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.


Short Script Contest Winners

SWW Shorts Contest 2018 Results

The winners of the SWW 2018 Shorts Contest are:

1st (Tie) John Gigrich “Witches of Wonder”
1st (Tie) Kelly Lamphear-Dash “Pre-Determined”
3rd  (Tie) Randy Holland Bunker Bedlam

3rd  (Tie) Randy Holland “Sibling Squabble”

John and Kelly will split the $500 prize.

Thank you to those who participated.


New 2018 Short Script Challenge

This year, scripts of all genres are welcomed with no theme requirements.

Early Deadline: November 1, 2017 with entry fee of $10 per script

Final Deadline: December 1, 2017 with entry fee of $15 per script

Out of state judges will rank scripts and offer brief feedback in 2018.

A Grand Prize of $500 will be awarded in 2018. If the writer chooses to produce the film, SWW can offer networking connections, assistance, and general non-financial support if desired.

The winning script will no longer be filmed, however, SWW can help with connections if the writer would like to pursue filming on their own.

Click here for full details.


2018 Feature Contest now open

Screenwriters’ Workshop is pleased to announce its Seventh Annual Feature Script Contest is now open for entries. The biggest change this year is that the contest does not require that scripts be set in Minnesota or be considered low-budget, which gives members more options when writing and entering scripts.

There will be two categories for entries — one for scripts set in Minnesota and one for scripts set anywhere. If 5 or more Minnesota-themed scripts are received, they will be judged in a separate category. If 5 or fewer Minnesota-themed scripts are received, they will be rolled into the larger pool and judged alongside all other scripts.

Cash prizes will be awarded as well as a public reading. Deadline is February 28, 2018. Click Continue for details.  Please click here for full details.