Just have to say I had never been to New York before, so I took advantage of the opportunity to knock out two birds with one stone, as the expression goes, and I decided to attend this years 2013 Screenwriters World Conference East in New York City. Information about the conference can be found at www.screenwritersworld.com. The conference is an opportunity to pitch your work to agents and production companies. There is also a separate conference and pitch session for novelists. My novel is still in the editing stage so I thought I would pitch my screenplay and television scripts that were just sitting on my computer. Of course, I think they are wonderful (I'm not prejudice or anything) and long over due to be looked at by someone other than my writer's group and family.
I arrived in New York on April 4th, and because of my limited budget, I was scheduled to leave early in the morning on April 9th. The conference was held Friday April 5th through Sunday April 7th. There were several different sessions available to the attendees to acquire knowledge and information about screenwriting or novel writing, as well as to gain information on how to be published or to be picked up by an agent. Now, I am of the frame of mind that this information is readily available to you at such sites as www.writersdigest.com, or through several other writer's magazines that distribute this information out like candy, so I skipped most of the sessions because I wanted to see New York, sad but true. I do think these sessions would have been very beneficial, but I wasn't sure if I would ever get back to New York again, so I only attended the Saturday, all day, pitch session which did include an early class time on how to pitch an agent. (Just a tip if you aren't receiving information via email or otherwise from Writers Digest or other writer magazine sites I would get connected by registering your email address with them. I have found the information they send out to be extremely informative) I found that what is different about the Writer's Digest Conference that some of the other conferences don't offer is your access to a multiple of agents, and in my case production companies, all at your disposal. Well, they're at your disposal after you wait the half hour to an hour in line to give your pitch. Most conferences only offer you one or two agent pitches for your rather large conference fee, where Writers Digest offers over 30 different representatives from various agencies and production companies. You only get about seven minutes with each representative, but that's better then nothing.
As nervous as I was, and taking the tips from my "How to Pitch" session, I got through my first pitch. I did receive a business card, which is usually what they give you if they want to see your material, but it was from an agent who only handled actors. I thought this strange too. Especially after he honestly explained to me that he wasn't sure what he was doing there himself. I believe he was trying to drum up work for his clients, which I guess is logical. This didn't help me, but I understand his dilemma. Well the morning went badly, and I didn't receive any other cards and was sulking during my lunch hour, which offered these really great deli sandwiches by the way, when I was approached by other writers who engaged me in conversation about our chosen heartbreaking careers. They inspired me to again return for the second half of the pitch session which went much better. All in all, I left with about four cards from various agents and production companies.
I rushed back to Kansas after my tour of New York City ready to take on the world by storm. I sent off my treatments for my scripts. I contacted agents who showed an interest in my work and sat back and waited for the acceptances to poor in. Well, it has been about two months now and I have gotten one refusal and I have not heard back from the other agents. So I sit here in limbo, waiting to hear if I was rejected, or if I am on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a professional writer. I can't say at this time if it was worth the money and time invested. I guess it may not have been any different then attaching your material to an email and sending it to an agent you have never met before or mailing it to an unknown destination, but in my case, with a full-length feature film script, I believe I would not have come in contact with these individuals any other way, especially in New York. As a novelist, I may have taken my chances through the mail or an email.
I haven't given up hope that I will still hear back from someone, so I will keep you updated. I met a lot of wonderful people during the conference who shared a commonality with me. I collected cards from other writers who struggle with the same desire that I do. If I had to say if I thought the trip was worth while, I probably would have to say that just going to New York and experiencing it first hand made the trip worth while. As I writer, I will always cherish that long weekend, and the people and lifestyles that I witnessed and learned about which is so different from my own. And these experiences will always make me a better writer. As for the rest, only time will tell...
Do you have any conference stories to share? Or were you in New York this year for the conference? Let me know.