TheScreenwriters Festival was launched last night in London.

A packedevent of big-name supporters were told of ambitious plans for the festival,which will take place from June 27-30 in the UK town of Cheltenham.

It will bea unique opportunity for writers to share experiences and ideas, said festivaldirectorand Arturi Films producer David Pearson.

Screenwriterswho have committed to the Screen International-backedevent include Priest writer Jimmy McGovern and Gosford Park's Oscar-winning Julian Fellowes.

Thekeynote for last night's launch was delivered by Bill Nicholson, a writer onfilms such as Gladiator, Shadowlands and FirstKnight.

"Why is itthat that everybody I know wants to be a scriptwriter but producers are alwaysasking 'where are the writers''" he asked.

Theproblem is often in the solitary nature of the trade which can eat up thoseunprepared to deal with the culture of the film business, particularly inHollywood, he said.

He offeredthree insights into success for those planning to make a living writing onmajor feature films.

* Ego: "We see ourselves as the centre of the action butwe're not. We need to wrap our ego in a silk scarf and put it into the drawer withall those unseen scripts."

* Teamwork: "We are members of a team and are subject topeople who are entitled to tell you how to change your script. - it's notas annihilating as people think."

* Money: "You've got to make friends with the money."

He believes the festival couldprove an important support for those serious about the business.

"Our families may encourage us and support us but they cannot reallyhelp in any practical way because they know less than we do," according to supporterJulian Fellowes.

"That's why I think it useful to find a forum where one can share one'sown dreams with others who are dreaming them. This isn't so much a career move;it's mainly to stop feeling mad. But that's important too."

The festival website is now online at