Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, January 12: Documentary Filmmaker Candace Schermerhorn

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Documentary Filmmaker

Candace Schermerhorn

Thursday, January 12, 7 pm

Brooks Institute
27 East Cota Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

Candace Schermerhorn got her start at Northern Light Productions in Boston, MA where she became a staff producer. As a producer, director, and writer her expertise and passion lie primarily in first person narrative and documentaries addressing contemporary issues. Her credits include work for Children’s Television Workshop, the National Park Service, Massachusetts Council for the Humanities, Harcourt Brace Publishers, American Masters, and Turner Broadcasting. She directed, with Bestor Cram, the independent award-winning documentary You Don’t Know Dick, an intimate film about female-to-male transsexuals. For many years she has taught documentary filmmaking at Santa Barbara City College and was the Director of Programming for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. She wrote, produced and directed The Naked Option: A last resort, celebrating the grassroots mobilization of women in the Niger Delta and their struggle against the multinational oil corporations. She is currently in preproduction of her third independent feature documentary, The Last Utopia, about the ancient seafaring Lapita Navigators and their migration due to sea level rise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Mixer at Casa Blanca

Please join other writers and filmmakers in celebrating this magical season!

Holiday Mixer
Wednesday, December 14
5-7 pm
Casa Blanca Restaurant and Cantina
330 State Street
Downtown Santa Barbara

Who: Screenwriters Association of SB, The Table SB, Indiecoop: Co-operative of Independent SB Producers, SB Filmmakers

networking, drinking, eating, laughing, meeting new people who can help you with your projects

Holiday party primetime – December 14

a beautiful new restaurant in the heart of Santa Barbara’s old town

This is where other local entertainment production professions will be. Happy Hour prices 3-8 pm. You’ll be downtown shopping anyway. Check out the new restaurant in town. It’s gonna be fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, Novmeber 10, 2011

By Adrienne D. Wilson

November opened with another packed classroom for the Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara at Brooks Institute. The Zicrees are a power couple, known as “Supermentors” in the industry.

Marc and Elaine Zicree have over 100 credits to their name, including series such as Star Trek-The Next Generation, Sliders, Deep Space Nine, Lazarus Man, Beyond Reality and Babylon 5, plus multiple pilots
for NBC, ABC and Showtime. They have written for virtually every major studio and network, and their work has been nominated for the Humanitas Prize, Diane Thomas Award, and American Book Award.

Lisa Angle, President opened the meeting by reminding the group that donations to host the speakers coming up from Los Angeles can
be made to Chuck Kent.

Also mentioned was a series of shorts out at UCSB coming up on November 30th. Don Hurtzfeldt of, a UCSB graduate whose cult short films have gone on to win big awards will be at the Pollock Theater giving a showing of three plus an onstage interview afterward. See link above for more, and check the Youtube versions at this link to get a taste of an animator at work.

The Zicrees are responsible for “The Table” that has spread all over the world and can be found here in Santa Barbara at Max’s restaurant on Wednesday nights where screenwriters and filmmakers gather.

She, gamine and he tall and funny–the Zicrees filled the room with warmth and possibility.

“Be unstoppable!” The group heard that again, if you want
to make a film.

“It’s about selling attachments,” they nodded. This means thinking about branding and linking, and that can terrify a screenwriter. There are two reasons for writing a screenplay the Zicrees confirmed. Two goals. One is “My goal is to reach an audience” or “My goal is to write it and sell it for money.” This made the audience laugh. Most screenwriters probably want both.

“Screenwriting isn’t a solo game, it’s a matter of gathering teams.”

Everybody in the audience was given an opportunity to talk about what they were working on as the Zicrees went around the room. Individualized feedback was key.

Teambuilding starts with The Hollywood Creative Directory which got passed around. Go through that book and make a list of 50-100 people that matter in Los Angeles. “Start figuring out how you can meet them.”

