It’s been a year — to put it mildly.
A year since the world came to a standstill and forever changed. Endless lives and events were indefinitely postponed — including the 2020 ScreenCraft Writers Summit that was scheduled to take place in person just a month later in Chicago.
Amidst all the chaos, the ScreenCraft team adapted to create a virtual event that sought to be a stabilizing force in uncertain times. Writers from around the world came together for a day dedicated to what we love most — the art, craft, and business of screenwriting.
From this launching point, ScreenCraft created a strong 2020 season of AMA’s, panels, and hard-fought pitch competitions with the help of some of the industry’s leading professionals. Every week there were new opportunities for writers to learn from and engage with professional screenwriters, producers, managers, and agents — all from the comfort of their homes.
As we approach the 2021 ScreenCraft Writers Summit, let’s take a look at some of the main highlights of the season.
There were several notable AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions held throughout the year, including with upcoming guest speaker for the 2021 Writers Summit Emily Carmichael, screenwriter champion C. Robert Cargill, and 2019 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship recipient Lucy Luna.
The AMA series allowed members of the ScreenCraft community to ask questions through a ScreenCraft moderator. Each guest speaker brought a wealth of knowledge to the ScreenCraft community through intimate and candid conversations. Guests discussed topics ranging from pitching, character development, how they broke into the industry, tips for emerging writers, and more.
When discussing what it takes to become the best writer one can be, screenwriter Emily Carmichael gave some practical advice.
“To write something great, you will probably have to write a bunch of things that aren’t great. So focus on getting through those things and finishing them. Finishing something is a magical experience. It transforms you. But in order to get your screenplay finished, what that requires of you, is to summon an answer for every single question that you don’t have a great or perfect answer for. ”
Panels gave speakers such as Wendy Calhoun and Ben Cory Jones, both of whom will be returning as judges for this year’s Summit Virtual Pitch Competition, a chance to dive deeper into specific topics such as pitching, working in a writers’ room, writing podcasts, blending genres, and packaging pitch materials such as loglines, treatments, and bibles.
During the Virtual Pitch Panel, Wendy Calhoun broke down the essential elements of a strong pitch — but noted that the most important element is you, the writer.
“Do not be afraid of your excitement. Don’t be afraid of your passion. Lean into it.”
The grand finale of the 2020 ScreenCraft Event Season was the Virtual Pitch Competition, where finalists won the opportunity to pitch to judges such as Eric Heisserer, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter who will be returning for the 2021 Summit Virtual Pitch Competition. Each Finalist was phenomenal, but after careful deliberation, the judges announced Lizzie Perrin as the reigning champ with her pitch for Bako.
Kyra Jones, who was Second Runner Up for her pitch for Go to the Body, shared 5 Tips to Make Pitching Your Superpower, reiterating what she considers to be at the heart of a great pitch.
“After every pitch I’ve done, I’ve been told that my personal tie to the story was the hook. Open your pitch with your connection to the script and what compelled you to write it.”
If this ScreenCraft’s 2020 season of events is any indication of what to expect, think again. Anyone who attended last year’s Virtual Summit knows — anything can happen. Last year’s surprise guest J. J. Abrams proves that you never know who might appear on your computer screen to dispense important wisdom like this:
"Life is just bonkers. And stories, I think, give us all a sense of purpose."
The 2021 Writers Summit is a culmination of all the informative content you’d expect from ScreenCraft, as well as an event that promises to be more accessible than ever. Not only will you have the chance to hear directly from some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry but you’ll also have the opportunity to network, build your community, and interact with guest panelists — from your home.
You get all the perks and great events that you’re accustomed to from a ScreenCraft Summit, without having to stress about airfare and accommodations. Although we look forward to the day when we can all gather again, this year’s Summit aims to be more accessible than ever.
You won’t want to miss it.