Introduce Yourself : Surviving the storm by Simon Hartwell

Surviving the storm

Happy Saturday to you all. I'm Simon, an author and screenwriter living in the UK. My writing life at the moment is a mix of small climbs, long flats and sudden drops as I continue to try to break through into the screen writing guild of success.

A year ago pitches were getting mixed reviews but no requests. Now they are getting more positive reviews, "Solid pitch needs tweaking" and screenplay requests which is very exciting, waiting anxiously (yes, still new enough to wait daily for a reply) for that "Call."

I had one! A call I mean, Yea me, but alas the that project The Library, fell at financing. Still, it was exciting.

I recently re pitched The Library with positive feedback but no screenplay request which was a blow as this particular Exec did request my Undercover Agent screenplay from a pitch (last September) and yep, waiting anxiously for that Call too.

But still good, right? An Exec has my script, so something might come of that.

I'm re-pitching the Library, re titled The Black House after some tweaks later today.

My Reality TV Idea is in the hands of another Exec after a successful pitch so fingers crossed for that one.

And, having turned my writing efforts to the Contained Murder Mystery, I have a promising connection with an Exec Producer who is happy to read my scripts as I seek the right fit for his next project.

So, what's the message. Keep writing, don't give up and remember, take what connects with your creation from consultant calls and pitch reviews. Both the positive and the negative. Don't rush to change (as I did), sit back, absorb the feedback, then go to work. Often, it's little adjustments. Sometimes it's a re-write, which sounds scary but you have the work, you know the story, and it comes together quicker than you think. I've done it twice already, and re-pitching resulted in screenplay requests, so it's worth it. Just don't lose sight of your story.

Whilst some of you may be frustrated reading this as you strive to complete your screenplay, or gain a screenplay request and think it's never go to happen let me say I'm no one. I don't work in the industry, I didn't have connects (I have two now, I think, definitely one), and I'm not a celebrity.

I look at my screenwriting career as a journey, which has had its setback but completing a screenplay is a step forward, pitching it and re-pitching it another step, gaining a screenplay request a huge leap, then a second puts a spring in my step. The more frequent "PASS" can make me stumble and the seemingly endless waiting can drain the energy and enthusiasm but the Emerald City is always just over the next hill and if I can make it, the journey will have been worth it.

Don't give up.


Alan Pannell

I think that's a great game plan, Simon. You never know which thing will stick. The breakthrough really could be over the next hill, but you've got to keep trudging along to get there. I've been there with the waiting game on script requests, but it definitely helps to have other projects to work on in the meantime.

Excellent advice on rewrites and feedback, too. As a contest reader, I obviously see plenty of scripts that need a major rewrite, but there are many scripts that just barely miss the next round. Sometimes, they only need a small but critical change in focus to become something truly profound and memorable.

Best of luck to you.

Joanna AY

Nice to meet you Simon Hartwell, and well done on getting this far. Every success story, whatever the size, is another source of hope, so thank you for sharing, and the tips. Enjoy the journey!

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