FiLMLaB

Announcing our 2020 FiLMLaB Writers' Room!

We are proud to welcome our 2020 winners into the FiLMLaB Writers' Room! Our grand prize winner is Charlie LaTourette. Showrunner FJ Pratt will lead the revision of Charlie's script in our 2020 Writers' Room with the help of this year's writers: Emily Redinbo, Ian Fletcher, Luke Zwanziger, David M Musgrave, Lindiwe Mueller-Westernhagen, Matthew Sadowski, Dragos and Andrei Dobai. The writers will learn about filming, then head into the Writer's Room, where they will edit the scenes, punch up the script, and plot out the series. We look forward to working with this amazing team!

Our 2020 FiLMLaB Writers' Room!

Charlie LaTourette

A member of the Dramatist Guild of America, Actors Equity and AFTRA, Charlie LaTourette's writing credits include Another World (NBC), HOOPS (Divine Theatre Company), Chicken Little Was Right! (New York Actors Ensemble), Franks (Theater St. Peters at CitiCorp), Twisted Positions (Courtyard Theatre) and All The Tomatoes (Lion Theatre on Theatre Row.) Three of his plays were produced by PDX Playwrights. He studies at the NW Film Center, and his screenplay Myosotis Love has been a finalist at the NW Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival, among others. The script was filmed in 2019.

Lindiwe Mueller-Westernhagen

Lindiwe Mueller-Westernhagen is a songwriter turned screenwriter. Her first short film, Desmond’s Not Here Anymore, won the 2019 HollyShorts Screenplay contest and will be produced in 2020 by the Seattle Film Summit. Her first comedy TV pilot, That Sister Thang, was Fresh Voices runner-up and has been Finalists in other international screenwriting competitions. She was voted by NetworkISA as Top 25 Screenwriters to watch in 2020. She is also a ISA Development Slate writer and a Stowe Story Labs alumni.

Matt Sadowski

Matthew’s love letter to John Hughes (Don’t You Forget About Me, 2006) saw an overnight bidding war for the microbudget doc, after the reclusive Hughes passed away suddenly. The same year, he also filmed his improvised featurette (Most Likely To), which was called “a potent calling card” by Variety Magazine. Matt's second flick was his critically acclaimed narrative feature debut (Pretend We’re Kissing, 2015) featuring Zoe Kravitz and is now available across digital/VOD/ platforms around the world. He received accolades for writing/directing The Brief (www.thebriefseries.com). His next film, Cherries, was a top three finalist at the 2019 Slamdance Script Competition.

Luke Zwanziger

Luke Zwanziger is a writer, actor, and filmmaker living in Portland, OR. His screenplays have been semi-finalist at ATX, NYC Midnight, and more. He works as the Director of Video Production at Curious Comedy Theater. He loves film and has been board members of the Eastern Oregon Film Festival and the Ruby Peak Film Festival. He runs a monthly comedy short showcase called Portland's Funniest Videos every third Wednesday. He has performed and taught improv comedy around the world. He loves the art of improv because it allows unfiltered exploration of character and story.

Emily Redinbo

A native Oregonian, Emily Redinbo lived in the Bay Area, upstate New York, and Boston before returning with her family to enjoy the Pacific Northwest. A medievalist with expertise in ancient languages, she taught writing and literature at Cornell University and Santa Clara University, prior to working for a high tech company in the Silicon Valley. Currently, Emily’s revising her YA novel set in Oregon, a modern retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. She recently completed a feature screenplay about the female chemist who formulated the first effective treatment for leprosy.

Dragos Andrei Dobai

Dragos Andrei Dobai studied Advanced Screen Writing at NW Film School in Portland. He has been working on other projects in the animation field, but '770' is his first live-action short screenplay, and he is thrilled to be one of the finalists. His short is intimate, intense, dialogue-driven, with old school east European sets. With the increased conversation about abortion bans in the US, he thinks we have to tell this story. The message of the movie is NEVER FORGET and never tell women what to do with their bodies.

