The London Screenwriters’ Festival is an annual three day conference for screenwriters.
In 2020, the LSF will be held at Regents University in Regents Park, from the
17th to 19th of April. Directions to the venue, here.
For the three days, over 1,000 screenwriters, filmmakers, producers, practitioners, actors and executives congregate to share ideas, build powerful relationships, hear pitches and get a creative shot in the arm.
Most delegates report massive breakthroughs in their understanding of the business and craft, as well as huge acceleration toward their career goals. However, perhaps the most vital part of the festival is the inspiration and sense of belonging you will experience when you attend. Year on year, delegates report that the community at the festival is one of the main reasons they return.
The Main Events
During the three days of the festival there are around 130 structured seminars, lessons and workshops.
There are four separate strands so that at any one moment, you can choose from up to four different sessions.
You do not need to book a place for any of these sessions, they are all on a first come, first seated basis. Occasionally, some sessions are so popular, seating will run out. We will try and give you advance warning about these sessions so you can get there early if you want to attend.
Between sessions there are half hour breaks, with a ninety minute break for lunch. Onsite, there is breakfast, lunch and dinner available, plus drinks, tea and barista coffee. The breaks are a great opportunity to network with delegates and speakers.
In the evenings (Friday and Saturday of the festival) we host networking drinks which most delegates and many speakers attend. It’s a chance to unwind, consolidate old relationships and create new relationships.
Additionally, on the Thursday night before the official opening of the festival, there is a networking party where you can pick up your pass early.
Over half the delegates usually attend this Thursday event.
On the Saturday night of the festival we host The British Screenwriters’ Awards.
As a festival pass holder you are invited to attend the awards (seating limited to 450).
The show begins with some standup and you can get extra tickets for friends and family.
There is a floorplan of the venue (that will be updated before the festival), here.
We also film most sessions so you don’t miss out. These sessions form an ever growing library of world class seminars and workshops that are available to delegates only.
When you sign up you will get access to all past video sessions as well as the sessions from the festival for which you have purchased a pass.
You can watch a sample video, an ‘In conversation with William Nicholson’ the screenwriter of Gladiator, by clicking, here.
The experience of Pitchfest was terrifying but worthwhile as I learned so much by trying something outside of my comfort zone.
Every year we have around 150 industry professionals who come and speak. In the past we have played host to the worlds biggest screenwriters, producers, agents and directors.
These industry experts have included…
- Jeb Stuart
(Writer – Die Hard, The Fugitive)
- Paul Abbott
(Writer Shameless, State of Play)
- Christopher Vogler
(The Writer’s Journey)
- Scott Meyers
(Go Into The Story)
- Stephen Woolley
(The Crying Game, Carol, Interview with the Vampire)
- Bruce Robinson
(Writer – Withnail and I)
- Stephen Moffat
(Dr Who, Sherlock)
- Mark Gatiss
(Sherlock, League of Gentlemen)
- Ken Loach
- Jim Uhls
(Writer – Fight Club)
- W. Peter Ilif
(Writer – Point Break, Patriot Games)
- Christopher McQuarrie
(Writer – Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation)
- Stephen Frears
(Director & Writer – The Grifters, The Queen, High Fidelity, Philomena)
- Carl Gottlieb
(Writer – Jaws)
- Nicole Perlman
(Writer – Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Ol Parker
(Writer – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Duncan Heath
- Joel Schumacher
(Director & Writer – The Lost Boys, The Client, Falling Down)
- Ted Tally
(Writer – Silence Of The Lambs, Red Dragon, The Juror)
- Lynda La Plante
(Writer – Prime Suspect, Above Suspicion)
- Phil Redmond
(Creator of Brookside, Grange Hill and Hollyoaks)
- William Nicholson
(Writer – Gladiator, Les Miserables, Shadowlands)
- Charlie Brooker
(Writer – Black Mirror, A Touch Of Cloth)
- Joe Eszterhas
(Writer – Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge)
- Mike Leigh
(Director & Writer – Secrets & Lies, Naked, Life Is Sweet)
- David Hare
(Writer – The Reader, The Hours)
- Dan Mazer
(Writer – Borat, Ali G)
- Lisa Albert
(Writer & Producer – Mad Men)
- Olivia Williams
(Actor – The Sixth Sense, An Education)
- Gurinder Chadha
(Writer and Director – Bend It Like Beckham)
- Frank Spotnitz
(Writer & Producer – Hunted, The X Files, Millenium)
- Duncan Kenworthy
(Producer – Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings)
- Edgar Wright
(Director & Writer – Tin Tin, Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of the Dead)
- David Reynolds
(Pixar & Disney staff writer – Finding Nemo, Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan)
- John August
(Writer – Dark Shadows, Big Fish, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory)
- Ian Brennan
(Creator – Glee!)
