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A peek at the inner workings of Europe’s largest screenwriting festival (it’s epic)

Read on for our quick chat with Chris, who offers us an exclusive sneak peek at the inner workings of this truly awesome rock and roll event.

two men sitting in chairs in front of a large crowd

Creativity abounds at the three-day, imagination fuelled treat that is London Screenwriters’ Festival. AKA: the largest festival/playground for screenwriters in Europe, designed to help people break into the business and – crucially – get inspired in a big way. 

This isn’t just any old networking event, you see. It’s a self-confessed wild ride into the realms of writers’ creativity, no holds barred. It’s “rock and roll”, in fact (the exact words of Chris Jones, Film Director) – a place writers come to feel as much as they do to learn and pitch. 

This exhilarating atmosphere could be attributed to a number of things…. The one thousand participants that attend the event, for example. Or the 150 industry experts (including some of the biggest names in film and TV), perhaps. Then there are the 100+ sessions that the festival is home to, plus its awesome online community, Scriptlabs initiative (script-polishing and advice from industry experts), and Pitchfest platform (where writers can pitch directly to industry experts around the world).

It’s a potent combination. One that’s seen the festival go from strength-to-strength, garnering glowing feedback from its attendees along the way.

Intrigued? Read on for our quick chat with Chris, who offers us an exclusive sneak peek at the inner workings of this truly awesome rock and roll event.

✅Key takeaways

💫 Creating a ‘feeling’ is just as important as anything else when running a festival for creatives… perhaps more important?

🎟️ LondonSWF came over to Ticket Tailor from Eventbrite, and has never looked back thanks to our much less ‘clunky’ (their words!) user interface, among other things. (Like the fact we really care about delivering an amazing experience for event creators 💛).

💪 Planning a huge event like this is a lot easier when the people behind it are truly passionate about what they do. It’s all in the vibe.

a person on stage with a crowd of people in the background

Ticket Tailor: Let’s start with the basics – what’s London Screenwriters’ Festival all about?

Chris: The festival is the biggest annual gathering of screenwriters in Europe. A three day event that attracts around 1,000 visitors for three days in central London. Established in 2010 by Chris Jones, filmmaker and author of The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbooks, the festival is designed to help people break into the business. 

Ticket Tailor: How did things progress from your earliest days to now – biggest milestones and challenges along the way?

Chris: We grew very quickly which we think is to do with the fact we focused very much on delivering on our core promise. Plus the fact that the festival has a rock and roll feel to it, unlike almost any other writers’ festival. For three days, the lunatics run the asylum for once and the writers love that it is all about them. It’s a place where you can come and talk about storytelling for three straight days and no-one will think you are odd. 

Ticket Tailor: Sounds epic! Tell us a bit about what attendees can expect from LondonSWF 2024:

Chris: We have great sessions and speakers, but people really come for the feeling. It’s a massive shot of creativity and passion to the soul, and writers love that about it. Of course you get to meet amazing new people, learn loads and pitch projects, but it’s the feeling that most people come for. 

Ticket Tailor: Do you have any words of advice to anyone interested in setting up their own similar creative event?

Chris: Deliver on your promise. Make it your mission to make the difference that you initially set out to make. Don't just give people stuff and say: ‘Well you have all you need now, go do it’. You need to really commit to THEIR success, and whatever it takes to help them achieve that. 

Ticket Tailor: That’s pretty powerful stuff! Moving onto ticketing – we’d love to know: why choose Ticket Tailor as your ticketing partner? 😀

Chris: We had been with Eventbrite previously, but they really let us down very badly in the pandemic and so we went on the hunt for a new platform. Ticket Tailor stood out for its simple pricing and clean, simple user interface – generally we felt it could deliver on all everything we needed from a ticketing point of view. We have glanced back at Eventbrite since then, and have been horrified at how clunky it now feels compared to Ticket Tailor. 

Perhaps the biggest value is that we have the sense that the people running Ticket Tailor are like us. Driven by a passion, big enough to deliver on their promise, small enough to really care. That’s the sweet spot. I would say to you what our delegates say to us: ‘Don’t ever get too big’.

In a nutshell: Ticket Tailor just works. And isn't that what we want? Simple. Effortless. Clean. Cost effective. 

a person shaking hands with a person

Ticket Tailor: That’s incredible to hear – and we couldn’t agree with your more about our shared ethos. How do you go about organising such an epic festival with so many amazing speakers? And getting the word out about it?

Chris: It’s a massive job, but our festival is run by passionate people who want to create magic for our delegates. Planning involves lots of researching and cheeky emails. People pick up on our vibe – they either dig it or decline. In terms of marketing, we run entirely on word of mouth, an email list and basic socials. We don’t really advertise. (We probably should!)

Ticket Tailor: Finally, what does the future hold for LondonSWF?

Chris: Who knows. AI looms and that will impact all creative industries. As long as humans want to write stories for film and TV, we will be supporting them on their journey.

Ticket Tailor: A worthy mission indeed! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Chris.

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