Ian Fletcher

Ian is a playwright and screenwriter based in Oxford, UK. On a whim he decided to enter a local stage play competition to keep busy during a long commute. To his surprise, The Trinity won and was produced at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford. He was hooked and has since written two full length plays and two television pilots that have placed in multiple competitions. Never Meet Your Hero is his first foray into webseries and he is pleased to see that all those years spent daydreaming are paying off, as was the plan all along, he swears.

David Musgrave

David M. Musgrave is an established sculpture artist, children’s book writer, screenwriter and architect who enjoys the surprise of abnormal art scale, daring and exhilarating color in design and imaginative writing. Waddle, his 12 foot tall steel duck sculpture, stands in a local park and his children’s book Mrs. Claus Who?, is loved by many.

About the Contest

FiLMLaB started in 2012 during the Willamette Writers Conference. The lab grew out of a desire to expand upon and promote the growing film industry in Portland, Oregon.

The Script to Screen Competition is the main focus of FiLMLaB. Writers submit a script, which is judged by industry professionals in Portland for the first round, then sent to our judges in LA for the final round. The winning script is then produced by Willamette Writers, and is premiered at the Willamette Writers Conference the first week of August.

From our 2019 Winner

"FiLMLaB has made my entire year!  To say I’m grateful for this experience is an understatement – I got to workshop my short, sit in on the casting process, be on set, watch a couple editing sessions, attend festivals – this has forever changed my perception of the movie-making world and the village it takes to make something good.  Not only that, but I’ve gotten to work with and meet so many talented, kind and lovely people that I otherwise would not have.  The support and encouragement alone are an awesome prize.  Thank you, FiLMLaB and Willamette Writers!"

-Alexandra Keister, 2019 FiLMLaB winner

Our 2019 Contest was supported by a generous grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. We thank them for their investment in our screenwriting community, and their continuous work toward creating a stronger arts community.

Contest Information

Timeline

Submissions open: September 15

Early bird deadline: October 15

Final deadline: Midnight, November 15

Finalists announced: January 6

Writers’ room: Mid-February

Note: All winners must be able to travel to Portland, Oregon, for the writers’ room in mid-February. Winners are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Submission details

Important: Only one script submission allowed per person. We cannot accept scripts from writing teams. If your script was co-written with another person or group, choose one person who will retain authorship of the script. If chosen, only that one person will join the writers’ room.

Early Bird Submission fee:

$20 for Willamette Writers Members

$25 for Non-members

One page of script notes from an industry professional can be purchased for an additional $35.

Regular submission fee:

$30 for Willamette Writers Members

$40 for Non-members

One page of script notes from an industry professional can be purchased for an additional $40.

You can find the full guidelines below, along with copyright information and submission details. This competition is open to all writers, regardless of experience, and Willamette Writers makes every effort to provide accessible contests. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Willamette Writers at wilwrite [at] willamettewriters.org.

We can’t wait to read your submission. Click here now to submit your script to FilMLaB.tv.

General Guidelines

Important: Only one script submission allowed per person. We cannot accept scripts from writing teams. If your script was co-written with another person or group, choose one person who will retain authorship of the script. If chosen, only that one person will join the writers’ room.

Judging: Scripts will be judged on their creativity and writing, as well as their ability to be successfully produced for FiLMLaBtv, as provided by the Production Guidelines below.

Submissions: All submissions should be written in English, typed in 12-point Courier or similar font, and in industry-standard screenplay format. Maximum of seven pages (as normally formatted on standard 8.5x11 paper). Scripts should be converted to and exported as PDF files. Submissions over seven pages will be rejected without refund.

Setting: Please set your story in Oregon or tell us a story inspired by the state. Script must take place in one location—strong preference for a house.

Story: Scripts will be judged as self-contained stories, with a beginning, middle, and end, but they should also hold the promise of the season to come. All genres accepted. The ideal script will reflect FiLMLaB’s “experimental” nature and the web series medium. Scripts should be aimed at a general audience. No pornography or graphic violence. FiLMLaB and the contest judges may disqualify a script from consideration if the subject matter or content of the script is, at the judges’ sole discretion, not suitable for screening at the FiLMLaBtv event at the Willamette Writers Conference.

Production Guidelines

Location: Script must take place in one location—strong preference for a house. Avoid public locations, such as libraries and schools. Beware that additional or exotic locations are not disqualifying, but may be negatively considered by FiLMLaBtv and the contest judges.

