Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 13 - The last day of Act One Writing Seminar - It's a Wrap!

Day 13: July 3, 2010

9:00 – 10:00 Wrap up
We heard from faculty members Vicki Peterson and Terrance Berry and PEEP classmate Caleb Brown—about his attempt to run a marathon on his own, and how he got into trouble doing so. This business is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need help getting there.

10:00 – 12:00 Alumni Panel: If I Knew Then What I Know Now
  • Scott Teems, writer/director of That Evening Sun starring Hal Holbrook, releasing on DVD September 7th. Based on the short story by William Gay. (I recommend this movie. Enjoyed it very much. It will release with two covers. Scott says buy the one with the night-time cover (it's better!).
  • Jimmy Hornbeak, production and marketing company.
  • Gillian Fritzche
  • Nate Scoggins, writer/director of The Least of These showing on Starz, available through NetFlix.
  • Cheryl McKay, wrote the screenplay for The Ultimate Gift.
  • Clare Sera
  • Sam Curphey, entertainment attorney
A wonderful wrap up and good information and encouragement!

In answer to the question, How do we balance serving our church and others who want us to use our time and skill for free? (I know you writers reading this can relate.)

From Gillian: If it begins to be an obligation or I start to feel resentful, that’s a sign I need to say to the staff, “I need to step back a little.” If it is given freely and joyfully, that’s a good thing.

12:00 – 3:00 Alumni Barbecue in Griffith Park.
Met lots of past alums and got to mingle and talk and laugh and get to know writers and directors and producers and more. For us newbies, this was our graduation party.

I was only able to do the 2-week writing seminar this go-round. Six of us writers are 2-weekers. The rest of our classmates are staying either for the next 8 weeks or 14 months. The 8-weekers will attend class/mentoring sessions from 9:00 – 5:00 for the next 8 Saturdays, plus homework assignments and internships at Hollywood companies. The rest are doing the entire 14-month certificate program.

Hard to believe. It’s a wrap!

Day 12 - Act One Writing Seminar

Oops! I so totally forgot to blog last night! And I was doing so well!!! Here’s the thing… My beloved, Hal, drove in yesterday. Plus, since it was our almost last day, we got out at 5:00. So Hal and I went out to dinner, enjoyed each other’s company (since we haven’t seen each other in a dozen days)… And I was so happy being with him that I never thought of blogging until the next morning! Drat. Broke my perfect record. So here is the blog post about yesterday’s Act One that I should have posted last night.

Day 12: July 2, 2010

9:00 – 9:30 M: Devotion and Prayer
Devotions / Credo presentation by Mirachelle Canada on the armor of God. She sang The Climb (Miley Sirus).

Presentation of assigned Credo stories. (Our Credo story assignment was to make of list completing this statement: “This I know to be true…” Then we were to chose one credo and write a story (or poem, or a medium of our choice) to express that credo. This morning credo presentations were made by: Dianne Butts (short story), Lisa England (short story), Monica Romano (poem).

9:30 – 12:30 Andrea Nasfell: Independent Film & the Business of Hollywood
She wrote the screenplay for Christmas with a Capital C due to release in November 2010 (I think!). We got to see the movie trailer for this movie by Pure Flix. It finished shooting in Alaska last week and stars Daniel Baldwin. It’s about a happy little town that loves Christmas until someone comes to town that doesn’t want the nativity on public land, in the public schools, etc., and the uproar that ensues. Looks like a fun movie.

My goodness this lady knows the business. She made a wonderful game board, based on the game of Life™, that she gave each of us a copy of and we played the game of Hollywood. We each flipped a coin to see if we would move to Representation Swamp (got an agent to represent our screenplays in Hollywood) or Do-I-Yourself Mountain (the way Andrea Nasfell has done it. From there a flip of the coin determined whether we would go to the Studio or Independent film industry. Those who were lucky enough to get the right flip of the coin then ended up in Development Hell. From there some made it to Production, post-production, and finally distribution. At every step Andrea had a wealth of information to tell about every step in the film making industry. Wow. So much information!
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 Kris Young: Writing from the Gospels
Before we arrived at Act One, we were sent Kris’ devotional for discouraged screenwriters titled Writing the First Draft of Your Life. Kris didn’t write this to publish, but to give away. Cool, huh? Kris said, “I it to keep you going once you have exhausted yourself.”

Kris talked to us about the Bible and applying it to our careers as screenwriters in Hollywood.

From my notes: "If you graph a screenplay [I guess they do this in film school], it has lots of ups and downs, like you’re cutting out the teeth of a key. These keys can fit into hearts and open them up.""

3:00 – 5:00 Panel: Business of New Media
(Jim Bell was scheduled to talk to us about Dialog but at the last minute he had an emergency and wasn’t able to make it. Please keep Jim in your prayers.)

