And so comes the next challenge……..
A few things I learnt from my recent weekend at the London Screenwriters Festival
- It is okay to be on facebook and twitter
- I know more about the structure and the theory of screenwriting than I thought I did
- If you travel on the 6am train from Manchester, you will be too exhausted for the last session so next time arrive the night before
- My writing so far has lacked really interesting characters
- Don’t stand on the left side of the underground escalators or you will get pushed over
- I won’t get attacked just because I am sleeping alone in a hotel room
- Life on Mars took nine years to be commissioned
- Don’t be embarrassed about sharing my blog with people
- If a writer wants to write crime stories then spend time with the real life cops and criminals
- There is a snobbery among writers if you are a writer on a soap opera
- When in London it is expected that you walk around quickly and push into people – you don’t need to apologise to dogs when you bump into them
- The snobbery hasn’t put me off wanting to write for Hollyoaks
- Writing Mad Men is the best gig a female writer can have
- Get to Madame Tussaud’s early if you want to pay on the day – those queues go on for miles
- I am piss poor at networking
The last point was detrimental to my weekend. I should have spoken to more delegates than I did. Yes, piss poor at networking is the sad conclusion to a somewhat inspiring weekend for me. I anticipated that I would find it problematic, and had I have stayed for the bar session on the Friday night it may have helped the nerves, and got me a few contacts. However, there is no hiding from the fact that I seriously suck at networking. And, if I want to get anything commissioned on the radio or TV in the future then I am going to have to expose my inner soul and show these people who I am.
I was always shy as a child, would never approach any of the cool kids in the playground. I always waited to be invited into friendships and can recall standing at the side of the playground on my own many times. I’m not the sort of person who hung around in large groups, it would always be myself and one or two other friends. This has pretty much carried on into adulthood.
Don’t get me wrong I am not completely mute. I can hold my own at work, have managed staff, chaired big meetings and sung (badly) in karaoke. The problem arises when I am in a situation which I haven’t been in before, such as this big weekend of gathering with other like-minded individuals. I find it alien to start a conversation with a complete stranger and have no idea how to go about it.
So, I have set a goal for myself. Learn how to network and try to get at least five business cards at the LSF next year. As I write that, I can feel the fear already. I like to write – there’s a reason for that right? I do it because I prefer to communicate by the written language instead of the verbal, that’s just me. I also thought every other writer would be like me, so was not ready to witness during break times how friendly and talkative the other delegates actually were. This is what knocked my confidence at the LSF and why I retreated to the park bench in the Regents Park.
People who know me are always surprised by that revelation. The truth is that I am shy, it takes me ages to make friends but once I do then they are friends for life.
Okay, so I have admitted that I have a fear that I need to overcome. Now onto how I go about changing that?
I have looked at courses online, but unless I can blag work to pay for it then I am not going to be able to afford the kind of prices that they charge (I have next years LSF ticket to fund and that ain’t cheap).
So, instead I have purchased Brilliant Networking – What the best networkers know, do and say by Steven D’Souza. It got a five star rating on Amazon so I am hoping it will be a useful tool in helping me overcome my social sickness.
It only arrived the other day so I will be reading it very carefully over the next couple of weeks and making notes in the margin.
If anybody has any tips they wish to share with me – they will be most gratefully received.