Cast: Maximum of four main characters. Additional minor characters or “extras” are acceptable, but beware that scenes requiring a “crowd” may make your script unable to be produced.

Effects: Hey, Spielberg, we don’t have access to George Lucas’ studio, so consider that any special effects or makeup designs will be done with cardboard and Maybelline, if at all. Extensive wardrobe requirements may also be a detriment.

Travel: Finalists and winners are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Eligibility: Members and immediate family of the Willamette Writers Board, Committees, Staff, Program Chairs, Chapter Chairs, and FiLMLaBtv judges and personnel are not eligible to participate. Previous FiLMLaB Grand Prize winners are not eligible to participate.

Legal Information

By entering the FiLMLaBtv Competition, entrants affirm that the submitted script is their own work, and that the entrants have not previously sold, assigned or licensed any rights to the script. Entrants understand their submitted work will be distributed and viewed my multiple judges and FiLMLaBtv production personnel. Scripts will not be returned. Entrants agree to hold Willamette Writers Inc. (a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization), the Willamette Writers Conference, and FiLMLaBtv production team harmless with respect to any claims (including, but not limited to, claims related to intellectual property, defamation, or any other tortuous acts) arising from the acts of any individuals not acting within the scope of their duties to Willamette Writers and its programming.

Legal Information for the Winning Script

Editorial Control: The Entrant agrees that, if entrant’s script is produced into a film or series, the resulting film or series may vary in form or contestant from the submitted script, owing to artistic choices by the director or to production needs and limitations. Entrant understands and agrees that Willamette Writers, through its production team, will have final artistic and editorial control over the resulting film or web series.

Ownership: In exchange for the expense and effort expended by Willamette Writers, Inc. and the production team in producing the film or web series based on the Entrant’s script, Entrant agrees to fully assign and transfer Entrant’s ownership and copyright interest in the winning script to Willamette Writers, who shall be the owner of the completed film or web series. Entrant understands Willamette Writers may exhibit and promote this Film or web series on an ongoing basis, at film festivals, Willamette Writers events, and the Film may be available for viewing online.

Our 2018 Competition

Writers Room

Our 2018 Competition brought a new twist -- FiLMLaB! Writers submitted their web series scripts to earn a spot in the Writer's Room with Showrunner FJ Pratt (Ellen, Frasier, Sullivan & Son). The winning script launched into production in 2019.

Alexandra Keister, a Portland screenwriter, won with her script "Stripes." Her story was produced by Alyssa Roerhenbeck, and directed by Phil A. Anderson. It premieres at the Willamette Writers Conference in August.

The 2019 FiLMLaB Team

FJ Pratt
Executive Producer FJ Pratt
Alexandra Keister photo
Writer Alexandra Keister
Alyssa Roehrenbeck
Producer Alyssa Roerhenbeck
Competition Coordinator Jon Dragt
Contest Coordinator Jon Dragt
Production Coordinator Amy Souza
Production Coordinator Amy Souza
Screenwriter Randall Jahnson
Consultant Randall Jahnson

The 2019 FiLMLaB Cast

Glenn McCumber: "Jacques"
Jessi Walters: "Genevieve"
Raquel Mansell: Marcelle

The 2019 FiLMLaB Crew

 

