My colleague and friend Rebecca Sloan and I have been learning the art of screenwriting alongside Hollywood producers, after attending an EU-funded course in Germany.
We were among fewer than 30 German, Danish and UK delegates in Bremen in northwest Germany for a weekend of intensive seminars hosted by North Sea Screen Partners Nordmedia and FilmFyn.
The study weekend, which took place from 3-5 June 2011 and was strictly for working media professionals, included sessions on pitching to film studios, preparing manuscripts, and adapting novels for the screen. It was headed up by award-winning film producer Lars Hermann and facilitated by bestselling author and feature film director Brendan Foley.
We were also treated to first-hand insight into the movie world from top Hollywood producer Ned Dowd. His film credits include The Last of the Mohicans, Grosse Pointe Blank, Apocalypto, The Count of Monte Cristo, King Arthur, Shanghai Noon and The Three Musketeers.
Rebecca is a Birmingham-based videographer who has just incorporated her first company, Glacier Films, for the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. She said the course has given her tools to integrate real-life subject matter with screenplays to create cinematic films.
“A film’s success is determined by its ability to connect with viewers and invoke an emotional response. Applying the techniques utilised in big-screen productions will enable us to create videos that make a lasting impact.”
For me, the weekend opened up an exciting new world of potential work. Although it covered the tough realities of the business, it also showed how good ideas conveyed through well-written scripts have a fighting chance at success. I finished the course with a sense that anything is possible.
Course tutor Brendan Foley, who has worked with actors as diverse as Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi and Vinnie Jones said: “It is great to see new film talent such as Marie and Rebecca emerging in the Midlands. I hope it will not be too long before we see some of their work on the big screen.”
As well as continuing with our individual projects, Rebecca and I are writing our first short film, to be shot this summer in Birmingham. Watch this space!
>>Our coverage in the Birmingham Post [opens in a new window].