Willamette Writers Conference 2013 Review

Willamette Writers Conference 2013 logo

Brew it up!

Having been to a total of four Willamette Writers Conferences now, I feel I have a little more insight into how this year’s conference played out. Granted, I didn’t have the benefit of being on the conference committee this year, so I didn’t stay at the hotel (which was more of a bummer than you might think); and I had other events going on that weekend and wasn’t able to attend every day, all day long… But I’m going to say it was a win.

From what I’ve heard from other attendees, the energy was even more positive than it’s been in previous years. One volunteer told me that it was as if the other years had given her the tools and skills to develop her writing, while this year showed her how to exploit and use those skills.

What are the reasons why the Willamette Writers Conference 2013 worked so well?

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FiLMLaB Win at OIFF!

OIFF Laurels for FiLMLaB win for Best Comedic Short

Yep. This is awesome. If you haven’t heard about it yet, FiLMLaB is Willamette Writer’s annual contest for aspiring and up-and-coming screenwriters. Write a script (a short script) and submit it to Willamette Writers. A bunch of cool Portland and Hollywood film producers and managers read it and judge it, and then (wait for it!) you get that script made into a movie! (If you win, of course…)

This all happened to Haley Isleib last year when she submitted her script “Alis Volat Propriis” (She Flies With Her Own Wings–Oregon’s state motto) at the last minute (No, really–ask her about it–totally last minute) and had it made into a short film starring Randall Jahnson and Katie Michels, and directed by Christopher Alley. It was produced by Willamette Writers and Ampersand Productions.

Even better? Now there’s a FiLMLaB win of its own. The film won Best Comedic Short at the Oregon Independent Film Festival.That’s right. The inaugural film from Willamette Writers’ FiLMLaB contest won an award! How cool is that? Last year’s film was entirely last minute for Willamette Writers, the screenwriter (again–ask Haley!), and the production team. But it came together beautifully and I was so impressed by it all.

Want to get inspired by this FiLMLaB win?

The film will be screened at the OIFF Awards Ceremony on September 21, 2013 at Clinton Street Theater, and tickets are available here. Indeed. The home of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be transformed into a red carpet gala event venue complete with an after party. I plan on wearing Jimmy Choos and rocking a Zac Posen. Can anyone lend me their Jimmy Choos? Size 9, please. And Zac–I’m available for fittings whenever you are. I’ll even take you out for happy hour first. ‘Cause I’m that kind of girl.

Next year’s contest should start in January or February (fingers crossed!) and have a submission date sometime in March, so that gives you plenty of time to come up with an idea. Bonus points if you use next year’s conference theme–“A New View.” That could be anything, really. But I suppose it’s all about the move that the Willamette Writers Conference is making from the Airport Sheraton to the DoubleTree at Lloyd Center. Because it will be a new view. No more runways. No more parking lot. From the DoubleTree you can see downtown. (OK. And one parking lot. But it’s a little one.)

 


Willamette Writers Conference 2013 Registration Open!

WillieFinalTurq2WbHow exciting! It’s that time of year again, and the buzz is starting about the Willamette Writers Conference. This year’s theme is “Fresh Brewed,” and it’s all about the brews that Portland has to offer and those certain beverages that get the creative juices flowing…or help us drown our sorrows when they don’t. Which is even more reason why Portland is the perfect writing town!

Included this year (and one that I’m really looking forward to) is a workshop that builds over the course of three days. John Ellis, of Portland Internet Design, will be teaching a Web Warrior series of classes. Whether you’re going the traditional route or self-publishing, these classes are all about learning how to get your writing on the web…successfully. John will focus on SEO writing mechanics, increasing site performance, using keywords, and mastering Google+. And yes, he fully expects you to bring your iPad, laptop or smart phone for some hands-on learning.

Other classes include those from popular workshop leaders like Jessica Morrell, Cynthia Whitcomb, Danny Manus, and Larry Brooks, as well as new faces like Seth Jaret, Jennifer Lauck, and Debra Gwartney.

And the consultants will be there in full force! On the film side, there’s Luke Ryan, Jacqueline Gault, and Marc Manus. For those of you interested in literary agents and editors, there’s Annie Bomke, Linda Epstein, Angela Rinaldi, and John Cusick.

The keynote speaker at the Saturday Night Gala this year is Kelly Willams Brown, the author of Adulting and a conference success story. Lunch speakers include Dennis Stovall of Ooligan Press, screenwriter and director Gordy Hoffman, and author Jennifer Lauck.

FiLMLaB was a huge success this year. The competition had over 50 entries, and not only will the winning script be made into a movie, but it will also be shown during the FiLMLaB event after the Friday Night Reception. Judges for this year include Erik Bork (writer/editor of Band of Brothers), Stacy Chattaway (Executive Director of Development at LAIKA Entertainment), Zach Cox (Manager at Circle of Confusion – Walking Dead), Mary Cybriwsky (Manager/Producer at Scooty Woop Entertainment), and Luke Ryan (Executive Vice President at Disruption Entertainment). Even better, a new opportunity has just opened up. A Northwest production company that features short films in many of its projects wants to see vetted scripts from FiLMLaB, so those from the semi-finalists and finalists (both this year’s and last’s) will be passed on to them.

So come and get inspired! The conference is three days of learning about the craft of writing, getting excited about writing, practicing writing, seeing great accomplishments in writing, talking about writing, and then… Yep. Writing some more.

Do it! You know you want to.