Social Distancing Script Contest Reading TONIGHT at 6:30 PM

Social Distancing Short Script Contest and Online Reading

Join Us Tonight, Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Join us and our four talented writers for a script reading of shorts submitted for our mini-contest on the theme of social distancing. Vote for your favorite script and help its writer win the coveted SWWag T-shirt!

Topic: Social Distancing Script Reading & Contest

Time: May 24, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 826 9085 8114

Password: 967763

One tap mobile:

+16465588656,,82690858114# US (New York)

Dial by your location:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)


Screenwriters Workshop Newsletter March 30, 2020

Screenwriting Through the Shelter-In-Place
There is a lot of turmoil in the world right now.  Whether it’s dealing with a job loss, furlough, loss of income, or just loss of toilet paper.  We all have our stressors.  We all feel isolated right now.  Writing is a way to deal with that.  It helps us process our fears and keep us focused on our dreams.  To help you in this time, Screenwriters’ Workshop has put together some online resources:

Goal-Setting During the Confinement
Set your goals by clicking on this link.  Screenwriters Workshop will send you periodic reminders of your goal, so you don’t get off track during what might be a productive time.  If you want, you can request an accountability partner through this link who might help keep you on track.

Social Distancing Script Contest and Online Reading
If you write a short script (10 pages or less, 4 characters or less with limited locations) on a theme related to the COVID-19 response (e.g. social distancing, home confinement, working with kids around, relationships growing together or apart, loneliness, etc…) send it to no later than April 17th at midnight.  We will assign you a time for an online reading of your script and have online voting for our favorite.  Winner(s) will receive an SWW t-shirt.  It’s like a script group, but online, informal, and with a prize!

Script Groups Are Now Online
Saturday and Sunday Script Groups, as well as 2nd Sunday Script Readings are now online according to their usual schedule.  For Saturday Script group, contact group leader Chris Velasco for meeting procedures.  For Sunday Group use the following instructions for Zoom Meetings on the 1st and 3rd Sundays starting April 5th:

Topic: Sunday Night Script Group
Time: This is a recurring meeting for the 1st and 3rd Sundays in each month
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 533 859 616
Password: 848149
Dial by your location:
Meeting ID: 533 859 616
Find your local number

See the calendar below for instructions for specific, 2nd Sunday readings.  Thursday night script group is postponed until further notice.  We will notify you as soon as we are able to meet live.  For instructions on using Zoom meetings, see this YouTube video on Zoom or the many others online with cool features on how to automatically enhance our lighting or project yourself on a beach in Hawaii (very therapeutic, but requires a lot of processing power)!

Are You Waiting For Love or Money?
Of course you are!  March 15th was the deadline of our For Love or Money Shorts Contest.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  We will contact you about getting you the $5 cash, as we know you will need it for toilet paper and wipes!  The scripts are now in the hands of our judging committee, so we will inform you as soon as we have scripts that will be read professionally in a theater (as soon as the theaters open up!).

Mini-Calendar of Events
Outside of regular script group meetings, here’s the short list of what Screenwriters’ Workshop has planned in the months to come:

April 18thQuarterly board and committee meetings at ONLINE open to all who want to pitch in and plan some events with us.
Time: Apr 18, 2020 01:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 719 267 501
Password: 975274

April 26thDavid Buchanan’s script will be read for 2nd Sunday reading (moved from Easter) will be ONLINE unless otherwise notified.
Time: Apr 26, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 654 925 245
Password: 747622

May 10th2nd Sunday Script reading for Lucas Miller.  Hopefully we’ll be back at Film North by this time, but if not, but as a back-up or if you choose to remote in.
Time: May 10, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 641 354 194
Password: 960295

Get Con-tested!
While you’re at home, working in Zoom meetings or corralling the kids, don’t forget that upcoming national contests that are out there.  Here are a few that are coming up:
The Stuck-at-Home Film Contest—put on by the 48 Hour Film Project, various deadlines
The Nicholl Fellowships—international screenwriting competition sponsored by the Academy Awards, deadlines April 9th(regular) and May 1st (late)
Script Pipeline—deadline April 15th
Page International Screenwriting Awards—last minute deadline April 20th

Bragging Rights
And if you do have success in contests or other sorts of film-related or writing ventures (literary, not your Master’s thesis), don’t forget, Screenwriters Workshop members get public shout outs for placing in major contests or production efforts.  Keep us in the loop at:

For Hope and Resilience 
Finally, these are times when we all need inspiration to make it through.  Consider subscribing to the Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day.  You get a beautiful, daily poem every day to your inbox, such this one “The Promise” by Jane Hirschfield about the need for stability in a changing world.  Lovely.


Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter, April 9, 2019


Big News: Shorts Contest Winners, National Conference Coming, Opportunity for Pitching

As You Read On, Think of Getting Involved in Board Committee Meetings
With all the exciting events and opportunities you will read about below, know that you can be a part of it. Join an SWW Board Committee to pitch in to plan, meet new people, and learn more about screenwriting. There are opportunities on our Educational Programs, Member Services, Marketing & Public Relations, and Grants & Fundraising Committees. Our next committee meetings will be on Saturday from 11:30-12:30 followed by lunch and casual conversation. You can even stay another hour for the board meeting—but only if you want to. Meet at:
Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:30 AM at FilMNorth, 550 Vandalia

Congratulations to the Winners of Our Shorts Contest
The results are back on the Screenwriters’ Workshop 2019 Shorts Contest, and our judges came back with a tie! The two first prize winners are Tiffa Foster with her script, “Wait, What?” and Karen Frank with her short screenplay, “You are Here.” Congratulations to both of you and a great thank you to all the writers who submitted their short scripts.

National Conference Coming to Minneapolis This Summer
The 2019 University Film and Video Conference will be at Augsburg University in Minneapolis and will run from Tuesday, July 30 through Friday, August 2, 2019. The theme of the conference is “Land of 10,000 Tales.” The UFVA Conference and members will be showing and telling, analyzing, and explaining their stories in the screening rooms and classrooms of the Augsburg campus. Screenwriters Workshop is working with the conference to create special opportunities for SWW members.

The Educational Programs Committee is coordinating a panel discussion on the second night of the conference entitled, “The Future of Story.” This will include Minnesota’s own screenwriting guru Tom Pope. Watch future newsletters for times and locations.

Prepare Your Pitches!
As part of “The Future of Story” event on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, members of Screenwriters’ Workshop will have the opportunity to pitch to the panel. Five members will be able to have there best pitch critiqued by the presenters. You never, know, there could be some secret scouts in the group (but the important thing is that you learning, right?). To make it fair and square, a board member will draw the five names from those interested and attending The Future of Story event. You have to be there, though, be a member of SWW, and be ready to throw out a game-winning pitch!

48 Hour Film Project
Again this year, SWW will sponsor a team for the 48 Hour Film Project. The team will compete with other local teams in the Twin Cities to create a film in 48 hours the weekend of May 31-June 2, 2019. There will be an information session later in the Spring, so watch for details. If you are interested in being a part of this event, email us at:

Longtime SWW Member Interviewed, Gives Shout Out to Screenwriters’ Workshop
Member Russ Meyer was recently interviewed on the St. Paul FilmCast podcast. In the interview, he discusses screenwriting and his new novella, After the Fedora (available from and about a private investigator who, after being knocked out by a home run ball, must save the life of a street musician who stole his beloved fedora. Thanks, Russ, for the shout out you gave to Screenwriters’ Workshop!


Screenwriters Workshop Newsletter October 31, 2018

Upcoming Events and Contests

A Tribute to Al Easter
November 14th at 7:30 PM at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul
Longtime SWW member Al Easter died earlier this year.  To honor this prolific screenwriter of the highest caliber, the board is sponsoring a tribute to Al with a reading of selections of his scripts.  Whether you knew Al as the dignified narrator at Second Tuesday events or the veteran editor with a minimalist style, or even if you never met him at all, Al’s many award-winning scripts are a virtual master class in effective and efficient screenwriting.  Afterward, we will toast Al’s memory at Lake Monster Brewery next door.  Click here to read a fun essay Al had published in the StarTribune shortly before he died.

Annual General Membership Meeting
POSTPONED TO JANUARY, DETAILS TBA. Read more by clicking here.

