Screenwriters Workshop Newsletter December 31, 2019

This Year, We’re Really Acting Out!
Being a screenwriter can be a lonely existence. You go to work, come home, spend a little time with the family, and then it’s just you and the laptop. Together. For hours. With no internet and no distractions. Then when you’re done, it’s a long, winding road to market the script. Our goal this year is to bring a little more community and fun back into your writing—and to support you on the way to your goal.

We’re still working on plans for our annual meeting in mid-February, so plan to bring a logline or 3 sentence synopses to be acted out by our talented improv group. The loglines that inspires the best performance will win a prize (and a heck of a lot of admiration!). We’re also acting out in our new, short script contest with a staged performance for the winners. See below for details!

We’re Changing Things Up in Our Programs

We’re making some changes in our script group schedule. Saturday morning script groups will continue as always—reading scripts on a weekly basis, five pages at a time. The Sunday group, however, will review scripts ten pages at a time but ONLY on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. As announced previously, non-members can try out script groups for up to three times before deciding on whether to become a member. Click here for more information on our script groups and check on any schedule changes.

We’re freeing up some time for new, innovative programs. By opening up the 2nd, 4th, and (sometimes) 5th Sunday in the month, we are looking to offer opportunities to engage with and advance your work, such as a night to review treatments, pitches, loglines, or marketing your script. We may want to push a board or committee meeting to a Sunday to offer speakers on a Saturday. We could have a group writing jam session or work together to plot a concept. We have a million (well, maybe not quite that many) ideas, but now we have a little more time to do them. We will be posting an events calendar on the website, so check it out if you’re in the mood for something new–or watch the newsletter for upcoming programs offerings.

Give Me the Treatment!
Our first new program will be reviewing treatments for presenting and marketing your screenplay. We will meet on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 6:30 PM at FilMNorth (550 Vandalia Street in St. Paul) to share treatments in the same way we share script pages in our script groups. Bring a treatment for a script you have completed or one you have yet to write. See examples of treatments for the work of others. Treatments can be one to ten pages in length. Don’t know what a treatment is or what it’s for? Check it out here.

Minneapolis Community & Technical College logoWe’ve put 2nd Tuesday on hold to work out a few kinks. With the restructuring of MCTC’s screenwriting program, we are temporarily putting a hold on 2nd Tuesday. It might come back as 2nd Sunday or stay on Tuesday with a different venue. We’re still working on it, so stay tuned.

AND behind the velvet curtain… We’ve formed an ad hoc (that means, in Latin, for a specific purpose only) committee of dedicated board and committee members who are working with an operations consultant to improve the member experience. From websites to member sign-ups, our egghead crew is looking at ways to better systematize our processes, so look for more changes in the coming year.

We’re Paying YOU to Write: Our First Ever, “Reverse Fee,” For-Love-Or-Money, Short Script Contest (for Members Only)
You may think we’re crazy, but we’re going to pay you to enter our short script contest this year. You see, we really, really want you to write, so we are paying you $5 to enter. Here’s how it works:

  1. You write a script that fits the criteria on our website. It must be on this year’s theme: “For Love or Money.”
  2. Send it in according to the instructions on the 2020 Shorts Contest page on our website. NOTE: It must be in by midnight, March 15th, 2020.
  3. Our team of judges will review the scripts anonymously.
  4. The top five scripts (as rated by our judges) will be read at a free, professional public reading—and you can invite your friends to show them how talented you are.
  5. Everyone meeting the criteria gets paid $5 cash when they show up for the reading!

Note: Only one entry per member, and your membership must be paid in full by the time you enter.

January 5th is National Screenwriters Day
Did you know that screenwriters have their own special day? They do. It even says so on the National Day website which has some ideas on how to observe this day just for you. This Sunday, kick back, relax, go to a coffee shop or a quiet place in your house and start on your New Year’s resolution to just write. Or join us at a script group. We’re always happy to see you!

Bragging Rights
Even though there hasn’t been a newsletter for a while, it doesn’t mean our members have been resting on their laurels. Here’s some of the exciting things going on with our members:

  • Two scripts by Elyse Forbes advanced to the second round of the Austin Film Festival’s 2019 Screenwriting Competition. They are: Grace & Frankie: The Plot – Comedy Spec category and Project S.I.R.E.N. – Drama Pilot presented by AMC category. See here for details. Congratulations, Elyse!
  • Long-time SWW member Peter Groynom and wrote and directed “Jane’s Comet” earlier this year and screened at this year’s Twin Cities Film Fest. They were in “The Present is Female” block of shorts on Monday, 10/21 at 8:30pm and Tuesday, 10/22 at 12:30pm. Way to go, Peter!

Don’t forget, Screenwriters Workshop members get public shout outs for placing in major contests or production efforts. Keep us in the loop by sending an email to “Braggin Rights” at: Thanks!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
Thanks to Beth Adams, Fernando Almeida, and Myrtle McGovern who each used their $500 employee contribution from Optum/UnitedHealthcare to donate to Screenwriters’ Workshop. Their company donates to organizations when their employees volunteer a minimum number of hours with a nonprofit.

If your organization has a matching grants program, consider making an end-of-the-year contribution to Screenwriters’ Workshop. As a 501c3 organization, all contributions are a tax write-off. Thanks again!