FiLMLaB Writing Contest Enters Its Final Week

We have arrived at the final week of the FiLMLaB writing contest. You can still work all week and through the weekend on your seven page short script, but it must be submitted by 11:59 this Sunday night. Plenty of time, really. If you’ve already submitted–congratulations; you are a rock star. You took a risk and stepped into our lab. My hat is off to you. If you are struggling with the three writing prompts let me suggest a few tips that might help:

  1. Stop writing! Get out of your head for a while. Take a long walk and load up on fresh air and all that free vitamin D. Refresh yourself; it really helps. I promise.
  2. Get out the finger paints, crayons or colored pencils and play with color. Bold, loud, serious color. Slop it on a paper plate and let your fingers do the walking; color outside the lines in a coloring book or embellish the black and white photos in your newspaper; don’t think, just color.
  3. Give language a rest and start a jigsaw puzzle. Don’t worry about finishing, but spend some time with it. Once all the straight edges are in place, your brain exercises nonlinear thinking, utilizing spatial relationships and color patterns to organize the pieces into their proper places.
  4. Try one of Eric Witchey’s writing exercises, or five. You never know where it will take you. I wound up with potatoes (genderless character) in the garden (setting) leading the other vegetables to safety before the harvest (problem). Who knew potatoes were so noble?
  5. If you’re really in a time pinch, pinch your nose. Or more precisely, pinch the left nostril and sniff an essential oil like peppermint, or lemon into the right nostril. Unlike the rest of your body (where left brain controls the right side, and vice versa) your nostrils have a direct connection to your brain; sniffing through the right nostril gets the neurons firing in your right brain, feeding your creativity.
The author with Molly

The author with Molly

There is a quote by Ernest Hemingway that I’m fond of because I believe it speaks to all writers at some point in their lives. It certainly speaks to me: “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” I love the simple truth of it. Anyone engaged in the practice of writing knows that there is always something more to learn, another technique to master before their writing transcends practice and becomes art. We may never get there, but practice, lots of practice gets us closer.

Good luck and remember to refresh yourself and your brain.


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. (