“Have a filmmaker you idolize?” You can begin by letting them know. Try and hang out where they do. “Don’t be scared.” You can start going to events and be personable. “See yourself as a peer!”

The Zicrees give classes in Hollywood, where budding screenwriters ready to make
the leap into that creative directory set will learn how to chart goals with specific steps, how to really target A-List people, how to pitch yourself and your project and get agents, managers and production partners who really work for you.


Find out more at and click here to learn about their classes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday, November 10: Marc & Elaine Zicree

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Writers & Producers

Marc & Elaine Zicree

Thursday, November 10, 7 pm

Brooks Institute
27 East Cota Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

Writing both individually and as a team, Marc and Elaine Zicree have over 100 credits to their name, including series such as Star Trek - The Next Generation, Sliders, Deep Space Nine, Lazarus Man, Beyond Reality and Babylon 5, plus multiple pilots for NBC, ABC and Showtime. They have written for virtually every major studio and network, and their work has been nominated for the Humanitas Prize, Diane Thomas Award, and American Book Award.

Marc and Elaine served as Executive Producers on Real Story, a pilot presentation they wrote and produced in association with OZ's Tom Fontana, starring Buffy's Armin Shimerman. They also co-wrote Two Sisters, a MOW for Warners, to which director Tony Bill was attached, and Magic Time, a two-hour pilot for Henson, which was spun off into a best-selling series of books published by HarperCollins from 2001-2005.

Author of The Twilight Zone Companion, Marc Zicree has written 15 screenplays and over 100 teleplays. He has been a guest on over 100 radio and TV shows, including The Today Show, All Things Considered and Entertainment Tonight. He currently writes best-selling novels, writes and produces TV series, network pilots and feature films, and has also been a commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.

Elaine Zicree has served as a writer, actress, director and producer Off-Broadway and in LA. She is currently working on Caesar, an independent feature she has written and will be producing. She and Marc have also recently written multiple episodes of PBS's Liberty's Kids, a dramatic series about the American Revolution starring Walter Cronkite, Michael Douglas, Billy Crystal, Dustin Hoffman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which garnered them the Humanitas Prize nomination.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, October 13, 2011

By Adrienne D. Wilson

Jamie Fleming
, Director of the Ojai Film Festival opened the lecture by encouraging the packed audience to attend the upcoming movies and the festival in Ojai. There will be 77 films shown this year. He smiled, saying that Ojai was another universe but just a stone’s throw from Santa Barbara and well worth the trip especially for the festival. A listing of films can be seen at on their website. The festival runs October 20th through the 23rd. Fleming mentioned that the film Jolene would have a special screening at the Matilija Auditorium with a question and answer session afterward with Greg Laemmle and the filmmakers. Watch the trailer for Jolene to get an idea of the caliber of the Ojai Film Festival. “We’ve got oranges, great restaurants and the pink glow of the mountains just a few minutes away,” Fleming laughed. Arrange for tickets, and it sounds as if a wonderful weekend can be yours.

A screenwriter’s hands. That’s something to watch, because those hands produce magic on the page. Walter Halsey Davis has a magnificent pair of hands and they were in constant motion, sculpting the air itself as he talked to the audience about writing. “People think we write dialogue, but it’s like building a house,” he said. “You have to create a world before you can have anybody talk.” You can build that world from the very first shot, he added. “A world, a time, a certain set of expectations...”

Every scene has to be a mini-screenplay. “Start at the top of a scene and get out as fast as you can.” Davis said he learned this credo from Waldo Salt, screenwriter for the film Midnight Cowboy. You can take a look at the screenplay to see how fast it moves. “Start at the top of a scene and get out as fast as you can.”

“All you have to do is be brilliant.”

Like say, the film Network. Davis used this film classic as an example of “emotional events” in movies. He strode over to the board and wrote this line: “I have nothing to say.” You can watch the scene Davis referenced on YouTube to see how dialogue shapes everything about drama and character.“When you do your plotting you have to make each scene a surprise, but it has to seem completely inevitable.” On cutting, Davis told the audience that every frame either adds or subtracts -- no frame is neutral. “Every word adds or subtracts from the screenplay itself.”

