Tuesday, March 30, 2010

squaw valley summer workshop

After graduating your work on your scripts may be suffering. You did pitch fest, you did everything you were supposed to do but somehow the script isn't grabbing attention. I find that with time and perspective you're ready to rewrite but you need something to jumpstart the process. What you may need is a workshop. You should consider, if you're not doing this already, joining a writing group. You can find them on Craigslist or you can put them together from your peers. You may also want to look into things like the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab (an excellent program I myself attended as a participant). I'm not a huge fan of applying for the Sundance Lab unless you have good connections and are very good at networking. I think it's an excellent program, but it requires knowing the right people. That's not to say those attending don't deserve to be there -- they do -- they have top notch work, but they also understood that they had to give their applications an extra push.
So every summer for the past four years I've been teaching a workshop at Squaw Valley. It's an intensive week long screenwriting retreat in the high altitude near Lake Tahoe. I'm one of several instructors who work one on one for six days with writers to perfect their scripts. The head of AFI's screenwriting department, Tom Rickman, having created the program, teaches there as well. I like to think of this as the Sundance Lab that's under the radar. It doesn't have the prestige but it has the same quality instruction. Recent participants of the program have gone on to produce and direct their screenplays. I was going over the participants from the last couple of years. There are 5 recent participants with their scripts in pre-production, two who have actually shot and are now in post production, a handful of scripts that have been sold or optioned and many more that have won screenplay awards.
Last year two of my former students attended. This year I'm hoping that a few more will consider the program. That's why I'm making this offer: If you get in to the program this summer and attend I will give you a $100 rebate on your Squaw tuition. This is limited to three former students from any classes at any school where I've taught. You must have graduated by August 2010 in order to qualify. And... If you're in LA, I probably can even give you a lift up to Lake Tahoe as I drive up there every year. So, again, the first three who apply, get in and attend are eligible for this offer. The application deadline is May 1st. You can find all the application details here.

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