By Piers Beckley
Yesterday I looked mostly at the craft and networking aspects of a festival. But for screenwriters there's another part to this equation that novelists and poets, for the most part, don't have to worry so much about: getting hold of the money required to put your film into production.
Fortunately here at Cheltenham there's also a business track. So today I've mostly been going to seminars and talks about the business end of screenwriting from producers (who'll make your film) and sales agents (who go out and sell it to different countries across the world) to find out what the current state of the market is.
The current recession means that things are particularly difficult for straight dramas. For a drama to sell right now you're going to need A-list stars, a great director, and a great writer. Preferably award-winning.
And even those are difficult to sell at the moment. Passion projects are being deferred right now until the market improves.
What is selling are genre pieces. Comedies, Thrillers, Horror, Romcom, Action-Adventure. Something that it's easy to find on the DVD shelves or in a category at the online retailers.
The cycle will turn, of course, and it'll be easier to make the odd pieces, and the downbeat pieces, and the straight dramas.
But right now the advice for a piece of writing you're trying to sell is: know what your film is about, and what genre it's in. And make sure it's a bulletproof piece of writing for that genre.