Screenwriters Workshop Newsletter December 31, 2019

This Year, We’re Really Acting Out!
Being a screenwriter can be a lonely existence. You go to work, come home, spend a little time with the family, and then it’s just you and the laptop. Together. For hours. With no internet and no distractions. Then when you’re done, it’s a long, winding road to market the script. Our goal this year is to bring a little more community and fun back into your writing—and to support you on the way to your goal.

We’re still working on plans for our annual meeting in mid-February, so plan to bring a logline or 3 sentence synopses to be acted out by our talented improv group. The loglines that inspires the best performance will win a prize (and a heck of a lot of admiration!). We’re also acting out in our new, short script contest with a staged performance for the winners. See below for details!

We’re Changing Things Up in Our Programs

We’re making some changes in our script group schedule. Saturday morning script groups will continue as always—reading scripts on a weekly basis, five pages at a time. The Sunday group, however, will review scripts ten pages at a time but ONLY on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. As announced previously, 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 script groups and check on any schedule changes.

We’re freeing up some time for new, innovative programs. By opening up the 2nd, 4th, and (sometimes) 5th Sunday in the month, we are looking to offer opportunities to engage with and advance your work, such as a night to review treatments, pitches, loglines, or marketing your script. We may want to push a board or committee meeting to a Sunday to offer speakers on a Saturday. We could have a group writing jam session or work together to plot a concept. We have a million (well, maybe not quite that many) ideas, but now we have a little more time to do them. We will be posting an events calendar on the website, so check it out if you’re in the mood for something new–or watch the newsletter for upcoming programs offerings.

Give Me the Treatment!
Our first new program will be reviewing treatments for presenting and marketing your screenplay. We will meet on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 6:30 PM at FilMNorth (550 Vandalia Street in St. Paul) to share treatments in the same way we share script pages in our script groups. Bring a treatment for a script you have completed or one you have yet to write. See examples of treatments for the work of others. Treatments can be one to ten pages in length. Don’t know what a treatment is or what it’s for? Check it out here.

Minneapolis Community & Technical College logoWe’ve put 2nd Tuesday on hold to work out a few kinks. With the restructuring of MCTC’s screenwriting program, we are temporarily putting a hold on 2nd Tuesday. It might come back as 2nd Sunday or stay on Tuesday with a different venue. We’re still working on it, so stay tuned.

AND behind the velvet curtain… We’ve formed an ad hoc (that means, in Latin, for a specific purpose only) committee of dedicated board and committee members who are working with an operations consultant to improve the member experience. From websites to member sign-ups, our egghead crew is looking at ways to better systematize our processes, so look for more changes in the coming year.

We’re Paying YOU to Write: Our First Ever, “Reverse Fee,” For-Love-Or-Money, Short Script Contest (for Members Only)
You may think we’re crazy, but we’re going to pay you to enter our short script contest this year. You see, we really, really want you to write, so we are paying you $5 to enter. Here’s how it works:

  1. You write a script that fits the criteria on our website. It must be on this year’s theme: “For Love or Money.”
  2. Send it in according to the instructions on the 2020 Shorts Contest page on our website. NOTE: It must be in by midnight, March 15th, 2020.
  3. Our team of judges will review the scripts anonymously.
  4. The top five scripts (as rated by our judges) will be read at a free, professional public reading—and you can invite your friends to show them how talented you are.
  5. Everyone meeting the criteria gets paid $5 cash when they show up for the reading!

Note: Only one entry per member, and your membership must be paid in full by the time you enter.

January 5th is National Screenwriters Day
Did you know that screenwriters have their own special day? They do. It even says so on the National Day website which has some ideas on how to observe this day just for you. This Sunday, kick back, relax, go to a coffee shop or a quiet place in your house and start on your New Year’s resolution to just write. Or join us at a script group. We’re always happy to see you!

Bragging Rights
Even though there hasn’t been a newsletter for a while, it doesn’t mean our members have been resting on their laurels. Here’s some of the exciting things going on with our members:

  • Two scripts by Elyse Forbes advanced to the second round of the Austin Film Festival’s 2019 Screenwriting Competition. They are: Grace & Frankie: The Plot – Comedy Spec category and Project S.I.R.E.N. – Drama Pilot presented by AMC category. See here for details. Congratulations, Elyse!
  • Long-time SWW member Peter Groynom and wrote and directed “Jane’s Comet” earlier this year and screened at this year’s Twin Cities Film Fest. They were in “The Present is Female” block of shorts on Monday, 10/21 at 8:30pm and Tuesday, 10/22 at 12:30pm. Way to go, Peter!

Don’t forget, Screenwriters Workshop members get public shout outs for placing in major contests or production efforts. Keep us in the loop by sending an email to “Braggin Rights” at: Thanks!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
Thanks to Beth Adams, Fernando Almeida, and Myrtle McGovern who each used their $500 employee contribution from Optum/UnitedHealthcare to donate to Screenwriters’ Workshop. Their company donates to organizations when their employees volunteer a minimum number of hours with a nonprofit.

If your organization has a matching grants program, consider making an end-of-the-year contribution to Screenwriters’ Workshop. As a 501c3 organization, all contributions are a tax write-off. Thanks again!

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:

Screenwriters’ Workshop Newsletter: July 8, 2019

“The Future of Story” National Event on July 31st at Playwright Center
Screenwriters Workshop is teaming up with Michael Wiese Productions to offer a spectacular social hour with 9 nationally renowned panelists—including Minnesota’s own Tom Pope. The event will take place at Playwright Center on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019.  We’ll kick off the evening with a meet and greet at 6:30 PM followed by the panel discussion from 7:00-9:00 PM.  Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members on sale at Eventbrite.

