Tale Writers 
Screenwriting Conference


Formatting as a Writing Tool – DAVID TROTTIER
Dave Trottier literally wrote the book (The Screenwriter’s Bible) on formatting spec scripts. Who better to answer those gnawing questions :
• Is your formatting the current industry standard?
• Does your formatting serve to clarify your story or does it mark you as an amateur?
• What are the most common and most important formatting pitfalls to avoid?
Learn the language of your craft to communicate successfully with industry professionals. In screenwriting it is much better to prevent mistakes than it is to learn from them, and Dave will show you how and why! Bring your formatting questions to class.

Successful Platforming Strategies – DAVID TROTTIER
Did you know that query letters are not as effective as they used to be?  In this intensive class Dave will address queries, one sheets, treatments, and beat sheets in addition to several other effective marketing tools you can use successfully. You will learn how to construct a platform that draws the attention of industry professionals to your work. And, as a grand finale, Dave will share the single most important key to selling your work.

7 Common Screenwriting Blunders (And How To Avoid Them) – DAVID TROTTIER
Give your script a competitive edge by eliminating these seven common errors and maximizing your script’s marketing potential. This is a nuts and bolts workshop on writing compelling movie dialogue and action, applying the “less is more” principle, and learning how to discover and dramatize the cinematic moments and emotional beats in your screenplay that make a difference in moving the reader. Understand how to write for your true audience.

The Elements of Story Construction – RAY MORTON
A lively examination of the fundamental elements of dramatic narrative as expressed in the classic three-act structure and how those elements can and should be successfully applied to effective and exciting storytelling on the big screen. We’ll explain the vital and necessary components of drama such as the inciting incident, the first plot twist, rising action, suspense, surprise, reversal, the second plot twist, climax, and resolution and explore the many ways they can be mixed and matched to generate compelling screenplays.

Ten Questions to Ask Before You Start Writing – RAY MORTON
The success of your screenplay is determined in large part by the choices you make before you start writing. Veteran script consultant Ray Morton will introduce you to the ten questions you will need to ask yourself when you are conceiving your story and help you come up with successful answers (and avoid unsuccessful ones).

Meet the Reader – RAY MORTON
The script reader is the first person your screenplay will encounter on its journey into the industry. And one of the most important – if the reader likes your script it will be passed up the development chain; if the reader doesn’t like your script it will probably end up in the reject pile.  Veteran script reader and story analyst Ray Morton tells you what things readers look for in a script and what things they never want to see.

Shoot Your Scene – JOCELYN JANSONS
What does your scene “look like” from an actor or directors point of view? Knowing will make you a better screenwriter. Open to the first 12 registrants and directed by award-winning screenwriter Jocelyn Jansons, this workshop includes professional actors and crew to bring your scene to life.  DVD included.

Professional and emerging screenwriters will work with professional actors to cast and stage their screenplay scenes and works-in-progress. There is no better way to improve your writing than to get scenes “on their feet.” This is a hands-on workshop where everyone will get a chance to participate.
In this workshop you will:
• develop a director’s toolkit and learn practical, accessible techniques to demystify the process
• create sustainable communication and trust with actors to achieve great performances together
• deepen your understanding of your characters and streamline your dialogue
• use constructive critique and script analysis to strengthen your writing
• network with actors, directors, and writers in the NM film industry
• awaken your passion for story as your screenplay comes alive
Requirements: Screenwriters must submit their scenes (2-3 pages maximum) by September 1, 2016.
NOTE: $99 lab fee. The fee covers camera, actors, sound, lighting, monitor. Each participant will receive a DVD in MPG3 format.

Documentary Scriptwriting JILANN SPITZMILLER
In this seminar, Jilann examines several different documentary forms and how script writing applies to this genre. Documentary follows its own format, which is very different from fiction screenplay writing. Participants will walk away with an understanding of how to write scripts for documentary films, and will receive sample scripts and templates.

Leveraging Fairy TalesTERRY BORST
This is a hands-on workshop session where participants will learn how to leverage fairy tales and mythologies in order to rapidly prototype original storylines.

The Importance of Place – TERRY BORST
This is a presentation including screening clips that argues the importance of grounding your narratives in very specific locations, rather than writing generic settings that lack both authenticity and passion.

