PSA Writers Conference

April 19 – 20, 2024

April 19, 2024 | Time TBD April 20, 2024 | 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Marston Theater

781 S Terrace Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281

Join us in April for our 2nd Annual Writers Conference!

Join the Phoenix Screenwriters Association for our second-annual screenwriters conference.  This all-day event is an opportunity for you to network with fellow members, participate in workshops with industry professionals, and attend a film screening all for the low price of $79!  (Early bird pricing is $69 for nonmembers, $59 for members, and $39 for college students.) The Phoenix Screenwriters Conference will feature a screening of Bright Lights, Big City along with a Q&A with writer/screenwriter Jay McInerney followed by a mixer on Friday night (April 19th). The Conference will continue on Saturday (April 20th) and feature Chris Vogler and Linda Seger as speakers as well as several breakout sessions (TBA) throughout the day. What’s more, Morning Buzz coffee and pastries and a box lunch will be provided at no additional cost!

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Featured Presentations

Christopher Vogler

The Writers Journey

Movies and stories have the mysterious power to entertain and sometimes inspire us, and our guest Christopher Vogler, author of the classic The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, has spent his professional life trying to understand their secret principles. In his work as a story consultant on dozens of Hollywood projects, and as a student of myths and fairy tales, he has distilled the best ways of structuring stories to make a strong emotional connection with the audience. His twelve-stage model of the Hero’s Journey is widely taught in film schools and his concepts such as catharsis, polarity, and the archetypal functions of character have become part of the collective knowledge of screenwriters and novelists around the world. Catch this rare moment to hear an entertaining and inspiring speaker share his vision of the enchanting world of stories. You’re sure to come away from this event with professional tips and insights that will change your writing forever.

Christopher Vogler is a veteran Hollywood story consultant known the world over for his landmark book THE WRITER’S JOURNEY: Mythic Structure for Storytellers. Vogler began his career as a documentary filmmaker for the US Air Force’s space program. After graduate studies at the USC film school, he entered the Hollywood studio system as a story analyst and worked for all of the major studios including Disney where he wrote an influential memo on the mythological Hero’s Journey pattern that became part of Hollywood story legend, influenced Disney’s THE LION KING, and formed the foundation of his book, THE WRITER’S JOURNEY.   As a consultant and development executive he has influenced the stories of many productions including Disney’s THE LION KING, ALADDIN, HERCULES, FANTASIA 2000; Fox’s FIGHT CLUB, THE THIN RED LINE, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, and VOLCANO; and for other studios 10,000 BC, KARATE KID II, Darren Aronofsky’s THE WRESTLER, NOAH, and THE WHALE, Will Smith’s FOCUS, HANCOCK, MEN IN BLACK III, I AM LEGEND, etc. He consults with major corporations on storytelling and branding and presents workshops globally on the power of stories to change minds and lives.   In 2016 he received the Pulcinella Award from the “Cartoons on the Bay” Film Festival in Venice, Italy for his contributions to the animation industry. He is the author of the graphic novel RAVENSKULL and co-author (with David McKenna) of MEMO FROM THE STORY DEPARTMENT: Secrets of Structure and Character. He is a proud past member of the Story Analysts Guild and present member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

Linda Seger

The Art, Craft and Creative Process of Screenwriting

Screenwriting is an art supported by craft in order to clearly be able to express the writer’s unique stories. Linda will discuss the difference between art and craft and concepts of craft such as: structure, how to create dimensional characters, and ways to integrate themes and ideas into your work without getting preachy or message-y. Linda will discuss stages of the creative process, which can help writers understand writer’s block and how to overcome it, as well as where they are in the process. She will also how all of these integrate into a great script.

 

Dr. Linda Seger created and defined the script consulting profession in 1981 based on her doctoral dissertation project. She has consulted on over 2,500 scripts from 6 continents. Linda was the consultant for Peter Jackson’s breakthrough film, Brain Dead, and for Roland Emmerich’s breakthrough film, Universal Soldier. Other clients include William Kelley, Linda Lavin, production companies, film studios, producers, directors, and writers including Ray Bradbury who said, “Linda’s technique is a light to see by.”   Linda is the author of 30 books counting all of the editions. She is the most prolific author in the area of screenwriting, with 10 books, and has 7 books related to spirituality and theology.   Since 1988, Linda has taught and lectured in over 33 countries on 6 continents. She presented the first professional Screenwriting Seminar in Moscow and Bulgaria and her master class in script consulting in Germany, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Austria, and Italy.   Linda has received multiple awards for her work. Linda received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Redemptive Film Festival for her 30+ years of work as a script consultant. She is a recipient of the Candlelight Award from Regent University for being a “Light to the Entertainment Industry;” the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pacific School of Religion; the Moondance Film Festival Living Legacy Award for her support of Women in the Film Industry; the Benezet Award from her alma mater, Colorado College, for innovation in her field.

