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.


Angela Alaimo O'Donnell 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: “Getting It Done: Writing Habits, Tricks of Motivation, and the Particular Ways Screenwriters Look for Inspiration.” J S Mayank, Moderator, with John Bowman and Trai Cartwright.

Saturday, July 21, 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: "Nothing Good Ever Comes Out of the Fog: How Theme Drives Stories." Instructor: Trai Cartwright.

Thursday, July 19, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Taylor Hall 205

Film and TV are theme-driven media, and when a film or a show fails to connect emotionally to the audience, it’s often because the makers didn’t fully understand the heart or the message of their story. This seminar dives deep into the layers (upon layers) of theme at work in all great films and TV shows, and analyzes how those themes got there. From the opening shot to the closing--even if that closing is seven seasons later!--learn how theme drives story.

Trai Cartwright
Trai Cartwright is on the screenwriting faculty of Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and creative writing specialist who teaches, produces, and writes screenplays and novels. While in Los Angeles, she was a screenwriter, independent film producer, andstory consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, and New Line Cinema. She was assistant director of Leonardo DiCaprio's online ventures, the Hollywood liaison for a massive multi-player online role-playing game company, and made cell phone content for 20th CenturyFox. Trai also currently teaches creative writing, screenwriting, and producing for the Colorado Film School, writers' groups, conferences and cons, and one-on-one as a development and story editor. She is the screenwriter for Secret Ellington, and producer of the docu-series Hidden Tigers.  \

 

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Screenwriting One-Day Workshop #2: "IP Is the Name of the Game." Instructor: JS Mayank.

Saturday, July 21, 8:30 - 10:00, Taylor Hall 201

JS will discuss Hollywood’s obsession with pre-existing properties, and how to use it to your advantage to break in.

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, 7/19, Saturday, 7/21, and Sunday, 7/22, from 10:15 - 12:15. Cost: $200 in addition to registration.

Screenwriting Three-Day Workshop: "Writing the TV Pilot." Instructor: John Bowman.

Location: Taylor Hall 205

This workshop is designed to simulate the TV development process for the pilot of a potential half hour comedy series. Students, working in a collegial "Writer's Room" atmosphere, will be encouraged to generate ideas, characters and themes that reflect aspects of their own life experience, thus building a personal connection to the proposed series. Our goal is for each student to generate a show pitch, complete with a description of the show's characters and world. Why this show, why now?

John Bowman
John Bowman is an Emmy award-winning writer who has been writing and producing comedy for 25 years. He has written for Saturday Night LiveIt's Garry Shandling's ShowFresh Prince of Bel AirIn Living ColorMartinMurphy Brown, and Frank TV, among others. He created Martin and received two NAACP Awards and a People's Choice Award for his work there. He is currently a trustee of The Harvard Lampoon. In 2008 he received a PEN USA First Amendment Award for his leadership in the 2008 Writer's Strike. He teaches screenwriting in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

 

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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: "Clapter: Enemy of the Satirist." Presented by John Bowman.

Thursday, July 19, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, University Center Theater

"Clapter" is what a satirist gets when an audience agrees with the political point, but doesn't think what is presented is necessarily funny. This screening will include sketches from Saturday Night LiveIn Living Color and other shows on which I have worked, to examine some of the tensions between a writer's political beliefs and the need to entertain. The underlying point is that the best sketches illuminate a politician's character, as opposed to his or her ideas. We will also explore how actors can change the perception of the politician they are portraying. Amy Poehler presented Hillary Clinton as a smart woman with a bit of warmth. Kate McKinnon portrayed Hillary as a woman hollowed out by her lifelong political ambitions. Did this cost Hillary 70,000 votes in PA, MI, and WI?

John Bowman
John Bowman is an Emmy award-winning writer who has been writing and producing comedy for 25 years. He has written for Saturday Night LiveIt's Garry Shandling's ShowFresh Prince of Bel AirIn Living ColorMartinMurphy Brown, and Frank TV, among others. He created Martin and received two NAACP Awards and a People's Choice Award for his work there. He is currently a trustee of The Harvard Lampoon. In 2008 he received a PEN USA First Amendment Award for his leadership in the 2008 Writer's Strike. He teaches screenwriting in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

 

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Screening #2: "Highlights from the Upcoming 2018 Crested Butte Film Festival." Presented by screenwriter and Crested Butte Film Festival Co-Director Michael Brody.

Saturday, July 21, 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 and Jennifer Brody
For eight 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 more than 150%. 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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Screening #3:  "How Murray Saved Christmas." Presented by Mike Reiss.

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

How Murray Saved Christmas
Mike Reiss, a four-time Emmy winning writer for The Simpsons, is also the author of nineteen children's books.  His first book, How Murray Saved Christmas, was rejected by every publisher in America, before eventually becoming a giant best-seller and an animated holiday TV show.  Reiss will take you through the twisted journey from page to screen, and show his Emmy-nominated Christmas special.

Mike Reiss
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. You can see a recent interview with Mike about his new memoir, Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons on Salon TV .

 

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