“Each scene has to change the condition of the story, and that action is not always physical, it can be psychological.”

“Anything that makes a bad dream makes a good movie,” he said.

What you want are noble characters with flaws. This makes characters unforgettable to the audience. “Put the main character into a scene where the character has to do something that is the hardest thing in the world for that character.”

“Comedy and drama work by the same rules,” Davis cautioned mentioning Socrates -- “the unchallenged life is meaningless.”

Your writing is like a metronome going in a symphony in terms of the volume, colors of the instruments -- your screenplay can’t be loud the whole time or stay intense the whole time. “Study acting and get in plays,” he said. To learn about dramatic pacing and how actors work the material.

Davis has long been on the faculty at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and it was an honor to listen and watch the hands of such an accomplished writer and playwright as they flew through the air, sculpting the lecture. He has won the following awards for his work: An Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award and two Nominations, an Edgar Allan Poe Award, two Christopher Awards, the Lucille Ball Comedy Writing Award, the Goldwyn Writing Award, the Texas Bicentennial Playwriting Award, the Red Cross Prize at the Monaco International Television Festival, The Peabody Award, The Humanitas Prize, a Golden Globe nomination, and the American College Theater Festival Playwriting Award (Region V).

To see some of his work you can check Netflix, and a list of his films are on IMDB.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, October 13: Walter Halsey Davis

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Screenwriter & Playwright

Walter Halsey Davis

Thursday, October 13, 7 pm

*Come early to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other, and network with local talent. The speaker presentation will start around 7:30 pm

Brooks Ins
27 East Cota Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

After serving four years in the Navy, Walter Halsey Davis went to France with the notion of writing a novel. Just when he was about to run out of money, he was mysteriously cast in a small part in a movie filming in Paris. This early exposure to the movies didn't take, however, and he took off for Austria where he worked in a ski factory until sawdust and solitude drove his north into Germany where he worked as a television repairman while he attended the University of Mainz.

Davis returned to his native California. He attended UCSB where he took a Bachelor and Masters Degree in English literature, and went on to UCLA where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater Arts.

Davis' first play, The Tapioca Misanthropa (a verse drama cum cosmic vaudeville), was produced for ABC television in Santa Barbara and later broadcast in Los Angeles on the PBS station KCET. "Tapioca" won the Lucille Ball Comedy Writing Award and was published by Painted Cave Books in Santa Barbara.

Davis' second play, Panhandle, a chronicle of a Texas family's struggle through the Great Depression, was first produced at UCSB, then the Oxford Playhouse in Los Angeles, the Scott Theater in Fort Worth, North Texas State University, Texas Tech University, and in New York at the Walden Theater. Panhandle won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, the Texas Bicentennial Playwriting Award, and the American College Theater Festival Playwriting Award (Region V). On the basis of Panhandle, Davis was selected to be a playwright in residence for one year at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Davis' third play, Tilden (written in collaboration with Pierre Delattre and Lew Catching), is based on the life of the tennis champion Big Bill Tilden. It has been produced in Minneapolis.

Davis sold his first screenplay, a science fiction piece called The Locus while he was still a graduate student at UCLA. Since then he has worked constantly as a screenwriter and has written feature films, television mini-series, and movies for television. In an effort to maintain a greater degree of control over his material, he has managed to become a producer on his more recent projects and is looking forward to directing.

He has won an Emmy, a Writers Guild of America Award and two Nominations, an Edgar Allan Poe Award, two Christopher Awards, the Lucille Ball Comedy Writing Award, the Goldwyn Writing Award, the Texas Bicentennial Playwriting Award, the Red Cross Prize at the Monaco International Television Festival, The Peabody Award, The Humanitas Prize, a Golden Globe nomination, and the American College Theater Festival Playwriting Award (Region V).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, September 8, 2011

By Adrienne D. Wilson

Lisa Angle
, new President of the Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara, opened the lecture at Brooks Institute by taking a few questions about the Association which began 35 years ago as an offshoot of a class at Santa Barbara City College. The group once had a “script library” but with the nature of screenplays being available online that had fallen by the wayside. There was interest in making the library available again.