December 1st from 9:30 AM to noon at the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis
Bring a friend (if they’re a screenwriter) to our annual general membership meeting where you can get up-to-date information about what’s going on with the group, have a chance to share with the board what you would like to see in the next year, and discover ways you can get involved with the group.  The topic this year’s annual meeting will be “Writing for Production.”  It will feature local production artist Joe Midthun and another colleague will share their insights with writers on how to write for production—especially with independent production in mind.  They will seed your imagination about what is possible for special effects, production design, and storyboarding and give you guidance about working with artists.  Watch for more information closer to the date.

Pop-Up Screenwriting Studio
Saturday (UPDATE–click here for final details), December 15, 10am-noon, at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe in Minneapolis
Need an excuse to plant your seat to the chair and just write?  The Pop-Up Screenwriting Studio is the ultimate writer’s jam session, designed to help you just do it.  You can bring your laptop or yellow legal pad and write by yourself, sipping a latte, or you can pull in experts who will be wandering the floor, ready to help you improve your work.  Show up early, because the first 20 participants will even get $5 coupons for free drinks!

SWW 2019 Short Script Challenge
Deadline: January 15, 2019 (Midnight)
Start the new year off right by jumping into your screenwriting with the annual shorts contest.  The rules will be the same as last year with scripts of all genres welcomed with no theme requirements.  The entry fee is $15 per script. The Grand Prize winner will take home $500.  You can enter up to three times.  You must be a paid member of Screenwriters Workshop to enter.  Watch the website in December for further details, but start writing now.

SWW 2019 Feature Contest
Deadline: March 15, 2019 (Midnight)
After your short is done, start thinking BIG for the 2019 Feature contest.  Feature screenplays must be in standard screenplay format between 90 and 120 pages in length.  Your feature entry can be on any topic.   First prize is $500, second prize is $300 and third prize is $200.  Entry fee is $50 for each screenplay up to a maximum of two.  Students entries are $25 for each screenplay up to a maximum of two.  You must be a paid member of Screenwriters Workshop to enter.  Watch the website in December for further details, but start writing now.

Informational Meeting on the 48 Hour Film Project
February / March 2019
Watch the calendar for an organizational meeting of the SWW sponsored team for the 48 Hour Film Project that is held annually in early June.  Start thinking about taking a weekend away to get in touch with your inner filmmaker!

Exciting News from Our Members & Friends

Since our last newsletter went out in the summer, a lot of exciting things have been happening for our members.  If case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s the skinny:

The Screenwriters’ Workshop-sponsored team for the 48 Hour Film Project had a premier of its short film at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis on June 14th.  A large group showed up to cheer on our filmmakers and see a lot of other innovative short productions.  SWW will make this an annual event.

Member Frank Anderson’s film Special Ed premiered in July at The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights to a packed house.  Frank and the cast members had a Q&A afterwards.  Frank’s feature-length film was also shown on October 23rd at the Icon Theater in St. Louis Park as a part of the Twin Cities Film Festival.

The film Black, written and directed by SWW member David Buchanan, also had a showing at the Twin Cities Film Festival on October 20, 2018.  Black, filmed in Minnesota during 2017-2018, is about a black man who begins an uprising after his brother is killed by police during a routine traffic stop.  Click here to see the trailer on the Screenwriters’ Workshop website.

SWW member Patricia Fox’s short film 100,000 Miles a Second, produced by her and fellow SWW member Kelly Lamphear-Dash and directed by former SWW board member Jeremy Bandow, premiered at the Marina del Rey Film-Festival in October.  The film is based on an actual experience the writer had with a homeless street musician.

Last but not least, Wenonah Wilms’ feature screenplay Horsehead Girls! earned her one of the four 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships.  Click here to see the SWW website for a more complete description of Wenonah’s accomplishments.

Congratulations to all our active filmmakers!  Do you have a project in the works?  If so, let us know at    We cannot publicize every project, but we do want to shine the light on major events in our members’ careers.

In Memoriam

Our hearts were broken once again when longtime Screenwriters’ Workshop board member and dear friend Perry Lueders died this summer after a battle with cancer.   A director and professor of theater for over 50 years, Perry always brought life to the table readings of Second Tuesday and the Sunday Night Script Group.  He was always a great cheerleader for everyone in the group and worked hard to support Screenwriters’ Workshop in whatever way he could.  SWW is planning to honor his work later in the Spring.  We will miss you, Perry!  Click here to read a fun tribute, and click here for his obituary.

