Monday, December 14, 2009

Meeting minutes for Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our November 12 meeting featured Starshine Roshell, voted Best Columnist in the Independent’s 2009 Reader’s Poll. She started out by saying she loves speaking to writers, and she loves to hear “I love what you do.”

Her recipe for successful writing includes a balance of creativity, discipline, patience, and intelligence among other things. She aims for refined wordplay and rhythm. Her goal is to create an unusual voice, a recognizable style, like one of her favorite writers Keith Spencer Waterhouse. Because she has little patience, she needs to hear the rhythm in her writing to be satisfied with it, and encourages writers to read their work out loud. “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” Starshine said. To illustrate this she read from her book, Keep Your Skirt On.

She relishes bad experiences for material for her columns. Other story ideas come out of conversations with her BFFs and from posting questions on Facebook. But sometimes after sending her columns off to her editor she thinks, “What did I just say?” She feels a rush by saying things other writers are afraid to. These columns get responses and get her invited to church. Some of her readers say, “it must be so hard, you must be so brave”—she says she’s not. She just speaks before she thinks. An example of this is when she used to work for the News Press, but wasn’t part of the first wave of employees to leave the newspaper. At that time, when her former co-workers asked her why she hadn’t left yet, she said, “I think I have more balls than brains at this point.” But this style of writing is working for her because, as she said, “People like to hear uncensored talk.”

One of her heroes is Erma Bombeck and like the best-selling columnist/author, Starshine writes about her family. As a result her husband’s basketball buddies rib him, but her son likes being famous more than being cool. As long as she makes a living by writing about them, they’re happy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Starshine Roshell speaks at next meeting

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara

Presents an evening with journalism professor, magazine writer, award-winning columnist and overwhelmed mother of two

Starshine Roshell

Voted 'Best Columnist' in SB Indy Reader's Poll ‘09

Thursday, November 12, 7 pm*

*Come a half hour before our usual time (7:30 pm) to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other, and network with local talent.
Downtown Borders (Upstairs)
900 State Street
Email Us

Starshine Roshell named for a song in the 1960s musical “Hair," in which her father starred, Starshine grew up in Los Angeles on the soap opera sets and in the Sunset Strip nightclubs where her parents worked.

She graduated UCLA cum laude and wrote for The Hollywood Reporter before joining the Santa Barbara News-Press as news reporter, theater and rock music critic, Sunday columnist and deputy features editor. She resigned with dozens of colleagues in 2006.

Her syndicated column won a first-place award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and she has a second-place CNPA award for Business/Financial reporting.

Starshine lives in Santa Barbara with her husband John, a graphic artist, and their two sons.

Here is a sample of Starshine's advice to writers:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meeting Minutes – October 8, 2009

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara
Borders Books, downtown
Email Us

The meeting began at our new time of 7:00 PM, and at our new, upstairs location. The management team at Borders graciously agreed to our request to move all future meetings to the more private location and the evening went well.

After a brief, “get to know you” chat among tonight’s attendees – our new format – Rashi formally convened the meeting at 7:30 PM, and reiterated our new start time and upstairs location. Before turning over the formal introductions to Chuck made the following announcements:
  1. November 12, 2009 will be our last meeting this year, with Starshine Rochelle speaking.
  2. Ernie Witham is hosting a book signing on Saturday, October 17th at Tecolote Books in Montecito from 3-5PM.
  3. Ted Rhodes is having a photo show titled Mirror Images at Porch Vault Gallery in Carpenteria. The show runs through November 8th.
With no further announcements on the agenda, the meeting was turned over to Chuck who then introduced our speaker, Jim Williams and his talk titled “Writing for Audio Books, Magazines, Movies and Sometimes Money.” Jim’s humorous and informative anecdotes on his extensive background from radio announcer, to publicity information officer at Santa Barbara City College and author, to voice-overs and books on tape made for a lively and entertaining evening.

Jim also shared his personal interactions with magazine editors when sending query letters via email, which “puts you on a personal level with editors.” He advised us to write “Story Query” in the subject line, and how to find individual submission guidelines via Google by simply typing in the name of the magazine and guidelines (i.e., “Redbook Submission Guidelines”). He also advised to include the “hook” and synopses in the body of the email unless the guidelines differ, and that a 720-725 word count is the average number for magazine submissions.

Jim’s upbeat personality and humor moved the evening along and he left us with this consistent advice:
a) Write whenever you can. b) Have a deadline, and c) Read aloud; keeps the story moving forward.

The meeting ended at approximately 9:20 PM.

August 8th Meeting Minutes (Posted Late - Sorry)

7:36 pm – Chuck Kent opened the meeting by introducing the guest speaker, Ernie Witham.

Ernie Witham is the author of A Year in the Life of a ‘Working’ Writer, A Memoir to the Best of the Recollection of Ernie Witham. This is his second book. His first book is Ernie’s World. In addition to his books, Ernie has had twelve of his stories published in the Chicken Soup book series and teaches at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.