Lisa mentioned resources available for writers in Santa Barbara, such as “The Table” at Max’s Restaurant every Wednesday at 6:30 pm where screenwriters gather and ta
lk film. Indiecoop is a directory for local independent producers and those working on independent film in this area.

Our speaker was Director, Writer, Producer John B. Macurdy, who has written over a dozen original feature film screenplays and is a 2008 Telly Award winner. Films he has worked on include The Pharaoh Project, A Murder of Crows, and the award-winning Nate and the Colonel.

Cool, calm and collected in a pea green shirt, the best thing Macurdy
gave the group was the idea that if thirty people wanted to make a film and all had their hearts in it, and all donated $1,000 each, it could be done! “You know why?” he asked. “They are going to want their names on the credits.”

In big Hollywood’s current focus on comic book heroes, franchises, remakes and so forth, “go independent,” he told the group. “We as writers need to stop putting obstacles in our way. I always wrote my screenplays because I wanted to see them.”

“Moviemaking is creative problem solving.”

Macurdy made the group laugh when he told us about Stonehenge. “Do you really need to go to England or can you use stock footage and then just have your actors posed against a rock as a backdrop?”

Need people in costume?

“Get Historic Reenactors.”

“They already have the costumes and they love what they do,” he said, chuckling.

Most important is a cinematographer you can rely on, because an experienced cameraman will let you know what shots you are missing. Macurdy gave the group his definition of a script: “A screenplay is a condensation of significant events arranged or organized for maximum dramatic effect.”

On directors, Macurdy spoke of the importance of a script analysis because that will give the sense of each character’s “dramatic spine.” Details in a script give the actor and director something to chew on, “but the actor might not do that” the way the writer wrote it. He told the group that screenwriting draws the picture, but it is in the collaboration that the magic occurs.

“One of the hallmarks of low budget films is white walls,” he laughed. “Get colors!”

“Get the best sound you can.”

Independent film is all about stories with a heart. “Take an acting class to understand how to be a director,” he said. This is to help learn about locations, set design, costumes and what the camera is going to do. Watch the film, My Dinner with AndrĂ© and you will understand what can be done with just two characters.

He left the audience with this thought: “If you have a story you want to tell, you can do it. You can make your movie.”

Making a film just might be sailing off to sea in a beautiful pea green boat if everyone’s collective heart is in it. Take a look at The Pharoah Project and see how you can be inspired!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thursday, September 8: "From Screenplay to Production"

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


"From Screenplay to Production"


John B. Macurdy, PhD

2008 Telly Award Winner

Thursday, September 8, 7 pm

Brooks Institute
27 East Cota Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

Director, Writer, Producer John B. Macurdy, PhD has written over a dozen original feature film screenplays and is a 2008 Telly Award winner. Films he has worked on include The Pharaoh Project, A Murder of Crows, and the award-winning Nate and the Colonel. He has also produced and written series pilots for Target, Chance of a Lifetime, and Against the Wall. His workshops on “Feature Film Directing” and “Micro-Budget Feature Film Production” were offered in Santa Barbara this last summer, and he plans to offer more workshops soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, August 11, 2011

By Adrienne D. Wilson

The Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara convened at Brooks Institute, which generously donated a classroom to the group. It was fitting to be at the premier center for photography and film making in California, in a real classroom with abstract felt grayscales dangling from the ceiling and a gorgeous student show lining the halls.

Changes were in order as outgoing President Rashi Bahri conducted elections. Lisa Angle of Ninety Degrees Media was voted in as the new President, Ernie Witham of Ernie’s World accepted the Vice President position, and Faith Ellington agreed to be Publicity Director. The Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Director positions will be determined later.

