Nailing the Turkey Down

A rafter of turkeys strutting their stuff.

A rafter of turkeys strutting their stuff.

You don’t have to observe Thanksgiving, Hanukah or Christmas to feel the press of the holidays already upon us. November has been a busy month for #FiLMLaB contest, between updating the website, planning a workshop, lining up judges and exploring greater partnership with Portland Film Festival, recently named one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by And December is looking even busier:

  • Willamette Writers meeting on Tuesday, December 2 in what is sure to be an interesting presentation on small press publishing (7:00 pm at the Old Church on 11th & Clay);
  • Two days to prep and shoot a promotional spot with director Martin Vavra (possibly three);
  • An afternoon with WW Pres. Jenny Schrader, finalizing the submission process and judging criteria on our new software program Submittable;
  • Meetings with long time WW Communications/Graphic Designer volunteer extraordinaire, Salli Slaughter; new WW PR Coordinator, K Marthaler; WW Conference Chair, Stefan Feuerherdt; and potential 2015 FiLMLaB directors.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. In any case, that’s just the first week. Still so much to do to prepare for the 2015 FiLMLaB Contest launch on January 6th; preferably before the chaos of food, family and frivolity. Not many parties on my agenda, but I did make a point of going to the Portland Women in Film Holiday Event last week, and I dragged the Prez along with me.

Ruth, Jennifer from Spokane, and Jenny at WIF event supporting the FiLMLaB contest

Ruth, new WW member Jennifer, and Jenny at WIF Holiday Event

It was a nice, relaxed way to kick off the season and introduce the broader community to FiLMLaB, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

A few words of thanks are in order as our 2015 launch date rapidly approaches and we try to nail this turkey down. Many thanks to Randall Jahnson, screenwriter, instructor, friend and mentor. He was there at the beginning, literally at the inception of FiLMLaB and has never wavered in his support. He is always available to brainstorm, advise, and assist in any way he can. To that end, he is volunteering his considerable talents on January 10th to co-direct a FiLMLaB Workshop with Martin Vavra.

And to Martin Vavra; we are in your debt for the long hours you have applied to FiLMLaB, and those you are about to apply as we prepare to shoot some promotional material. I will remind you only that you volunteered, as is so typical of you, and we are truly, truly, grateful.

To all of our Actors, Producers and Crew who helped make FiLMLaB a success in 2014, we are deeply thankful for your talents and your energy. To those of you participating in the promotion of FiLMLaB, we doubly thank you.

Ruth and Josh Leake at WIF Holiday Event

Ruth and Josh Leake at WIF Holiday Event

To Josh Leake of Portland Film Festival–thanks for being our friend! Lunch with you is always enlightening and inspiring and our 2015 season will be even more inspired because of your participation.

WW Conference Chair, Stefan Feuerherdt; thank you for bending over backwards to assist in 2014. Like Randall, you were there at the very beginning, one of the original turkeys who thought this idea up, and your support for the program has never wavered.

To Bill Johnson, WW Office Manager, FiLMLaB contest judge and Producer; your contributions to the cause and to helping me with mundane details day in and day out; the minutia of it all–you are priceless. Thank you for your kind generosity.

And finally to WW Prez, Jenny Schrader. It’s a little too patronizing to call her my ‘Girl Friday’. She is a grown woman, talented and capable in too many ways to fully express. And she is the President of Willamette Writers. I answer to her, not the other way around. Yet, she always knows exactly what I need; she always makes time to help. She hears me out, whether it’s a mad string of consciousness explaining my vision for the next five, ten, fifteen (!) years of FiLMLaB, or tutoring this turkey on how to set up my new email account. She is smart, witty and wonderful; a tremendous believer and supporter of Willamette Writers and FiLMLaB, and has extended every courtesy to me and to FiLMLaB in 2014. I am deeply grateful for your continued support.

‘Girl Friday’ is too small. Make it ‘Girl Friend’.

Thanks to all of you who submitted scripts to FiLMLaB over the years. We are working hard to make the 2015 contest the best ever.

This turkey wishes you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

See you in December.


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. (