Monday, February 25, 2013

Film writing workshop

My good friend the writer Vicky Grut has asked me to tell you about an exciting-looking course (details  below) which I'd attend myself if I weren't overwhelmed by the commitments that have also been keeping me from this blog. I met Vicky when I was editing, with Ailsa Cox, the short story magazine Metropolitan, and Vicky, a contributor, read from one of her great short stories at one of our London readings.

Here are the details:

This is a unique opportunity for UK writers to work with an inspirational writer and practitioner. Gill Dennis is Master Filmmaker in Residence at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and co-writer of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line (2005).  He will be running a two-part workshop for eight writers (working in two smaller groups).

This course is suitable for screenwriters working on a feature or short film script, as well as novelists and/or short story writers who want to adapt their own work for the screen. 

There will be two workshop meetings for each group of four writers, plus a one-hour individual meeting with Gill for each writer.
·   Gill will read all the scripts in advance. Participants will be asked to read and discuss the work of three other writers.
·   The first meeting will be on Saturday 18 May. Group 1: 10.30am -1.30pm, Group 2: 2.30 – 5.30.
·   On Sunday 19th and Monday 20th Gill will meet each writer for a one-to-one meeting to set objectives for rewrites.
·   The two groups will meet with Gill again on Saturday 1 June (same times) to discuss the resulting revisions and changes.

BIO: GILL DENNIS's screenwriting credits include the Oscar-nominated film WALK THE LINE (2005); RETURN TO OZ (with Walter Murch, 1985); RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (TNT, 1996); and an original mini-series, HOME FIRES, named as one of the top ten television events of 1987 by Time Magazine. He also worked on scripts such as THE BLACK STALLION, APOCALYPSE NOW and POLLOCK.
His current projects include FOREVER  with director Tatia Pilieva, now in post-production; SPANISH BLOOD with Aza Jacob, starring Jennifer Lopez and John Hawkes, which will be shot in the Spring; and an adaptation of Joe Sacco's FOOTNOTES FROM GAZA for the director Denis Villeneuve (INCENDIES).

As Master Filmmaker in Residence at the American Film Institute, Gill has mentored many of the new generation of American filmmakers, including Jonathan Levine (THE WACKNESS), Jacob Estes (MEAN CREEK), Goran Dukic (WRISTCUTTERS), and Aza Jacobs, whose feature TERRI screened at last year’s London Film Festival.

Gill Dennis won the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Direction in Theatre, and has taught screenwriting workshops in Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, and Australia.

APPLICATION PROCESS: If you’d like to take part in this workshop please send a short writing sample together with a covering letter telling us something about you and your writing and the screenplay you are developing. Email to: 

DEADLINES:  applications before 31st March. Places will be allocated on a rolling basis. If you are accepted, you will be asked to pay a deposit to secure the place, and to send in a full draft of your screenplay by mid to late April 2013. The balance of the course fee will be payable before the start of the course.


" Gill Dennis is a man who ‘knows that the way to learn is to listen, and to ask the questions that will find the heart of the subject.  He’s an expert communicator, which serves him both as a teacher and writer." – from the publicity for Gill Dennis’s master-class at the 2011 Galway Film Fleadh