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. Interested in screenwriting? Want to bring your book to the screen? Here’s why you should join us on August 4-6.
Top Screenwriting Instructors at Willamette Writers Conference
With 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 Jahnson, Luke Ryan and Danny Manus will also be returning.
Willamette 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?
If 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.
Marjorie Burns, from LAIKA’s Acquisitions and Development Department, will be hearing pitches on Friday and Saturday of the Conference. Located just outside of Portland, Oregon, LAIKA was awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar plaque in recognition of its innovation in 3D printing in 2016. Each of LAIKA’s four films: Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature; Kubo and the Two Strings also won the BAFTA for Best Animated Film and received an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects.
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!