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L.A. Industry Pitching tips! An ‘Inside Guide’ for Outsiders – Part 1

L.A. Industry Pitching tips! An ‘Inside Guide’ for Outsiders – Part 1

To give a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at WriteMovies and TalentScout International Management, our Director of World Wide Development Ian Kennedy is sharing a week of his Hollywood/L.A. Diary with us at the start of March.

Expect news of meetings at major studios and with Elite producers, screenwriters and other adventures in Hollywood, plus a string of fresh images of iconic Hollywood locations.

In the meantime, we’ve brought together two of our Elite Mentors and a former WriteMovies winner living in Los Angeles to share their L.A. industry pitching tips. Here’s what they had to say… first, about staying there and getting around town.

Our experts:
ALEX ROSS, WriteMovies founder, film producer and former LA agent
BOBBY LEE DARBY, Screenwriter and WriteMovies Elite Mentor
KATHRYN NAWROCKI, Screenwriter and former WriteMovies Award Winner


HOTELS, BARS AND PLACES TO MEET

hollywood signKATHRYN: “The funny thing is that often tourists from abroad come to LA and imagine that downtown is hub OR that Hollywood Blvd is it. They don’t know the “outsider’s INSIDE guide”… Sunset Strip has some amazing places and you will be RIGHT In the mix. You have to walk to Sunset Towers nearby which is phenomenal.”

ALEX: “I like the area near Sunset Plaza. Lots of great little outdoor restaurants: http://www.lepetitfour.com great for celebrity spotting. There is great hotel within walking distance: https://www.standardhotels.com/la/properties/hollywood.

If you are on a budget, the best hotels are near the airport: Hilton etc. Also, when there, you need to watch REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE with James Dean, then go to the Hollywood observatory. Eat at C&O Trattoria on Venice Beach and Barney’s Beanery.”

KATHRYN: “The Standard is actually a terrific choice. They have a lovely pool, casual bar. There is one of my favorite bars EVER within walking distance that is relaxed, unpretentious, with fantastic apps/drink specials when it opens at 6. The TROCADERO. No need to book. They have these amazing Happy Hours deals 6-8 on drinks and FANTASTIC apps from filet mignon tips to shrimp cocktail etc. I usually just order a ton of those and a drink or two but I do believe they have dinner.

Sunset Strip is fun. Make sure you go to CHATEAU MARMONT and even propose a meeting there if someone wants to come to you. This spot, along with THE MONDRIAN are amazing and just fun, iconic, central spots… PINCHES TACOS (not PINK Taco which is fun but not yummy food) for a meal. Authentic and fun and a walk away.

Also THE DEN is a very unpretentious pub/bar with apps too you could do for informal meetings. Jason Segel and Jon Hamm routinely hung out there. It is kinda a local gem. WALK Sunset Strip and enjoy. Greenblatt’s deli isn’t far and has genuine NYC Jewish deli food and vibe. A ridiculous silly but MUST see is SADDLE RANCH which you can walk to. Great food, mechanical bull, bottomless Bloody Marys with brunch And SUNSET TOWERS is iconic as well!”


l.a. industry pitching tips - trafficGETTING AROUND

ALEX: “Traffic [is a big problem]… So, the car hire is the cheapest part. The insurance can be more. Use a CC that covers insurance. The place has some of the highest petrol prices in the country.

If you are staying in central LA for a few days use Lyft or Uber. Drivers are really aggressive, if you use your indicator they will speed up at you to cut you off…

Parking is really expensive. Avoid valet parking… Hotels love to charge you $30+ for over night parking. Take a Lyft from the airport. And everyone wants a tip… the waiters in restaurants like to get about 20%. Natives usually double the tax. Whatever you see on the menu, add 30%.”

BOBBY: “The most meetings we ever had was 4 in a day, and that was a rough day – the logistics across LA get exhausting. Arrive really early. The studio lots are massive – Warner Bros is huge – it can take you half an hour to walk to your meeting even once you’re inside. If you’re meeting at a bar at say a hotel, make sure it’s the right one! There’s often another one at the pool level at the top of the building, and finding the right lift and the way there can make you late. So book a maximum of 4 meetings a day; Uber drivers may know the best routes, if you’re not driving yourself, but you should leave plenty of time to get between things.”


FITTING IN

BOBBY: “The dress code for these meetings is very relaxed – jeans and any shirt.”

ALEX: “Also, LA is about sunglasses! Look into some fashion mags and get yourself the coolest you can afford. The rest is all about jeans (designer) you can literally get away with a T-shirt (as long as it is cool!)”


See Bobby’s other L.A. industry pitching tips – and tips for Europe and the UK – HERE! And find out more about what he can do for you as an Elite Mentor HERE.

Find out more about Alex Ross HERE and about our other Elite Mentors HERE.

WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2019 – Winner Announced!

WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2019 – Winner Announced!

We first launched the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award because we wanted to be transported to amazing, fantastical new worlds – and boy, did you guys deliver! Our entrants spanned the deepest reaches of space, magical lands, and all of time: past, present, and future!

The imagination is a writer’s most powerful weapon, and it was on full display here. Well done to everyone who entered; the quality was so consistently high that you made it extremely difficult for us to pick a winner!

