SWW Newsletter—May 2022

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Annual Meeting Next Week, May 21st @ 6:00 PM at FilmNorth and Online

Join Us for Our Annual Meeting and Jump Start Your Writing!

If you’ve been locked inside for two years (as we all have been) and are ready to break free, connect with people in the real world.  Or not.  Our SWW Annual Meeting will be hybrid.  On Zoom (if you’re still into that thing) and in person at FilmNorth at 550 Vandalia in St. Paul.  Of course, on Zoom you don’t get wine and cheese.

REGISTER ON ZOOM for BOTH in-person and online.  This will automatically enter you for drawings, get your beverage choice, and send you a link if you need it.  (If you don’t, just ignore it and come in person.)  There is no charge for this event.

Here’s the order of the evening:

6 PM   Social hour (Yes, there will be wine.  And beer.  And non-wine and beer.)
6:30   A short business meeting (as required by law but you can keep eating)
7:00  Keynote, Michelle Perdue, motivational speaker, SWW member, and author of the new book Rise and Shine!  How to Live a Life of Resilience and Perform at Your Potential.  Michelle will speak about ways to set goals, stick to them, and live creatively for long-term personal growth—despite the obstacles (including the obstacles we love, like our kids).  For aspiring screenwriters, these skills are a must. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity for Q&A with Michelle.
8:00  Prize Drawings & Trivia
Honors for Our Mini-Challenge Winners (see below), Our $250 Winner, and the Winner of Our Fantasy Academy Award Speech Contest
After That       Hang out and have fun!

The winners of our short script Mini-Challenges are as follows:

Social Distancing Challenge (May 2020)—“The Shell” by Neal Patrick Peterson on themes of social distancing
The Charlie Chaplin Challenge (August 2020)—“Dreamsicle” by Karen Frank, a script with 10 words of dialogue or less
The Halloween Challenge (October 2020)—“Knock Yourself Out” by Tiffa Foster, a Halloween-themed script
Procrastination Challenge (January 2021)—“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Jeff Holman, on the theme of procrastination
The 5 Senses Challenge (March 2021)—“The Driving Lesson” by Karen Frank, a script that evokes all five senses
A Stitch in Time Challenge (June 2021)—“Reverse Wedding Pact” by Mike Dugan, a script that has a flashback or flash forward
The “Twisting Tropes Challenge” (September 2021)—“A Hooker, Her Pimp, and Their John” by Lucas Miller, a script that is written contrary to a common trope in movies
The Medium-Inspired Challenge (November 2021)—“Starry Night” by Charlton Metcalf, a script that was inspired by a work of visual art.

Our outside judges had some great things to say about you all, but, alas, there is only one winner.  Good luck to you all!

And Don’t Forget the Shorts Showcase!

Last year was the first every SWW Short Film Showcase outside at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul.  This year, assuming you’re COVID free, you can join us indoors for a night of short films by our members who’ve written, directed, and/or produced shorts.  If you’re a member with a short up your sleeve, plan on submitting it to the showcase.  Of course, if you don’t have one, the good news is there is still time to write and shoot your short film.  Films must be 10 minutes or less to be considered.  Stay tuned for further information in future newsletters.

Submissions Now Accepted for the 2022 Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth

Are you interested in series writing?  The Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth is now accepting scripts, pitches or videos for series.  Minnesota screenwriters are encouraged to submit applications now for the Festival in the fall.  The deadline for applications is June 25thClick here to apply.

Congratulations to SWW Members Karen Frank and David Buchanan Who Were Honored at the Walker on May 12th

Both Karen and David were McKnight Media Arts Fellows.  Check out info on the event by clicking here.

Participate in a Script Group, 2nd Sunday Table Reading, or Wednesday Writers’ Workout

Throughout the pandemic, our regular script groups have continued, 2nd Sunday has transferred hands, and our pilot of Wednesday Writers’ Workshop is now a regular program on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:00 PM.  Drop in to hone your craft or simply get inspired.

P.S.  Our apologies for some technical difficulties on our last round of Wednesday Writers’ Workout.  We’ll get this right next time.

Mini-Schedule of Upcoming Events:

May 21st—Annual Meeting
June 8th—Wednesday Writers’ Workout
June 12th—2nd Sunday Script Reading
Week of June 22nd—Catalyst Story Road
June 25th—Catalyst Deadline
Mid-Late July—Shorts Showcase

Except for the Saturday morning script group AND the annual meeting, all online events are available at:

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

SWW Newsletter March 26, 2022

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Happy Oscars’ Weekend + Yes, Virginia, There Is a Showcase

academy awards oscars statueHappy Oscars’ Weekend!

