London Breakfast Club Blog

Frank Spotnitz... Ten truths ARE out there... and other Screenwriting Truth Bombs

The crowd arrived quietly. It felt like the middle of the night. Some of us had the absent look of the almost asleep… Well it was 9.30am, the crack of dawn for a room full of writers.

But within seconds we were on our feet. Suddenly there were screams and ferocious clapping. What triggered this mind-altered state? Paranormal activity right in the heart of London’s Regents Park?

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8 Unforgettable Series Writing Tips from X Files Luminary Frank Spotnitz

Frank Spotnitz has navigated his 25-year career as a Screenwriter, Producer, and Showrunner by following three rules.


As part of the London Screenwriters’ Festival Breakfast Club, Frank shared these rules (and a lot more advice) to screenwriters in a Q&A event more than worth the price of admission.



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John August: A Big Fish across the Pond by Elaine Clayton

The London Breakfast Club was back in action this week. Hot on the heels of the London Screenwriters’ Festival and with a spectacular guest speaker: John August.


Many of us are familiar with Scriptnotes, the weekly podcast John hosts with fellow screenwriter Craig Maizen. If you aren’t then here’s a link:

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“Itches to be scratched” - 9 Cool Things from John August by Kosha Engler

My first London Breakfast Club was a cracker. At 2:30pm sharp I nabbed my front row seat at Phoenix Artist Club. Good thing too – it was packed.


Thirty minutes later John August appeared in the flesh. We went wild with applause for the great man of podcast fame and oh, one or two Hollywood films. And a musical. And a few novels. And a screenwriting app, which he designed. All “itches to be scratched.”

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Nine brilliant fix-its from Rowan Joffe’s toolbox by Jade S. Bokhari

This was one of those talks. You feel the crackle in the air and the hairs spike on the nape of your neck from the speaker’s passion as it ignites the air.


Rowan Joffe, writer, director and the man behind Sky Atlantic’s new series; Tin Star, is the man you want to listen to every Monday morning to incite you to blaze through the week in a storm of focus, productivity and visceral inspiration.

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Passion and Perseverance: Five things I learned from Vanessa Bailey about making a short film with zero experience.

By Dorothée Kuepers


So the London Breakfast Club had done it again. Once more, the Phoenix Artist Club was packed with writers and filmmakers eagerly awaiting the session on: ‘Writing, Producing, Funding and Shooting your short film,’ on a sunny Friday afternoon.


In this session, actress Vanessa Bailey, accompanied by her director, Chris Jones, told us with refreshing honesty how she achieved writing and making her first short film with no previous experience.


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Daniel Mulloy and Producer Afolabi Kuti Discuss Their BAFTA short 'Home' with Maureen Hascoet de Cuestas

Just as #RefugeeWeek is about to kick off, The Breakfast Club had the pleasure to host a conversation with the team behind BAFTA winning short HOME, in front of a crowd attending the event largely for the first time. 


Director Daniel Mulloy and Producer Afolabi Kuti made for the most candid and articulate speakers on the sensitive topic of the far right rising and refugee crisis.

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Meet Joe Barton: How I Learned How to Crack Netflix by Philip Lawrence

Ooh ah! Netflix. You wondrous angel you, beaming glorious, bold imaginative stories into our homes and devices. From whence do these mystical tales come? And how can we, the humble screenwriter offer up our meagre scribblings for your consideration?

Today’s Breakfast Club brings Joe Barton before us – who recently cracked Netflix with his feature film iBoy. We sit, eager acolytes hoping to hear the magic incantation that will break open the Netflix box. Spoilers: there isn’t one.

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“I want originality!” – 7 things I learnt when I met Christopher Hampton by Tom Kerevan

After a short break, the London Breakfast Club was back. At the new, more sociable time of Pimms O’Clock on a Friday, the Phoenix Artist Club was yet again packed out to hear words of wisdom from a Hollywood great.

I was lucky enough to get a bit of time beforehand to talk with Christopher. What struck me most about him was that the old adage 'leave your ego at the door' just didn't apply here, simply because he didn't have an ego to start with. An incredibly generous and genuine soul who seemed to enjoy being in a room of writers as much as we enjoyed listening to him.

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'I don’t believe in rules; I believe in originality'... Meet Oscar winning Screenwriter Christopher Hampton

The Breakfast Club returns on April 28th with Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton. Though famous for his screenplays which include Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement and A Dangerous Method, Hampton is also a highly regarded playwright and translator.


Having had his first play performed at the Royal Court when he was just 20 years old, Hampton has since spent his life working on plays, musicals and screenplays and unlike his contemporaries, has chosen (and successfully) traversed the these varied terrains.


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Screenwriter Leon Butler on his first feature film with Idris Elba

Leon Butler is an entrepreneurial screenwriter. In this session he shared how he managed to change career mid life and then get Idris Elba to star in his first feature film. Inspirational and educational in equal measure. The good news is that we filmed the session and when you sign up to come to a London Breakfast Club, you get access to past events that were filmed too. Below is a short video we made about the last event, to give you a flavour of what you can expect.


