Okay, I admit, I didn't realise that Tony Jordan was my hero before I attended his seminar at the London Screenwriters' Festival at the weekend, but I know now. Apart from creating one of favourite shows 'Hustle' (no Paddy, Hustle is not 'shit') as well as 'Life on Mars', he is completely pragmatic, funny, down-to-earth and hardworking. And, crucially, he realises how hard it is for new writers to break into the industry and acts on this realisation, running The Red Planet Prize for new writers through his production company Red Planet Productions.
Anyway, enough gushing. As I said, I was at the LSF at the weekend and it was fabulous (okay, maybe a bit more gushing). A brilliantly-organised and -executed three-day event in the picturesque setting of Regent's Park (Regent's College to be precise). As with all good conferences, there were so many events I wanted to attend that I had to make some sacrifices. But the seminars I did get to were excellent, loads of advice, insight into the various sides of the film and TV industries and, most importantly, encouragement to a) keep writing and b) be bold when it comes to trying to get work produced .
One excellent feature of the festival was the 'Scriptchat' events, at which the speakers at the seminars were available for a 'round-table' casual chat, which were nearly as informative as the seminars themselves.
I did have one scare when, attending the 'Getting an Agent and beyond' event, Katie Williams from Julian Friedmann's agency announced that they would really only consider representing writers located in the UK. Oh no! But, thankfully, at the 'scriptchat' later on, she did concede that this was for purely practical reasons (attending meetings at short notice etc.) and that Irish writers would definitely be considered. Phew!
Speaking of Irish writers, it was disappointing to see the lack of attendance from here (I only met one other Irish person all weekend and you know how we attract each other). Such an event is a crucial opportunity to meet fellow writers and industry professional and to do what all writers love to do...talk about writing! So many doors are slamming shut for us these days (depletion of funding etc.) that we need to take advantage of evvvvery opportunity that comes up.
Right, I'll get off my soapbox now. Damn, I should have put a handrail on this thing.