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by Susan Royal

Screenwriting Expo (presented by Creative Screenwriting Magazine) is one of those rare events which actually lives up to its hype. This year?s fourth edition, held recently at the Los Angeles Convention Center, was quite accurately billed as ?the must-attend event of the year for feature film, TV and animation writers.? It appeared that every major screenwriting instructor, consultant, script analyst, publication, book and software program was represented.

Certainly there is no better deal than Screenwriting Expo ? at $74.95 (plus $4 per workshop) over 4,000 attendees were entitled to three days of panels, pitch sessions, networking parties, lunch programs, cash prizes, a writing tournament and trade show. Only at Screenwriting Expo could one pay just $4 to hear a top instructor such as David Freeman deliver an hour and half session in which he squeezed in as many of his ?Beyond Structure? techniques as possible.

In addition, some of the industry’s most respected screenwriters were on hand to share their expertise. The guest of honor speakers included William Goldman, David Koepp, Paul Haggis, John August, Don Roos, Susannah Grant, Ehren Kruger, Joss Whedon, Steve Faber and Bob Fisher – all of whom drew huge audiences.

Besides the art and craft of screenwriting, the business side was heavily addressed at several panel sessions – including how to get representation , write query letters and negotiate one’s way through Hollywood. Industry veteran Jeff Dowd (“the Dude”) shared his years of experience. Perhaps his most important tip was the last one he gave: “This business is personal. People will accept your film for two reasons – 1) they feel strongly about the content and 2) you are the kind of person they want to do business with. Don’t forget that.”

This edition of Screenwriting Expo did much to further its reputation as the leader in the crowded field of screenwriting events.

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