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“I Knew It!” 10 Take Home Points from the Dean Craig Breakfast Club, June 2016

By Emma Heath


Dean Craig’s screenwriting career has taken the sort of trajectory many dream of. From working as a runner… to getting his first feature, Caffeine, produced… to his script Death at a Funeral being made not once, not twice, but THREE times (in the UK, USA and India).

He now enjoys a TV and Film career spanning both continents. So, what can we learn from him? I’ve distilled his one-hour conversation with Chris Jones into ten take-home points.

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The Three Pillars Of Successful Low Budget Horror Film Production: April 2104

Jen Handorf, veteran of five Brit low budget horror flicks, shared her experience at the London Breakfast Club today.


It was an insightful conversation with a producer who has been prolific in production and effective in distribution and sales.


Listen to the podcast below…

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'Day Of The Flowers' Script to Screen

Review by Ivo Bochenski

Somebody I met at a party once called cinema ‘the most complete art form.’ Anybody who’s ever fallen in love with a film soundtrack or repeated lines from their favourite film character on a rainy day will know the truth of this. 

As a born cinephile (and would be film maker) I get very excited by seeing up close the mechanics of all these elements coming together.

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How to make money selling a feature using the independent and the studio models with Carlo Dusi

By Tom Kerevan

Another icy morning, another warming breakfast and another 80 or so film-makers hungry for an inspiring talk. And the chance to meet Ridley Scott.

Well not quite… Carlo Dusi is Head of Business and Commercial Affairs at Scott Free London, the younger smaller sibling of the American office. Chris kicks things off with the elephant in the crowded room…. Will Ridley read my script?

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Ten Things I Learned from Jane Espenson and Brad Bell

Blog by Diane Larowska

As I ran past Peter Capaldi crossing Cambridge Circus on a gloriously sunny Monday morning on my way to “Breakfast” with Jane Espenson and Brad C Bell, I knew the goddess of geek was smiling down on me.


Writer, producer and TV deity Jane met the fantastically gifted writer, actor, producer Bell through twitter. A friendship and later a creative partnership was born.

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Writing Hit US TV: ‘Husbands’, ‘Buffy’, ‘Angel’, ‘Firefly’…Meet screenwriters Jane Espenson & Brad Bell

Blog by Q-ell Betton

On the 28th October, on a somewhat over hyped, weather wise, blustery day, I and a collection of would be screenwriters, filmmakers and other excitable persons headed to the Phoenix Arts club in central London for a Q and A session with Brad Bell (Husbands, Pop Up Video) and Jane Espenson (Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica) It proved to be an interesting and informative hour. Here are ten things I took away from the session.

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How To Self Release YOUR movie (Podcast) with Marcus Marcou

‘Create your own power…’ That’s one key piece of advice from filmmaker and now self distributor Marcus Markou.


‘Distrupt’ is another central idea of his.  If the system doesn’t work for you, create a new system, disrupt the old. This is how future thinking Marcus managed to get his low budget family comedy drama ‘Papadopoulos and Sons’ in UK cinemas, gaining massive box office (per screen average) and then doing the same around the world.

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Structure, Meaning and Magic: The Breakfast Club with John Yorke

By Tom Kerevan

In a film world obsessed with structure, there was something refreshingly honest about John Yorke standing up in front of a room full of writers and stating that structure gurus had him seriously worried. So worried, he’d become one.


The irony was not lost on him.

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Happy Birthday to Us! The Breakfast Club, one year in and beyond…

The London Breakfast Club is one year old today!


What started as an idea for us to try and recreate the supportive atmosphere of the London Screenwriters Festival has quickly blossomed into a fully fledged event and community in itself.


What we wanted to do was have a monthly event that creatives could come to before they went to work. Where, for a couple of hours, they could be inspired, entertained and meet with other people just like them. 

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Working in Hollywood and producing movies with Iain Smith: May 2013

Where to start?! Having stepped into the breach at the last minute, and with the Breakfast Club now the Pimms O’Clock Club, I didn’t know what to expect from Iain Smith. All we knew was that his IMDB page reads like your average DVD collection.

What followed was an absolute pummeling of sound bite after sound bite of film-making wisdom from an uplifting Scottish soul.

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Producing Online Comedy and Web Series with Mark Talbot of Hat Trick: April 2013

By Tom Kerevan

When Chris asked if I was going to be blogging about the morning’s Breakfast Club, a voice wafted over my shoulder: “As long as you don’t call the speaker a stupid twat.”


Meet Mark Talbot, comedy producer at Hat Trick productions and a man who likes to make his own introductions. Sorry Mark.

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How I got my agent at the London Breakfast Club

I did it. I got my first agent! How on earth did I do this?!


If you’d asked me sixth months ago if I had any plan on how to reach this goal then the answer would have been NO.


Looking back, a lot of people helped give me advice and support on how to conquer this important milestone and I’d like to share some of it with you fellow Breakfast Clubbers!

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Catching the break and riding the wave with David Nicholls - February 2013

A Very British Breakfast by Philip Lawrence

I’ve been to a few of the Breakfast Clubs before, as well as to the 2012 Screenwriter’s Festival and most of the talks I’ve seen have been conducted by people with lots of experience of giving lectures on their specialist subject. It can sometimes be very (for want of a better word) American. An inspiring speaker with gusto that charges your batteries and sends you back out with your pen already in your hand. It can be a thrilling start to your day.

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