Screenwriting Workshops, Panels and Events

To register for the full conference and enroll in a workshop or critical seminar, click on the button below. All keynote talks, panels, one-day workshops, readings and special events are included in general registration, as is attendance at the Poetry Symposium each afternoon. All three-day Workshops and three-day Critical Seminars require an additional fee of $200.


Here is a link to an article by Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, who is a writer, poet, and professor at Fordham University in New York City, where she teaches English, Creative Writing, and American Catholic Studies.  She also serves as Associate Director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. She attended Writing the Rockies in 2015, moderating the panel "'Custodians of Memory': Poetry & Memoir." Given the many disciplines we present at the conference, Angela attended the screening of Michael Bergmann's independent film "Influence," and wrote this wonderful column about it for America: The National Catholic Review. Thanks, Angela, for the very good press about Michael's film, which we were privileged to screen. Join us this year for another set of equally exciting and innovative panels and workshops about screenwriting, along with screened films with the screenwriters in attendance.

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SCREENWRITING PANELS

Screenwriting Panel #1: "Networking." J S Mayank, Moderator, with Trai Cartwright, Mike Reiss, and Bob Shayne.

How do you navigate the much-dreaded arena of "networking" in Hollywood? A beginner's guide to making a good first impression, etiquette on following up, and making lasting professional relationships in the biz!

Saturday, July 22, 2:00 - 4:00, Taylor Hall 205
To see full biographies of the panelists, click each speaker's name below:

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SCREENWRITING ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS

Screenwriting One-Day Workshop #1: "What We Can Learn from Opening Scenes." Instructor: Bob Shayne.

Thursday, July 20, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Taylor Hall 205

We're always told, "Show it , don't say it." But often that seems easier said than shown. We'll look at opening scenes and turning point scenes of some great and famous films and see how their screenwriters took the saying very much to heart. We'll discover untold exposition and unspoken subtext and whole new worlds that are shown rather than said.

Bob Shayne
Bob Shayne is Visiting Professor of Screenwriting in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He has been an active and successful screenwriter for years, both in New York and Los Angeles. He’s sold 18 prime-time pilots and written 16 of them for the major TV networks in all genres, six of which were shot, two of which went to series, and most of which he produced. He’s worked on staff of both sitcoms and one-hour dramas; been a show-runner on sitcom, drama, MOW and pilots; written well over 100 episodes; written and produced TV movies; written two four-hour miniseries, written features both live-action and animated, and adapted four novels into screenplays (not counting his own). He’s won or been nominated for awards including Best TV Movie of the Year from the Writers Guild of America, Edgar for Best TV Movie of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, Edgar for Best TV Episode of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, two Emmys from the TV Academy (for Best Talk Show and Best Documentary), and a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

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Screenwriting One-Day Workshop #2: "Surprise Me on the Page." Instructor: J S Mayank.

Saturday, July 22, 8:30 - 10:00, Taylor Hall 201

In this workshop, JS Mayank will talk about the importance of surprising the reader/viewer on the page, using unexpected character choices, settings, set-ups and pay-offs. There will be examples from films and TV shows, and a short writing exercise at the end.

J S Mayank
J S Mayank is Director of Western’s Screenwriting Concentration. He is a British-Indian filmmaker, represented by UTA. He has several TV projects and features in development at the moment. His first sci-fi feature script, Slate, earned him a spot on the 2009 BLOODLIST (the Horror/Sci-fi/ Thriller Blacklist). He was invited by Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival to the prestigious 2010 Tribeca All Access Program for his feature script Marathon. For his directorial debut, Mayank was granted an opportunity by the band Radiohead to create a concept music video for their song Weird Fishes / Arpeggi. He worked alongside visual artist extraordinaire John Langdon (Angels & Demons) to design special ambigrams for the video. Most recently, Mayank’s script for EMIT won a Grand Prize at the Table Read My Screenplay contest, beating out over 1200 other scripts, and winning him a trip to Sundance (2012) where a table-read of it was performed. Since then, he’s directed Emit, starring Jack Coleman (Heroes, The Office, Scandal), and the short has played at over 30 festivals all over the world, including NBC|Universal Shortcuts festival and the Philip K. Dick fest in New York, Fantasia, SCI-FI London, Sci-fi Fantasy – Athens, Edinburgh, Newport Beach, New York, Las Vegas, Brazil, garnering several awards, stellar reviews and high praise for its inventiveness and creative vision. Mayank has an MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University and an MA in Communication & Film from Wake Forest University. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

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SCREENWRITING THREE-DAY WORKSHOP

All Three-Day Workshops and Critical Seminars meet Thursday, 7/20, Saturday, 7/22, and Sunday, 7/23, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $200 in addition to registration.

Screenwriting Three-Day Workshop: "Developing, Writing, and Launching Your Screenplay." Instructor: Trai Cartwright.

Location: Taylor Hall 205

PART ONE: Writing an exceptional story, be it a screenplay or novel, begins with building a solid foundation. This class digs into the Six Crucial Story-Building Questions that lead you right to the heart of your characters, core conflicts, and themes, and breakdown the story beats in detail. Whether you're just starting your script or you're puzzled by how to revise, answering these questions will show you how to make every element of your story work together and on every level.

