This is part one of a two-part post about storytelling.
Last month I had a really great opportunity to attend the Screenwriters World Conference West in L.A. in Century City. I cajoled my sister-in-law Julie into going with me at the last minute, and we polished our story pitches during the 9 hour drive through the desert. Part of the conference schedule was workshops, and the entire Saturday was something called “Pitchslam,” which was described in the registration literature as “speed dating, but with movie producers.”
Although I went with a lot of nervousness since I don’t know much, if anything, about the film industry, I was also frankly just excited to meet new people. I love it. And, luckily, so does Julie. We were a great duo and met scores of people. Super fun. She has a fabulous true-life story she’s worked into a screenplay, and I had my screen version of Big in Japan ready to foist upon the world.
Sometime I’ll blog about the variety of unexpected conversations I had with producers during Pitchslam, but today I was thinking about the keynote speech, which was given by Ed Saxon, who was one of the producers of Silence of the Lambs. At first I thought, “Ew. Yucky. I’ll work on my pitch during that,” because I am definitely not the audience for that movie.
However, his speech turned out to be the most surprising thing of the weekend, including the fact that he started with an invocation.
His points were:
It’s a wonderful time to be alive. Now is the greatest time in history to be a storyteller. There are more ways to get your story out to listeners/readers/viewers than ever before. It’s great to be an American because in America we have more opportunities to be storytellers than anywhere else in the world.
He quoted the Bible many times. He talked about his darling daughters. He was incredibly upbeat.
I, frankly, was astonished. And excited. He’s right. It’s a great time to be alive and to live in America and to have families and the Bible and be a storyteller. I couldn’t agree more.