Ernie says he goes shopping for humor. He pointed out that you just have to look around to see the humor in everyday life. He reads everything – signs, ads, magazines, brochures. He also finds humor on vacation, in telemarketers, with family and even at Cotsco!

The advice that people usually give is “Write what you know”, Ernie says. He finds it’s easier to find the humor in writing about things you don’t know. He also confided in the group that sometimes he baits a situation for the humor.

On the topic of publishing, Ernie said people don’t want to take chances in the publishing world. The option of self publishing makes it hard to get your book into bookstores which sometimes forces you to sell your book over the internet.

Ernie co-published his new book (as well as his first book) with John Daniel, who edits, secures an ISBN number bar code, registers the book with the library of congress, sends out review copies, gets the book into distributors catalogs and does press releases; some of the things writers sometimes does not want to do.

Ernie wrapped up the talk by reading a few excerpts from A Year in the Life of a ‘Working’ Writer. His book is on sale through Borders Books at $14.95 plus tax.

The meeting ended at 8:45 pm and a book sale and signing followed.

Watch this half-hour video of Ernies talk discribed above:

Ernie Witham Writer from dolphingal805 on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Next Meeting: Thursday, October 8, 7 pm:

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara
“Writing for Audio Books, Magazines, Movies and Sometimes Money”
With Author & Radio Personality
Jim Williams

Thursday, October 8, 7 pm*
*Come a half hour before our usual time to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other, and network with the local talent.
Downtown Borders
900 State Street
Email Us

Jim Williams is the author of the audio books The Old West (Sunset Productions) and Tall Tales of the Old West (Americana Books), which he narrated. Look for his article, "Earn $$$ Writing History for Your Local Newspaper," scheduled for Writers’ Journal magazine in early 2010. His writing has appeared in Western Horseman, SHOOT!, Livestock Weekly, American West, Radio World Magazine, Carpinteria magazine, Goleta Valley Voice, and on,, Orchard Press Mysteries, and Three of his stories are in the 2008 anthology At Home and Abroad: Prize-winning Stories (Joyous Publishing). San Francisco’s Shoestring Radio Theatre produced his drama, “Close Encounters of The Confederate Kind,” aired on 100 NPR stations.

A lifelong broadcaster, former KDB Radio announcer and SBCC public information officer, Jim voices part-time for KZSB Radio (AM 1290).

His one screenplay, Flat Out on a Public Highway, was paid for, but never produced. “But I was just glad to get the money,” he said.

He is a Goleta resident, and native of Ojai.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10th Meeting Minutes

  • 20 people in attendance.
  • The meeting opened with those in attendance expressing what their interest in the group is. Each person also gave their opinion on the present group name.
  • Rashi Bahri gave a brief description of the July meeting regarding why the name change point, among others, was raised.
  • Lisa Angle gave an overview of the P.R. steps she has investigated regarding domain name, and blogspot blog.
  • A discussion took place among those in attendance weighing the pros and cons of a name change.
  • Possible alternative meeting locations
  • Inviting attendees to arrive a half hour before the meeting or to stay after to network.
  • What are the unique things this group would like to do? What sets it aside from other local groups?
  • Can meetings be held upstairs at Borders for better group communications?
  • Lisa Angle presented the online survey results (PDF).
  • The title for the domain name for the group was decided to be:
  • Commencing next month, the meeting will be begin at 7 pm.
  • The meeting adjourned at 9 pm.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our September Meeting

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara

General Meeting

Thursday, September 10, 7:30 pm

Downtown Borders

900 State Street

For those of you who missed our July meeting where we discussed the future of the Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara, we are giving you another chance on Thursday, September 10, 7:30 pm. We want to hear from you. What would you like to get out of this group? Who would you like to see come speak? What topics would you like to have covered? Should we change our name to attrack a broader audience, such as dropping the 'Screen' to make it just 'Writers'? How can our group help you achieve your writing goals? Regardless of how involved you want to be, your input counts. If you can't make the September 10 meeting, feel free to participate in this quick 2 question online survey:

If you missed Ernie Witham's talk to us last month, you can see it on Wednesday night, September 2, 7:30 pm, on cable channel 17 in Santa Barbara.

Looking forward to seeing you September 10!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our August Meeting

Santa Barbara Writers Association
(a.k.a The Screenwriters Association of
Santa Barbara)
is pleased to present an evening with Author and Columnist
Ernie Witham
Witham will introduce his new book:
A Year in the Life of a “Working” Writer

Thursday, August 13th at 7:30 p.m.
Borders Books
900 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA

Please join us. All are welcome. Free.