This month’s speaker was The Story Coach, and what a coach he was. Patrick A. Horton has been called “one of the most empowering and innovative guides for story and storytelling” and he lit up the room with nonstop illumination about what drives the heart of good writing. His background is a blend of scholarly cultural anthropology and the lecture began with how fast change is happening in our society and the industry. “In a world that increasingly has no maps you are going to have to get better at finding your own compass.”

“Be unstoppable,” he said, grinning.

Horton has a new model for finding the heart of the story and the levels of depth story can reach to effect change. “Being a storyteller gives permission for others to find their voice.” Writing involves the A and B story - A being the surface plot line with all its action, tangles and twists and B being the depth of it all where the emotion lives. “The story is never what it is really about,” he said. The meaning depends on which characters the audience resonates to most.

The audience wants to know “this feels real,” Horton told the group. “Great storytelling always means raising the right questions.” That’s the B story. What questions do you want to raise in your writing? “In order to re-frame the world you have to convince the audience it is okay to be open to the scary stuff because there will be something on the other side.” This means that the writer should not fear to tread into the deepest parts of self in order to mine the material. The writer has to let go of something in order for the audience to learn something new. “Tell the stories that matter to you,” he advised the writers. “Authenticity is everything.”

In funny asides Horton spoke about actors needing real material from the writer in order to inhabit the character. “Writers want to write great deep emotional stuff without being connected emotionally to it,” but that won’t work, he cautioned the group. “Whatever you have gone through in life, it’s material.”

That’s the gift of his “practical magic” and the way screenwriters can find deeper levels of voice and meaning on the page. “Glean what moves and matters to you and that will be your best story.”

Thursday was a prelude to the free workshop Horton offered Saturday at Brooks. For more information you can visit and see his book on screenwriting, Mastering the Power of Story.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thursday, August 11: Patrick A. Horton, PhD / The Story Coach

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


"Life As Screen Play"


Patrick A. Horton, PhD / The Story Coach

Divining the Life in Story - Defining the Story in Life

Thursday, August 11, 7 pm

Brooks Institute

27 East Cota Street, Room C-3
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

Patrick A. Horton is one of the most intuitively empowering and radically innovative guides for the development and promotion of story and storytelling of all kinds - not only for writers but for all those myriad collaborative players who must contribute along the way to bring any project from concept to fruition.

In addition to being a paid and optioned writer, screenwriter, and script doctor himself, Dr. Horton is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, founding principal of Wind & Thunder Productions, and an ongoing presenter, panelist, and mentor for a wide variety of media industry organizations, guilds, and professional groups. His workshops and forthcoming book are the first to speak effectively across professional media specialties to address both the private and collective aspects of the development process from conception to completion, and effectively merge the creative and commercial aspects of story development and promotion for a more artistically, commercially, and socially viable media. First and foremost, however, he remains an applied cultural anthropologist and change agent dedicated to promoting life affirming visions, and practical strategies for effective personal, social, and global change.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thursday, July 14: Film Critic Leo Braudy

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Film Critic & Author

Leo Braudy

Thursday, July 14, 7 pm

Brooks Institute
27 East Cota Street, Room C-3
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

Leo Braudy is among America’s leading cultural historians and film critics. Currently University Professor and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature at the University of Southern California, he teaches Restoration literature and history, American culture after World War Two, popular culture and critical theory, including the histories of visual style and film genres. His work appears in journals such as American Film, Film Quarterly, Genre, Novel, Partisan Review, and Prose Studies—to name a few.

His book Jean Renoir: The World of His Films was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Harper’s. His book From Chivalry to Terrorism, was named Best of the Best by the Los Angeles Times and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times.

His most recent book is The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon (New Haven: Yale university Press, 2011).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steve Beisner offered several suggestions for "The Right Tech for Writing" at our June 9th meeting at our new venue, Brooks Institute on Cota Street. His first piece of wisdom was that sometimes the right tech was low tech, like a pad and pencil. Occasionally, the best way to research for your writing is to keep your eyes and ears peeled, and use a cardboard box full of files.