- Ash Atalla
(Producer – The I.T. Crowd, The Office)
- Robert Popper
(Writer & Producer – Friday Night Dinner, Look Around You)
- Stephen Mangan
(Actor – Greenwing, Episodes)
- Jessica Hynes
(Writer & Actor – Spaced)
- Sally Phillips
(Actor & Writer – Smack The Pony, Miranda)
- Griff Rhys Jones
(Writer & Performer – Not the 9 O’Clock News, Alas Smith & Jones)
Over 600 industry professionals have now presented at the LSF including execs and producers from the broadcasters, Hollywood studios, UK productions (large and small and everything in between).
Alongside the industry professionals, world class screenwriting tutors and practitioners from the UK and Hollywood also attend, providing what are often the most widely attended sessions of the festival. They have included…
- Pilar Alessandra (Pitching expert)
- Christopher Vogler (Writers Journey)
- Scott Myers (The Black List)
- Karl Iglesias (Hollywood script expert)
- Jen Grisanti (Hollywood TV Expert)
- Linda Aronson (non linear expert)
- Julie Gray (Story expert)
- Christopher Vogler (Hero’s Journey expert)
- Linda Pogieter (Negotiation expert)
- Luke Ryan (Producing expert and active producer)
- Kate Leys (Script expert and also active script editor)
There is an up to date list of speakers, here (there will be around 150 by 1st Sept).
I loved the warm atmosphere created by Chris and his team. They made me feel cared for and I felt like nothing was too much for them
Janet Van Eeden, Writer & Filmmaker
The British Screenwriters’ Awards
Join us in celebrating great screenwriting at the Great British Screenwriters’ Awards at the festival. It’s about time someone put the originators and architects 0f great storytelling front and centre. And we rose to the challenge in 2014 and launched the British Screenwriters’ Awards.
As a festival pass holder you are invited to the Awards on the Saturday night of the festival though you should remember that seating is limited. You can find out more about the awards, here.
It's an amazing feeling being somewhere and thinking, 'Oh I get it - this is my place, and this is my thing'
Mandy Jayne Constance, Screenwriter
During the festival there are also separate events that are included as part of your ticket. You must apply for each of these events ahead of the festival and the process for application differs slightly for each.
The Great British Pitchfest!
Most popular of these additional initiatives is the Great British Pitchfest where you get the chance to pitch your projects to execs, producers, agents and filmmakers. Each delegate gets ONE ninety minute slot for the Pitchfest and the booking system goes live on 1st Sept.
These slots go fast so make sure you are available to book yours (we will email you about this closer to the time).
During your ninety minute slot you can pitch as many execs as you can get to – there is a queuing system and the most popular execs will have the longest queues.
Thinking strategically could get you up to eight pitches with little or no waiting in line, or as few as three if you are late, don’t plan and make poor choices. Success in the pitching will be entirely up to your preparedness, and of course a killer idea.
The Hollywood Pitchfest is a whole new evolution. We arrange video conferencing meetings with execs in Hollywood and you get to pitch online at the festival.
It’s a whole new world and whole new game. It’s the same deal as the Great British Pitchfest and slots last 90 minutes. You cannot pitch at both the British and Hollywood Pitchfests, you need to choose one.
You can see the 70 or so Pitch Execs attending the Pitchfest here (most will go online in the Summer).
You can read more about the Pitchfest, here.
It was a pleasure to engage with such a diverse group of passionate writers...
Kate Harwood, Controller Series/Serials, BBC Drama
Other workshops include… The Advanced Mentoring Script Labs
The objective of the Labs is to assist writers who have a fully developed screenplay in a specific genre, to move their work to the next level.
There are six three hour Labs at the festival, covering a variety of disciplines and topics. Within each Lab there is space for up to six writers. Each year the labs are different.
Past Labs have included ‘Writing For Disney with Finding Nemo writer Dave Reynolds, Writing The Hollywood Thriller with Basic Instinct writer Joe Eszterhas, Writing Fantastical Universes with Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman, Writing Comedy Features with Borat writer Dan Mazer and Writing For Channel Four with former Channel Four Commissioner Gub Neal. Submissions open 30th July and close 14th Aug and we encourage the writers and expert leading each Lab, to connect and begin work before and after the festival.
Successful applicants are announced on 31st Aug. More here.
An outstanding and extremely well-run Lab and my writing has benefited enormously from it. Can't thank you guys enough.
Eben Skilleter, Screenwriter
Other workshops include… The Actors Table Read
The actors table read is an opportunity for you to get your screenplay workshopped by professional actors and a director. This has proven to be our most successful initiative to date with 99.8% positive feedback from the 200 people involved last year.
