Saturday, August 1, 2015

Writing Tips from the Screen Trade with Kat Smith

Screenwriters must craft a satisfying story with engaging characters, plot twists, emotionally felt scenes and a clearly defined beginning, middle and satisfying end – all in 120 pages or less. With lots of white space on the page.

Screenwriters revise every script many times before sending it out. If they’re lucky enough to sell the script, they will do many more revisions as requested by various collaborators along the way. A screenwriter who isn’t willing to do the work, keep learning, keep growing, won’t last a season in Hollywood.

Whether you write novels, short stories, screenplays or you’re working on your cool television idea, the techniques screenwriters use to create the stories we love can also help you clarify, demystify, and simplify the writing process. This workshop will offer pragmatic ideas on how to:

  • Develop a premise that will drive your story
  • A simple way to map your plot
  • Create characters that resonate
  • Write dialogue that rings true
Offered for the first time in Florida, this four-hour workshop will be tailored to the level and needs of its participants. Whether you’ve penned a dozen books or are just toying with an idea for your first screenplay, you will gain insights to enhance your wriitng. The participants will have plenty of time to get individual feedback on their story ideas or scenes.

Kat Smith got her first professional break in episodic television, working with producers Tom Fontana (St. Elsewhere, Homicide, Oz), Georgia Jeffries (China Beach) and Hill Street Blues alum Jeffrey Lewis. She’s written for ABC, NBC, CBS, and penned movies for STARZ!/Encore and Fox/FX.

Kat sold her first feature spec to Warner Brothers in 1991, with Robin Wright to star and Wendy Finerman (Forest Gump) producing. Also at Warner’s, she adapted Pedro Almodovar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! for Spring Creek (Fabulous Baker Boys, Recount). Other assignments include a biopic for Jodie Foster/Canal Plus and a true 16th century intrigue for Universal and producer Rafaella DeLaurentis (Dragonheart).

Current projects include a project for actress/producer Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond). Her most recent spec, Cloud 9 was optioned last year by Double Nickel Entertainment, and last month, Liam Neeson signed on to play the lead.

Kat’s award-winning directorial debut, The Clearing, enjoyed a long life on the festival circuit. Starring Titus Welliver (Bosch) and Laurel Holloman (The L-Word), the film aired on IFC, PBS, 2 airlines, was released on DVD by FilmFest, and may be seen on

In addition to a New York Foundation for the Arts grant and several screenwriting awards, Kat was selected for the prestigious American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, Film Independent’s Directors Lab and was named one of Filmmaker magazine's “25 New Faces to Watch”.

Kat chairs the WGA Activities Committee and organizes the biennial Lake Arrowhead Conference for the Writers Guild West, which features showrunners like Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men), Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black), David Milch (Deadwood), Mike White (Enlightened), and screenwriters like David Seidler (The King’s Speech), Billy Ray (Hunger Games) and John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side). She lives in Pacific Palisades, CA and hikes the nearby trails daily.

$99, August 8th, 10am-2pm; Viera, FL
For full details, please contact:
Special discount for referrals! Space is limited.

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