Some of the things that helped us make our choice include:

  • Originality of concept – giving us something truly unique instead of something we’ve seen before
  • Depth and complexity of worldbuilding – making the universe of the story feel like a real, lived in place
  • Impressive visual elements – taking full advantage of these genres’ strengths
  • Great characters – ensuring that the human element doesn’t get lost!

So here it is… The first ever winner of the inaugural WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award is…

 

THE TIME-TRAP

By Mark Flood

A big congratulations to Mark, who has won guaranteed pitching to industry, two sets of Development Notes, and continued script development from us! Well done also to all of our Honorable Mentions, who you can find listed below.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

OMEGA POINT, James Bingham ENDANGERED SPECIES, Mark Flood GODLESS SKIES, Joshua David Harris
FABLE OF THE JADE TIGER, Jason Fisher SHIRO, Pascal Kulcsar THE LAST PRISON, Richard Geiwitz
THE REVOLT OF THE WHALES, Michael Rhodes MARS GENESIS, Don Ternyila RACE MUSIC, Eric Weber

Spring Contest 2018 – Introducing our 3rd Placed writer and script!

Spring Contest 2018 – Introducing our 3rd Placed writer and script!

It’s time to introduce the cream of the crop from our Spring 2018 Contest! Landing in third place is an exceptional screenplay, a topical mystery-thriller set in Greece: FIRE ON THE ISLAND by Timothy Jay Smith!

Congratulations to Timothy, who also won our award for Best Indie Script and is a former Grand Prize Winner from 2010! His prizes include a year of script and pitching development worth $3200, previews of our Virtual Film School, exclusive prizes from InkTip, and more!

Screenplays

Here’s the logline for FIRE ON THE ISLAND:

When an arsonist threatens an important Coast Guard station on a Greek island, the FBI agent stationed in Athens arrives to investigate, finds himself immersed in a community rife with conflict, and falls in love with his chief suspect.

 

And Timothy’s summary of his script:

An arsonist threatens to burn down a Greek island village by blowing up a fuel tank in its harbor. Alarmed by the possible disruption of the local Coast Guard’s vital operations in rescuing refugees, Nick Damigos, the FBI Agent posted to Athens, arrives to investigate.

The arsonist has struck eleven times in as many months, each fire coming closer to tiny Vourvoulos, and each followed by a mysterious poison pen letter. The last one makes it clear: the arsonist plans to strike within days. With no clues, Nick searches for a motive that would drive someone to such a destructive act. He discovers a village embroiled in conflicts, some dating back generations, and uncovers earlier crimes—all casting a wide net of suspicion.

Gradually the mystery is revealed through the interwoven stories of a struggling restaurant owner and her feminist teenage daughter, a seductive widow and lovelorn waiter, a scurrilous priest and patrician mayor, and a host of colorful characters who paint a portrait—both humorous and soulful—of Greece where the past mingles with the present. While sorting it out, Nick’s life is threatened, and he falls in love with a young waiter who becomes his chief suspect.

Plus a biography of Timothy himself:

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-day crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel, and his screenplay adaptation of it was named Best Indie Script by WriteMovies. Another novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland, will be published in spring 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012.

Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

Timothy’s latest book, The Fourth Courier is now available for pre-order on Amazon – click here!

Introducing the Winner of our Best Short Script Award!

Introducing the Winner of our Best Short Script Award!

Our International Screenwriting Contest isn’t just for full length screenplays – we accept short scripts as well! In our Spring 2018 Contest, the winner of Best Short Script also made it all the way to the semi-finals: ROLL WITH IT by Rosie Byrnes!

As most of our readers know, writing a screenplay is tough work that takes diligence, planning, and a whole lot of hours spent typing. It might seem like writing a short script is easier, but it brings with it an entire set of challenges you won’t find elsewhere. Imagine trying to cram a 120 page story into 10 pages and you’ll see how difficult it is!

Congratulations to Rosie for winning in this category; her script charmed us with its rich story, likeable characters, and colorful concepts. She now receives a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual and exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School as her prizes, plus a set of Development Notes to give her professional feedback on her work.

Read on to find out more about this short script which captured our hearts: ROLL WITH IT!

Here’s Rosie’s summary of her script…

rosie byrnes

“Max is the king of the roller disco, and he knows it—that is, until the spunky (and far more admirable) Lucy arrives at the rink. His crown threatened, Max challenges her to the ultimate dance-off. But he’s in over his head, and finds that he’s head over heels for the gal who knows what it means to be groovy.”

And a short biography of Rosie, too…

“Rosie Byrnes is a writer, a second grade teacher, and a notorious ice cream lover. Originally from Colorado but currently residing in Tainan City, Taiwan, Rosie has spent most of her life writing outlandish stories. Only after following her crush into a college screenwriting class did she realize that, hey, it’s actually pretty neat. Her most recent passion project is a feature-length screenplay about Bigfoot (who’s a big softie, deep down), and she currently holds the “Worst Female Bowler” title in her hometown’s championship.

Rosie can be found on Twitter via the username @rosiebwrites.”

Rosie has won previews of the WriteMovies Academy, and Phase 1 opens on September 15th – join now to take your work to take your screenwriting and production skills to the next level!