Our August 13th guest speaker will be longtime Screenwriters Association member Ernie Witham. Many of us know Ernie and read his column in the Montecito Journal regularly. You can even download and listen to his podcasts—they’re a hoot! But what you might not know is that Ernie has a new book coming out, and we will be the first group he will make it available to. Below is an excerpt of the press release from Ernie’s publisher, John Daniel at Fithian Press:

Every day of Ernie’s year is a quest for the next column, and his material is all around him, in the everyday life of Ernie’s World. Every year in this writer’s world is full of predictable events: his wife’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and their anniversary; golf games, farmer’s markets, local festivals; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Not to mention water fights with the grandchildren and far-flung vacations.

Or calling up the FBI to ask for their advice about smuggling mob money over the Mexican border. Or getting injured in a motorcycle accident—in his own driveway while the bike is standing still. Or sharing an elevator late at night with a six-foot, four-inch transvestite. Even getting a little too cozy with amorous dolphins. Yes, these everyday events are part of Ernie’s World too.

The stuff of Ernie Witham’s life is the stuff of Ernie’s humor column, a family-friendly romp through everyday life.

Another ongoing ingredient of Ernie’s life is placating his long-suffering, wonderful wife and best friend, Pat, by promising to find a “real job.” Honest. As soon as life stops being too funny not to write another column about it.

Like that’ll ever happen.

Well, Ernie won’t find a job this year; he’s too busy. But perhaps a job will find him? Read A Year in the Life of a “Working” Writer and find out!

Ernie Witham is the author of the book Ernie’s World, which is also the title of the nationally syndicated column. He is also a contributing writer to many magazines and anthologies, including more than a dozen volumes of the “Chicken Soup” series. He has taught humor at writers’ workshops throughout the country and is the humor workshop leader at the week-long Santa Barbara Writers Conference.

Come join Ernie for some inspiration and some laughs at Borders Books, 900 State Street, Santa Barbara on Thursday, August 13, 7:30 p.m. All are welcome, including guests and friends. And it’s free. See you soon!

please address any questions and concerns about our upcoming meeting with Vice President, Rashi Bahri.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meeting minutes for Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara, aka
Santa Barbara Writers Association

PO Box 1410 Santa Barbara, CA 93102-1410

Our meetings are held at Borders Bookstore, 900 State St. Santa Barbara, on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:30pm. Meetings are held every month with the exception of December.

Annual membership dues are $30 and can be mailed to the address above, or paid to our Treasurer, Chuck Kent.

President: Ginger Swanson
Vice President: Rashi Bahri
Secretary: Danielle Greene
Treasurer: Chuck Kent
PR Czar: Lisa Angle

Meeting minutes for Thursday, July 9, 2009 @ Borders bookstore

The meeting was called to order at 7:45 pm by President Ginger Swanson

Present at the meeting were: Lisa Angle, Rashi Bahri, Jim Sturnot, Ernie Witham, MaryAnn Vanover, Danielle Greene and Ginger Swanson.

The floor was immediately open to comments about the group, the future of the group, what members are looking for, what members feel they have gotten from the group, what role they would like to play.
  • The challenge of getting speakers when there is no certainty of how many people might attend was discussed.
  • Does the group always want to have a meeting set in Borders or just meet at Borders when there will be a speaker?
  • What is the mission of the group?
  • Should the group have more of an Internet presence in order to attract more members?
  • What is the purpose of this group? It was originally formed so people writing scripts could meet agents.
  • Should the group meetings be suspended annually in June, July and August because of low attendance? Right now the group meets the second Thursday of every month except for December.
  • Should the group have a monthly calendar?
  • Should all members be pitching in to line up speakers?
  • Is the group alienating people who aren’t screenwriters based on the name of the group?
  • Should the meetings at Borders be moved toward the back of the store?
A motion was made by Rashi Bahri to modify and create a new identity for the group, in changing the name of the group to Santa Barbara Writers Association aka Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara. The motion was seconded by Ginger Swanson.

A motion was made by Ginger Swanson to elect Lisa Angle as the group’s public relations czar (“P.R. Czar”). MaryAnn Vanover seconded the motion.

A motion was made by Ginger Swanson that the group will spend some money for the P.R. Czar to publicize the group. The motion was seconded by Ernie Witham.

A motion was made by Ginger Swanson to elect Danielle Greene as the secretary of the Santa Barbara Writers Association a.k.a. Screenwriter’s Association of Santa Barbara. The motion was seconded by Ernie Witham.

A motion was made by Ginger Swanson to elect Rashi Bahri as the vice president of the Santa Barbara Writers Association a.k.a. Screenwriter’s Association of Santa Barbara. The motion was seconded by MaryAnn Vanover.

A motion was made by Lisa Angle to elect Ernie Witham and MaryAnn Wanover as directors-at-large for the Santa Barbara Writers Association a.k.a. Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara. The motion was seconded by Jim Sturnot.

It was announced that Ernie Witham will be the speaker at the August meeting. His new book is entitled: A Year in the Life of a ‘Working’ Writer-a Memoir to the Best of the Recollection of Ernie Witham. The meeting will be his first signing for this book.

The meeting adjourned at 9:40pm.