Pro­duc­ers, screen­writ­ers con­nect

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CLASSIFIEDS / ENTERTAINMENT -

As part of this year’s P.E.I. Screen­writ­ers’ Boot­camp ac­tiv­i­ties, sev­eral pro­duc­ers and broad­cast­ers gath­ered in Char­lot­te­town re­cently in search of new projects.

Among them were Donna Davies of Ruby Tree Films, Melissa Ka­j­pust, head of cre­ative de­vel­op­ment and out­reach for Su­per Chan­nel, and An­dra Sh­ef­fer of the In­de­pen­dent Pro­duc­tion Fund, Mark San­di­ford of Beach­walker Films, Gretha Rose of Cel­lar Door Pro­duc­tions, and Brian Sharp of Mugisha En­ter­prises.

The event, or­ga­nized by the Is­land Media Arts Coop (IMAC), lasted five days with 30 writ­ers spend­ing the ma­jor­ity of their time in the first four days in sep­a­rate groups, de­vel­op­ing their scripts with in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als. On day three, the as­pir­ing screen­writ­ers took part in an in­tro­duc­tory two-hour ses­sion on bud­get­ing with Sh­ef­fer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the In­de­pen­dent Pro­duc­tion Fund and the CO­GECO Pro­gram De­vel­op­ment Fund.

Af­ter four days of in­ten­sive script de­vel­op­ment, the screen­writ­ers were given the op­por­tu­nity to pitch to pro­duc­ers and broad­cast­ers.

“It’s all very ex­cit­ing and it’s sad to have to wait another year for the next one, as­sum­ing that all the stars all line up, and we’re ex­tremely grate­ful to our spon­sors for their con­tin­ued sup­port.” said Louise Lalonde, pro­ject co-or­di­na­tor.

“Tele­film Canada, In­no­va­tion P.E.I., Su­per Chan­nel, the In­de­pen­dent Pro­duc­tion Fund, the Harold Green­berg Fund, the City of Char­lot­te­town, Cul­ture P.E.I., Women in Film and Tele­vi­sion-At­lantic, El­lipses-ACCA, and Cel­lar Door Pro­duc­tions have all helped build this event for writ­ers and hav­ing in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als and broad­caster rep­re­sen­ta­tives gather and net­work in our own backyard is ex­cep­tion­ally stim­u­lat­ing for both writ­ers and pro­duc­ers,” she added.

This year’s num­ber of P.E.I. par­tic­i­pants topped the list with a to­tal of 14, both be­gin­ner and ad­vanced writ­ers.

"I have been a pro­fes­sional writer for 45 years.” said Nils Ling, pres­i­dent of the Is­land Media Arts Co-op­er­a­tive. “I have taught writ­ing, writ­ten stage plays and books and came into the boot­camp pretty much sure there wasn't much they could teach me. I was wrong. I learned as much about this par­tic­u­lar kind of writ­ing in that four day span as I have in my life­time."

The men­tors for the web and tele­vi­sion se­ries were Han­nah Cheesman and Macken­zie Don­ald­son, con­tribut­ing writer and as­so­ciate pro­ducer (re­spec­tively) on Or­phan Black and CoCre­ators of the web se­ries, What­ever, Linda. Their se­ries was nom­i­nated for a Cana­dian Screen Award and is avail­able for view­ing on Youtube.

Be­ing so versed in to­day’s in­dus­try, the duo was equipped to share the most cur­rent and pointed ap­proach to writ­ing for the small screen in­dus­try.

Vet­eran teacher, story editor and all-around screen­writ­ing guru, Tom Shoe­bridge once again brought his pas­sion and shared his ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of writ­ing fea­tures with a group of eight emerg­ing writ­ers who are now el­i­gi­ble to at­tend next year’s Boot­camp.

First-time men­tors this year were two screen­writ­ing ex­perts from Los An­ge­les: Don­ald Martin, Stu­dio City, and Nancy Dodd, Pep­per­dine Univer­sity au­thor of The Writer’s Com­pass who shared not only their ex­ten­sive hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try and their un­der­stand­ing of the screen­writ­ing process, but also brought a bit of Hol­ly­wood re­al­ity to the event.

On day four, ap­prox­i­mately 50 writ­ers filled the great room at the Hav­i­land Club to lis­ten to pan­el­lists Martin, Don­ald­son, Sh­ef­fer and Ka­j­pust share in­sights and tips on mar­ket­ing a script with Jan Miller, com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant with Lowenbe En­ter­prises, fa­cil­i­tat­ing. This panel was open to any­one in­ter­ested in the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try and pro­vided valu­able in­for­ma­tion on how to go about selling a script.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence with the P.E.I. Screen­writ­ers Boot­camp, par­tic­u­larly the in­sight­ful help of Tom Shoe­bridge, has helped me hone my craft to the point where I see a new ca­reer as a very tan­gi­ble re­al­ity. I would not have this con­fi­dence with­out boot­camp” said Gor­don Cobb, a boot­camp alum­nus.

“P.E.I. Screen­writ­ers’ Boot­camp has pro­vided with me with vi­tal in­for­ma­tion to take my work to pro­duc­tion.”

Lalonde says plans are al­ready un­der­way for next year’s event, which will be a cel­e­bra­tion of 10 years of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment of­fered to over a hun­dred screen­writ­ers from At­lantic Canada, many of whom have gone on to have their work pro­duced and made ca­reers writ­ing for the screen.

Visit www.peis­creen­writ­ers­boot­camp.net or con­tact louise@peis­creen­writ­ers­boot­camp.net

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ryan Gallant, a screen­writer from P.E.I., and Don­ald Martin, a men­tor, break away from the crowd to dis­cuss Gallant’s latest screen­play dur­ing the P.E.I. Screen­writ­ers’ Boot­camp.

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