Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meeting Minutes – October 8, 2009

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara
Borders Books, downtown
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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.