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.

“Build-a-Story Workshop” on August 3, 2019 at Dakota County Arts in the Park
Screenwriters Workshop will be sponsoring a booth at Dakota County Arts-in-the-Parkon Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 1:00-4:00 PM at Thompson County Parkin West St. Paul.  Our “Build-a-Story Workshop” will be an outreach effort to inspire kids and their parents to write scripts.  Our booth will allow both kids and adults to build a story off a bare bones script with randomized prompts, then encourage them to create videos at the park.  Please email us at mnscreenwritersworkshop@gmail.comif you are interested in volunteering. If you have kids, bring them to the event and engage with a variety of arts activities and, of course, Mother Nature.

SWW Team’s 48 Hour Film Screening at the Riverview
For the second year in a row, SWW fielded a team for the 48-Hour Film Project, an annual contest that challenges filmmakers to write, film and edit a short film in 48 hours. The SWW team, composed of several of our screenwriters, talented local actors and crew members, successfully completed their short film,  “Watch Over Me,” on June 2. The film, a suspense/thriller involving a misunderstood flooring repairman,  starred the intrepid 6-year old Savanna Adams, daughter of SWW member Beth Adams. It premiered at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis along with other competing films.  If you are interested in participating in this or other similar projects in the coming year, please email us at

Myrtle Says Why Screenwriters Should Make a Movie
For the second year in a row, Screenwriters’ Workshop has sponsored a team for the 48 Hour Film Project. Below, first time 48’er Myrtle McGovern shares her take on why this is a valuable experience for any screenwriter:

“Whether you are a novice, emerging or established screenwriter , the 48Hour Film Fest challenge has something for you. The Fest brings together a team of creatives to work over one weekend creating a 5-7 minute short film.

For me, a novice screenwriter, I learned:
1. How my voice contributes to the writing team ideation process
2. How a genre/topic can generate so many diverse stories
3. How working to storyboard the elements visually is so important for flow and consistency
4. How different your words are interpreted by the producing, directing and editing teams
5. How important it is to have someone from the camera crew and/or director be a part of the writing team
*Note: Those great words may not translate to the proper angles
6. Teamwork, compromise and trust are key

I created new relationships with my team and as a novice screenwriter making these connections were just as valuable as the writing and film process.  I look forward to having a chance to work with my great team again in the future.

P.S. For the emerging and established screenwriter, the fest pushes you in a controlled span of time and limited resources to push the creative envelope on thought and execution.  No better way to keep your skills sharp!”

You Really Should Join Us on a Committee (It’s Fun!)
If any of the activities and events of Screenwriters’ Workshop intrigue you, come to a committee meeting and help us plan.  It’s a great opportunity to meet people, network, and hone your creative skills. Our next committee meetings are Saturday, July 13, 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!

Bragging Rights
Congratulations to SWW Board Member Kelly Lamphear-Dash who (for the second year in a row!) has made the quarter finals of the CineStory Foundation Feature Contestwith her script Slumming It.

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

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, January 14, 2019

Contest Deadlines Coming! Short Script Deadline Extended.

If you still haven’t finished on your script for the Short Script Challenge, good news—the deadline has been extended to February 15, 2019 at midnight.  There will be a cash prize of $500 with an entry fee of $15 (free for full time students). You can enter up to three scripts.

For longer scripts, check out the Feature Contest.  Awards are $500 for 1st Prize, $300 for 2nd Prize, and $200 for 3rd Prize.  Scripts must be between 90 and 120 pages in standard script format.  The entry fee is $60 ($25 for students) and you can enter up to two scripts.  These must be submitted no later than March 15, 2019 at midnight.

To be eligible for a contest, you must be a paid member of Screenwriters’ Workshop.  See the website for additional information and how to submit.

Thank You for a Wonderful Annual Meeting

The Screenwriters’ Workshop Annual Meeting was held on Saturday, January 12th.  Thank you to the Trylon Cinema in Minneapolis which hosted us.  Thanks to our board and committee members who made it possible, especially Paul Coleman, Beth Adams, and Ed Leschke.  We also want to give a special shout out to our “Writing for Production” panelists Frank Anderson, Patricia Fox, Kelly Lamphear-Dash, David Buchanan, and David Erickson, who shared their experiences in bringing their scripts onto the screen.

Join Us for 2nd Tuesday (on the Third Tuesday of January)

This month the 2nd Tuesday Reading is on the third Tuesday of the month, January 15, 2019 at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in the Technical Building on the 4th Floor in Room T-4020.  Readings start at 7:00 PM.  If you have a feature length script completed, 2nd Tuesday gives you the option to have your complete script read at one sitting.  Film students in the MCTC program provide coverage for all scripts.  You must be a member of SWW to have your script read, but non-members can participate in the readings.  Feel free to bring your friends.  Actors are especially welcome.

Get Involved!  Dip Your Toe in the SWW Water on One of Our Committees

If you have great ideas for projects and events that Screenwriters’ Workshop could do but are not sure about how to get them in place, our board’s committee meetings are a great place to start.  We have openings on Educational Programs, Member Services, PR & Marketing, and Grants and Fundraising Committees.  Our first meeting of the year will be on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, on the 4th Floor of the Technical Building (in the Cinema Division area).  Look for our members or follow the signs.  Committee meetings only last an hour, followed by lunch at 12:30.  If you can’t make it on Saturday, the other quarterly meetings for the year are April 13th, July 13th and October 12th.  Committee work is designed around people with busy schedules.