And that's a wrap on another informative and inspiring Central Coast Writers Conference!
This past weekend, SoCreate had the opportunity to sponsor the Central Coast Writers Conference for the 3rd year in a row! The Central Coast Writers Conference, which celebrated its 33rd anniversary this year, is cited as one of the best writers conferences in the United States. Located at the Cuesta College campus in beautiful San Luis Obispo, the conference offers 2 full days of workshops for writers of all genres and experience levels taught by remarkable guest faculty--ranging from Academy Award winners to New York Times Best Selling authors.
Sponsoring this conference is always a special experience for us. At SoCreate, our main mission is to empower writers and provide them with all of the tools that they need to be successful, and this conference does exactly that. Our sponsorship gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to and help out the people that we care about most--writers! Oh, and did I mention it takes place right in our SoCreate backyard? How awesome is that?
The conference opened at 5pm on Thursday, September 28 with registration and some tasty drinks and appetizers outside of the Cuesta Performing Arts Center. After an hour of socializing, everyone headed inside for the opening introductions and keynote speaker. Teri Bayus, the wonderful conference organizer, welcomed everyone and explained a quick roadmap of the weekend events.
Once the welcoming remarks from Teri, the Cuesta College president, Gil Stork, and the SoCreate Director of Community Outreach--oh yeah, me!--were through, Teri welcomed the night's keynote speaker, screenwriter Tom Schulman, to the stage. Tom is an Oscar-winning screenwriting best known for his 1989 film, "Dead Poets Society." Some of his other well-known screenplays are Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" and "What About Bob?" In his presentation, Tom shared about his screenwriting journey, including his writing process, his Oscar-winning experience, and some helpful tips for all of the aspiring writers in the audience. His keynote speech left everyone feeling inspired and ready for a great weekend!
Friday morning started off on a motivational note with keynote speaker, work-life balance expert Mary LoVerde. Her presentation, titled "Winners Quit. Seriously" touched on the importance of quitting things that get in the way of our writing. Mary's opening keynote was followed by a lunch buffet and then the start of the workshops. Attendees had the opportunity to select workshops (4 on Friday and 5 on Saturday) that they would like to attend from 9 different tracks:
- Beginning Writing
- Agents and Editors
- Writing for Screen
- Making Money with Words
As you would imagine, our team spent a majority of our time in the workshops for "Writing for Screen," listening to great presentation after great presentation from renowned screenwriters including:
- Screenwriter and producer, Peter Dunne (JAG, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Melrose Place)
- Screenwriter and novelist, Doug Richardson (Die Harder, Bad Boys, and Hostage)
- Screenwriter and director, Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society, What About Bob?, and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids)
Friday's workshops were followed by an event titled, "Burn the Bully" inspired by conference faculty member, Jay Asher, author of the book Thirteen Reasons Why which inspired the Netflix hit series. For this event, attendees were invited to write the name of a bully they have faced, either in writing or in life, on a piece of paper and place it into the fire pit. The burning of the written name symbolized the destruction of all bad memories associated with that bully.
After we had all "burned the bully," we drove out to Morro Bay for an evening of storytelling, networking, and delicious appetizers at the Inn at Morro Bay.
Saturday started bright and early with the first workshop at 9am. We again spent our day on the "Writing for Screen" track and heard from some other inspiring screenwriters including:
- Screenwriter and producer, Ross Brown (The Facts of Life, Who's The Boss?, The Cosby Show, and National Lampoon's Vacation)
- Screenwriter and Script Magazine editor, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman (Slavery by Another Name and top 10 screenwriting blog column "Balls of Steel")
- Screenwriter, graphic novelist, and author, Michael Stackpole (Adaptations of franchise universes of Star Wars and World of Warcraft)
In between workshops and during breaks, our intern, Sam Solis Ramirez, and I had the opportunity to sit down with writers Doug Richardson, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, and Ross Brown, and chat with them about their careers as screenwriters. They shared their own personal stories, experiences, and some really helpful tips for aspiring writers.
A big part of the beauty of the Central Coast Writers Conference is the ability to have these one-on-one conversations with industry professionals. You most likely would not have an experience like this at a larger conference. Attendees can easily walk up to a faculty member and chat, or schedule a time with them for a personal critique session.
The Central Coast Writers Conference is truly a remarkable and one-of-a-kind event, and we are always thankful to be able to support writers in our community. A huge thank you to Teri Bayus and her team for another successful event. I know I can't be the only one counting down the days until #CCWC2018!
Cheers to you, writers!