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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kick ass session with one of the founders of crowdfunding, Danae Ringleman and Oscar winning producer Brad Wyman. Exceptional!
Hosted at the Barbican, this sell out breakfast with Robert McKee was a fascinating view on the evolution and value of story telling.
'Don Draper is shame wrapped inside shame wrapped inside pretty' said Lisa Albert to a crowded to capactity Breakfast club on the hit show 'Mad Men' A rare chance to get an insight into how the characters for shows like Mad Men are concieved, matured and written, season after season.
While most writers are familiar with the template of the Hero’s Journey, its counterpart, the Feminine Heroic, may be difficult to recognize (even for women).
Yvonne, who has worked in script editing, story development and production for the BBC, Granada, Channel 4 and ITV, working on Eastenders and Crossroads delivered a kick ass practical session that kicked September off with a bang.
Australian script guru Linda Aronson joined us for an interactive session where the group brainstormed literally hundreds of ideas before lunch.
US script guru Linda Seger kicked off our very first Breakfast Club, enthralling a capacity audience with a conversation about the writers creative voice, integrity and understanding that your life experience informs your writing. Inspirational and thought provoking.