Philip A. Anderson: Director

Alyssa Roehrenbeck: Producer 

Amy Souza: Production Coordinator

Eric Macey: Director of Photography  

Efrem Peter: Camera Operator  

Sean Conley: First Assistant Camera

Jasmine Karcey: First Assistant Camera 

Christopher Alley: Gaffer

Ryan Fitz: Key Grip  

Travis Buffington: Grip and Electric Swing

Rory Leonard: Grip

Heidi DuBose: Sound Mixer

Jade Harris: Production Designer/Costumer Designer

Kameron Gates: Makeup Artist 

Jon Dragt: Script Supervisor  

Ashley Blincow: Production Assistant  

Proudly Supported By

Companies and Organizations

Regional Arts and Culture Council

Gearhead Production Rentals

Deep Sea Pictures

Koerner Camera

Galaxy Sailor Productions

Canby Film Festival

Klamath Film Festival

Individuals

FJ Pratt

Phil Anderson 

Alexandra Keister

Eric Macy

Jade Harris

Efrem Peter

Heidi DuBose

Kameron Gates

Glenn McCumber

Jessi Walters

Raquel Mansell

Randall Jahnson

Stefen Feuerhardt, Attorney at Law

Amy Souza

Kate Ristau

Donations

Nicholas Restaurant

Off the Waffle

Crater Lake Soda

Xylem Cider

Ecliptic Brewing

New Cascadia

Hot Lips Pizza

Nossa Familia Coffee

Heathman Hotel

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From the FiLMLaB Blog

Grant Rosenberg

TV Development and Production with Grant Rosenberg

By Kate Ristau | March 2, 2020

Grant Rosenberg, an accomplished film creator, will be joining the Willamette Writers Conference this August

By Kate Ristau | March 9, 2019

FiLMLaBtv 2019 Writer’s Room The 2019 winning script is “Stripes,” written by Alexandra Keister. Keister, an executive assistant and screenwriter, has written two feature-length screenplays, both romantic comedies, and a handful of short screenplays that range from dark sci-fi to the classically uplifting my-dog-is-dead story. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a BA…

Member News: Mary Andonian & David Poulshock launch ISA Third Thursdays

By Kate Ristau | October 10, 2018

Mary Andonian & David Poulshock launch ISA Third Thursdays Members Mary and David are launching the local chapter of the International Screenwriters Association(ISA). It’s a monthly mixer for screenwriters on Third Thursdays, where you can mingle with fellow screenwriters, meet film and television industry professionals, and win door prizes — including a free Willamette Writer’s…

Experts Weigh In: 10 Crucial Screenwriting Mistakes

By Willamette Writers | July 11, 2018

Experts Weigh In: 10 Crucial Screenwriting Mistakes Lee Jessup, a member of our screenwriting faculty at the upcoming Willamette Writer’s Conference and the author of Breaking In: Tales from the Screenwriting Trenches and Getting It Write: An Insider’s Guide To A Screenwriting Career shares how to avoid ten screenwriting mistakes. You can find this post and others…

Attend FiLMLaB.tv workshops and get all the value without even attending!

By Willamette Writers | July 11, 2018

Attend FiLMLaB.tv workshops and get all the value without even attending! Well, not really. Eventually you’ll have to “attend.” But thanks to space-age technology, Willamette Writers is presenting two valuable workshops online that you will be able to access 24/7 AND multiple times right up until the conference. That means that even if you’re not…

Randall Jahnson Screenwriting workshop

Randall Jahnson and FiLMLaB Screenwriting Workshop

By Willamette Writers | February 6, 2018

Screenwriting Workshop Willamette Writers and FiLMLaB invite you to join us for an online screenwriting workshop with Randall Jahnson. Details Date: Saturday, April 21st Time: 12-2PM Cost: Free Open to the public This is an online workshop Click here to register. About Randall Jahnson Randall Jahnson has written more than 20 feature-length screenplays. Not all…

FiLMLaB Adds Showrunner for its Web Series Project: FiLMLaB.tv

By Willamette Writers | November 18, 2017

Willamette Writers and FiLMLaB are thrilled to announce that veteran network television writer and producer F.J. Pratt has agreed to helm this year’s program, an Episodic Storytelling LaB: FiLMLaB.tv! About FiLMLaB.tv Showrunner F.J. Pratt F.J. Pratt has been a television comedy writer for twenty-five years, starting on the writing staff for network shows including “Frasier,”…

FiLMLaB Screening at McMinnville Short Film Festival on Saturday, October 21st

By Willamette Writers | October 15, 2017

The FilmLab staff has had a great summer, planning for our 2017-2018 contest (details to come!) and performing various ritualized rain dances in a battle against the heat. Now that the weather has cooled down (you’re welcome!), prime moving watching season is upon us. We wanted to let you know our latest film, INTERCEPT, written…

Join FiLMLaB At Canby Film Fest!

