Expo provides scribes guidance

Gray's 'Tree' takes top prize at L.A. confab

“In Hollywood, there are no rules … but you break them at your peril.”

Movie maven Peter Guber uttered these helpful yet confusing sentiments during his panel at the 2003 Screenwriting Expo sponsored by Creative Screenwriting magazine and held at the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend.

Expo’s sophomore effort attracted close to 3,000 scribes hoping to cash in on the confab’s underlying focus of “selling the spec script” through panels like “Screenwriting Essentials: What to Do Until Spielberg Calls” and the more succinct “You Have the Wrong Idea.” With successful entry into the biz a main concern, a lot of advice was thrown around. Not all of it was inspirational, eye-opening material.

“You could poll 100 different writers and the word ‘fluke’ will come out of all of them,” said “Sleepless in Seattle” scribe Jeff Arch.

Along with Guber, panelist-guests of honor included Aaron Sorkin, Mike Medavoy, Andrew Kevin Walker, Shane Black, Tom Schulman, Callie Khouri and William Goldman.

Over 250 different seminars, panels, guest-of-honor appearances and workshops covering the business of storytelling were led by some of the top script consultants and speakers in Hollywood, including pitch king Robert Kosberg, Jeff Kitchen and Linda Seger.

Three main screenwriting awards were also presented. Julie Gray won for her screenplay “Family Tree” in a mail-in competition. Bob Derosa won an impromptu, on-the-spot scene-creation contest. A new genre category was added this year, and yielded multiple winners, but Naida Esqueda-Joanides took the overall section for her work “A Mile Past Eternity.”

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