When talking about social media and email, he warned, “Don’t get obsessed or abuse it.” If we turn off the “You’ve got mail” signal, we’ll be less distracted while writing. When we do use email, he encouraged us to use it effectively, for example be sure to have a signature at the bottom with your contact information.

For sparking the inspiration to write, Steve shared a trick he learned from a lady he once knew, who would write a letter everyday to somebody she admired, whether or not she sent the letters is beside the point – she wrote everyday.

Moving on to the more “high tech” tools, Steve recommended a whole list of software for research, record keeping, and drafting and rewriting. An example of these resources was OmniOutliner (available for Mac and iPad), a program for brainstorming new ideas and organizing information. He also told us about some alternatives to the writing software many of us use, for instance OpenOffice is a free, open source, alternative to MS Word. Also on the list was the free program he developed himself, InkByte Tracker to help writers manage submissions to journals, publishers, agents, or any market. For the full list of programs Steve talked about, feel free to email him at He welcomes writing-related tech questions from writers – it’s his way of “paying it forward” for all the help he’s gotten from other writers.

Then Steve gave the floor to his lovely wife Melinda Palacio, who opened by telling us, “If you remember one thing from tonight, I hope it’s that Ocotillo Dreams would make a great movie.” This pitch to screenwriters who might want to adapt her new novel into a screenplay was a tongue-in-cheek lead in to her point about how important community is to writers. Her connection to Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, who was in the audience that night, got Melinda her first reading as a poet. Ways she connects with other writers include blogging for La Bloga and attending the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, where she and Steve met. She uses Facebook and Twitter to meet people she wouldn’t normal meet otherwise, and this is helpful for marketing. With Ocotillo Dreams going to press soon, marketing is big on her mind, since publishers rely on authors to do the bulk of it. To illustrate her promotional efforts she brought along the book cover poster and postcards, which she also mails out to old friend. Her other plans include a virtual book tour as well as real time signings at independent bookstores.

The problem is all this promoting takes Melinda away from her writing, and distractions are not good for a writer. She says she doesn’t compose on the computer because that’s too distracting. Sometimes she uses Scrivener, one of the high tech tools on Steve’s list, to concentrate on composing and structuring, but mostly she begins her writing with the low tech pad and pencil.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday, June 9: The Right Tech for Writing

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


"The Right Tech for Writing"


Melinda Palacio & Steve Beisner

Publishers of Ink Byte

Thursday, June 9, 7 pm

Brooks Institute
27 East Cota Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
(805) 617-4503

FREE and open to everyone!

South Louisiana native, Steve Beisner, is a writer, musician, and computer scientist. He has published short stories and poems, and was recognized for his short fiction by the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His short story "Matchbox" won the Country Roads Magazine fiction contest in 2008. He is currently writing a novel. Steve is an editor at Ink Byte Press, co-editing Ink Byte, a magazine for writers. Steve's long involvement as a developer and teacher of technology has led to a quest to make technology more accessible to writers more interested in magnifying their creativity than playing with gadgets. His free, professionally developed software for writers include InkByte Tracker to help you organize and manage your submissions to journals, publishers, agents, or any market.

Melinda Palacio grew up in South-Central Los Angeles. She holds two degrees in Comparative Literature—a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from UC Santa Cruz. She co-edits Ink Byte Magazine and writes a column for La Bloga. She is a 2007 PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellow and a 2009 poetry alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Askew Poetry Journal, BorderSenses, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Buffalo Carp, Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature, Maple Leaf Rag III and IV: An Anthology of Poems, the Naugatuck River Review, New Poets of the American West: An Anthology of Eleven Western States, Oranges and Sardines Poets and Artists, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art, Pilgrimage Magazine, Quercus Review, Strange Cargo: an Emerging Voices Anthology 1997-2010, San Diego Poetry Annual 2010-11, the San Pedro River Review, Squaw Valley Review, and forthcoming in Bop, Strut,Dance: A Post-Blues Form for New Generations and Southern Poetry Anthology IV: Louisiana (Texas Review Press 2011). Her poetry chapbook, Folsom Lockdown, is the Sense of Place winner, Kulupi Press, 2009. Arizona State University Bilingual Press will publish her first novel, Ocotillo Dreams, July 2011.

