My personal opinion of conferences and festivals are that the presenters will give you a few tips on screenwriting. However, the screenwriters have to be able to discern the difference between fluff and reality. In my humble opinion, a lot of the presenters attend these events simply to promote their business.
The presenters know that most of the aspiring writers are hungry for success and unrealistic about their writing ability. These are the screenwriters who don't want to believe that their scripts are not going to win an Oscar or make the producer "Rich."
Please let me say this. Hopefully, it will be received in the spirit I am giving it. Most of us in the industry know someone who can get the screenplay in the right hands. Yes, we are one to two degrees of separation from the person who can get you to where you want to go. NEVER, NEVER, get an attitude or snarky with anyone. You don’t know who you are talking to, or sitting next to. That person might be able to help you in your career. Please remember to be polite and kind. Don’t take offense. You never know if you are talking to a producer, director, or an actor looking for a fresh concept, etc.; therefore, treat everyone you meet or talk to with respect.
Do you attend conferences or festivals? What is your opinion? What's the most important take away from attending conferences?
NOTE: For those living in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Film Fest is June 13-23 at LA Live (www.lafilmfest.com)