Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter for August 9, 2020

Gene Tsao (center, in cherry red T-shirt) with others from the Sunday Script Group in 2017

Don’t Miss Gene Tsao’s 2nd Sunday Script Reading Tonight
Tonight’s 2nd Sunday Script Reading will be of an episode of his made for TV script for Europol: Urban Operations, Season 1, Episode 8, “Sicily.” The series is about a happily married mother of two who leads a group of young paramilitary agents to catch spies, corrupt ministers, terrorism financiers, and leaders of organized crime all over the EU. Join us for an action-packed evening.

Congratulations to Our “For Love or Money” Short Script Contest Winners
With the pandemic afoot, it has taken the board awhile to announce the winners of the “For Love or Money” Short Script Contest. After all, the prize was a public reading of the script at a theater, and nobody wants a bonus prize of COVID-19. Rather than wait around, the group decided to offer the winners an online reading with hired actors but kick in a $25 bonus, because, well, online just isn’t the same as live. Since this was our first “reverse fee contest,” all who submitted a script will receive $5 as our fee to you for your writing efforts.

(Drum roll!) The winners are (in no particular order):

  • “The Finder of Lost Things” by John Gigrich
  • “The Day the Box Arrived” by Daniel Polsfuss
  • “Albert Wants a Shirt” by Tiffa Foster
  • “The Road Home” by KT Perleberg
  • “Caveat Emptor” by Kelly Lamphear-Dash

Still Time for Our Charlie Chaplin Short Script Challenge
If you haven’t started your short script for the Charlie Chaplin Challenge, there’s still time! These scripts are due on August 15th at midnight. Please follow the rules of our contest as outlined on the website (10 page, 4 character maximum, must be a member of SWW, etc…), writing a short film with no more than ten lines of dialogue. 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. Happy writing!

Stay tuned to the newsletter for details on our next short script challenge for Halloween.

New Pilot Program in Fall—The Wednesday Writing Workout

Need a little extra push to get through hump day? On Wednesday, September 23rd from 8:00-9:30 PM, Screenwriters’ Workshop will host an online workshop offering simple, fun writing exercises to keep you going and stretch your skills. Unlike a script group, you don’t have to share what you wrote, but you can discuss how it might affect your future work. Since it may involve breakout rooms, you will need to sign-up in advance. A free will offering is encouraged. 2020 McKnight Fellow in Media Arts Karen Frank will host the first session. Stay tuned for further details and sign-up.

Mini Calendar Through the End of 2020
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:

  • Sunday, August 15th—Charlie Chaplin Challenge Deadline at midnights
  • Sunday, August 30th—Reading and voting on Charlie Chaplin short script winners, 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, September 23rd—”Wednesday Workouts” pilot 8:00-9:30 PM
  • Friday, October 9th—Five “For Love or Money” Script winners reading online
  • Thursday, October 15th—Halloween Short Script Challenge DEADLINE
  • Saturday, October 17th—SWW Board Meeting Online, 3 :00 PM
  • October 25th—Halloween Short Script Challenge Reading, 6:30 PM
  • Week of November 16-21st—Annual Meeting, specific date dependent on speaker availability
  • December—regular events only

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

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 533 859 616:
Call in: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Passcode: 848149

Keep working on your script. It’s the wright thing to do!


Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter: September 17, 2019

Check Out 2nd Tuesday Script Reading… But Wait ‘Til October!
At the annual meeting we talked about what an amazing opportunity you have as an SWW to attend a 2nd Tuesday Script Reading. Participants get to read and critique (and hear critiqued) amazing scripts written by our member, receiving written coverage by MCTC students. You can have your scripts read as well. Unfortunately, Karen Frank, our amazing, award-winning 2nd Tuesday facilitator, is out of town this month, but she’s scheduling out for the coming months. If you have a script that is already completed and ready for review, contact Karen at

Our Script Groups Meet Every Week—Do the Deep Dive With Your Writing…
Although 2nd Tuesday is on hiatus this month, Screenwriters’ Workshop’s script groups are the place to start for reviewing your scripts. To get a screenplay produced, you have to convince other people to invest a couple of million dollars in your writing. Even to win a contest, you have to see your work through the eyes of other people. With that in mind, consider attending our weekly script groups to get feedback from a variety of other people. 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 Thursday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday night groups.

Join Our Committee Meetings (with Lunch) to Plan for the Year Ahead
We’ve had many amazing events this year, and they were all made possible by our dedicated volunteers. From our annual meetings to our tee-shirts to our amazing summer events, we get things done by taking a little time on a quarterly basis with a broad group of people, so many hands make light work. It’s a great opportunity to meet people, network, and hone your creative skills. Our next committee meetings are Saturday, October 12, 2019 from 11:30 to 12:30. Then we hang out and talk over lunch for a half hour. If you like it, you can even stay for the board meeting from 1:00-2:30PM. The meeting is held at FilMNorth at 550 Vandalia in St. Paul. We know you are busy, so commit to only those things you can follow-through on. All members are welcome!

