There are two great enemies to your success as a writer.
You might think it’s 1) not living in L.A. and 2) not having an agent.
But you’d be wrong.
Your time and creative juice are your greatest commodities as a writer. If you don’t have those, you won’t make progress. You are being robbed of them every single day.
You have to bring home the bacon, take out the trash, walk the dog, and put the kids to bed. Even if you do manage to carve out a little time, you can’t just turn on the creative juices on like a faucet and beautiful sentences will pour forth. One of the biggest obstacles to getting into the writing zone – that sweet spot where it just flows, is the siren song of distraction. It feeds on our fears and doubts and thrives on the human tendency to procrastinate.
This beast eats up minutes that turn to hours and consumes your energy and attention. Perhaps you are one of the few that is not afflicted. If so, lucky you!
I once had to stop writing a script to defrost the freezer because the icy build up was driving me mad. Eager to accomplish the task, I devised a special speed defrost technique that primarily involved a butcher knife. The Maytag Repairman wouldn’t recommend this.
And now, neither would I.
What makes the killer of time and creativity a real horror story is that, all too often, “The call is coming from inside the house!” Perhaps you don’t feel like a prisoner trapped in your own workspace, but whether it’s your home office, your tool shed or a nifty set up on a studio lot, your regular writing space is packed with monsters and landmines there to sabotage you. Blake Snyder famous for the screenwriting book, Save the Cat. called this “Bungalow Fever” and advocated for “evacuating the premises.” Good advice.
Never underestimate the power of a change in location to switch things up. Routine has its advantages, but it can also become mind-numbing.
An afternoon or a day away can be refreshing. A weekend or a week in a new physical and mental space can truly reinvigorate you.
Screenwriting Retreats Around the World and Around the Corner
Experience exotic Costa Rica with Jacob Kruger. Long expanses of beach; yoga in the morning, movies at night and classes in between.
Dave Trottier will help you polish your script till it shines at Sundance.
Maybe you’d prefer a chateau in France with James Bonnet.
And what could top the Italian countryside? Molto bene!
Screenwriter’s Summer Camp – A Retreat and a Career Boost
For me, when it comes to retreats I head for the hills, specifically a getaway to the mountains. This June I’m off to Screenwriter’s Summer Camp!
I’m thrilled to be returning to Idyllwild Arts Summer Program and teaching a weeklong intensive, Screenwriting Revolution: Creating and Marketing Successful Screenplays, June 16 through 20. It’s held in Idyllwild, CA, two hours East of Los Angeles, a half hour uphill, in the mountains above Palm Springs.
And since we’re so close to L.A., on our final day I’ll be importing high-level industry professionals devoted to getting to know you and work with you. Trust me, you won’t find these folks at a Pitch-a-palooza at any price, much less sitting across the table from you at lunch.
Maybe you’re not feeling as if you need to tunnel your way out of an escape-proof POW camp, but this is the opportunity to get away from work, family, friends, Facebook and give your career an enormous boost.
Screenwriters at all levels of experience and proficiency will build the skills, knowledge, concepts, and relationships needed to make breaking into the industry a reality. Develop ideas with expert guidance, hone essential professional skills, and gain invaluable personal and industry insight. Establish real industry relationships.
Spend a week focused on understanding the industry from the inside and how to use that newfound knowledge, create and develop concepts that will ignite industry interest. Discover your passions and your strengths to elevate your stories. Master the art of pitching with skill and confidence. Gain powerful tools, techniques, and templates that will revolutionize your writing process, making it faster and more successful.
Advance Assignments will take you on a journey of self-discovery, spark creativity, and give me insights into making your week truly transformational. You will thrive with intimate, one-on-one work, benefit from group exercises, and see structure with utter clarity as we watch and discuss a film together.
Our week culminates in a day spent developing relationships with three working industry professionals – an agent, development executive and studio executive or manager. Since we’re so close to Los Angeles, they’re leaving their offices to join us.
We begin with introductions and Q & A in the morning, and then enjoy getting to know one another on a personal basis over lunch. The afternoon is devoted to listening to your polished pitches, with a generous amount of time to provide feedback on concept, market potential, pitching technique, as well as advice on how to move your work forward in the marketplace.
When you’re not in class or writing, discover why Idyllwild is best described as “idyllic.” It is the ideal location for a screenwriting retreat. This quaint, yet sophisticated mile-high town has more elevation than population and is home to the arts and artists of all kinds.
You won’t find is parking meters, traffic lights, or a rush hour.
There are unique shops to explore; offering handcrafted art, clothing and “build-your-own” ice cream bars. Enjoy little ethnic restaurants, as well as gourmet fare with live music playing on the patio. There’s even a movie theatre, with one movie playing twice a day, and the only video and DVD rental store in its lobby!
Take a hike. Wander the fabulous trails or hit the challenging ones. Unwind to the sound of the wind whistling through the tall trees, inhale the pine-scented breeze, contemplate the spectacular vistas.
Retreat = Relax, Energize, Tune In, Realize, Evolve, Advance, Thrive
No matter where you choose go for your retreat, even if it’s just the local library or a cool coffee shop, “Get out, get out, get out of the house!” Give yourself and your career the time and energy they deserve.
Send yourself to Summer Camp! Get what you need to succeed.