Tuesday, December 5

Home/Tuesday, December 5

8:00am: Breakfast


9:00am – 10:30am

Guest Faculty Lecture: Phoef Sutton (S)

Making the Dramatic Funny, Making the Funny Dramatic. In his four decade long writing & producing career, Emmy-award winning writer Phoef Sutton has been part of some of the biggest comedies and dramas on TV, everything from his seven seasons on Cheers to his four seasons on Boston Legal,  to the cult classic Terriers, to even episodes of Kevin Can Wait this season, he’s been able to seamlessly bounce between situation comedy and drama. In this lecture, he’ll discuss how not to pigeonhole yourself, how to make your profile as a screenwriter diverse enough that you can be considered for dramas, comedies, feature films, adaptations, TV movies, and everything else you might think of.

Room: Salon 4

9:00am – 10:30pm

Guest Faculty Lecture: Janet Fitch (F)

Building A Literary Life. In this conversation with Jill Alexander Essbaum, New York Times and International Bestselling writer Janet Fitch will discuss her path to publication, the two films made from her books, the ten years she spent on her new novel, and how to sustain a career as a writer of literary fiction.

Room: Salon 6


Guest Faculty Lecture: Chelsea Benson (S)

The Marketplace. What manager Chelsea Benson is looking for, what she’s seeing, who she’s taking on, and who she isn’t.

Room: Salon 4


Guest Faculty Lecture: Dara Hyde (All)

Writing the Perfect Query Letter. There is much gnashing of teeth about the query letter. What should it say? Do agents really read them? How can I make my query letter ensure that I’ll have an agent? Why is this weird convention even a thing. In this seminar, agent Dara Hyde will step you through the perfect pitch.

Room: Salon 6

1:15pm  – 4:15pm: Cross-Genre Workshops

Classes will be held in the Las Flores Conference Center
Map: http://www.rancholaspalmas.com/resort-map

Salons 1, 2 and 8 are located in the main conference and meeting area
Map: http://www.rancholaspalmas.com/resort-map


Graduate Lecture: Kat Kiefer-Newman (F)

Room: Salon 4

Plot Feeling Draggy? Protagonist a Little Whiny? Maybe You Need a Trickster? Story-Accelerator Characters to (Re)Ignite Your Story

 Sometimes, even the best story idea can drag during the writing, even the most interesting narrative can stall. And sometimes even the coolest story can find itself with a flat, dull protagonist. What do you do? Several years ago, author Erin Morgenstern did a writer pep-talk for the National Novel Writing Month where she said that her book, The Night Circus, hit just that kind of bump. “I had this plodding, Edward Gorey-esque thing with mysterious figures in fur coats being mysterious and doing very little else. I got tremendously bored with it because nothing was happening.” Then she remembered that “wise and ancient NaNo wisdom: when in doubt, just add ninjas. […]. And it worked.” Not literal ninjas, of course. She means an agent of chaos, a trickster-esque moment, or even an actual trickster. When you hit that wall where nothing seems interesting, nothing seems to work, that point in the writing when the characters aren’t moving forward—it’s time to look for your trickster. Is the trickster being chaotic enough? Is it making trouble, or enough trouble? Or, is it missing entirely? My talk will be on how to use trickster characters to move the story, to push the protagonist, and to get over that hump.


Graduate Lecture: Tracy Granzyk (S)

Room: Salon 4

Movies or Mind Control: How Screenwriters Manipulate Our Natural Tendency Toward Empathy to Win An Audience. Screenwriters often have a message they are trying to convince an audience to accept through the creation of empathetic characters or an antagonist so villainous an audience willingly adopts the fight of the writer. Because the feeling of empathy has a biologic equal, these stories have the power to change us physically, emotionally, intellectually, and even influence our actions after leaving the theater. From words on the page, to images, and to action, screenwriters hold more control over their audiences than they may have ever realized. This short lecture will provide examples of films that use both the protagonist and the antagonist to win support for their underlying themes of social justice.


Evening Program: Liska Jacobs in Conversation with Mark Haskell Smith.

Room: Salon 6