SWW Newsletter October 2022

Short Films Under the Stars

Screenwriters Workshop Showcase: Short Films Under the Stars(?) Almost!

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the annual Short Films Under the Stars showcase at the end of August! After setting up outside, Mother Nature decided she had different plans for us, and sent us inside FilmSpace with some scattered showers. We may not have watched these shorts under the stars as intended, but our talented SWW screenwriters and filmmakers shone even brighter!

Many thanks to Metro State’s FilmSpace for hosting us after being rained out!

This year, we were lucky enough to watch these great films:

  • ★ A Moment of Anxiety by Kelly Lamphear-Dash
  • ★ Ana’s Playground by Eric Howell
  • ★ Bis in Idem (Déjà Vu) by Oussama Lamharzi Alaoui
  • ★ Burner submitted by David J. Buchanan (Director of Photography)
  • ★ Haunting the Haunted by John Gigrich
  • ★ Life Cycle by David C.C. Erickson
  • ★ Nighthawks by Andy Froemke
  • ★ The Look Diet by Neal Peterson with Tiffa Foster
  • ★ Together (for the Kids) by Zach Jansen
  • ★ Undetectable by Lucas Miller

Couldn’t make it this year? No problem! Our members are always creating great films and we will have plenty to screen next year too.

Catalyst Table Reads & More

Congratulations to members Maxie Rockymore, David J. Buchanan, Lillie Gardner, and Karen Frank who had their scripts read at Catalyst Content Festival!  Catalyst selected Maxie’s thriller Neptune Rising, David’s sci-fi N57, Lillie’s drama Ruth Rising and animated Allegra Sparkle’s Guide to the Great Composers (You Might Not Have Heard Of), and Karen’s drama The Poisonous Night.  Another congratulations to member John Gigrich, whose pilot Witches of Wonder screened at Catalyst!  We are so proud to have so many members of the Screenwriters Workshop recognized for their amazing work.  You are inspirations to us all and we’re excited to see where you go from here!

We also want to recognize and congratulate Lillie Gardner, whose pitch for Ruth Rising made it all the way to the finals in Pitch World!

Last but certainly not least, an extra special congratulations to Board member Maxie Rockymore, whose screenplay Neptune Rising WON Outstanding Thriller Script at Catalyst this past weekend!

Did we miss anyone?  Let us know!  We want to celebrate you!

Catalyst Awards Gala

Screenwriters Workshop Visions for the Future

At the end of September, our Board and committee members brainstormed a ton of new visions for the Screenwriters Workshop’s future.  A few of these visions include membership outreach, such as going to Twin Cities schools with film courses to find new blood, and engaging our members more online, wherever that may be.  Going forward, we want to improve events, scheduling, and programming for SWW members by helping you get your scripts into the production pipeline, collaborating with other filmmaking groups to develop more events and member perks, and hosting fun and engaging events, such as movie nights, resuming pop up writing groups around town, selling merch (SWWag!), and so much more!

Wanna be a part of it?  On Saturday, November 5th, we’ll begin our development process to make our dreams a reality!  From 11:30am-1pm, our committee meeting will focus on developing these visions further, and our Board meeting will run from 1-3pm, where we will get into the nitty gritty.

Upcoming Events:

Join us for these upcoming events on Zoom – link below!

  • Wednesday Writers Workout with Karen Frank, Oct. 5th at 8pm
  • SWW + MNWiFT Inspiring Filmmaker Series:
    • Thursday, Oct. 6th, 6:30-8:30 pm — DocuClub – “Who is the Subject of your Documentary?”
    • Tuesday, Oct. 18th, 6:30-8:30 pm — Screenwriters Workshop – “Writing a Short Screenplay” taught by Karen Frank

Join Us for Our Regular Programs

Go to our website for our regular script groups, readings, and events. Except for the Saturday morning script group, all online events are available at:

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Thank you to our partner organizations for their ongoing support!

Partner Organizations

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August Showcase

Annual Short Film ShowcaseMARK YOUR CALENDAR + Submit Your Short to SWW’s 2022 Short Film Showcase

Mark your calendar now for the 2nd Annual Short Film Showcase on Friday, August 26, 2022 from 7:00-10:00 PM, in the courtyard outside the FilmSpace auditorium at Metropolitan State University at 700 East 7th Street in St. Paul.  (Rain back up in FilmSpace.)

