Nicholas Verso

Being awarded the Inscription Residency for 2013 was an incredible, life-changing experience for me that allowed invaluable networking, inspiration and a huge, positive step forward in my career.

Housed at the Oakwood in Toluca, a strange gated community of sorts on the edge of the Hollywood Hills, alongside the Warner Bros and Universal Studio backlots, I was able to spend the month writing and developing a new feature screenplay, iPOCALYPSE, and meet key executives and producers who could help move the film into production.

One of the most rewarding parts of being in Los Angeles was the various meetings and opportunities that are immediately open to you. I was able to meet a broad range of people who were both generous with their time and with their knowledge; sharing information on key industry trends, what’s working in the market and why. These range from studio heads to production companies such as Enderby Entertainment with a huge slate of projects ahead of them and the ability to make them happen immediately.

The sheer volume of work being created and the amount of people involved in staggering with an incredible wealth of ideas, talent and energy buzzing through LA’s winding roads.

Australians seem incredibly welcome in LA, particularly those who have worked hard, have a clarity and focus with what they wish to do and the folio to back it up. We have a strong advantage with our access to government funding bodies that allow us to hone our skills and create world-class shorts (through programmes such as Screen Australia’s Springboard) that, if utilised correctly, can really allow you to stick out in the vast ocean of talent.

Brush away the cynicism and Hollywood is all about finding strong voices that have something to say and will communicate with an audience (the last part being the most crucial and is often forgotten in our local industry). If you know what yours is and who you’re trying to reach, you’re well on the way.

One of the highlights of the trip and one I would heavily encourage any Australian writer to attend if possible is the Austin Film Festival. Not only will you meet a huge amount of screenwriters and see just how many brilliant minds there are working right now, you’ll also be inspired and have the chance to meet some of the cream of the crop. I was particularly thrilled to hear Callie Khouri (writer of Thelma & Louise, one of my favourite screenplays of all time) speak about the process of making that film alongside Rian Johnson discussing Brick, Richard Kelly shedding absolutely no light while still being incredibly entertaining on Donnie Darko as well as a live broadcast of my favourite podcast, Scriptnotes, with John August and Craig Mazin. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the amazing programme assembled and due to the accessibility and lack of pretension of that festival, your chances of taking the writers out for drinks afterwards during the course of Austin’s crazy Halloween weekend were very high.

I’ve returned from the residency with a new feature screenplay ready to go, as well as a long list of new contacts and opportunities that have left me feeling energized, empowered and excited about future possibilities and taking the next step in my career.

To apply for The Enderby Entertainment Screenwriting Scholarship (Hollywood) and/or The Edward Albee Playwriting Scholarship (New York) click here.