PART TWO:  Let’s talk voice. Some say the writer doesn’t “belong” on the page in a screenplay, but every development executive will tell you that scripts with voice are the ones that stand out. But finding the right voice and deploying it just right is crucial. In screenwriting, this isn’t only word choice and sentence construction–it’s making sophisticated use of format and punctuation. We’ll examine the most cutting-edge, highest-quality narrative in modern screenwriting so that you can make the best use of these techniques for your our story’s voice.

PART THREE:  You’ve got a brilliant idea for a film and have been working steadily writing it, but how do you make your screenplay viable for the marketplace? We’ll discuss what secret criteria helps make a burgeoning screenwriter and your script exciting to producers; what meetings are like and how to manage the notes you’ll get from them; whether an agent is required and how to get one. Mostly importantly we’ll discuss whether a Hollywood career can be launched from Colorado and what resources are available for screenwriters. Join a former Hollywood development executive and current Colorado filmmaker for this information-packed business discussion.

Trai Cartwright
Trai Cartwright is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and creative writing specialist. While in Los Angeles, she was a screenwriter, independent film producer, and story consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, New Lines Cinema, and 20th Century Fox. Trai currently teaches creative writing, screenwriting, and producing for Colorado colleges, writers groups, conferences, and one-on-one as a development and story editor. She is the screenwriter for Secret Ellington and Cheap Cabernet, two Colorado-based films, and the co-founder of film incubator the Colorado Smart Film Investment Coalition.

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SCREENINGS

All Screenings are included in General Registration. Tickets to each screening are also available at the door to members of the public for $10 / $5 students.

All screenings take place at the University Center Theater.

Screening #1: "How to Sell a TV Pilot in Seven Easy Years, or The Return of The Return of Sherlock Holmes." Presented by Bob Shayne.

Thursday, July 20, 4:00 - 6:00 pm, University Center Theater

Return of Sherlock Holmes
Bob Shayne will trace the rocky road from rejection after rejection up to the sale and execution of his movie-pilot. It was originally ordered by ABC, where they hated it so much they refused to give notes for a second draft, and after many twists and turns eventually aired on CBS, where it won awards from the Writers Guild of America and the Mystery Writers of America as the Best TV Movie of the Year. And then he'll run the film.

Bob Shayne
Bob Shayne is Visiting Professor of Screenwriting in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He has been an active and successful screenwriter for years, both in New York and Los Angeles. He’s sold 18 prime-time pilots and written 16 of them for the major TV networks in all genres, six of which were shot, two of which went to series, and most of which he produced. He’s worked on staff of both sitcoms and one-hour dramas; been a show-runner on sitcom, drama, MOW and pilots; written well over 100 episodes; written and produced TV movies; written two four-hour miniseries, written features both live-action and animated, and adapted four novels into screenplays (not counting his own). He’s won or been nominated for awards including Best TV Movie of the Year from the Writers Guild of America, Edgar for Best TV Movie of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, Edgar for Best TV Episode of the Year from the Mystery Writers of America, two Emmys from the TV Academy (for Best Talk Show and Best Documentary), and a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

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Screening #2: "Secrets of The Simpsons." Presented by Mike Reiss.

Saturday, July 22, 4:00 - 5:30 pm, University Center Theater

Simpson's screening image
Mike Reiss will present a reel of rare clips from the show, interspersed with stories, secrets and scandals.

 

 

 

 

Mike Reiss Simpsonized
If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by Mike Reiss, a four-time Emmy award-winning producer, a 28-year veteran of The Simpsons and a contributor to more than two dozen animated films, including four Ice Age movies, two Despicable Me movies, The LoraxRioKung Fu Panda 3, and The Simpsons Movie, with a worldwide gross of $8 billion. He was the showrunner behind season four of The Simpsons, which Entertainment Weekly has called "the greatest season of the greatest show in history." Mike has also written seventeen children’s books, including the best-seller How Murray Saved Christmas and the award-winning Late for School.

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Screening #3: "Highlights from The 2016 Crested Butte Film Festival." Presented by screenwriter and Crested Butte Film Festival Co-Director Michael Brody.

Sunday, July 23, 4:00 - 5:30 pm, University Center Theater

Crested Butte Film Festival
Join Michael Brody as he presents a highlight reel from the 2016 Crested Butte Film Festival and discusses the films and the selection process.

 

 

Michael Brody
For seven years, Michael Brody has directed, with his wife Jennifer, the Crested Butte Film Festival, a four day celebration of narrative and documentary film. In that time, total attendance has jumped a remarkable 147%. The festival is known for its challenging, provocative and international selections and has become a favorite of many filmmakers. Before that, he graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Creative Writing, Filmmaking, and Philosophy. His first screenplay The Sun King was optioned by Hollywood producer Jeff Mackler. In 2010, he wrote, directed and produced the low-budget feature film, Document. In 2012 he was hired to adapt the novel Created Equal for the screen. Most recently, he was invited to submit his TV pilot Sanctuary to Sundance's esteemed Episodic Story Lab, and is now working on another adaptation.

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