By SeriesFest: Season Two Storytellers Initiative Winner, Claire Epstein
I did not know what to expect when I showed up to Denver for SeriesFest: Season Two. It was my first festival, and my nerves manifested as an obsession to find the perfect jumpsuit to wear to the opening night Sia concert. It turned out to be a poor choice as it was raining that night, but I got to meet everyone and even did a fairly good job at remembering their names. And there was an open bar.
The next morning, the Storytellers Initiative finalists branched off to meet with our mentors and the production company sponsors. We did mock pitches and writers' rooms with the mentors, and even got to meet with them individually to get their notes. They were the best notes I'd ever gotten. Things in my script that hadn't felt quite right were immediately addressed. In the writers' rooms, I learned a new way to structure scripts that is now the only one I use. Throughout the whole process, I was completely supported and gained so much more faith in myself as a writer.
It was a whirlwind few days that culminated in a live reading of our scripts. It was amazing to hear this script I had worked on for months finally be read aloud and have my characters brought to life. At the awards brunch on the last day, I sat with Paula and Josh, the other two finalists, and Paula grabbed our hands and held them as our category was announced.
After the festival, Parallel Entertainment led the way in getting the wheels in motion on my script, AMAZING JANE. We did a few rounds of notes, and in October, I flew to LA for a series of meetings they had set up. The following spring I started pitching JANE and was so glad to have Parallel in the room to talk me up a little before it was my turn.
Jenny Novak from Parallel is now my manager, and we're working on getting a few of my scripts out so I can do some more pitching in the summer. I'm still in touch with the mentors and other finalists, and I was honored to be a Storytellers Initiative mentor for Season Three finalists.
In sum, I'm honestly not sure where my career would be if not for SeriesFest. I'm so grateful to have been a part of it and to continue to work with the wonderful community of inspiring people I met there. I would encourage anyone with a passion for writing to submit their script for a chance at the opportunity of a life time.