Write SadisticallyDEBORAH VOORHEES
As you write your characters, be a sadist. Be mean to your characters, challenge them, give them insoluble problems, then make those problems worse, use plot and characters to steal their solutions. Hurt them in their world. Give them a character flaw which opposes their own goals. Kick them when they’re down as they struggle to achieve their goals, and drive up the stakes wherever you can. This gives their victories dramatic impact, and makes their failures more poignant. Filmmaker Deborah Voorhees will show you how.

Writing for the Director’s Eye – DEBORAH VOORHEES
The screenplay is a blue print to what will become a film. What the screenwriter sees and what the director sees in the same script are often very different things. How do you relay your vision to the director without using camera directions? Precision is key. Filmmaker Deborah Voorhees will show you how.

Architecture of Compelling CharactersDONALD DAVENPORT
The creation of a screenplay has been compared to the process of designing and building a structure, and the analogy is apt.  Among the “architectural elements” at your disposal are the characters you create.  What is their purpose?  Are they load bearing or simply decorative?  And what elements are common to all compelling characters?   We’ll explore the art of building essential characters, how they fit and what they should—and must—accomplish.

Beat Sheets, Outlines and TreatmentsDONALD DAVENPORT
Before there can be great execution, there has to be careful planning. Among the tools at the writer’s discretion are the beat sheet, outline and treatment. Used both as heuristic devices to help define and organize the story, they are often included as part of the pitch package. We will explore each one, their creation and use, and all with an eye toward making the move to the first draft a much more focused, more fully realized exercise.

Creating Powerful Storyworlds for Transmedia ProjectsCAROLYN HANDLER MILLER
What is a StoryWorld and why are well-developed StoryWorlds essential to works of emergent media? What do you need to consider when creating your StoryWorld? How can you deepen your StoryWorld to make it more immersive and powerful? What are the components you should include – visual, auditory and emotional – when developing your StoryWorld? What components are often overlooked but can add richness to your StoryWorld? This workshop will employ PowerPoint slides, discussions, and one participatory exercise.

Creating Compelling Characters for Transmedia Projects CAROLYN HANDLER MILLER
Well-developed, compelling characters are a critical element in works of emergent media. However, creating such characters is no simple task. The characters who inhabit works of Emergent Media are unique to this arena, and differ in many important ways from the kinds of characters who inhabit linear, non-interactive works. Users also see and relate to these characters in very different ways than they see and relate to characters in established media. Who are these new kinds of characters? What, if anything, do they have in common with characters you might find in films and TV shows? What do you need to build into your characters to make them memorable and compelling? And, perhaps even more important, what should you avoid doing when creating them? This workshop will employ PowerPoint slides, discussions, and one participatory exercise.

Mark Gordon, writer/director, will screen Awakening in Taos:The Mabel Dodge Luhan Story. This is an independent biographical documentary made for PBS about a woman in the 1930’s finding her own voice as a writer. In the process of telling her story in the screenplay, Mark found his voice as a writer/director. The film took 10 years from concept to completion and was produced under the umbrella of a non-profit arts foundation. They had no previous experience with charitable giving, and found help and guidance through friends and consultants. Mr. Gordon will talk about how a family of friends formed a New Mexico based film company and raised the funds for a feature film with gifts from $10-$10,000 and a few major grants.

Awakening In Taos won the 2015 Santa Fe Film Festival award for Best Feature Film made in New Mexico.

Building Dramatic Impact Into Your StructureKIRK ELLIS
It’s not just which story you choose to tell that matters — it’s how best to tell it. Structure makes all the difference, and deciding on which structure best serves the material is the most important decision you’ll make.

The Art of Engaging a Producer – BILL KELMAN
Knowing how to sell your idea to a producer is as important as the concept and craftsmanship of your screenplay. But how do you find the right words and presentation method for a been-there-heard-it-all producer in ten nerve-wracking minutes or less? What are you really selling?
On The Page Screenwriters Conference has assembled a diverse, world-class, actively working panel of producers to hear attendees’ pitches. But, there’s a catch before you can pitch; there’s a mandatory pre-requisite called The Etiquette of Pitching. It will make those ten minutes perhaps the most valuable you ever spend.

Feeding the Genre Monster  KEN MIYAMOTO
One of the first questions you’ll have to field at a production meeting is “What’s the Genre?” If you can’t answer it well, concisely, and competently, somebody will show you politely to the door. Producers need this information delivered to them concisely and clearly, and your ability to do that will enhance your chances for a deal. Ken will show you where to find the answers to the question, “What’s the Genre?”, and how to get that answer right. He’ll also go through each film genre and break down the industry guidelines and expectations of each.

