FiLMLaB Has A Winner!

After seven weeks, four rounds of judging and one rewrite, our 2015 experiment in writing has come to a conclusion: FiLMLaB has a winner! It was not an easy task for the Producers Circle who met last week to consider and debate the pros and cons of each finalist’s script. One script, however, to rose to the top during discussions due to its cinematic qualities and strong rewrite.

That script, The Robbery, written by Mark Scarbrough of Plano, Texas, is our 2015 FiLMLaB winner. It was my great pleasure to call Mark yesterday and share the good news with him. Not only will Mark’s short script begin immediate preproduction as we begin scouting locations, casting and assembling a crew to film it; Mark will have additional opportunities to strengthen his writing skills as he works with director’s notes and utilizes his free pass to the Willamette Writers Conference August 7th-9th to attend seminars and workshops.

A native Texan, Mark’s military family moved frequently making it hard to call any one place home. He himself enlisted in the Army and graduated college while stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. He went on to get his Jurist Doctorate from the University of Tulsa and an L.L.M from Southern Methodist. He sold his law practice in 2009 and is semi-retired.

Mark has always been interested in writing and took several creative writing classes in college. Like many of us, he found real life and work somehow managing to thwart any serious attempts at writing. Now that he has more time on his hands, screenwriting seemed like a good fit. He finished his first feature length script, American Jihad, three months before the 2015 FiLMLaB Contest began.

I asked Mark how he had found out about FiLMLaB:

Writer Mark Scarbrough

Writer Mark Scarbrough

“Luckily a friend sent me the FilmLab contest details a few weeks before it closed. I just had to enter. I wasn’t familiar with Willamette Writers, but I can say that everyone I have met and spoken to in regards to the contest has been great so far. My mentoring session with Randall Jahnson was just what I needed. He was thoughtful in his analysis and gave me some excellent ideas. The contest has been an enormous learning experience and I want to thank everyone involved for making it so memorable. I cannot wait to finally meet everyone in person in August!”

Congratulations, Mark! We are excited about your story and can’t wait to debut your short film at the conference and the Portland Film Festival.

And congratulations, too, to each of our finalists who worked so hard on their scripts and rewrites. I hope each of you will take advantage of your free day pass to the conference so we, too, can meet in person. Included in your prize package is a Screenwriters Pass to the Portland Film Festival, a Downloadable copy of Final Draft 9, and a script listing at

Save the date and please join us at the FiLMLaB Screening, Saturday night, August 8th at the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel.

Until then, keep writing!

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. (