Melinda and Steve live in Santa Barbara and New Orleans.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday, May 12: The Script-a-Thon Creator Anne Norda

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Filmmaker & Creator of The Script-a-Thon

Anne Norda

Thursday, May 12, 7 pm

Karpeles Manscript Library
21 West Anapamu Street
Downtown Santa Barbara
FREE and open to everyone!

Anne Norda is a filmmaker and photographer. Her debut feature film, Red is the Color of with Irina Bjorklund (The American) which she wrote, directed and produced won “Best Feature Film” at both the La Femme Film Festival and the Oxford International Festival, garnered international distribution and is available on Netflix. She studied photography and filmmaking at the Parsons School of Design in Paris and New York and was a Fulbright scholar. Hard to Love, a comedy short she wrote and directed, is on the festival route.

Anne is preparing to direct her second feature film, the comedy/horror Stop, I’m Not Dead Yet! The concept trailer for the project recently won The Bleedfest’s Inana Award. She is a freelance writer for MovieMaker Magazine, has a blog on their online edition, and teaches an ongoing creative writing workshop called “The Write Brain Workshop.” Anne is the creator and co-director of The Script-a-thon, a national screenwriting competition. She is a published poet and a produced playwright, collaborating on her first musical theater piece, Trouble, with Broadway actors, Stephan Stubbins (Mary Poppins) and Arielle Jacobs (In the Heights). Anne holds both a Finnish (E.U.) and US citizenship.

Elections! We will hold elections for our Board of Directors at our August meeting. If you would like to nominate yourself or somebody else for this opportunity to contribute to the Santa Barbara writing community, please email and let us know.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Townhall meeting in lieu of April Speaker

Townhall Meeting
Thursday, April 21, 7-9 pm
Karpeles Manuscript Library
21 West Anapamu Street
in downtown Santa Barbara

As many of you know, the Goleta Borders will close by the end of May. The Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara is sorry to say a liquidation company took over the bookstore a couple weeks ago and as a result our April speaker was canceled. We are looking into alternative locations for our meetings beginning in May, and plan to continue to host speakers who inspire us in our creative endeavors. We assure you SASB will survive this transition.

In lieu of a speaker in April we will hold a townhall meeting on Thursday,April 21, 7 pm at Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 West Anapamu Street in downtown Santa Barbara. We want everyone's input. So please come and bring your voice, your ideas and your opinions. Help keep SASB going! We're here for you!

Stay tuned! You will receive an email about our May 12th program in late April.

Please accept our apologies for the interruption in our schedule. We look forward to seeing you all at our townhall meeting.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara convened in a cozy corner of Borders in Goleta for an evening with screenwriter, director, actor and keynote speaker Perry Lang.

Prior to Mr. Lang’s introduction, association president Rashi Bahri opened the floor to the audience for input on the Association itself in regards to what those present were looking for in future meetings. Email Rashi at with your input and suggestions.

Also announced was next month’s speaker:

April 14 – Goleta Borders - Leo Brady, teacher and author of The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon.

For those planning to attend, please take note that Borders will be hosting a special event prior to 7pm, therefore there will be no admittance into the store until 7pm.

Perry Lang was introduced and immediately opened up the floor for questions.

As for his current projects, he has created a twenty-one episode web show entitled Blue Bell. The show can be viewed at: In the past, he has written and directed action, comedy, broad comedy, drama and teen shows.

He is teaching a class at UCSB this summer on making a pilot for a web series, where students learn to write, create and shoot a web pilot.