Breakout Sessions

John McCarney

Coverage and Competitions

A review of the different professional coverage services that are available to review your screenplays. We will discuss the whole spectrum; from the paid services to ones that are no cost or are peer review in nature or are low cost. We will also review the different major competitions and what may be the best ones for your particular screenplay. Also, we will review the ones that are low or no cost that are worthwhile. The session will be interactive in nature where the audience experiences will be heard and included in the session.

 

 John McCarney is an award-winning screenwriter with four screenplays placing in the prestigious Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Nicholls Fellowship competition. He has had multiple other screenplays place in the highly respected Austin Film Festival, along with winning several other competitions. He won the International Screenwriters Association’s grand prize for their 2023 Action and Adventure Screenplay competition. He also won, and currently is participating in, the WGA Veteran’s Fellowship. His screenplay “Seeds of Change,” a 3-D animated short is currently under production and will be released this year. You can also check out his series of short screenplays that are professionally acted out audio stories; ‘American Vignettes’ available on Spotify and iTunes. You can check out his website at JFMWRITES.COM for more information.

Erica Byrne

Networking for Screenwriters: Unlocking the Power of Connections

Ready to see your script come to life? It’s time to harness the power of networking. In this transformative workshop, discover how connections can be your power cord to the key players who greenlight projects. Learn the art of networking and watch your network intersect, making the “inner circle” feel surprisingly small. Gain the essential skills to navigate this seemingly impenetrable world with confidence. Craft compelling elevator pitches, build genuine relationships, and explore various avenues to expand your network. It’s time to take control of your screenwriting career and make your mark through the art of networking.

Erica Byrne, a highly accomplished WGA screenwriter, has made a significant impact on a global scale. With a career spanning over 20 years and 32 Hollywood produced credits, Erica’s influence extends far beyond borders. Her vast experience in writing for Prime Time One-Hour Drama, coupled with her international collaborations, has solidified her reputation as a trailblazer in the industry who has made a significant impact on a global scale.   With her expertise and insights, she has consulted with key Television Network Executives in over a dozen foreign countries, contributing to the growth and development of the international film and television landscape. Her ability to navigate the complexities of the industry and her deep understanding of storytelling have earned her the trust and respect of industry professionals worldwide.   In addition to her consulting work in Japan, Erica served as a mentor and lecturer at the prestigious European Film College in Denmark, where she nurtured aspiring filmmakers in the development and production of four original pilots and one film. This experience showcased her exceptional ability to guide and bring creative visions to life.   In the US, Erica has lectured at the American Film Institute and held the position of Adjunct Professor in the Screenwriting Department at LMU School of Film and Television. Currently, she teaches online for the Writers Program at UCLA Extension, where her dedication and expertise earned her the esteemed Instructor of the Year Award for Screenwriting.   At the WGA, Erica was appointed as the Chair of the Statuette Committee, leading the design of a new WGA Award statue for the Guild’s 50th Anniversary Awards Show. Her keen eye for aesthetics and attention to detail ensured the creation of a prestigious symbol for the industry. Erica continues to contribute to the Writers Guild Awards as a respected judge, evaluating the outstanding work of fellow writers each year. Additionally, she served a two-year term as a Board member for the TV Writers Fund for the Future, actively supporting and shaping the future of television writing.   Through her transformative workshops, seminars, and personalized consultations, Erica empowers screenwriters at all levels, equipping them with the tools to navigate the complexities of the industry and achieve their goals. Her global perspective and invaluable insights have made her a highly sought-after mentor, guiding aspiring writers to success. Erica’s unwavering passion and expertise make her a driving force in the ever-evolving world of television and film, shaping the future of storytelling. Erica can be reached through her website at ericabyrne.com.

Jessica Brown

Notes: Giving, Receiving, and Actioning And How to Not Go Crazy!

This Breakout session will focus on how to give notes to other writers, how to receive notes and what to do with those notes without going crazy or get discouraged.

 

We will focus on how to give meaningful notes that inspire and encourage the writer to continue during those endless rewrite and feedback sessions. Our discussion will also include how to actions notes and how to discover the note within the note and interpret that gem into a rewrite that will make a scene and character sparkle on the page.

Jessica Spring Brown fell in love with screenwriting when her son Brock, a local filmmaker, introduced her to Final Draft. It was love at first write in 2007. Jessica has studied extensively with John Truby, Robert McKee, Blake Snyder, and Corey Mandell. She finished the ProSeries program and several classes at ScreenwritingU where she placed in the top 5% of world participants.   Jessica has been a member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association since 2010 and a Board Member from 2019 to 2023. She has pitched to producers in Los Angeles and at Austin Film Festival. She has been a Judge of Chandler International Film Festival Short Screenplay contest, A writing Instructor at Phoenix Film Festival, Moderator for Table Reads for Screenwriters and Playwrights, and The Writers Lounge monthly events for over 5 years. She also developed and moderates Writers Retreats with fellow writer, John McCarney.   Jessica gives back to writing community through script consultation, mentoring, and development of ideas and characters. She is a regular contributor to PSA Newsletter and is currently script consultant, writer, and script supervisor to three local filmmakers.   Jessica lives in Phoenix with her family, enjoys writing full time, hiking and travel. She is currently working on a comedy for the screen and a thriller novel.