Bring your own chair to camp out on the lawn and enjoy a slew of short films that were written, directed, or produced by your fellow members.  Admission ($10 for non-members, $5 for members, free for Metro State students) and includes food, non-alcoholic beverages, SWWag, and drawings.  Parking in ramp is available for $5, but also available for free on nearby residential streets.  T-shirts will be available when registration opens for tickets or on the day of the event.

Want to submit your completed short film? 

Here are the guidelines:

  • Writer, producer, or director must be a paid member of SWW
  • Showcase is open to all genres
  • “Short” is defined as 30 minutes or less
  • Certain offensive language is never acceptable, such as racial slurs, homophobic language, etc. Any profanity which is included for the sole purpose of being shocking and making the audience feel uncomfortable will not be allowed.
  • The number of shorts will be determined by submissions and time available for showing. (Slots are limited. We will fit in as many films as time will allow)
  • Artists must provide copyright/sign-off for permission to use for one time showing.
  • Short must be available for download thorough link (Vimeo, Dropbox, YouTube, etc…)
  • Priority will be given to more recently completed films
  • Short must be completed and in MP4 format.
  • Deadline for entry is July 30th.

To enter, send an email with link for viewing and download to:  mnscreenwritersworkshop@gmail.com with your name, title of script, logline, genre, and your t-shirt size.  There is no fee for entering.

Help us promote the showcase!

If there is a place where you could post the 8 1/2 x 11 poster, download it here for printing and distribution. Thank you!

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SWW Newsletter—May 2022

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Annual Meeting Next Week, May 21st @ 6:00 PM at FilmNorth and Online

Join Us for Our Annual Meeting and Jump Start Your Writing!

If you’ve been locked inside for two years (as we all have been) and are ready to break free, connect with people in the real world.  Or not.  Our SWW Annual Meeting will be hybrid.  On Zoom (if you’re still into that thing) and in person at FilmNorth at 550 Vandalia in St. Paul.  Of course, on Zoom you don’t get wine and cheese.

REGISTER ON ZOOM for BOTH in-person and online.  This will automatically enter you for drawings, get your beverage choice, and send you a link if you need it.  (If you don’t, just ignore it and come in person.)  There is no charge for this event.

Here’s the order of the evening:

6 PM   Social hour (Yes, there will be wine.  And beer.  And non-wine and beer.)
6:30   A short business meeting (as required by law but you can keep eating)
7:00  Keynote, Michelle Perdue, motivational speaker, SWW member, and author of the new book Rise and Shine!  How to Live a Life of Resilience and Perform at Your Potential.  Michelle will speak about ways to set goals, stick to them, and live creatively for long-term personal growth—despite the obstacles (including the obstacles we love, like our kids).  For aspiring screenwriters, these skills are a must. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity for Q&A with Michelle.
8:00  Prize Drawings & Trivia
Honors for Our Mini-Challenge Winners (see below), Our $250 Winner, and the Winner of Our Fantasy Academy Award Speech Contest
After That       Hang out and have fun!

The winners of our short script Mini-Challenges are as follows:

Social Distancing Challenge (May 2020)—“The Shell” by Neal Patrick Peterson on themes of social distancing
The Charlie Chaplin Challenge (August 2020)—“Dreamsicle” by Karen Frank, a script with 10 words of dialogue or less
The Halloween Challenge (October 2020)—“Knock Yourself Out” by Tiffa Foster, a Halloween-themed script
Procrastination Challenge (January 2021)—“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Jeff Holman, on the theme of procrastination
The 5 Senses Challenge (March 2021)—“The Driving Lesson” by Karen Frank, a script that evokes all five senses
A Stitch in Time Challenge (June 2021)—“Reverse Wedding Pact” by Mike Dugan, a script that has a flashback or flash forward
The “Twisting Tropes Challenge” (September 2021)—“A Hooker, Her Pimp, and Their John” by Lucas Miller, a script that is written contrary to a common trope in movies
The Medium-Inspired Challenge (November 2021)—“Starry Night” by Charlton Metcalf, a script that was inspired by a work of visual art.

Our outside judges had some great things to say about you all, but, alas, there is only one winner.  Good luck to you all!

And Don’t Forget the Shorts Showcase!

