So we have a LOT of data from our survey, thank you for sharing with us.
We noticed there were some recurring questions and comments in the survey, and so thought it might be worthwhile addressing the top-3 ahead of the Town Hall meeting where you can ask more questions.
- Do I need to bring a computer to the festival so that I can participate in both the live and the online portions of the festival?
The quick answer is “no”.
The onstage and online festivals take place at different dates: 10-12th September for the former and 24th September to 3rd October for the latter (although we may extend, if we cannot fit all the speakers who have expressed a preference to appear online into those dates).
The videos of the onstage sessions will be added to LSF Connect as and when they are processed in post-production (which will take time, as there is quite a bit of work involved I preparing them).
The onstage events will NOT be streamed live, just filmed for upload later.
- I want to socialize with other writers and meet pitch execs. Will this be possible?
We understand that not everyone feels they are vulnerable to covid, but the majority of our delegates are not so fortunate, and what we are proposing is for the safety of all of us. As well as our delegates, we also have to take into account how speakers and pitch execs feel, and if they’re not comfortable, they won’t come.
Take Pitchfest as an example, execs are telling us that they do not wish to do it in person, face to face. The risk to them, their families and their colleagues is just too great. They already have a backlog from the last 18 months to deal with, so cannot afford to get pinged. They find online pitching more convenient and safer. It saves time and money, and lowers health risk.
We get this will be disappointment for some, which is why we have invested in a new platform that improves on the Zoom experience. Normally in an in-real-life pitch session, the ratio is 3.4 execs to each delegate pitching, meaning on average 6-8 pitches. We plan to substantially lower that ratio so that those who choose to pitch get more pitches.
No, it’s not the same. How it was is just not possible right now, and won’t be for some time, perhaps for years. This is not our opinion, but what the execs are telling us. Online meets THEIR needs better.
That is why all of the extra-curricular events — Pitchfest, script chats, labs, meet the experts, meet the agent and legal clinic — will be online this year.
- Mask-wearing and other precautions. Why?
The pandemic is not over and we have a legal duty of care to keep you as safe as possible. Our venue also has its own set of rules. The insurer too. There is a chain of requirements. We have chosen to follow standards prevalent in the Film and TV industry, as a best practice.
Film and TV sets are requiring mask-wearing and flow-testing, so the festival will give us all a taste, and a better understanding, of what it is like for those working in the industry we all hope to be a part of one day.
Like filmmaking itself, the festival is a collaboration. Sometimes, for the greater good of the community, we might not get 100% of our personal asks.
One of the most poignant comments on the survey was:
“I am a nurse. Today my hospital cancelled operations.” They went on to say that based on the situation they are seeing on the frontline, the probability of some restrictions being reintroduced is very high.
There are now covid variants that have developed a degree of vaccine escape. The virus is doing everything it can to survive and thrive. That is why we must continue to be careful for a little while longer.
Watch out a separate post explaining the measures that we will put in place and what delegates will need to action closer to the on-stage portion of the festival.
We are genuinely all in this together. Stay safe everyone.