WriteWords talks to Lucy Scher, director of the Script Factory, who work to help screenwriters make progress|
Tell us about the Script Factory and what it does for writers
The Script Factory works in the gap between new screenwriters and the industry, doing as much as possible to assist writers in their career, by honing story and craft skills, as well as working with the development sector to identify and source potential new good writers. To these ends we have two major strands of activity – training courses which are specific, focused, good value and fun; and events – screenings or talks with writers, developers, producers and directors who illuminate their own experience and in so doing provide many hidden gems, as well as sheer inspiration that it can be done.
Do you only work with experienced writers or absolute beginners as well?
We work with writers at all levels.
Many new writers worry about their ideas/scripts being copied. How likely is this and how can they prevent it?
In my view, it is pretty unlikely. What makes a story unique is the writer’s voice. It is their characters and the events they create for them that makes the story. I suppose a good concept could be copied, but it would be rendered quite differently by each writer. The Script Factory offers a cheap registration service, which will testify to ownership of an idea at a certain date in case of dispute and anyone who is anxious that their idea could be copied should use this.
Do new screenwriters really need an agent- and how do they get one when they haven’t had a film made?
There are a handful of screenwriting agents in the UK, all of whom are busy! My advice is not to waste time trying to secure an agent at the beginning of a career. They will come knocking if you are a success. It is more important to meet producers and directors that you feel an affinity with, and if you do get offered an option, lawyers are readily available to assist. We can give advice on this if anyone is at this stage.
What’s your advice for writers who’ve written a short film but don’t know where to go next?
The gap between short film writing and feature length is gaping. It is quite a different discipline, but perhaps the key difference is market – features have to find a paying audience, unlike short films. So my advice is to be pragmatic. Write for a market for your first feature. (If you get one made you can be as bonkers as you like for the second one). Know who you are writing for, what it is that you want to say, and be sure that it is entertaining, efficient and a good read!
How can writers hook up with producers/directors? Can the Script Factory help with that?
The Script Factory runs events, where the audience is specifically film industry, so always check our website for what is going on. And talk to people. Watch a lot of British films – find out who is making the kind of films you like and try to meet with them. Or, start to create your own team from good people within your circles. Many established writer/producer/director teams began as good friends and learnt the craft and the industry as they went along.
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