Last year was the first every SWW Short Film Showcase outside at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul.  This year, assuming you’re COVID free, you can join us indoors for a night of short films by our members who’ve written, directed, and/or produced shorts.  If you’re a member with a short up your sleeve, plan on submitting it to the showcase.  Of course, if you don’t have one, the good news is there is still time to write and shoot your short film.  Films must be 10 minutes or less to be considered.  Stay tuned for further information in future newsletters.

Submissions Now Accepted for the 2022 Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth

Are you interested in series writing?  The Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth is now accepting scripts, pitches or videos for series.  Minnesota screenwriters are encouraged to submit applications now for the Festival in the fall.  The deadline for applications is June 25thClick here to apply.

Congratulations to SWW Members Karen Frank and David Buchanan Who Were Honored at the Walker on May 12th

Both Karen and David were McKnight Media Arts Fellows.  Check out info on the event by clicking here.

Participate in a Script Group, 2nd Sunday Table Reading, or Wednesday Writers’ Workout

Throughout the pandemic, our regular script groups have continued, 2nd Sunday has transferred hands, and our pilot of Wednesday Writers’ Workshop is now a regular program on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:00 PM.  Drop in to hone your craft or simply get inspired.

P.S.  Our apologies for some technical difficulties on our last round of Wednesday Writers’ Workout.  We’ll get this right next time.

Mini-Schedule of Upcoming Events:

May 21st—Annual Meeting
June 8th—Wednesday Writers’ Workout
June 12th—2nd Sunday Script Reading
Week of June 22nd—Catalyst Story Road
June 25th—Catalyst Deadline
Mid-Late July—Shorts Showcase

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

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

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SWW Newsletter March 26, 2022

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Happy Oscars’ Weekend + Yes, Virginia, There Is a Showcase

academy awards oscars statueHappy Oscars’ Weekend!

If you’ve long dreamed of writing a screenplay, you’ve probably also envisioned stepping out onto the stage at the Academy Awards giving your acceptance speech for Best Screenplay—or Best Adapted Screenplay.  To make it a bit more real, write it out and send it in to mnscreenwritersworkshop@gmail.com, and we’ll print our favorites in the next newsletter.  Be clever.  Be pithy!  If we use your fantasy speech, we’ll send you a $10 Target gift card.  Members only.  Deadline is April 1, 2022 at midnight.

Evan and Noah’s Annual Oscar Reviews

If you know one thing about SWW’s 2nd Sunday Host Zach Jansen, it’s that he  loves movies.  His whole family loves movies, and for the Jansen household the Oscars are an annual holiday.  (They even make Oscar-shaped sugar cookies.). To prepare for this annual event, Zach’s kids make a video reviewing their favorite picks to win the Academy Award.  Because they’re kids, sometimes all they have to go on is the trailers, but that’s what makes their reviews all the more fun.  Click here for this year’s Oscar review.  (Spoiler alert:  They really like Dune.)

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Showcase!

Last year was the first every SWW Short Film Showcase outside at the Gremlin Theater in St. Paul.  Good news!  We are currently in discussions to bring the showcase back for a second year.  If you’re a member and you have a short film you’ve written, directed, and/or produced, plan on submitting it to the showcase.  Of course, if you don’t have one, the good news is there is still time to write and shoot your short film.  Films must be 10 minutes or less to be considered.  Stay tuned for further information in future newsletters.

screenwriter David GrantDavid Grant Facilitates Wednesday Writers’ Workout on April 6th at 8 PM

Noted screenwriter David Grant will be the guest facilitator for the next  Wednesday Writers’ Workout on April 6th at 8 PM on Zoom.  (See link below.) As a screenwriter, playwright, and renowned instructor, David has had a long career nurturing other writers in their craft.

As a playwright, he has been commissioned to write new work for the Minnesota Science Museum, the  Minnesota Historical Society, Mixed Blood Theater  (in conjunction with Bedlam Theater and Voices of  Cedar-Riverside), VocalEssence, The Playwrights’ Center, and The History Theatre.  As a screenwriter, a sampling of his work includes “The Screenplay Project: Four Shorts” for Twin Cities Public Television (KTCA TV), which was  awarded the 1990 Regional Emmy Award for Best  Original Drama, the feature film scripts, “Fast  Girls” for Russell Simmons’ Def Pictures, “Spirit Dive” for HBO New York, “Black & Blue,” a feature length dramatic series pilot for Davis Entertainment, and the Showtime Network, and “Block by Block,” a web-based dramatic series for children.

Don’t forget to join David to give your writing a mid-week boost!

Annual Meeting Moved to Late Spring

Due to fluctuating schedules in the first part of 2022 and a desire to reconnect in person, the Screenwriters’ Workshop Annual Meeting will be in the late Spring.  We are working out details of a speaker and a venue, but the meeting will be in person and online and include a lite lunch (sorry, not available for the online folks), the announcement of our grand prize for our Mini-Challenge winners throughout the pandemic, and prizes.

The winners of our short script Mini-Challenges are as follows:

Social Distancing Challenge (May 2020)—“The Shell” by Neal Patrick Peterson on themes of social distancing

The Charlie Chaplin Challenge (August 2020)—“Dreamsicle” by Karen Frank, a script with 10 words of dialogue or less

The Halloween Challenge (October 2020)—“Knock Yourself Out” by Tiffa Foster, a Halloween-themed script

Procrastination Challenge (January 2021)—“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Jeff Holman, on the theme of procrastination

The 5 Senses Challenge (March 2021)—“The Driving Lesson” by Karen Frank, a script that evokes all five senses

A Stitch in Time Challenge (June 2021)—“Reverse Wedding Pact” by Mike Dugan, a script that has a flashback or flash forward

The “Twisting Tropes Challenge” (September 2021)—“A Hooker, Her Pimp, and Their John” by Lucas Miller, a script that is written contrary to a common trope in movies

The Medium-Inspired Challenge (November 2021)—“Starry Night” by Charlton Metcalf, a script that was inspired by a work of visual art.

Watch the website and future newsletters for more details on the annual meeting.

Submissions Now Accepted for the 2022 Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth

Are you interested in series writing?  The Catalyst Story Festival in Duluth is now accepting scripts, pitches or videos for series.  Minnesota screenwriters are encouraged to submit applications now for the Festival in the fall.  Click here to apply.

Participate in a Script Group, 2nd Sunday Table Reading, or Wednesday Writers’ Workout

Throughout the pandemic, our regular script groups have continued, 2nd Sunday has transferred hands, and our pilot of Wednesday Writers’ Workshop is now a regular program on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:00 PM.  Drop in to hone your craft or simply get inspired.  For more details on our regular programs, go to:  https://www.screenwritersworkshop.org

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

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/533859616?pwd=OWF5MTJkOFk3Y1Z4aHVVS0p1R3ZUdz09

Meeting ID: 533 859 616:

Passcode: 848149

Call in:

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

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Short Films in the Showcase + Buy Tickets Now!

SWW Shorts Showcase 2021
Here Are the Films…

The SWW Shorts Showcase will be next Saturday, July 17th from 7 PM-10 PM outside at the Gremlin Theater, near the Annex Building at 550 Vandalia Street in St. Paul (near Film North and Lake Monster Brewery).

The event will showcase films in which Screenwriters’ Workshop members served as writers, directors, or producers.  The films that will be featured are as follows in alphabetical order:

  • “After I Kill Mrs. Pritchett, I Am Coming After You” by member Zach Jansen
  • “Black Hole” by member Oussama “Sam” Lamharzi Alaoui
  • “Dactylo” by member Oussama “Sam” Lamharzi Alaoui
  • “Kyle Goes to Mars” by member David Erickson
  • “Richfield Institute for Modest Jobs – PSA” by member Daniel Polsfuss
  • “Song Without Words” by member Andy Froemke
  • “The Deft” by member Ruth Maramis
  • “The Tour” by member John Gigrich
  • “You Are Here” by members Kelly Lamphear-Dash and Karen Frank

Sequence of the films is still in process.  Filmmakers will share their stories about how they took their ideas from script to screen.  The showcase will also include a social hour with food, fun, games, and prizes.

Buy Your Tickets Now to Support Your Fellow Screenwriters!

Tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.  Price includes food, entertainment, admission, and fun prizes.  Purchase tickets online through Eventbrite.  The site will also allow you to order a Screenwriters’ Workshop t-shirt or renew your membership.

Some chairs will be provided the night of the event, but bring your own, if you can, to kick back in style and comfort.  Throw on some bug spray while you’re at it, because it’s outside in Minnesota.  Cash will not be taken at the door, but tickets will be available for purchase online until sold out.

Join us under the stars to see how dreams come to life.

Watch here on the Screenwriters’ Workshop website for any updates.

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