Moderating TV Drama Writing Panel Sat., Dec.5

I’ll be moderating possibly the most high-powered panel about professional screenwriting in the history of Santa Fe, and certainly at the Santa Fe Film Festival — this Saturday, December 5, from 2:30-4pm at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. (You can hear me speak about the panel on KSFR-FM‘s “Cinema Scope” broadcast this Friday, 6:30pm MST. Stream it here.)

The panel is under the banner of Black santa-fe-film-festivalShirt Reads, an organization that has undertaken a series of unproduced screenplay table readings here in Santa Fe, employing some of the City Different’s best local talent. (They undertake their latest, Enchantment, at 1pm at the Cocteau — just prior to the panel.)

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George RR Martin Screenwriting Grant

L to R: George RR Martin, Dirk Norris, Ginny Cerrella, Ed Khmara, Carolyn Miller, Terry Borst. Exclude Dirk, and you're seeing the majority of the WGA membership in Santa Fe.
L to R: George RR Martin (yeah, you know who he is), Dirk Norris (Director of the New Mexico Film Foundation), and screenwriters Ginny Cerrella, Ed Khmara, Carolyn Miller, Terry Borst outside the Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Photo courtesy L.Carfagno.)

I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural George RR Martin Screenwriting Grant as one of the WGA professionals judging submissions and selecting a winning entry — which turned out to be a proposed television series entitled “Disempowered,” written by Santa Fean Kevin Atkinson, and awarded to him on November 8 at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

The grant was administered by the New Mexico Film Foundation, aiming to grow the above-the-line talent in the state, and was open only to state residents.

You can soak up some of the vibe from the award night (which also dovetailed with the 20th anniversary screening of Earth 2, a TV series shot in New Mexico and at Garson Studios), and catch a few more photos of me hanging out with my screenwriting colleagues at this NM Film Foundation photo album.

Working With Unions at ABQ Film Festival

Coolest part of participating in the panel discussion on “Working With Unions” at the Albuquerque Film Festival this Saturday morning was having legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler introduce himself to me after the panel and follow up on a point I’d made during the hour-long session. Haskell Wexler, ladies and gentlemen!

“Working With Unions” on Saturday, 8/20, in Albuquerque

Just a reminder that I’ll be on a panel along with members of the DGA, IATSE and SAG to speak about “Working With Unions”, this Saturday, September 20, 9:30-10:30am at the Albuquerque Hyatt Regency, as part of the Albuquerque Film Festival. The panel discussion is open to the public, and if you’re attending the Film Fest, I hope you’ll stop on by.

Speaking at ABQ Film Fest in late August

Albuquerque Film Festival logoI’ll be speaking on a panel about entertainment unions at the Albuquerque Film Festival on Saturday, August 20 (9:30am at the downtown Hyatt Regency). Members from the DGA, IATSE, and SAG will join me as I represent the WGA, and together we’ll discuss how working with guilds and unions … well, works.

This will be my first time at the Albuquerque Film Festival, which this year is premiering legendary writer/director John Sayles’ newest work. And as the film and television biz in New Mexico has reached a significant economic crossroads, it should be an interesting panel.

If you happen to be near Albuquerque or Santa Fe on that date, I’d be delighted if you dropped by for the panel discussion and said hello.

Screenwriting and Entrepreneurialism

Attending the jointly sponsored Writers Guild of America and Mobile Entertainment Forum series of panels on Content Creation for Mobile Devices this past Saturday, I was reminded again how critical entrepreneurialism is to the 21st-century screenwriter.  The idea that screenwriters could just rely on their agents to do the selling was never really true:  but today’s effective screenwriter needs marketing and management skills like never before.