Soulful Screenwriting: Empowering Interactive Workshop

Explore the soul of a screenplay and yourself as the writer:

Each Wednesday in September: 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30

4:30-6:30pm Pacific / 7:30-9:30pm Eastern

In this empowering 5-week interactive workshop, participants will receive a big running start toward beginning a project from scratch or rewriting a current screenplay effectively.
We’ll discuss crucial dramatic ingredients along with common screenwriting pitfalls and creative writing exercises and tools for solving them.
Each session includes one or two writing exercises culled from several of the Now Write! books to help you get out of your own way, get creative juices flowing, and benefit your screen stories.

This intimate workshop is a safe space to talk about your work – limited to 10 participants.

Quote from past participant, Lise Pyles, award-winning screenwriter and co-founder of San Antonio Screenwriters’ Guild:

“Your exercises have proven very helpful! It’s a good reminder to me, to keep taking workshops because there will always be new ways of looking at things. Thanks so much for a beneficial and thought-provoking workshop.”

Soulful Screenwriting was designed by Laurie Lamson, a produced award-winning screenwriter, screenplay consultant and author/editor of three Now Write! anthologies.

Eventbrite: $150 including fees
Venmo through Aug. 24: $135 – email for details

San Diego Film Week 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: San Diego Film Week 2020 has been cancelled for April and tentatively rescheduled for August, 2020.

Wishing everyone optimum health and wellbeing during this crisis, and always.

In times like these, exercising our creativity is more important than ever. It helps us remain both present and empowered. Art heals!


 

Now Write! is proud to be a conference partner of San Diego Film Week.

We are helping produce the writer’s conference on Saturday, April 25th. Visit sdfilmweek.com to learn more about it.

San Diego Film Week Dates: TBD

Here’s what we have to look forward to:

  •  Opening Night at The Lot Liberty Station

  •  Opening Weekend at AMC La Jolla

  • Whistlestop Bar, Digital Gym Cinema, Thorne Street Brewery Barrio Logan (tentative)

  • Landmark Hillcrest Cinema (tentative)

  • Closing Weekend at AMC La Jolla

  • San Diego Film Awards at the Parq Nightclub

Writing Books by Now Write! Contributors – Updated

Now Write! anthologies belong on every writers’ bookshelf – the perfect gift for the writer in your life.  Now Write! contributors have  a number of their own writing books that can make the ideal companion gift to encourage your favorite writer.  

(Note: Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson was the host of International Screenwriters’ Association’s free teleconferences for four years.  Many Now Write! contributors were guest speakers – podcast links provided below when available.)

FilmGenreforScreenwriterFilm Genre for the Screenwriter by Jule Selbo PhD (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
Routledge (Aug, 2014)

A practical study of how classic film genre components can be used in the construction of a screenplay. Based on Jule Selbo’s popular course, this accessible guide includes an examination of the historical origins of specific film genres, how and why these genres are received and appreciated by film-going audiences, and how the student and professional screenwriter alike can use the knowledge of film genre components in the ideation and execution of a screenplay.

Explaining the defining elements, characteristics and tropes of genres from romantic comedy to slasher horror, and using examples from classic films, Selbo offers a compelling and readable analysis of film genre in its written form. The book also offers case studies, talking points and exercises to make its content approachable and applicable to readers and writers across the creative field.

** Intl. Screenwriter’s Association podcast with guest Jule Selbo **

MyFirstNovel

My First Novel edited by Alan Watt (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
contributors incl: Cheryl Strayed, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor), Janet Fitch, Jerry Stahl, David Ulin, Merrill Markoe, Dan Fante, Sheri Holman and many more
Writer’s Tribe Quest (Aug. 2013)

Have you ever wondered how your favorite authors got their start? How did they make the leap from closet scribe to published author? In My First Novel: Tales of Woe and Glory, twenty-five authors recount the variety of hurdles, both internal and external that they had to overcome on their journey.

The Essential Guide for New Writers, From Idea to Finished Manuscript by Valerie Storey (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Dava Books (February, 1995)

EssentialGuideDesigned for both beginning and established writers, this is a complete writing workshop in just one book. From first draft jitters to completing a polished manuscript for publication, the material is presented in a fun and informative progression filled with ideas for brainstorming plus checklists and writing exercises. Chapters include full coverage of characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, and marketing and query letter techniques. Besides end-of-chapter writing assignments, the book concludes with a strong question and answer section.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction—from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Da Capo Lifelong Books (August, 2012)

YouCan'tMakeThisSTuffupOffering new ways of understanding the genre, this how-to guide from the “Godfather behind creative nonfiction” (Vanity Fair) helps writers of all skill levels thoroughly expand and stylize their work.

What is creative nonfiction? It’s simple: true stories, well told. And yet—it’s not so simple.  Telling true stories can be hard work, but worthwhile.  It’s the hottest genre in the publishing industry.

Frank, to-the-point, and always entertaining, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre with depth and clarity. Invaluable tools and exercises illuminate key steps from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. 

