Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter June 7, 2020

We Knew They Were Great. This Just Confirms It!
Screenwriters’ Workshop is proud to announce that the McKnight Foundation named two writers, long-affiliated with our group, as 2020 McKnight Media Artist Fellows. David Buchanan and Karen Frank were both awarded $25,000 fellowships. David was a panelist at SWW’s annual meeting two years ago on self-producing films, and his script was read at a table reading on April 26th. Karen is SWW’s 2nd Sunday group moderator, a member of our educational programs committee, a finalist in several national contests over the years, and a previous McKnight Fellow in Screenwriting.

These awards will enable them to study, reflect, experiment, and explore over a twelve month period with support and assistance from FilmNorth and the McKnight Foundation. In addition to the cash award, the program supports its fellows by creating opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, by organizing a year-end McKnight Retrospective featuring the fellows, by providing assistance to attend the annual Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, and by offering special class and workshop opportunities through FilmNorth.

2nd Sunday Script Reading
Speaking of Karen Frank, the 2nd Sunday Script Reading for June will feature her script Buried. The reading will be online on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 6:30 PM. On July 12th, the 2nd Sunday reading will feature Fernando Almeida’s psychological horror script Pumpkin’s Abyss.

To join us on Zoom go to:
Meeting ID: 533 859 616
Password: 848149
One tap mobile: +16465588656,,533859616# US (New York)
By your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Congratulations to Our Social Distancing Writers!
On May 24th our group of writers and friends met online to read four fabulous shorts. Thank you to our writers who submitted the following scripts:

  • Contaminated by Kelly Lamphear-Dash
  • Local, Long-Distance Relationship by Michael Dugan
  • The Shell by Neal Patrick Peterson
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, ABC by Tiffa Foster

Those attending voted live on their favorite script. It is a testament to the quality of the shorts that all the entrants were within points of one another. In the end, Neal Peterson was the winner with his lovely short script “The Shell” about two phobic people who would never have met one another if it weren’t for social distancing.

Take Some Time for Yourself. Try Our Next Shorts Contest—“The Charlie Chaplin Challenge”
Yes, the world sucks right now, but you can channel your frustrations into your screenwriting. We’re waiting for the theaters to open, so we can have a staged reading for the finalists of our “For Love or Money Reverse Fee Shorts Contest.” Stay tuned on that! In the meantime, try our next, online mini-contest: “The Charlie Chaplin Challenge.”

Because screenwriting is a visual medium, it is important to convey as much of your story as possible through image. For this challenge, you will be asked to write a short script following the guidelines, eligibility requirements, and procedures for our regular short script contest (10 page, 4 character maximum, must be a member of SWW, etc…), but instead of a theme, entrants should write a film with no more than ten lines of dialogue. It does not have to be a silent film, however. Other sounds are allowed. Sign language is allowed as long as it is used for its visual beauty and not translated into subtitles.

Scripts must be received no later than midnight on August 15th, and scripts will be read and voted on online on Sunday, August 30th at 6:30 PM (see Zoom link below). The winner will receive bragging rights and an amazing SWWag T-Shirt. Guests are welcome to participate in the reading and voting. Email your entries in .pdf format to

Seminar on Screenplay Editing Tips
On June 28th at 6:30 PM SWW board member Ed Leschke will host a one hour seminar on screenplay editing tips that will improve your script’s readability and keep your reader’s focus on your story. This workshop is NOT about formatting, but tips that will make your script look more professional and polished for contest and production company readers. See the Zoom link below.

Quarterly Board and Committee Meetings
Our SWW Board and Committee Meeting will be Saturday, July 18th at 3:00 PM. All members are welcome to participate. See Zoom link below.

Mini-Calendar of Events
Until further notice, with the exception of Saturday Script Group, all SWW events will be online on Zoom at:

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 533 859 616
Password: 848149
One tap mobile: +16465588656,,533859616# US (New York)
By your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Saturday Script Group—Online weekly. See the website for more information
Sunday Script Group—Online the first and third Sundays of each month (June 7th, June 21st, July 19th, Aug. 2nd, Aug. 16th, etc…)
NOTE: There will be no Sunday Script Group on July 5th.
Sunday, June 14th at 6:30 PM—2nd Sunday Reading of Karen Frank’s script Buried
Sunday, June 28th at 6:30 PM—Presentation on Copyright for Screenwriters (see above)
Sunday, July 12th at 6:30 PM—2nd Sunday Reading of Fernando Almeida’s script Pumpkin’s Abyss
August 15th at Midnight—Charlie Chaplin Challenge mini-contest due (see above)
August 30th at 6:30—Online reading and voting on the Charlie Chaplin Challenge scripts

And remember… When the going gets tough, write it down!