FiLMLaB 2015: While You’re Waiting

Although the January launch of the 2015 FiLMLaB contest is rapidly approaching; there is still plenty of time to sharpen the tools in your writers toolkit so they are appropriately honed for short scripts. Not only will it improve your odds of winning the contest (and having your script produced and filmed), it will benefit your writing skills, regardless of genre.

Yes, the holidays are nearly upon us and life all around us will become decidedly hectic over the next few weeks. So let me make a few recommendations.

  • Watch some short films: Get familiar with the medium. It doesn’t require a huge investment of time, and if you have a smart phone, you can surely watch one on your lunch break or while waiting for the kids soccer practice to end. Netflix has many collections to choose from as do a variety of websites such as, 48 Hours Film Project, and Digital Spy.
  • Pick a short film, like Tim Burton‘s Vincent and reverse engineer it. What did the script look like? Write it out based on what you see in the film. Does your page count come close to the film minutes? If they don’t match, see if you can find the reason and make the script adjustment.

  • Get your writing group involved. Have everyone pick a short film and reverse engineer it. Better yet; pick for each other (for the purposes of the FiLMLaB contest, stick with films that are under 15 minutes) and critique as a group.
  • Rent a room at the Cynthia Whitcomb Writers House and spend a few hours distilling your current project into a short story/script. Or rent the meeting room with your group, review your efforts and commit to each other your writing plans for 2015.
  • Follow FiLMLaB on Facebook or Twitter @WWFiLMLaB on Twitter (it will soon have its own google+ page as well)

Then mark Tuesday, January 6th on your calendar and plan to attend the Willamette Writers member meeting at the Old Church, where we will kick off the new year and new 2015 FiLMLaB contest.  The following Saturday, (January 10th) we will offer a workshop with FiLMLaB alums Randall Jahnson, Martin Vavra and Jon Dragt, further exploring this unique medium and ways to craft a strong script that meets contest parameters.

Ruth Witteried

As Visual Media Director, Ruth Witteried works with all programs based in the visual arts, including screenwriting and film production. As Executive Director of the FiLMLaB competition and project, she produced the 2012 FiLMLaB short, Alis Volat Propriis, winner of the 2013 OIFF Best Comedic Short; 2013′s Coffee.Table.Book.; 2014's Unwelcome Guests, and in 2015, The Return of Bug Eyed Bill. She acted as Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference from 2011-2013 and occasionally teaches screenwriting at Clark College. She currently is Executive Director of Willamette Writers' FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Twitter @sityourassdown1 or Facebook at FiLMLaB. Contact her. (