The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life by Dinty Moore (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Wisdom Publications (April, 2012 – hardcover)

MindfulwriterExplores how a lifelong pursuit of writing and creativity helped open me to the path of Buddhism. The book explores these ideas through sixty writing quotes, from Buddhist writers such as Pema Chodron and from others, including Flannery O’Connor and August Wilson. Each of the quotes is discussed in a short page or so, revealing the similarities between artistic awareness and mindful thought.

** Dinty Moore’s guest post:
Writing and Creativity at a Peculiar Crossroads **

Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing (and not getting eaten) by Pen Densham (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions (2011)

An artist-friendly screenwriting guide to success, with a non-dogmatic approach to finding your own personal creative process.

Pen draws from his own extremely simple breakthrough techniques, shares his inspiring philosophy of finding a personal well of creativity from your inner voice, to overcoming the many challenges in a unique business, managing stress, the real secrets to selling your work, finding the right agent and being true to one’s nature to create a lasting and passion-filled career.

**Pen Densham’s Guest Post and Free Download:
Creative Person’s Survival Manual
** 

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast
with guest Pen Densham
 **

Dating Your Character: A Sexy Guide to TV and Screenwriting by Marilyn R. Atlas (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor), Deborah Cutler-Rubenstein(Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor), Elizabeth Lopez
Stairway press (August, 2016)

Most books approach character development using a winnowing process involving general categorization and list-making. Dating Your Character focuses instead on the importance of the individuality of characters: their eccentricity, drive, and relative “basis in fact” inspired in part by people you know or you yourself.

The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within, 2nd edition by Alan Watt (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
The 90-Day Novel Press, 2010

90daynovelGet the first draft down quickly! The 90-Day Novel is a day-by-day guide through the process of getting the first draft of your novel onto the page. The 90-Day Novel was workshopped at LA Writers’ Lab over three years and has helped hundreds of writers complete their work. Some of Watt’s students have gone on to become bestselling authors and win major literary awards.

Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Writer’s Digest Books, 2nd edition (January, 2017)

New York Times best-selling author shares the secrets to crafting an unforgettable mystery. The essentials of craft and the plan to execute them. This completely revised and updated edition features solid strategies for drafting, revising, and selling an intriguing novel that grips your readers and refuses to let them go.

 

The Hollywood Pitching Bible: A Practical Guide to Pitching Movies and Television by Ken Aguado and Douglas Eboch (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)

Expanded 2nd Edition (Aug. 2014)

hollywoodpitching-bibleBreaks down the art of pitching in Hollywood step by step. From choosing the right idea, to selling it in the room, this book tells you how it’s done, in clear language, suitable for the beginner or the seasoned Hollywood professional.

With decades of combined experience working in Hollywood as buyer, seller and teacher, the authors, Douglas Eboch and Ken Aguado, have created the definitive book that will demystify the pitching process, supported by a reasoned, logical point of view and supported by numerous specific examples.

If you want to work in the Hollywood creative community, you must know how to pitch. This book will show you how to succeed.

The Hidden Tools of Comedy by Steve Kaplan (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions (July, 2013)

toolsofcomedyUnlock the unique secrets and techniques of writing comedy. Kaplan deconstructs sequences in popular films and TV that work and don’t work, and explains what tools were used (or should have been used). While other books give you tips on how to “write funny,” this book offers a paradigm shift in understanding the mechanics and art of comedy, and the proven, practical tools that help writers translate that understanding into successful, commercial scripts.

The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script, 5th Edition, Expanded & Updated by David Trottier
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Silman-James Press, 2010

screenwriters-bible-5th-editionOne of the most popular, authoritative, and useful books on screenwriting, this is a friendly guide through the Hollywood morass. The new edition offers expanded coverage of dialogue writing and character development, the latest in proper screenplay format, a new section on jumpstarting your career, new advice on creating and delivering pitches and much more.

Rewrite 2nd Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Characters, and Drama in your Screenplay by Paul Chitlik
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions, 2008

Rewrite2ndEd A step-by-step process to take your script from first draft to submission draft.  Chitlik reveals the hidden structure of screenplays, sequences, and scenes, as he guides you through the process of examining your draft, restructuring it, and populating it with believable, complex, and compelling characters. Along the way he outlines how to make your action leap off the page and your dialogue crackle.

Story-Maps-book Story Maps: How To Create a Great Screenplay by Daniel Calvisi
 (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor) and Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan by Daniel Calvisi 
and William Robert Rich
Act Four Screenplays (January, 2012 and March, 2013)

Learn the secrets to writing a great screenplay from a major movie studio Story Analyst. Master the structure and principles used by 95% of commercial movies by studying detailed breakdowns or “Story Maps” of several recent and classic hits in all different genres.

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast
with guests Daniel Calvisi and William Robert Rich
**

Your Screenplay Sucks!: 100 Ways to Make It Greatyour-screenplay-sucks by Will Akers(Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Michael Wiese Productions, 2008

A lifetime member of the Writer’s Guild of America who has had three feature films produced from his screenplays, Akers offers beginning writers the tools they need to get their screenplay noticed.

