I’ve been writing… and pitching

The purpose of my trip to Amsterdam was a pitching session organised by Creative Scotland as part of a scheme I’ve been taking part in (its a fantastic opportunity for Scottish writers, so if you’re one of them you can apply here). The pitch was in front of an entire room of industry people: producers, sales agents, distributors – and I had five minutes to give a presentation about one of the projects I’ve been working on.

As well as being incredibly nerve-racking (if I wanted to do public speaking, I would hardly have become a writer, now, would I?) it was also a real intellectual challenge.

As a screenwriter, I tend to tell stories within a certain concept of time. A few special cases aside (montage, slow motion, etc), one minute of story takes one minute of screen time. Trying to compress my story into five minutes in a way that made sense and was in any way satisfying to those listening was a very different thing. The end result was sort of telescopic: some moments of the film I told in great detail, others I spent only a few brief seconds on. Things that I thought were completely integral to the story, I skipped over entirely.

Author: James Topham

James is a screenwriter and freelance. He has written films for Scott Free Productions and Addictive Films and developed TV with ITV Studios, Evolutionary Films and Channel 4. He writes a weekly tinyletter - http://abridged-misc.com

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