A Changing of the Guard

Hafed Bouassida (on right) and Perry Lueders (on left)

In addition to Perry leaving the board in July due to illness, longtime SWW President Hafed Bouassida retired from the board.  He will continue to support the board bringing his wisdom and experience to the educational programs committee.  Julie Meyer, facilitator for the Sunday Script Group, was elected the new president.  Also elected to the board were Dick Zonneveld and Kelly Lamphear-Dash.  The board now consists of Julie, Dick, Kelly, and Ed Leschke.  The board is considering adding a fifth member to assist with ongoing operations.  Please click here to contact one of these board members if you are interested in serving.


Screenwriters Workshop Newsletter June 10, 2018

SWW Feature Contest 2018 Results

The winners of the SWW 2018 Feature Contest are:

1st     Tim Franz The Queen’s Messengers
2nd    Matt Belcher Screwdriver
3rd  (Tie) Randy Holland Big Buck Bally Hoo
3rd  (Tie) Troy Kelley Indian Country

Thank you to those who participated.

SWW 48 Hour Film Project Team Has Successful First Experience

On June 1-3, a Screenwriters’ Workshop-sponsored team of 16 writers, actors and technical crew members competed for the first time in the 48 Hour Film Project competition.  Their short film, titled Hero Maker, will be screened on June 14, 7:00 pm at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis.  The team was assigned the genre of “superhero or martial arts” film on Friday night.  The team wrote the script from scratch Friday night, filmed it Saturday, edited it the remainder of the weekend and managed to turn it in on time by 7 pm Sunday evening.  Team organizer Dick Zonneveld accomplished all three goals he set out for the team:  don’t kill or maim anyone, have fun, and get it done on time.  After the successful event, the SWW board agreed to sponsor at 48 HFP team every year.  If you missed participating this year, stay tuned for information about next year’s team.

In Memoriam: Alvin Easter

Our hearts were broken earlier this week when we found out that longtime friend and Sunday Script Group member Alvin Easter had died. Those familiar with Al’s work agree that he was one of the best screenwriters to pass through SWW.  For years a faithful contributor to Second Tuesdays, Al had a deep, resonant voice and could read narration flawlessly.  An avid filmgoer, Al saw more films that most could imagine and published a booklet of his own award winning films going back to 1963.  At one time he even published his own film magazine and had many letters from famous stars across many decades. Mostly, however, he is remembered for his flawless scripts which made him a runner up for the Nichols Fellowship several times, and even earned him a trip to Dubai as one of six finalists in an international screenwriting competition.  To honor Alvin, SWW will be sponsoring an open house in the Fall complete with readings of his work.  Watch for further details.

Board and Committee Meetings—July 14th:  Join Us!

If you want to get involved in exciting, upcoming screenwriting activities, come to FilMNorth (550 Vandalia in St. Paul) at 11:30 AM.  We will start with lunch for half an hour of networking, then break into committee meetings (Member Services, Fundraising, PR, and Educational Programs) for an hour.  The SWW board meets at 1:00 PM.  The board will be looking for new members in the months to come, so if you are interested in having a voice in the direction of our organization, the committees are a place to start.

Haven’t Checked Out Our New Website Yet?  Give It a Gawk!

The Public Relations Committee just completed an overhaul of its website.  The first thing you will notice is it features videos of short film winners the SWW sponsored “Script-to-Screen” Contest.  It offers members one more opportunity to highlight their projects.  Other features have been added to make navigation easier and update functionality behind the scenes.  Many thanks to web administrator Randy Holland for spending more than 100 hours on the overhaul!

Haven’t Renewed Your Membership in a While?  You’ll Want To!

With all the exciting changes going on, you will want to be part of a collaborative community that will support you in your work.  Whether it is professional development, contests, or simply companions with you on your writing journey, come be a part of Screenwriters’ Workshop.  Contests and some events are only available to members. We can help make your dreams a reality. Go to our website and click on the PayPal button to start your $50 annual membership fee.  It will be worth your while.