Guest Blog: Andy Conway

Posted October 19th, 2016 by Matt Turner


To coincide with the relaunch of Script Pitch on the SP site, we’ve spoken to the man behind it. SP’s Andy Conway, a Birmingham based lecturer, screenwriter and novelist.

Birmingham is very much home for Andy, and the city has a growing filmmaking community. “I run Shooters in the Pub there, our monthly networking event, and recently have been involved in two schemes to kick start movie production in the city, both of them emerging from Birmingham City University and its exciting new state of the art campus where I teach screenwriting. I’m scripting the first few films in those schemes but also working hard to bring in emerging screenwriters, both from my courses and the wider writing community across the region, get them their first feature film credits and develop their talent.”

Andy has poured over his fair share of scripts. “I worked as a script reader for a production company a long time ago, so I was the poor sap who had to take the pile of scripts home and plough through them. A good script, from the point of view of an industry reader, is one that plays the film in your head and you just can’t stop turning the pages. The bad ones were badly formatted and just difficult to read: huge blocks of scene description instead of plenty of white space, and a writing style that was too technical and took you out of the story. There are lots of other things but the main thing is impressing that first reader.”

To new writers, above all he advises persistence. “You’ll write a lot of crap for a long time before you get it right. I worked at it for 15 years before I walked onto my first feature film set and heard everyone praising the quality of the script. But it couldn’t have happened without the 20 features I’d written before that. I knew a lot of writers who gave up, but I just kept writing script after script.” Secondarily, versatility. “I don’t think there’s any point in getting pigeonholed as a writer of a particular genre of scripts, especially as genres can go out of fashion. I wrote a lot of indie romcoms to begin with, then got a revenge thriller, which led to a couple more in that vein, and my current two films in production are an action tech thriller and a horror, with an action-adventure on the horizon. Be the writer who can write anything.”

“I do think writers should write the films they want to see regardless of what’s selling well this quarter. Your passion will always come through. You’ll probably get asked to write scripts for a particular market anyway, but let the producers think about that and hire you to do it.”

Lastly, as screenwriting can be a solitary pursuit, Andy recommends new writers make as much effort as possible to make connections. “It’s about networking. Shooters provides the most amazing network of talent. We crew so many films and it all comes from our bulletins and our monthly meet ups.” “Every film project I ever got involved in came out of me putting myself out there. Shooting People makes it a lot easier to do that.”

“The best thing about screenwriting is that you get to write for a large group of people who all work really hard to turn your pages into a film, and sometimes what they produce is way better than what you imagined.”

You can now submit scripts to Script Pitch online. Get your work noticed, and get that project made today. Andy has a call out at the moment for the SCREAM PITCH, our annual Halloween Horror special.  Every month we’ll pick out the relevant ones for the monthly special bulletin. You’ve got a week to get your pitches in for that, so post them straight away.

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