By Ruth Witteried | October 10, 2016

Do you ever wonder what our FiLMLaB alums have been up to, the writers, directors and actors? Well, one of them, 2014 winning writer Jon Dragt, has been busy in Canby, Oregon, volunteering on the board of directors for the Canby Public Library Foundation. A Willamette Writers member, Jon is helping to organize programs for…

FiLMLaB Heads To The Portland Film Festival

By Ruth Witteried | August 29, 2016

In case you missed it, FiLMLaB debuted its 2016 short film, INTERCEPT, at the Willamette Writers Conference earlier this month. We were pleased to have good turn out and an enthusiastic Q & A with the audience. But if you couldn’t make it to the debut, fear not, because this week FiLMLaB heads to the…

From the FiLMLaB Blog

Bug Eyed Bill? Blame It On Eric Witchey

By Ruth Witteried | March 16, 2015

If you follow FiLMLab at all, you know that we haven’t been around terribly long–a mere four years, including this one. But this year’s contest is by far the most challenging. In the first two years, we asked that you utilize the annual Willamette Writers Conference theme in your short script (“Fresh Brewed” and “New…

FiLMLaB:The Problem Of “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”

By Jon Dragt | March 9, 2015

I recently met a screenwriter with loads of talent and drive. He’s young and just starting. He wants to get a short film made but he simply doesn’t have the resources. He doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on making his film and he doesn’t know people willing to help him get his film…

From Script To Short To Feature: Whiplash

By Ruth Witteried | March 2, 2015

My husband and I loved it. His mother hated it. A provocative, at times terrifying piece of filmmaking, you don’t have to like it to recognize the quality of Damien Chazelle‘s Oscar winning film, Whiplash:  BLACK… We hear a HIT. A drumstick against a drum head. Crisp, sharp. Then a second hit. Then a third…

The Living Room

FiLMLaB At The Midpoint

By Ruth Witteried | February 16, 2015

We are halfway through the FiLMLaB short script contest. There’s still plenty of time to submit your seven page script for a chance at the Grand Prize: the filming and production of your story by a professional film crew. In three act structure, the second act is always the longest, and arguably the most tedious…

Don’t Short Your Chances With Film Shorts

By Ruth Witteried | February 9, 2015

By Danny Manus
If you’re using a short film as your calling card, you need to make sure it’s dialing the right number.
Unless you live in Denmark, where making short films can actually be a sustainable career, film shorts are basically made for three reasons; as practice; as inspiration or proof of concept for a larger feature project; or as a sample to show off your talents.

Diary of a Slamdance Festival Juror

By Ruth Witteried | February 5, 2015

by Josh Leake Portland Film Festival’s Josh Leake shares his experience as a 2015 Slamdance Juror. Originally posted via Indiewire, it is shared here with the permission of the author. To learn more about Josh, see his bio at the bottom of the page. Founded by a group of friends in 1995, Slamdance is one…

Author, Producer Bill Johnson on Short Scripts

By Ruth Witteried | February 2, 2015

(This blog is being reposted courtesy of the author. Originally titled, Revelation, Story, and Plot in a Script for a Film Short, it appeared in a June 2013 FiLMLaB column. It is worth reviewing, along with Bill’s short video discussing short scripts, common errors inexperienced screenwriters make, and the benefits for writers in going through a…

InkTip Signs On As FiLMLaB Sponsor

By Ruth Witteried | January 26, 2015

If you’re an aspiring screenwriter you may have heard of Ink Tip, the online resource where writers can connect their script with industry professionals. If you haven’t, then stay with me, because Willamette Writers is very happy to announce that InkTip has signed on as a sponsor for the 2015 FiLMLaB Contest! InkTip offers writers…

Randall Jahnson Talks Short Scripts

By Ruth Witteried | January 19, 2015

For those of you who couldn’t join us for the workshop, Randall has provided a few notes for you to think about as you work on your short script. Distill your story down to the essentials – the salient moment/scene Make sure your story has conflict Grab your audience’s attention ASAP – that usually means…

Call For Entries: 2015 FiLMLaB Is Open!

By Ruth Witteried | January 12, 2015

The 2015 FiLMLaB Contest kicked off Tuesday night at Portland’s Historic Old Church, when the final contest parameters were announced. In addition to limits on page count (7, not including title page) and characters (4 speaking roles with allowances for extras), three new limitations are in place this season. The thematic prompt from the first…