People occasionally ask me, “Is it worth it to attend the Screenwriting Expo?” My answer is always the same: “Yes, go!” I truly think you’re missing out on a fabulous opportunity if you’d don’t go. If you live in Los Angeles, you have no excuse. C’mon, it’s $75 for four days of screenwriting, screenwriting, screenwriting. This is a no-brainer. Even if you only go for one or two days, it’s still worth the price of admission.
With the exception of last year’s Expo, I’ve been to all of them. I go mostly to hear the guest speakers. I’ve heard some great ones too: William Goldman, Richard Matheson, Shane Black, David Goyer, Susannah Grant, Joss Whedon, Harlan Ellison...and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And there are plenty of great classes and seminars to take advantage of as well.
The party/events that are held in the evenings after each day are also fun and worthwhile. You’re not guaranteed to meet any bigwigs from the film industry, but hey, ya never know. But it’s certainly fun mingling and schmoozing with other screenwriters, both budding and pro. As for the pitch session: these are only worth your time, effort and money if a) you actually know how to present a dynamite pitch, and b) if you have an idea for a great movie. Problem is, most people a) can’t pitch their way out of a paper bag, and b) don’t have a decent idea for a saleable movie. (For more of my opinions on pitchfests – though not necessarily the one held at the Expo – visit my website, The Working Screenwriter, and go to the “Questions & Answers” section.) So if you’re planning to pay your entry and pitch your script at this year’s Expo, make sure you nail it. Nail it.
The Expo will be held October 24 – 28 this year. It’s definitely a worthwhile event, so if you’re able to go, GO!
For more Expo information: Screenwriting Expo!