they featured early on in their careers. Many offer a staggered payment scheme so you can book your tickets in advance. Click here to apply now for you LSF 2014 pass Quote Rocliffe. 
  9. If you had table reads, send your actors a note. They are just as keen to connect with you as you with them.  
  10. From the short films, webisodes or first time feature directors work you've seen, contact them to see if they are interested in reading your work! Collaborate to accelerate. 
It's a small world out there. Reaching out is the only way to get ahead and people appreciate you taking the time – it will benefit you. Here are some of the great talks, events, festivals I attended this year and will be looking out for next. Many will have been filmed or have post-festival virals:

The ones I am looking forward to attending in 2014 - sign up now for their mailing lists:

Feb 2014 - Dublin International Film Festival 2014
Aug 2014 - Edinburgh TV Festival 2014
May 2014 - Cannes Film Festival
Oct 2014 - New York TV Festival
Oct 2014 - London Screenwriters Festival
Oct 2014 - Austin Film Festival & Conference

My quote of the week
“The glow of inspiration warms us; it is a holy rapture.”
Don't forget to write, keep writing and then rewrite.