Pictured: Jenny Wynter accepting her award at MWF 2016.
After winning Melbourne WebFest and ABC iview’s inaugural Pitch Perfect contest, at the 2016 Melbourne WebFest, Jenny Wynter attended Marseilles WebFest to take part in a writing residency, and has since begun developing her very own web series with iview.
Jenny’s web series, Viking Mama, centers around “a woman from a distant time (she’s literally a Viking), dealing with the challenges of modern day parenting,” which is based on a live show she has previously performed around Australia.
Joining writers from all over the world, Jenny participated in a writing residency in Marseilles, with a screenwriter from Los Angeles as their mentor. Jenny describes the residency as a group of writers “discussing each other’s projects, offering ideas and feedback, with a lot of time spent on how to pitch our projects best to industry folks.”
“We also had some guests come in – who were in town for Marseilles WebFest of course – who filled a variety of roles. From Neil Landau (Head of Screenwriting at UCLA) who ran a very detailed session on story structure, to others who allowed us to mock pitch to them and gave feedback, to having a writer with an incredible track record in pitching, chat with us about that and then give us a sample pitch himself,” says Jenny.
Jenny says meeting a variety of people at Marseilles WebFest was one of the most important things she gained from the experience, saying that the “people making web series really do form a very special community that seems to have a real generosity about it.”
She also cites the flexibility of a web series’ being among the most important things she had learnt in Marseilles, “The idea that web series is such a new medium and therefore, THERE ARE NO RULES. It’s not like pitching for TV or film, when there are parameters around what’s appropriate. A web series only needs to be as long as it needs to be.”
Jenny says Marseilles WebFest is quite similar to Melbourne WebFest however “bigger and with an enormous variety of accents,” with people from all over Europe attending.
“The greatest difference was having the little headsets to translate from French to English and vice versa,” says Jenny.
Upon her return from Marseilles, Jenny wrote a detailed pitch, outlining the web series and the pilot episode, then went to Sydney to pitch to the ABC. Declaring that “it went incredibly well, I actually genuinely loved it! I ended up ditching the formal ‘pitch’ and it became very much a conversation.”
She says that having worked so hard on her pitch in Marseilles, she had “thought about virtually every element that came up in our chat,” which is what she owes her success to. Viking Mama will soon be going into development with ABC iview.
The assurance she received from the other writers and mentors when developing Viking Mama in Marseilles, was also well received by the ABC, “they were supportive of the “crazier” elements of the show as well.”
Jenny credits her strong pitch to the pitching workshop held during Professional Development day at the 2016 MWF.
“Last year we had the great fortune of John Cabrera teaching this, and as tempted as I was to have a draft early so I could practice, I made myself put it off until I’d heard what he had to say. The structure was incredibly helpful but the biggest thing for me was his encouragement to let your passion shine through.”
Jenny’s advice for future is contestants is simple.
“If you really believe in your idea, people want to see that. They want to get excited with you. So be excited! And don’t give up on the idea if you miss out on one opportunity. If you love the idea enough, don’t wait for somebody to give you permission. Just find a way to make it (happen).”
Click here for details of our 2017 pitching competition, Pitch iview.