If you’ve long dreamed of writing a screenplay, you’ve probably also envisioned stepping out onto the stage at the Academy Awards giving your acceptance speech for Best Screenplay—or Best Adapted Screenplay.  To make it a bit more real, write it out and send it in to mnscreenwritersworkshop@gmail.com, and we’ll print our favorites in the next newsletter.  Be clever.  Be pithy!  If we use your fantasy speech, we’ll send you a $10 Target gift card.  Members only.  Deadline is April 1, 2022 at midnight.

Evan and Noah’s Annual Oscar Reviews

If you know one thing about SWW’s 2nd Sunday Host Zach Jansen, it’s that he  loves movies.  His whole family loves movies, and for the Jansen household the Oscars are an annual holiday.  (They even make Oscar-shaped sugar cookies.). To prepare for this annual event, Zach’s kids make a video reviewing their favorite picks to win the Academy Award.  Because they’re kids, sometimes all they have to go on is the trailers, but that’s what makes their reviews all the more fun.  Click here for this year’s Oscar review.  (Spoiler alert:  They really like Dune.)

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Showcase!

Last year was the first every SWW Short Film Showcase outside at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul.  Good news!  We are currently in discussions to bring the showcase back for a second year.  If you’re a member and you have a short film you’ve written, directed, and/or produced, plan on submitting it to the showcase.  Of course, if you don’t have one, the good news is there is still time to write and shoot your short film.  Films must be 10 minutes or less to be considered.  Stay tuned for further information in future newsletters.

screenwriter David GrantDavid Grant Facilitates Wednesday Writers’ Workout on April 6th at 8 PM

Noted screenwriter David Grant will be the guest facilitator for the next  Wednesday Writers’ Workout on April 6th at 8 PM on Zoom.  (See link below.) As a screenwriter, playwright, and renowned instructor, David has had a long career nurturing other writers in their craft.

As a playwright, he has been commissioned to write new work for the Minnesota Science Museum, the  Minnesota Historical Society, Mixed Blood Theater  (in conjunction with Bedlam Theater and Voices of  Cedar-Riverside), VocalEssence, The Playwrights’ Center, and The History Theatre.  As a screenwriter, a sampling of his work includes “The Screenplay Project: Four Shorts” for Twin Cities Public Television (KTCA TV), which was  awarded the 1990 Regional Emmy Award for Best  Original Drama, the feature film scripts, “Fast  Girls” for Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, “Spirit Dive” for HBO New York, “Black & Blue,” a feature length dramatic series pilot for Davis Entertainment, and the Showtime Network, and “Block by Block,” a web-based dramatic series for children.

Don’t forget to join David to give your writing a mid-week boost!

Annual Meeting Moved to Late Spring

Due to fluctuating schedules in the first part of 2022 and a desire to reconnect in person, the Screenwriters’ Workshop Annual Meeting will be in the late Spring.  We are working out details of a speaker and a venue, but the meeting will be in person and online and include a lite lunch (sorry, not available for the online folks), the announcement of our grand prize for our Mini-Challenge winners throughout the pandemic, and prizes.

The winners of our short script Mini-Challenges are as follows:

Social Distancing Challenge (May 2020)—“The Shell” by Neal Patrick Peterson on themes of social distancing

The Charlie Chaplin Challenge (August 2020)—“Dreamsicle” by Karen Frank, a script with 10 words of dialogue or less

The Halloween Challenge (October 2020)—“Knock Yourself Out” by Tiffa Foster, a Halloween-themed script

Procrastination Challenge (January 2021)—“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Jeff Holman, on the theme of procrastination

The 5 Senses Challenge (March 2021)—“The Driving Lesson” by Karen Frank, a script that evokes all five senses

A Stitch in Time Challenge (June 2021)—“Reverse Wedding Pact” by Mike Dugan, a script that has a flashback or flash forward

The “Twisting Tropes Challenge” (September 2021)—“A Hooker, Her Pimp, and Their John” by Lucas Miller, a script that is written contrary to a common trope in movies

The Medium-Inspired Challenge (November 2021)—“Starry Night” by Charlton Metcalf, a script that was inspired by a work of visual art.

Watch the website and future newsletters for more details on the annual meeting.

Submissions Now Accepted for the 2022 Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth

Are you interested in series writing?  The Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth is now accepting scripts, pitches or videos for series.  Minnesota screenwriters are encouraged to submit applications now for the Festival in the fall.  Click here to apply.

