At the beginning of March I had the pleasure of attending Women Making Waves 2012 film conference in Halifax, NS. I attended this conference for two reasons. One, it was something totally out of my comfort zone and two, I had vowed to attend a conference this year but didn’t want to spend a fortune as I knew I had to budget for a number of sport-related events for my children. I’m so glad I went. I knew two other people but I made it a point to chat and mingle and the organizers of this event worked hard to ensure there were a lot of networking opportunities.
I learned a lot. There’s something called the Bechdel Test Movie list. I had never heard of this before but I’m totally enlightened now. This Bechdel Test has three basic criteria for a movie. 1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it, (2) who talk to each other, (3) about something besides a man. (check out this link for more information http://bechdeltest.com) but the basic picture is that less than half of the movies created met this test. That’s a sad statement and now whenever I watch a movie I look out for this.
What I didn’t learn is how writers pitch a film idea to producers? Maybe you have to write a script/screenplay first? But it would seem to me if you have a good idea for a film there should be an easier way. Like with a book proposal, write the synopsis, write the first three chapters to get the flow of dialogue etc and then the writers with the producers should pound out the film. I bet this could be done within a week if they holed up in a hotel room to finish the project. It seemed to me that if producers spent more time with writers there would be more original movies and original TV series. Lately, it seems like Hollywood movies are a rehash of old and old, again. Seriously, even my kids rolled their eyes when they saw another Spiderman movie preview.
All I know is I came back from the film conference with a great idea for what I thought would be a TV mini-series but thanks to a fellow YA writer with more experience in the film industry she thinks it would be better as a film. The best thing about the conference is that I got energized, came up with an idea, wrote up a great proposal and if nothing else happens with it I’ll turn it into a book.
Why do you go to conferences? Have you ever been to a film conference? Is there any easier way to pitch a film idea? What’s worked for you?