Monday, November 26, 2007

You Oughta Write Pictures

I sat in on Khris Baxter’s session about screenwriting at the Baltimore Writers Conference, and it was phenomenal. Not only did Khris offer an excellent grounding in the basics of screenwriting, but he also made me think differently (and usefully!) about issues of plotting, characters, and dialogue in my fiction. Now he’s offering a new class at the Writer’s Center. If you enjoy watching movies—even if you have no intention of trying to write a screenplay—you’ll find the behind-the-scenes process of moviemaking fascinating. Next time you’re in the theatre, you can lean over and authoritatively announce, “Here’s plot point one.”


How do you take a 400 page novel or the story of someone's life and boil it down to a 120-page screenplay? How do you take a short story and expand into a feature film? How can you bring a stage play to life on screen and make it visually interesting? This workshop will provide answers and offer fundamental strategies for anyone seeking to write a screenplay adaptation. Using examples from "Brokeback Mountain," "The Sweet Hereafter," "Amadeus," and "A Beautiful Mind," we will examine how other screenwriters have tackled the challenges of adapting different forms. This workshop will also include an overview of the conventions of screenwriting: structure, format, and scene development. No previous screenwriting experience is required.

Khris Baxter is a screenwriter, producer, and script consultant. He has sold and optioned numerous screenplays to Hollywood studios and production companies, including "Voyage," produced by USA Pictures. His screenplay, "Outrider," is currently in development. Khris teaches screenwriting at Gettysburg College, The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD, and at the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. He is a member of the Virginia Film Office and a judge for the annual Virginia Screenwriting Competition.

Claudia Myers received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and went on for her MFA at Columbia University's School of the Arts where she graduated as a writer/director. Recently, Claudia directed her script "Kettle of Fish," which won a Nickelodeon Screenwriting Award. The film, starring Matthew Modine and Gina Gershon, premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and was released in theaters last fall. Her script "Clinical" was a finalist at the 2003 Sundance Filmmakers Lab and she also wrote "Wild Oats," an unconventional buddy comedy that won 2nd Place at the 2004 Slamdance Screenplay Competition. This script has recently been optioned with Claudia attached to direct. In addition to several other screenplays and teleplays, Claudia has had experience as a script doctor and script consultant, as well as teaching private screenwriting workshops.

Saturday, 12/1/07, 10am – 4pm

For more information, please contact:
The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD 20815


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.