Have I mentioned that there are actually two classes going on simultaneously? I’m in the class for writers. The other class is Producing & Entertainment Executives Program (PEEPs). We’ve had many classes with all of us together; some separately. Since Jim Bell couldn’t make it, we writers got to sit in on the PEEPs class, which was really, really interesting! Here’s the line up for the panel:

  • Moderator: Chuck Slocum, Assistant Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, West.
  • Jim Brandon, Dorm Life (Attention Span Media)’s most popular web series
  • Brady Brim-DeForest, CEO and co-founder of, the leading authority in the web television industry. (If you’re interested in online TV, they said this is a great thing to keep your eye on to keep up.)
  • Rajeev Sigamoney – Among other things, he shot the web series, Jesus People, viewed by half a million YouTube viewers, which spawned Jesus People: The Movie.
  • Rob Kirbyson – Wrote and directed CTRL for NBC Universal, the first stand-alone web series produced by a major network.
The new media is web content, meaning online TV series. These are very short, often only 5 minutes per episode. They often make 10 episodes per season (50 minutes), and if they get to go two season, then they have 100 minutes which they can string together for a movie. Can you imagine writing 10 or 20 5-minute episodes that all have a complete story including a twist at the end, but that all have an over-arching story line that works when they’re all strung together? Wow.

We got to screen [that means “see”!] an episode of each, plus some clips from the Streamy Awards. You should take a little time and google some of these and watch an episode or two. These are comedies. Another genre that is doing well as online TV is horror.

Brands often want to attached to web shows, for example NesTea sponsored CTRL. So they say you can make a living by making online content.

Check out and

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 11 - Act One Writing Seminar

Day 11: July 1, 2010

9:00 – 9:30 Genevieve Parker: Devotion and Prayer
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

9:30 – 12:00 Phil Nemy: Networking
Author of Get a Reel Job. Awesome information. Everything this guy said was gold! On how to network, how to build relationships, coaching meetings, business relationships, resumes. I have to get his book!

1:00 – 5:00 Dick Lyles: Introduction to Self Leadership Take charge of your career and your development. (Is with Origin Entertainment.) How to take charge of myself and guide my own career to where I want to be. Very informative. Very helpful.

5:00 – 7:00 Dinner: Burgers and In & Out
We discussed log lines and pitches. Producers were talking with Writers about possibly doing some projects together. It was very cool.

7:00 – 9:00 Chris Easterly: Unnatural History
Screened an episode of this a show for Cartoon Network. I liked the show. “If you were 12, that would have blown your mind.” – Chris Easterly

Looks like a short day, but pretty long sessions. I'm learning so much. It's really great.

My husband left this morning to drive out and get me. He's half way here. I'll get to see him tomorrow!

Day 10 - Act One Writing Seminar

Day 10: June 30, 2010

Seriously? It’s day ten?! Here are the events of the day plus a few of my notes from the classes. At the bottom there is a special note, prayer request, and a link I hope you will take a moment to read and pray over. Thanks.

9:30 – 10:30 Ben Lobato
Read: Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. You guys are the scribes who tell the stories of our time that need to be told.

10:00 – 12:00 Panel: Agents, Managers, Attorneys & Guilds
Travis Mann (lawyer), Chuck Slocum (WGA), Brant Rose (agency) and Toochis Morin (agent, actress)

Toochis: If you’re a writer, then have the value of writing. Can’t tell you how many writers you give them notes and they latch on and won’t listen. The market has shrunk. The people who make it are entrepreneurs. Have the work ethic to actually write. I won’t work with writers who write only one script a year. Just can’t do it.

Chuck: The feature / studio market has kind of dried up. So it has become this whole freelance thing that you [we] are all a part of.

1:00 – 2:30 TV Panel: Coleman (Cole) Luck III and Kara Lee Burk
Talked about their experiences working on TV shows, including The Unit and Romantically Challenged respectively.
2:30 – 5:00 Jack Gilbert: The Sitcom Writers Room
Many sitcoms are three-camera shows. Others are one-camera, like The Office.

We watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory and brainstormed how it might go. Then watched how the episode really went and why the writers might have done what they did.

7:00 – 9:00 Leverage screening: Melissa Glenn and Jessica Reider

We watched an episode and then heard how these two writers got on the show and discussed how they work together on episodes. Very fun!

SPECIAL NOTE AND PRAYER REQUEST: My heart is breaking for the California Highway Patrol. The CHP has lost four (FOUR!) patrolmen in the last three weeks. All of them were killed during traffic stops, or attempting traffic stops. All of them left behind wives. Three of them left behind children. One of them left behind an expectant wife. At least one had a partner who rendered aid, which means he probably witnessed everything. Would you please keep each of these families, the co-workers, and the entire CHP family in your prayers? Thank you.

More info here: