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.


Sold out premiere!

Congratulations to SWW member David Buchanan, who wrote and directed Black, which premieres at this weekend’s Twin Cities Film Festival. The October 20th showing is sold out!

Black was filmed in Minnesota during 2017-2018. The logline is “A black man begins an uprising after his brother is killed by police during a routine traffic stop.”


Minnesota proud


Congratulations to Wenonah Wilms for her feature screenplay Horsehead Girls!

Screenwriters’ Workshop thanks Wenonah for representing Minnesota’s screenwriting community by winning one of the four 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships. She is also one of the five drama feature finalists in the 2018 Austin Film Festival (keep your fingers crossed for her!).  If these accolades weren’t enough, she is a 2018 McKnight Media Artist Fellow.

Regarding 2018 she said, “It’s been a crazy ride!” But the ride is just starting since all this recognition helped her secure an agent “with one of the ‘biggies.'”

For those who are curious, Horsehead Girl’s logline is “A blackjack dealer living on a remote reservation recovers from a night of brutality trying to save a girl from a sex trafficking ring. When her teenage daughter is kidnapped by the same organization she fights to not let her become part of a horrific fate she knows too well.”

Wenonah has written 22 features over the past 18 years, and has applied to the Nicholl Fellowship for 16 years (being a semi-finalist in 2015 and 2017). She  was a guest panelist at SWW’s 2016 annual meeting. We wish her the best going forward, and can all be inspired by her perseverance.

UPDATE 10/31/18:  Wow, all the crossed fingers paid off!  Wenonah won the Austin Film Festival Drama Screenplay contest too!!!!  Minnesota proud indeed.