In 2020 we aim to have 144 slots available.
If you submit a script to the process and you are selected, you will attend a one hour session where you, the director and the actors will work on one sequence (between 3 and five pages) of your script.
These are closed sessions and they run throughout all three days of the festival. Submissions open on 12th June and close 27th July. Successful applicants will be announced on 24th Aug
More here, including a short behind the scenes video.
You can see the actors and directors who will work on your scripts, here.
The table read and the pitching were wonderful, and will always be a draw for me.
Stephan Burn, Screenwriter
Other workshops include… Script Chat
After each session, speakers are invited to meet delegates in round table sessions that we call ‘Script Chats’.
These informal and intimate chats can often run for an hour or more. It’s our way of giving direct access to specific experts so that if you want to, you can take the conversation to the next level. We have found that even the biggest names are happy to spend time coaching and sharing in Script Chats.
You do not need to book a place at a script chat, just turn up. Sessions that are followed by a script chat will marked accordingly on the schedule. More here.
I then sat at a small table with Stephen fricking Frears and chatted with him. I chatted with Stephen Frears!
Lisa McMullin, Screenwriter
Other workshops include… The Script Surgery
Submit a two page outline and the first ten pages of your script and we will offer expert feedback in a fifty minute one on one session.
The booking system for Script Reading goes live on 14th July. You can choose your slot when the sessions go live (last year all slots went in the first hour). If you get a slot, one of our readers will connect with you before the festival.
On the day and time of your booking, go to your appointment with a print out of your outline and first ten pages of script, and you will be met by your script doctor. At any one time, six script doctors are in session and we aim to offer help on around 100 projects. More here.
You can read up about the team of script doctors, here.
We also operate a drop in desk over the three days of the festival. So if you want to just rock up with your script, get some feedback or ask for career advice, head over to the Script Surgery and book yourself a slot in one of the drop in sessions.
Rich, varied and current selection of speakers and panel experts, great venue and professionally and smoothly run. Fantastic value for money...
Simon Preston, writer
Other workshops include… The Legal Clinic
Do you have legal issues you need a lawyer to help you with? All delegates at the festival have the option to apply for the legal clinic that is run by Blue Pencil Media.
You can ask any question you like and their legal team will do their best to answer your concerns. More here.
Every minute packs a punch with value. Invest in yourself and your career
Jeremy Caine, Screenwriter
Other workshops include… Meet The Experts
Get a full half hour with seasoned film producers, distributors and executives.
Have your project grilled by a team of heavyweights. Meet The Experts is not for the faint-hearted and you can be certain of a very tough conversation. Think Dragons Den but for writers concepts and projects. More here.
I learned so much, had my mind blown, my reality checked and my inspiration sent sky-high
Will Stubbs, Screenwriter
Other workshops include… The Elevator Pitch
Feel the fear and do it anyway! The idea is simple… the elevator doors open, you step inside, only to find yourself alone with a top executive… You have 90 seconds to get them to accept your business card!
The elevator pitch will take place several times throughout the festival and always during breaks so you never need to miss a session. No booking needed, it’s first come first served. More here.
The Elevator Pitch was the best shot of adrenaline I’ve had in years – the perfect legal high
Diana Rampton, Writer & Filmmaker
Other workshops include… Script To Screen LIVE
Read the script, watch the film or TV show, then meet the writers, filmmakers, producers at the festival. This is a rare opportunity to get access to the script that was taken to set, then follow it through the journey of production, examining changes which can be discussed during the session at the festival.
In the past we have run these fantastically insightful and entertaining screenings with Jim Uhls and Fight Club, W. Peter Iliff and Point Break, Carl Gottlieb and Jaws, Joel Schumacher and The Lost Boys, Joe Eazterhas and Basic Instinct, Ted Tally and Silence Of The Lambs and Dave Reynolds and Finding Nemo.
Your lawyer listened to our concerns and answered our questions completely, giving very clear and specific advice that was easy to understand.
Carole Parsons. Screenwriter
Other workshops include… Speed Networking
It’s tough to work an entire room at one event, there are just too many people to meet. The answer for us is our new organised Speed Networking. In just 50 minutes, you will meet 20 to 30 new people; then you can choose to continue the conversation later at the party, with the people who you feel you have the deepest connection or shared interests.
During the festival and within the main sessions there will be many ‘interactive’ workshops too, where you may be invited to submit a script for editing, or to read a script in preparation for a special ‘script to screen’ session, such as the one with Joe Eszterhas and Basic Instinct that we ran in 2013 or Silence Of The Lambs with Ted Tally in 2015.
These sessions will come online in the late Summer and we will send you emails about them as and when they lock down.
