Track/Presenter Workshop Location Description


Kathryn Blanche

The Author’s Journey  Room 6306 Steps to success and tips for those on their journey.


Peter Dunne

The Writer as Warrior  Room 6304 There comes a time in every writer’s career when the need to speak truth to power presents itself, to write not to make a living, but to make a difference. It can be drama or comedy, novel or film, poem or op-ed. And it can also be uncomfortable, professionally risky, even personally dangerous. But in the end, in those times, it is an Artist’s obligation and Art’s purpose. When we assume the mantle of Writer, we respectfully acknowledge our unique position in society, along with the weight of its obligations. It is a gift neither to waste nor take lightly. Before we put pen to paper, we commit to fairness and thoroughness. We do our research and seek counsel from trusted advisors. Our job is to offer solution-oriented ideas critical to relieving suffering by giving voice to those who have been silenced. You have the power to create fairness and understanding… remembering always that “understanding” works both ways. You cannot grow as a writer if you will not grow as a human. And if you, as I, thought writing was hard, growing is even harder. Bring your grey matter. Bring your heart. 

Novel Writing

Jacque Ben-Zekry

The Big Idea (limited to 10 students) FULL 

Room 5401

(Co-hosted with Blake Crouch).  This class will be limited to the first 10 people.

In publishing and Hollywood, terms like “high concept” and “big idea” are thrown around a lot, but what is a big idea? If you have a big idea, how do you shape a plot around it? Students should come prepared with 2-3 ideas they are considering writing and what format they are writing in. Selected students will share their ideas, and Blake and Jacque will walk them through the process of recognizing the key things they need to write a big idea. This class is suitable for writers at any experience level. 


Katya Cengel

Journalism: Reporting, Writing, And Publishing The News  Room 6302 From dancing bears to machine gun shoots - and, yes, your instructor has written about both - journalism is about one thing, storytelling. While the methods and mediums may change, the basic elements of good reporting remain constant. In this talk, you will learn what it takes to be a journalist in today’s world, from reporting and writing to marketing. 


Leslie St. John

“Tell Me about a Time When...” : Narrative Poetry & Resilience  Room 6301 Nothing shapes us more than the stories we tell. We create and transform with the arc of narrative. While not all stories are poetry, many poems tell a story – sometimes explicitly, sometimes with only a suggestive shadow under lyrical images. In this workshop, we’ll explore the relationship between narrative poetry and resilience to see how writing and sharing our stories help us spring back and move forward.

Young Adult and Childrens

Danny Manus

Writing for the Young Adult or Teen Audience  Room 6303 The YA/Teen audience is a hard nut to crack. This class discusses the seven necessary elements of every successful teen project and why you must include them. We’ll go through how to choose your protagonist and know your exact demographic; how to create dialogue that feels genuine; how relatable themes, stakes, and dilemmas drive story; the difference between inspirational and aspirational in teen films; and what types of teen stories are driving the marketplace today. Plus, do you HAVE to write the book first? We’ll examine teen hits, the YA Book-to-Film market, as well as two teen films I helped develop to make sure your stories are snapchat-worthy.


Tori Eldridge

Dynamic Readings: How to Perform Your Own Work and Not Put Your Audience to Sleep Room 6307 Writer/actress Tori Eldridge shares performing techniques to enliven characters, enhance dramatic effect, and bring your story to life. She’ll also cover how to choose the best piece to perform and offer logistic advice concerning the use of microphones (hand held, mic stand, or nothing), podiums (behind, beside, or walking free), book vs pages (pros and cons), and anything else you might want to know.

Writing for the Screen

Donald H Hewitt

Backstory - The Key to an Oscar Winning Character  Room 7120 A great backstory is often the key to an Oscar-winning character. But most new writers get it completely wrong. You can follow all the exercises, write pages and pages of backstory, but for the most part, it's a total waste of time. I will show you the key to great backstories and, more importantly, how to use them in your story.

Publishing and Agents

Natalie Obando-Desai


Traditional Publishing, Indie Publishing, Self-Publishing—Which Makes the Most Sense for You?  Room 6305 What are the major differences for traditionally published, indie published, and self-published books? Where will you make the most money? What are the pros and cons for each? This workshop will dive into each publishing option and highlight what each takes to be a successful author using any publishing medium.