The Unwritten RulesKEN MIYAMOTO
Enter the world of professional screenwriting, and you will find that the rules changed. They are not what you might expect. You probably thought that the producer’s meeting would be about your script, but—while you better understand your script inside and out—there are other questions in the air. “Is this a writer we want to work with?” “What else do they have?” “Are they ready?” Ken will help you navigate through your screenwriting journey based on the current film and television industry guidelines and expectations.

Write Irresistible Log Lines – CHERYL CROASMUN
Examine techniques and mechanics of writing that logline to make the reader want to request a script. What must it contain, and how do you structure those contents to get a reader to read it and, hopefully, kick it upstairs? This is where the hook gets set that will lift your reception to the next level.

Secrets of SubtextHAL CROASMUN
There’s nothing occult about subtext, but many writers simply don’t understand it, and don’t know how to write it. Some writers don’t understand that subtext plays in scene action, as well as dialogue. Hal’s presentation will change your writing in ways you can’t now imagine. Never write on-the-nose again!

Concept is KingHAL CROASMUN
What is your movie about? You need to be able to answer that with a single line response that instantly shows a producer a story he wants to tell on the screen, that embeds the dramatic conflict and the character arc, and virtually tells itself. Well done, it informs a producer of the target audience as well, and snaps him to the business decisions that always hover in his world. In the business, high concept is what gets films made. Hal will give you tools to make your concept fly into a producer’s imagination and stick on the Velcro of his mind.

Radical CreativityTANYA TAYLOR RUBINSTEIN How to access stories, ideas and flow through a soul based writing practice and improvisation.

  • Are you longing to experience a creative breakthrough?
  • Do you want to access high quality story ideas/content easily and regularly?
  • Do you experience creative blocks in your storytelling?

In this experiential workshop, story and creativity coach, Tanya Taylor Rubinstein, will lead you through exercises to generate multiple story concepts. Through writing and on your feet storytelling, you will create short monologues as well as dialogue as characters. You will learn to access your storyteller voice with greater ease and explore ways to create a regular writing practice that will get you into a state of flow.

Many aspiring screenwriters put the cart before the horse. While it is essential to understand story structure in film, it is first necessary to have the right creative tools to generate quality ideas and concepts that create screen worthy material. You will walk away from this workshop with both written and oral storytelling tools to empower you to do just that.

Intellectual Property, Copyright, Registry and Fair Use – BARBARA M. WAXER
Barbara removes some of the common misinterpretations of intellectual property ownership and illustrates how this often-convoluted legal ownership system actually works. No need to be intimidated by options, licenses, copyright violations, and things of that ilk. The truth shall set you free—and help you protect your work.

Writing for Television – MELINDA SNODGRASS
Writing for television is a unique specialty, a horse of another color. The techniques and paradigms employed in this writing niche are vastly different from writing spec feature scripts, and to use the same techniques for both will mark you as an amateur. Whether you’re deciding if TV scripting is for you, or looking to improve your ability to do it, Melinda will help.

Get a tighter grip on the single most difficult, vexing, and unmanageable factor in the screenwriting equation—YOU! The screenwriter. Vanessa will help you cut a new trail through the jungle of personality, performance, and preferences…and it’s FUN! Look for the sandbox in the lobby!

Etiquette of Pitching – TBA
Your palms are sweating, your mind blanks, you panic about how this will go, and how you can best present your project to a producer in the meeting ahead. Do not forget that you are presenting yourself, as well. There are three words you must understand to do this well: professionalism, brevity, and courtesy. We’ll tell you what they all mean in this context and show you what they can do for you.

Attendance is mandatory for all attendees who sign up to pitch producers. Without badge modification you will receive at the end of this presentation, you will not be admitted to pitch sessions.


I’m Not Your Type! Using Jungian Personality Types and Archetypes to Create Unforgettable Characters – MARSHA ROSENZWEIG PINCUS. Whether you are writing an action film, a comedy or a drama, it is important to create  multi-dimensional and believable characters. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the 16 personality types and archetypes developed by Carl G. Jung and measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®(MBTI) and practice applying this knowledge to develop characters’ strengths, blind spots, and potential for conflicts with other types. Using a combination of theory and writing exercises, this interactive workshop will give screenwriters, playwrights, and fiction writers a versatile tool for developing complex characters, deepening conflicts and generating endless scenarios.