NSI Features First – Scott’s Phase 1 Summary

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After many long days and short nights, our first phase of the 2014 Features First program is over. Phase 1 was a week-long boot camp in Toronto, with all four teams coming together for intense sessions of feedback and mind-blowing conversations with industry pros, from Broadcasters and Distributors to Producers, Indie Filmmakers and Agents.

Check out our full list of posts here.

The week was split into Screenwriter-focused activities for the first half, followed by Producer-focused discussion for the second. As a Writer who often wears the Producer hat, I got brain-numbing volumes of information the entire time. Thank God I took copious amounts of notes.

The process was a roller coaster of emotion, from the highs of story “Eureka” moments and industry encouragement (we could make this movie tomorrow!) to the lows of harsh industry realities (we’ll never get this movie made). I left with a feeling of great potential, and the knowledge that we CAN get Synapse made, but it’s going to take a lot of work.

And it will be worth it.

Feels about right...

Feels about right…

The major theme of the week was focusing on the commercial appeal of your project, from the moment you write that first scene heading all the way to your finished film. Everyone, at every step in the process, needs to be confident that your film will get butts in seats. Will your title sell tickets? Will your star bring in the right audience? Will your poster attract your demographic?

In the creative process, these considerations are often the least of our concerns. They shouldn’t be. After all, if our movies aren’t being made for an audience, what are we doing?

So now I roll up my sleeves and get to work on the next draft of Synapse. I have six weeks until it’s due, then it goes to an industry-leading story consultant for Phase 2 in June. With this next draft, I will have to be ruthless, critical and always keep my audience in mind.

As a guy with a passion for entertaining, I can’t wait!

If you have any questions about the NSI Features First program or anything we learned, drop us a comment or get in touch on Social Media.

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About the Author:

Scott Westby is a Writer, Director and Producer in Calgary's film industry. He's a 2008 graduate of SAIT's Film & VIdeo Production Program, and has years of experience in strategic marketing and content creation for traditional and new media. A Taco/Slurpee enthusiast and a hater of mushrooms.
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