Speaking of Our Amazing Events…
Our Future of Story event on July 31st was a hit with standing room only at Playwright’s Center. Twelve panelists, including Minnesota’s own Tom Pope presented to packed seating. Sponsored by Michael Wiese Productions, the panelists discussed everything from animation to documentaries to pitching. They even offered opportunities for our members to practice pitching their own products, coaching them on how to be effective, and gave away books and other prizes. All said, it was a wonderful collaboration, and we hope to offer other events as authors make their book tours through the Twin Cities. A special thanks to Educational Programs Committee members Kelly Lamphear-Dash, Karen Frank, and Hafed Boussida, Member Services/PR Committee Member Beth Adams, and our board treasurer, Ed Leschke.

Screenwriters’ Workshop also sponsored a booth at Dakota County Arts-in-the-Park on Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 1:00-4:00 PM at Thompson County Park in West St. Paul. Our “Build-a-Story Workshop” inspired kids from ages three to eighty-three to write scripts by building a story off a bare bones script with randomized prompts, then encourage them to create videos at the park. Everyone who participated had a lot of fun, and we hope to partner in the future for similar events. Thank you to Member Services/PR Committee members Dick Zonneveld and Julie Meyer, and Grants and Fundraising Committee member Noukou Thao for making this event a success!

Bragging Rights
Don’t forget, Screenwriters Workshop members get public shout outs for placing in major contests or production efforts. Keep us in the loop at:


Celebrate National Screenwriters Day — Today and Throughout the New Year!

Below are the Top 10 ways to celebrate National Screenwriters Day and plan for a successful 2019!

Check out the resources for National Screenwriters Day from their official website with plenty of videos and virtual events.

Set your goals.  Are you really going to diet anyway?  If you’ve resolved to go to the gym, you may as well resolve to take a notepad and jot your ideas down while on the bikes or treadmill.  Multi-task.  Just resolve to write.  Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based.  Hey, that’s SMART, isn’t it?

There is even a Screenwriters Journal out there to help you set those goals and stick to them!

Join a script group.  SWW Script Groups meet weekly on Thursday evenings, Saturday mornings, and Sunday evenings.  Script groups are the most effective way to assure that your scripts are ready for contests and producers.  Check out the website for more details.

Write a short script.  The deadline for Screenwriters Workshop Short Script Challenge is January 15, 2019 at midnight.  But you have to be a member to join–but that part’s easy.

Write a feature length screenplay.  If you do it by March 15, 2015 at midnight, you can submit it to our Feature Script Contest.  (Of course, you will have to be a member, so check out our website on how to join.)

Join our team for the 48 Hour Film Project We’re gathering a team this year, so get your ideas brewing for short scripts in a variety of genres.  Actors and producers invited as well.  It’s coming up in June, so set aside some time for a weekend of fun.  Watch your email and the website for more details.

Get involved.  We’re always looking for people who have great ideas for how to put on excellent events and make our organization better.  Our new committee structure makes it easy to get involved without a huge time commitment–giving you time to get to your writing and life-ing done as well. If you are interested in getting more involved, email us at


Go to the annual general membership meeting of Screenwriters’ Workshop will be on January 12, 2019 from 9:30 to noon at the Trylon Theater in Minneapolis at 2820 E 33rd Street in Minneapolis.  The topic this year’s annual meeting will be “Writing for Production.”  Bring a friend (if they’re a screenwriter) and 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.  All are welcome!  Check the details on the website for the latest updates, and see you on the 12th!

Get writing. (Of course!). Keep your dream alive.  Believe in yourself, believe in the story you have to tell, and just do it.  Now!


Annual meeting Saturday, January 12th

Greetings to All Screenwriters,

The annual general membership meeting of Screenwriters’ Workshop will be on Saturday, January 12, 2019, from 9:30am to noon at the Trylon Theater in Minneapolis at 2820 E 33rd Street 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. All are welcome!

The topic this year’s annual meeting will be “Writing for Production.” With the studio system committed to sequels and superhero franchises, it is harder than ever to get a screenplay produced through Hollywood. Advances in film production and distribution, however, make it easier to produce your work independently. Local screenwriters and producers 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 bringing your work to reality.

See you there!


FREE Pop-Up Screenwriting Studio final details

Saturday, December 15, 10am – noon at Diamonds Coffee Shop at 1618 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis MN.

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. Free drink coupons for the first 25 to arrive!

You don’t need to be a current SWW member. Long-time screenwriting instructor and former SWW president David Grant will be our floating mentor you can ask questions!

Click here to RSVP (not required) on our Facebook group.