Chris LaMont

Rewriting the Rewrite * and Rewriting the Rewrite * and Rewriting the Rewrite Again *

Face it, the writing is the easy part. That first draft? No sweat. So, it’s done, right? Let’s go sell it in Hollywood! Not so fast – the first draft means you’re just getting started. Mastering the Art of the Rewrite is the crucial thing you need to truly be successful. We’ll break down getting notes and revisioning, battling with producers, arguing with your reps, trying to navigate the studios, your friends, your enemies, and all of the ups-and-downs with cleaning up that thing you think already think is perfect and make it – umm – more perfect!

 

Chris LaMont is an award-winning WGA screenwriter, who’s work with writing partner Joseph Russo has included the suspense-thriller The Au Pair Nightmare, and action-thriller Hard Kill starring Bruce Willis, noir-drama The Locksmith starring Ryan Phillipe, Kate Bosworth and Ving Rhames, the horror-thriller film Soul Mates, and the Netflix-produced supernatural thriller The Inheritance.   He was a national finalist of the Final Draft Big Break contest, named as one of the Top New Screenwriters in Hollywood, is a Three-Time Blood List Winner and is represented by The Gersh Agency and managed by Fictional Entity.   He is the founder of the Phoenix Film Festival, the Phoenix Film Society, IFP – Phoenix (Independent Filmmaker Project), the Arizona Student Film Festival, the Arizona College Film Festival and the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival.   He is also a Film Professor at Arizona State University in the Sidney Poitier New American Film School and wrote Great Comedy Films: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Funny Movies. He still reads comic books but calls them “graphic novels” so he can be cool.

Lovinder Gill

DEVELOPING THE OUTLINE

Everyone knows how difficult screenwriting is but they might not realize how much more difficult it is without outlining. It’s hard enough to keep the story arch in mind while writing, but you also have to make sure that your protagonist has a dynamic journey of self-discovery and your antagonist is a three-dimensional force going on their own journey.

Not to mention the subplots, the supporting characters, reflective locations, conflict in each scene and unique dialogue for each character. It’s a lot to think about all at once and I know I can’t do it. That is why we outline.

In this seminar, we will:

  • Learn how to systematically divide up your screenplay into small, manageable parts

  • Learn how to develop a mid-point and act breaks that are entertaining, dynamic and emotionally satisfying

  • Learn how to develop a Beat Sheet

  • Learn how to layer multiple levels of information in each scene

  • Learn how to make sure your scenes are taking your audience on a roller-coaster ride

Lovinder Gill is an Award-Winning filmmaker and an International Best-Selling Author for his book “Scriptcake Secrets: The Top Ten Mistakes Novice Screenwriters Make and How to Fix Them.”   His screenwriting podcast, Scriptake, has been chosen as one of “The 25 Best Screenwriting Podcasts for Screenwriters to Learn From,” by IndustrialScripts.com. He’s interviewed screenwriting icons like Shane Black (Iron Man 3, Lethal Weapon), Christopher Vogler (The Writer’s Journey) amongst many others.   Lovinder taught screenwriting and film production for over twenty years at schools like his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, Drexel University, Glendale Community College (AZ), Winston-Salem State University and East Carolina University.   He’s written, produced, and directed three feature films. His most recent film, Seclusion will be released theatrically in the winter of 2024. He has written five produced feature film screenplays including Lost Stallions: The Journey Home starring Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney, Ball & Chain starring Kal Penn and Fortis Femina which filmed in Arizona in 2022 and is currently on the film festival circuit.

Bill True

TBA

 

Bill True’s debut feature, Runaway, was hailed by critics as “Brilliant” and “Hitchcockian” as it premiered to universal accolades at Tribeca and Toronto. Bill also took the top prize at the Austin Film Festival for his work on Runaway, which was subsequently released by eOne Films. He has since developed feature and television projects with The Film Collective, NBA Entertainment, Warner Horizon Television, Veritas Entertainment, More/Medavoy Productions, eOne Television, and more. He is currently in development at Echo Lake Entertainment on his original drama series, Way Beyond. He also working with Rom Com Pictures to produce his original drama series, Hope Springs.   In addition to his work in Hollywood, Bill is Faculty-in-Residence for Dramatic Writing and Department Chair at the esteemed Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre.

More sessions to be announced soon!

This conference is partially funded by the City of Tempe – Community Arts Grant

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