Getting Your Pass
You can sign up now and get your pass HERE. Passes cost £348 (inc VAT).
We offer a full refund if you cannot make it (up to 45 days before the festival).
After that you can transfer your pass to someone else or defer your pass to the following year. Just let us know if you want to do this.
One pass will get you full access to the festival. Last year we sold out nearly one month before the festival, so don’t wait to get yours.
You will need a pass BEFORE you can book any of the additional sessions such at the PitchFest, Labs or Actors Table Read.
Many delegates miss out on great stuff because they don’t plan their festival ahead of time. Read the emails we send and act on submissions and deadlines.
Once you sign up you will be sent an introductory email with a link to the Festival Network called LSFConnect, where we share the archive of festival videos (over 150 seminars online now).
Inside the network you can also connect with other creatives and start your festival experience right away. There is a short introductory video that you should watch BEFORE joining the network. You can watch that video here. If the link that you have been sent has expired, drop us an email (email@example.com) and we will get a direct invite sent out to you.
You will be sent a special delegate guidebook (PDF link via email) which you should print out and read.
This will give you an overview of the whole event and offer additional detail where needed. This book will be updated two wees before the festival and should be re-downloaded and printed out at that time. We will email you about this update when it becomes available. At the festival we will also give you a printed copy.
Again, many delegates skip printing and reading this document and subsequently miss out on many terrific initiatives simply because they did not know about them until deadlines passed. Spend fifteen minutes sooner rather than later, getting to grips with everything on offer.
When you arrive at the Festival you will be able to collect your Festival pass from registration. Without your pass you will not be allowed entry into the events, so please don’t lose it.
You can collect your pass on the Thursday Night Networking party on the 16th April 2020 (evening), or on the Friday morning of the festival. We advise getting to the venue early as there may be bottle necks for the first hour or so.
Registration will stay open during the festival in case you cannot make Friday morning.
In the three days running up to the festival (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) we run a series of one day masterclasses.
We have designed these to be as useful as possible for delegates, especially those traveling from great distances. They are competitively priced at £48.50 per day (for LSF delegates).
You can get more information on Festival Week, here.
It’s a fantastic place to meet people who share the same passion for characters and story. You find your people.
Alex Dawson, Screenwriter
## Important Operational Emails ##
Once signed up, we will email you regularly with updates when needed. We will always do this with a header using hashtags. An example email header might be…
## PitchFest Booking System, Goes Live On Saturday ##
This would signify this is an operational email from us that you should read and not leave till the end of the week or delete as spam. We do send a lot of these emails as we don’t want you to miss out on the good stuff.
Awesome! A unique chance to spend time in conversation with a lot of people in senior positions in the industry...
Nik Bower, Riverstone Media
Dates and Deadlines
There is a list of current dates and deadlines on the website, here.
If these deadlines change, we will let you know via email and update the page accordingly.
Dates WILL CHANGE, it’s inevitable. So again, please check the emails we send you.
A great experience, didn't know what to expect as a first timer but found the three days fascinating and inspiring. Throw yourself into it!
John Liddle, Screenwriter
World Class Support Team
We pride ourselves on having the best support team possible. Each and every one of them will help deliver the most extraordinary experience for you at the festival.
You will also find that like you, most of them are also writers who have chosen to support you and your career. They are officially the superheros of the festival.
To be all schmaltzy about it, ‘it feels like coming home’.
Charlotte Thompson, Screenwriter
Want more convincing? We have a ton of feedback from both delegates AND speakers (and execs) that you can read, here.
We get feedback to help share the awesome experience of the festival with others, as well as getting insight into how we can improve even more year on year.
Below is just one random quote…
I have had two script requests and a meeting with a producer and NONE of this would have happened if it wasn't for you and your team
Ndidi Spencer, Writer and Director
Join the movement
People come to their first LondonSWF for the sessions and the speakers. People return for the feeling of belonging and the other delegates. The festival is like an annual family gathering, a tribe if you like, of people who get who you are, and you get who they are. We are not alone, and as a community, we are a movement.
This sense of belonging is repeatedly reported as the single most important aspect of the festival.
The atmosphere made it surprisingly easy to talk to complete strangers.
Gill Williams, Screenwriter
Whoahhhh! There’s a lot going on!
Yes there is and that’s what is SO awesome about the festival. We have lovely staff who will answer your questions, as will the veteran delegates who offer so much too. Getting the most from the festival is all about getting prepared and then letting yourself go, allowing the experience to take a hold of you.
- 81% of our delegates give the event 5 stars
- 99% said they would recommend it.
- 99% also say that it is value for money.
Get your pass here.
Or sign up for updates with the email sign up below.
We look forward to seeing you there.