Packing Up The Old Year-Hello New Year

I love this time of year; the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s so perfectly situated for reflection as we take down the tree, stow the candles and box up the ornaments–we are literally packing up the old year to prepare for the new. A fresh new year to receive dreams, ambitions, potential and creative energies with the promise of something real.

What do your 2015 dreams and ambitions look like? Are you starting a new project or finishing an old one? Are you hoping to master your author website, finally tackle social media, create a book trailer or webseries?

Ruth's bookshelfWillamette Writers and FiLMLaB support your goals for 2015. We might even be able to help you achieve them, through our monthly lecture series, low cost workshops, annual writers conference, writing rooms, contests and networking and volunteer opportunities.

To start your New-riting Year off right, join us for our first lecture and member meeting on Tuesday, January 6th at the Old Church. When WW President Jenny Schrader takes the podium for the first time in 2015, she will be inaugurating Willamette Writers 50th year. Fifty years–a golden anniversary of serving writers throughout the Northwest.


Oh, I hope we have a party.



Willamette Writers Pres. Jenny Schrader

She won’t stay up there too, long, because then it’s my turn to talk about #FiLMLaB and kick off the 2015 contest. If you read this column with any regularity you’re probably tired of hearing me go on about it, but it is a big deal and I don’t want you to miss it. Because our slogan, “At FiLMLaB the experiment is you,” is really true. You, the writer, the contest winner, are integral to the experiment of transformation; the transformation of your seven page script into a film; the transformation of collaborators (director, cinematographer, production designer, etc.) who lift your story off the page and create something new; and the transformation of you, the winning writer, as you learn new skills and develop new creative partnerships. It will be transformative for everyone involved.

If you don’t believe me, feel free to ask Jon Dragt, our 2014 FiLMLaB winner, or 2014 Director, Martin Vavra. They will be on hand with FiLMLaB Script Advisor (and screenwriter extraordinaire) Randall Jahnson, to field questions about their experience and their upcoming, low cost Short Form Workshop (January 10).

FiLMLaB exists to elevate writers and help them create new opportunities in the ever evolving world of writing, publishing and film. There is always hope when we allow creativity to reign.

“… writers seem to forget that people in the industry are desperate for good material. The business isn’t constructed to keep you out of it, but to bring you into it. More than ever now, there are so many contests and agents and producers. It’s a world that’s so desperate for good writers. So if you can build it, they’ll be there. If you write something great, and you know somebody who is even peripherally involved in the industry, like the assistant director’s brother-in-law’s niece, it’ll find its way to someone. It may not get green-lit and turned into a blockbuster immediately, but it’ll get read, and if it’s really good, it’ll start your career.”

Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses)


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. (