Participate in a Script Group, 2nd Sunday Table Reading, or Wednesday Writers’ Workout

Throughout the pandemic, our regular script groups have continued, 2nd Sunday has transferred hands, and our pilot of Wednesday Writers’ Workshop is now a regular program on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:00 PM.  Drop in to hone your craft or simply get inspired.  For more details on our regular programs, go to:  https://www.screenwritersworkshop.org

Except for the Saturday morning script group, all online events are available at:

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Short Script Mini-Challenge Deadline Extended thru Nov. 27

Short Script Contest 2021

Our “Medium Inspired” Short Script Mini-Challenge Deadline Is Extended Until November 27 at Midnight

Screenwriters’ Workshop is extending the deadline for the November Mini-Challenge until Saturday, November 27 at midnight.  We figure this won’t leave you so stressed before the holidays, give you a long weekend to work on a script while you’re relaxing in the post-turkey haze.  The Medium Inspiration Mini-Challenge Reading and Voting will still be on Sunday the 28 at 6:30 PM on the Zoom link below.

By the way…
If you haven’t had a chance to enter a short script mini-challenge yet, this is your last opportunity to win before the $250 prize is awarded to one of our monthly winners from throughout the pandemic.  In addition to following the rules for our short script contests, this month’s “Medium Inspired Challenge” asks entrants to write a script based on the famous works of art Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, The Thinker by August Rodin, or The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

Join Us on Zoom! 
Except for the Saturday morning script group, all SWW online events are available at:
Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09
Meeting ID: 533 859 616:
Passcode: 848149
Call in:
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Short Films in the Showcase + Buy Tickets Now!

SWW Shorts Showcase 2021
Here Are the Films…

The SWW Shorts Showcase will be next Saturday, July 17th from 7 PM-10 PM outside at the Gremlin Theater, near the Annex Building at 550 Vandalia Street in St. Paul (near Film North and Lake Monster Brewery).

The event will showcase films in which Screenwriters’ Workshop members served as writers, directors, or producers.  The films that will be featured are as follows in alphabetical order:

  • “After I Kill Mrs. Pritchett, I Am Coming After You” by member Zach Jansen
  • “Black Hole” by member Oussama “Sam” Lamharzi Alaoui
  • “Dactylo” by member Oussama “Sam” Lamharzi Alaoui
  • “Kyle Goes to Mars” by member David Erickson
  • “Richfield Institute for Modest Jobs – PSA” by member Daniel Polsfuss
  • “Song Without Words” by member Andy Froemke
  • “The Deft” by member Ruth Maramis
  • “The Tour” by member John Gigrich
  • “You Are Here” by members Kelly Lamphear-Dash and Karen Frank

Sequence of the films is still in process.  Filmmakers will share their stories about how they took their ideas from script to screen.  The showcase will also include a social hour with food, fun, games, and prizes.

Buy Your Tickets Now to Support Your Fellow Screenwriters!

Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.  Price includes food, entertainment, admission, and fun prizes.  Purchase tickets online through Eventbrite.  The site will also allow you to order a Screenwriters’ Workshop t-shirt or renew your membership.

Some chairs will be provided the night of the event, but bring your own, if you can, to kick back in style and comfort.  Throw on some bug spray while you’re at it, because it’s outside in Minnesota.  Cash will not be taken at the door, but tickets will be available for purchase online until sold out.

Join us under the stars to see how dreams come to life.

Watch here on the Screenwriters’ Workshop website for any updates.

Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter for June, 2021

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June 20, 2021: Big Events Coming Up–Submit NOW to SWW Shorts Showcase 2021

Join Us for the SWW Shorts Showcase—Outside at Gremlin Theater, St. Paul on Saturday, July 17th, 2021 from 7-10 PM.

Come to a fun evening of eats and cinematic treats showcasing our talented Minnesotan filmmakers at the Gremlin Theater (across from FilmNorth at 550 Vandalia in St. Paul). Our SWW members will be showing their produced short films. The goal of the showcase is to celebrate SWW members’ writing transformed into film.

Be entertained and reconnect with real people for real (and reel) fun! The showcase will include a social hour, comedy, trivia, prizes/swag, and, of course, short films. See below for information on how to submit.

Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Price includes food, entertainment, admission, and fun prizes. Purchase tickets online through Eventbrite. Sorry, no cash taken at the door. Order soon, as spaces are limited!

Some seating is provided, but for true comfort, BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair)!

Join us under the stars to see how dreams come to life. Stay tuned for details.

Submit Your Completed Short Film for Our SWW Shorts Showcase ASAP—deadline is June 30th

If you are a member of Screenwriters Workshop and have written, directed, or produced a short film and can get rights to have it shown, submit it to our SWW Shorts Showcase (see above) no later than June 30th at midnight. There is no charge to submit, but non-members must join in order to be eligible to have their films shown.

