Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, instructor, and professional script coverage consultant whose publishing credits include 21 books, 112 plays and musicals, 3 optioned films, and columns that appear throughout the world. Her latest book, COULD IT BE A MOVIE, will be available in bookstores in January 2005. For more information, visit her website.
INKLINGS: Writing Well & Profitably for Books, Film, and Stage
This Month: SCREENWRITING EXPO 2004 - Interview with event coordinator Erik BauerWhat has over 6,000 feet, a million dreams, and takes 3 whole days just to contain it? The answer is the third annual Screenwriting Expo which will be held November 5-7 at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. Having participated as a guest lecturer its first year of operation, I can promise you that it’s an exciting and informative event you don’t want to miss, especially if writing for the big screen (or the small one) is something you have always wanted to do. Erik Bauer, coordinator of this stellar happening, took time from his schedule to give us the scoop on this year’s line-up.
How did the idea for a screenwriting expo originate?
I grew increasingly disgusted by the high-priced screenwriting conferences being marketed out there. I mean $600, $700, even $1200 for a conference is no deal. I wanted to create an event that was democratized, that everyone could afford to attend. The Expo offers a much better lineup of guests, speakers, and activities than any of these other events (which shall remain nameless), at a fraction of the price. Writers, for the most part, don't have a lot of money to spend, and I wanted everyone to be able to benefit.
Your turn-out the past two years was quite a bit higher than you ever anticipated. What do you think accounts for the overwhelming showing of wannabe screenwriters?
I think the majority of people are attracted to the first-rate speakers and the affordable price. Our line-up this season, for instance, will include William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Attanasio (Quiz Show, Donnie Brasco), Ed Solomon (Men in Black), Scott Alexander and Larry Karazewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt), Robert McKee, and many other outstanding industry professionals. The Expo will offer over 300 courses (90 minutes each) on all aspects of writing and marketing your script. In addition, participants are encouraged to sign up for our onsite screenwriting tournament and to visit our discount trade show for the best bargains on film-related books and software.
What impact do you feel the Internet has on increasing the accessibility to Hollywood?
I think the Internet helps new writers a lot. There is a wealth of information available, and many new ways to contact established industry players from outside of LA.
How do prospective participants go about registering for the Expo and how much does it cost?
Go to www.screenwritingexpo.com and click on the online registration button. In addition to the registration form, you’ll find a 44-page catalogue of this year’s events. Expo registration is $59.95 and includes all our guests of honor and a wide variety of panel discussions with agents, managers, and producers. Your Expo registration also includes a free subscription to Creative Screenwriting magazine (a $30 value).
Any advice for out-of-towners?
Stay in one of the Expo hotels near by (list on www.screenwritingexpo.com). Don't bring a lot of scripts with you. The classy thing to do is to mail them the following week to producers and agents who have expressed an interest in your projects. And most of all, have fun. That’s what we’re all there for!
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Note from Christina: I’ll be teaching the following five sessions at this year’s Expo:
How to Fix Dopey Dialogue – An Actor’s Inside Secrets
“Running Bear will keep you safe.” “We just detected life on Uranus.” Why do people laugh when they read your scripts out loud? Doofy dialogue is the #1 cause. Tap into the cure with tips, tricks, dialects and character continuity cues from a theater professional.
Under the Covers and Up on the Screen – How to Write Intimate Scenes for the Movies
Romance novels account for over 54% of paperback fiction. So how come so few of them get adapted to film? Maybe because no one knows how to craft intimacy and write credible screenplay sex. “Less is more” is the focus of this workshop on bringing sizzle and sensuality to the cinema.
Where to Find Your Next Plot
Has your Muse wandered off on an indefinite hiatus? Are you struggling to come up with a catchy plot for your next screenplay? Free ideas and characters are all yours for the taking…if you just know where to look for them!
Stage, Page or Cinema?
Not every hot idea is automatically destined for the silver screen. In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn to identify whether your projects and characters are best suited for the movies, for novels, or for stage plays, as well as the legalities and challenges of adapting already-existing works.
Speed-Dating Your Way to Cinema Success
How is a speed-date like a pitch session? Because you only have 10 minutes to convince someone you’re a catch worth keeping. This hands-on session walks you through the do’s and don’t of making dynamic presentations…and guaranteeing your listener won’t wander off in search of someone more interesting!
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If you’re a subscriber to INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER who will be attending the conference this year, please stop by and introduce yourself. I’d love to meet you and answer your screenwriting questions in person. If you’re not able to attend but have a special interest in one of the topics listed above; I’d be happy to schedule an online workshop for as many people as would like to participate.