How To Gain The Attention Of An Award-Winning Director

Mar 22, 2018 | Books, Encouragement, Loreless, True Stories, Writing

I’ll cut to the chase. Pitching to a director is relatively easy. You just walk up to them and introduce yourself.

Having said that, preparing to act on your intentions is where the real trial lies. It is not dissimilar to the act of writing itself. You must swallow a huge amount of fear and trepidation.

You must be brave.

Recently I did just this. I spotted an opportunity and plunged in the deep end. I approached highly acclaimed and award-winning film director Warwick Thornton, and pitched my book to him.

It required a serious amount courage.

Beginnings

Firstly, I should share a little background to my story.

The book in question, Loreless, is about an indigenous Australian who, with no knowledge of his roots, is plunged into a life-changing adventure. It is not the only novel I have written, but the story is the reason I am now pursuing a career in writing. It’s what got me started.

This was also not the first time I pitched my story to someone with influence.

Before the novel was even finished I approached Australian director Rolf de Heer at the Rotterdam Film Festival. I had nothing physical to present but told him what I was working on.

His words of encouragement have stayed with me to this day.

A Challenge

In 2017 I attended the Dublin Writers Conference and had an opportunity to pitch my book to story merchant Ken Atchity. This one was quite a challenge. It was not one-on-one. It was in front of a room full of authors.

Standing up to that challenge reinforced what I already knew. As an independent author it is paramount you put yourself out there.

Everything depends on you. No one else will do it for you.

Unless you put a serious amount effort in, nothing will have the opportunity to succeed—or fail. It is not easy. There is a lot to juggle. You are the publisher, publicist, marketer—a jack of all trades.

You have to do all of this and, at the same time, continue to create. You must keep producing stories.

Frank Herbert, Dune.

I steadfastly believe in the value of my work. It drives me now, as it has driven me from the very beginning. Although not earth shattering, there have been rewards.

It has taken me places I could never imagine.

Meeting Warwick Thornton was easy. I was introducing myself to someone with a similar enthusiasm for his creative vision.

It wasn’t that difficult to connect with him. Warwick is first and foremost an artist. He rides on his passion. The passion to tell his story the way he sees fit and the passion to communicate his depth of knowledge and love of his own culture.

As an artist, it is fantastic to see another creative’s conviction.

I can see his unerring vision is paying dividends. It was truly inspiring to meet someone who has the guts to stand by his art and do it his way. He is genuine. He remains true to it when others would have been tempted to take an easier route.

Sweet Country

I went to see a preview of his new movie, Sweet Country, and listen to what he had to say about it.

There was a Q&A after the screening. Warwick answered a lot of questions but he already knew what he wanted to communicate. He stole the stage and proceeded to map out what drives him: how indigenous culture is important to all of us.

As I listened it dawned on me that everything he was saying could be found in Loreless.

Meeting The Director

As he left the stage I collared him. Well, not literally, but I stopped him before anyone else could. I was not willing to wait. I was there for a reason. To share my story.

Thankfully I was rewarded. He took my book and looked at the title.

A smile crossed his face. “Loreless. Cool!”

He got it straight away! He didn’t need an explanation of the word. He knew. Even if nothing else comes from the meeting. That moment was enough.

Later I had another opportunity to talk about my story with him. He promised to read the book and gave me his details.

For me the experience reinforced the reason I am doing this.

You story is worth telling.

Have the courage to tell it. More importantly: have the courage to share it.

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Have you had a similar experience?

Leave a comment below or join the mailing list and let me know.

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