To enter, send us an email with a link for viewing and download, completed and in .mp4 format. Eligibility requirements and guidelines:

  • Writer, producer, or director must be a current, dues-paying member of SWW.
  • Film can be in any genre and be 20 minutes or less.
  • Certain offensive language is never acceptable, such as racial slurs, homophobic language, etc. Any profanity which is included for the sole purpose of being shocking and making the audience feel uncomfortable will not be allowed.
  • Number of shorts will be determined by submissions and time available for showing. Slots are limited. Organizers will try to fit in as many films as time will allow.
  • Entrants must provide copyright/sign-off for permission for one-time use showing.
  • Film must be available for download thorough link (Vimeo, Dropbox, YouTube, etc…).
  • Priority will be given to more recently completed films.
  • Members may submit multiple entries.
  • Deadline for entry is June 30th.

Need a Getaway in the Fall? Go to the Catalyst Festival in Duluth for September 29th – October 3rd

Mark your calendars now. The Catalyst Content Festival is a 5-day annual event in Duluth, Minnesota where selected pitches, scripts, and produced pilots/series are showcased to the general public & industry audiences. The festival also includes live panel discussions, industry social events, and an awards ceremony. Screenwriters’ Workshop is working with the Catalyst Story Institute and Content Festival in Duluth to announce special promotions in the coming months just for our members. Watch the SWW newsletter, website, and social media for details.

There is deadline of July 5th to submit a pilot script, series pitch, filmed episode, etc., for the festival. For details, go to: https://www.catalystories.org/submit.

Note: This festival is limited to narrative/episodic/serialized content of any genre, style, and type: comedy, drama, thriller, scripted, unscripted, documentary, social media, influencer, short form, “half-hour”, “hour-long”, radio, podcast, reality, talk show, game show, animation, kids, gaming, VR, mobile, etc. Feature films are NOT accepted for pitching.

Second Sunday on Summer Slack—Submit for September!

Okay, we’re not really slacking (we’re writers and we need a little alliteration in our lives), but Second Sunday is taking a break over the summer. If you have a completed script and want a full table read to assist with plot, structure, and character development, sign up for Second Sunday to think through those bigger questions that you can’t handle in the weekly script group. Shoot us an email with a name and description of the script, and we will work it into the lineup as availability permits. Second Sunday works best for scripts that are on their second draft and have already gone through script groups for dialogue and page level analysis.
Note: Complete screenplays receive first priority, but we are now accepting “stuck scripts.”

UPDATE:  Our Mini-Challenge Winner, Our Next Reading, and Our Next Challenge…

Congratulations to Karen Frank who won our March Short Script Mini-Challenge with her script “The Driving Lesson.” She will have the choice of either an SWW t-shirt or $20 and be eligible to compete with other mini-challenge winners for $250 at the end of the year.

Our Stitch-in-Time Challenge Mini-Challenge Entries will be read online at Zoom (see link below) at 6:30 PM on Sunday, June 27th. The deadline for members was on June 15th at midnight. Non-members may attend the public online reading and voting events.

Our NEXT mini-challenge deadline will be September 15th for the “Twisting Tropes Mini-Challenge” that requires writers to write against (contrary to) a common movie troupe. In your entry, you must identify which trope you are writing against. Here are some, and there are many more if you just google. In addition to following the general rules of our short script contest, each entry must follow the parameters of the particular challenge.

Voting for each of these will be done in a public, online reading. Winners of each mini-challenge will choose between an SWW t-shirt and $20. They will also be entered into the final juried award at the end of the year for a chance to win $250. Members only are eligible to enter.

Wednesday Writers’ Workout

Kick start your writing with our quarterly exercises to test your skill. Our next Wednesday Writers’ Workout will be on Wednesday, July 7th at 8:00 PM. Take some time on hump day after the kids are tucked in and the cat is curled up at your feet to relax with some writing to stretch your skills. Our next workout will practice coming in late and leaving early. You won’t have to share what you wrote (so don’t feel you need to come late and leave early). After the exercise, we will talk about what we’ve learned in the process. Join us at the Zoom link below.

Calendar Through 2021

In addition to Saturday Script Groups, Sunday Script Group, and 2nd Sunday Script Readings, see below for a list of SWW events through the end of the year:

  • June 27th –A Stitch in Time Mini-Challenge Reading and Voting at 6:30 PM
  • July 7th—Wednesday Writers’ Workout on Coming in Late, Leaving Early at 8:00 PM
  • July 11th—Second Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • August 8th –Second Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • September 12th—Second Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • September 15th –Twisting Tropes Mini-Challenge Deadline at Midnight
  • September 26th—Twisting Tropes Mini-Challenge Reading and Voting at 6:30 PM
  • October 10th –Second Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • November 14th—Second Sunday at 6:30 PM
  • November 15th –Medium Inspiration Mini-Challenge Deadline at Midnight
  • November 28th—Medium Inspiration Mini-Challenge Reading and Voting at 6:30 PM
  • December 12th –Second Sunday at 6:30 PM

Except for the Saturday morning script group, all online events are available at:

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our big events!