Film/TV Offerings for the 2017 Willamette Writers Conference

The Film/TV offerings at this year’s 48th Annual Willamette Writers Conference represent an exciting mix of new faces and courses with conference favorites and opportunities to pitch scripts and books to Hollywood dealmakers.

Top Screenwriting Instructors at Willamette Writers Conference

Cynthia WhitcombWith a new book coming out, local screenwriting champion Cynthia Whitcomb will teach “The Heart of the Story” in addition to a class on dialogue. For his first time participating in the conference, Doug Richardson, renowned educator and screenwriter of Hollywood blockbusters such as Die Hard 2, Bad Boys, Money Train, and Hostage will teach classes on “Turning Your Novel Into a 3-Act Structure” as well as how to navigate a career in Hollywood in his class “Swimming with Sharks.” Conference favorites and staunch supporters of the conference Randall Johnson, Luke Ryan and Danny Manus will also be returning.

Scott MyersWillamette Writers is also thrilled to welcome revered mentor, educator, and screenwriter Scott Myers (official blogger for Go Into The Story at The Black List) to the conference. Scott will be teaching three classes: “Create a Compelling Protagonist,” “Write a Worthy Nemesis,” and “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling.” About Scott, Black List founder Franklin Leonard stated, “I honestly can’t say enough good things about Scott Myers and the heroic work he does as a resource for screenwriters, both aspiring and professional. If you’re trying to become a good writer and you’re not reading his blog on a regular basis (the volume alone impressive, but the quality that comes along with it is extraordinary), you’re not trying hard enough.”

In addition, the top three finishers for the Kay Snow Screenwriting Award will have the opportunity to have dinner with Scott to discuss their stories. As a member of his 2013 Quest Initiative, I can honestly say that as a screenwriter, you will not want to miss an opportunity to learn from Scott Myers!

Writing for TV?

Martin VavraIf you’re interested in TV, Los Angeles executive Sandra Leviton will be teaching a class on “TV Pilot Writing 101.” Or maybe you’re tired of waiting for Hollywood to make your dreams come true so you’ve decided to make them come true on your own. If so, you won’t want to miss local producer/director Martin Vavra’s class on “Getting it Done in Portland” and LA manager Kaila York’s class on “Low Budget Genre Filmmaking at Home.”

With these classes and many more, whatever your needs are as a writer, this year’s Film/TV class lineup will have something for everyone at any stage of your career.

Present Your Work to Managers and Executives

As always, for those with scripts or books ready to pitch, there will be opportunities to present your work to managers and executives looking for new material and writers. First-time conference participant Angelina Chen will be taking pitches for powerhouse management and production company Energy Entertainment. It should be noted that Energy launched a book division in 2016, resulting in an unprecedented amount of sales for new author material in film and television rights, including bidding wars among book publishers.

John Hilary Shepherd, Vice-President of Development at Cross Creek Pictures (Black Swan, Hacksaw Ridge, The Woman in Black, Everest, Black Mass, and The Ides of March) will be hearing pitches at the conference for features in all genres.

Managers Marilyn Atlas, Rima Greer, Kailey Marsh, Lee Stobby, Kaila York will also be returning, as well as executives Daniel Inkeles and Luke Ryan.

Wherever your words will take you in 2017, the Willamette Writers Conference and the access it provides will be a premier stop on your journey. Hope to see you there!

Waka Brown

Waka Brown

Waka Takahashi Brown is the 2016–17 Willamette Writers Conference Film & TV organizer. A screenwriter for many years, Waka was selected to participate in the 2013 Quest Initiative with Scott Myers of Go Into the Story at The Black List. As a Curriculum Specialist for the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) since 2001, Waka has authored and contributed to a variety of curriculum units on topics such as Chinese religions and philosophies, ethnic minority groups in China, the Baltic States, Indonesia, and Islamic art. In addition, Waka has recently been published in Stanford Magazine.