** Intl. Screenwriters’ Association podcast with guest Will Akers **

storydesignStory Design: Creating Popular Hollywood Movies
by Richard Michaels Stefanik (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Amazon (February, 2013)

Story Design analyzes the dramatic structures found in some of the most commercially successful and popular movies ever produced. This second edition includes detailed analysis of WIZARD OF OZ and AVATAR.

Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays by Susan Kouguell (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)

SavvyCharsCover * An essential and inspirational hands-on guide for creating and crafting compelling characters

* An invaluable resource analyzing and referencing over 220 Hollywood, independent and foreign films, offering 34 screenwriting exercises, and providing six templates from fictional scripts

* Accessible, fun, and thought-provoking screenwriting exercises geared to develop characters in each vital element that comprises a successful screenplay.

Learn how to create believable, compelling and gripping characters with distinct characterizations, motivations, and behaviors, and how these people can best drive your plot forward in a meaningful and plausible journey.

***

If you’re a Now Write! contributor with a writing book not listed here, please post the details as a comment here. Thank you!  

Screenwriting Workshop Series in San Antonio, Texas

In this high-value, low-cost empowering series, participants will receive a big running start to writing or completing a screenplay.

Award-winning screenwriter and Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson is packing this workshop with valuable insights and tools to help take your screenwriting to the next level.

 

Location:

Olmos Perk Coffee
5223 Mccullough Ave
Olmos Park, TX 78212

Dates and Times:

Wednesday eves, 6-8pm

June 5, 12, 19 and 26


Throughout the 4 weeks, we will discuss seven crucial steps for developing an organic dramatic story structure, and apply them to pitches/projects of participants and existing movies for deeper understanding.

We will also explore some of the most common screenwriting problems, with creative ways to address them.

Laurie will lead some of her favorite writing exercises culled from three of the Now Write! books to directly address these pitfalls, help you get out of your own way, get your creative juices flowing, and benefit your screen stories.

All four meetings, only $45 paid in advance.

Sign up on Eventbrite
(or Venmo directly to @Laurie-Lamson)

At the door: $20 each session.

Laurie Lamson

A lifelong student of creative and dramatic writing, Laurie’s natural evolution has been to bring support and encouragement to fellow and sister writers. Laurie is an award-winning screenwriter, editor of three of the Now Write! creative writing exercise anthologies and the former International Screenwriters’ Assoc. telecon host. She enjoys supporting fellow and sister screenwriters and is highly experienced in consulting on screenplays with both writers and producers.

 

 

Olmos Perk in San Antonio, Texas

A Fond Farewell to Michael Ajakwe, Jr.

Michael Ajakwe was an Emmy-winning writer, producer and director, as well as a produced and published playwright.  

His credits are too numerous to list, so I invite you to explore his IMDB page.

I met Michael at a film industry meet called Coffee Chatter and we quickly became friends.  I greatly admired his always-positive, can-do attitude, and truly appreciated his encouragement.
I invited him to contribute to Now Write! Screenwriting, which, of course, he did.  He was also kind enough to participate in the first Now Write! Screenwriting panel shortly after the book was published.
When we met, Michael was making his hilarious web series “Who…”  (now adapted as Beauty and the Baller on BET.)

Michael Ajakwe was the visionary who created the world’s first live web series festival.

I watched in amazement as his next move was to create L.A. Webfest.  He generously offered me a pass and I attended all day every day of the first fest.  He put together quite a program, including a wide range of web series and panels.  I learned a lot and enjoyed discussing some of the web series with him over the years. I was so happy to see the festival grow, and some of my friends win awards.  I also appeared on one of the panels as a moderator.
(If you’re a web series creator you may want to check out the Web Series Network on YouTube, where you can find lots of informative interviews and roundtables with Michael and others.)
I hung out with Mike several times when he was working on his Unsung episodes and organizing the webfest, so I got to witness first-hand his incredible work ethic. He was truly a man with a mission and I will never forget how inspired I always felt around him.
I attended the screening party of his first Unsung episode about Deniece Williams.  It was fantastic.  He was such a compassionate filmmaker and storyteller, and had an enviable network of supportive friends and colleagues in attendance.
Over the years, Michael became more and more in demand, and I deeply regret not having the chance to see him one last time in the past few years.
Being unaware of his illness, I was truly heartbroken to learn of his death on May 31.  

What a painful reminder how important it is to stay in touch with people we care about.  

I take some comfort in knowing he had his wife Tammy by his side.  My prayers and condolences go out to her, and all Michael’s friends and family.
As he was preparing for the third Webfest in 2012, Michael took a break so I could interview him for my Soul Connect podcast (see below.)  Listening to this interview again, I was deeply moved to be reminded of his greatness, his vision, his warmth and generosity.  What a beautiful spirit.
Michael, I’m so grateful to have known you.  You are missed – by many.