Perry described his process of writing as being flexible: sometimes he outlines or cards pieces out and sometimes he just starts writing. Once he reaches the stage where he’s writing in script form, he uses Final Draft. Starting out as an actor, it helped him become a ‘detective’, which only helped his writing. He wrote to keep himself engaged while acting; starting out with prose. His favorite genre to write is comedy, stating it’s just more fun.

Right now, it seems the advertising world still thinks television networks are worth investing in, but he thinks eyeballs are going toward the web these days. His idea is to take narrative drama and build sponsorship into that narrative. It’s product placement taken further, very much integrated.

Perry’s tips for your screenplay: Make it as succinct as possible. The people reading your script want to love it. They want to start reading and get through it to the story. How does an idea germinate? The whole narrative can fall off the boat or it can be like pulling teeth. You can always get started by making notes and writing stuff that may not work as a way of moving forward. One of the most valuable things he has learned in his writing are that character and structure are the same thing; they should live together. When you see your structure go awry, it’s usually the character going awry. As for how to work on writing weaknesses? Write, write, write and get a good mentor.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50pm.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Thursday, March 10: Perry Lang at Goleta Borders

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Screenwriter, Director, Actor

Perry Lang

Thursday, March 10, 7 pm*

*Come early to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other, and network with local talent. The speaker presentation will start around 7:30pm
Goleta Borders
7000 Marketplace Drive
FREE and open to everyone!

Starting to work in film as an actor at 17, Perry Lang has acted in over thirty films and seventy hours of television. His film work includes Sam Fuller's The Big Red One, Steven Spielberg's 1941, and John Sayles's Sunshine State, as well as Eight Men Out where Perry played one of the indicated eight who threw the 1919 World Series.

His television work as an actor includes M*A*S*H, the title character in the Emmy winning television special Hewit's Just Different, A Rumor of War and numerous guest appearances, including many projects that he has himself either written or directed.

As a writer and director, Perry started professionally writing doing Tales From the Darkside in New York. Among a number of studio assignments, he wrote the first film he directed, Little Vegas then rewrote the second, the action adventure Men of War.

Since then Perry has directed over sixty hours of television including NYPD Blue, ER, Alias, Weeds and NCIS:Los Angeles.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Screenwriters Association
of Santa Barbara


Novelist and Santa Barbara Writers Conference Owner

Monte Schulz

Thursday, February 10, 7 pm*

*Come early to join in interactive discussion, get to know each other,
and network with local talent. The speaker presentation will start around 7:30pm
Goleta Borders
7000 Marketplace Drive

EE and open to everyone!
Monte Schulz received his M.A. in American Studies from UCSB and published his first novel, Down By The River, in 1990. He spent the next twelve years writing a three-part epic, which he wrote for his father, the late cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz. The series of novels set in the Jazz Age began with This Side Of Jordan and the second book, The Last Rose of Summer, is due out this March. Monte has been a workshop leader at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference since 2001 and bought the conference last year. The 2011 SBWC will take place June 18-23 at the Hotel Mar Monte.

Literary Gumbo: Monte Schulz from Literary Gumbo on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meeting minutes for Thursday, January 13, 2011

Screenwriters Association of Santa Barbara convened our first meeting of 2011 at our new venue at the Goleta Borders in the Costco shopping center. Queen of Espionage, and longtime SASB supporter, Gayle Lynds spoke to a captivated group of writers.

It took Gayle 20 years to write her latest novel, The Book of Spies, the beginning of her first series. She did a lot of research before and during the writing process, and enjoyed it. “Research,” she said, “is better than sharpening pencils to avoid writing.” If she hadn’t written about a subject that fascinates her, the book would never have been finished.Gayle knows a fraction of the ending before she starts to write. She doesn’t worry about ending chapters with a cliffhanger, rather she relies on the rhythm of the story to tell her where to break. At the end of a workday she writes one sentence at the top of a new page telling what will happen in the next scene or chapter so she has something to start with the next day.

As a writer she makes a contract with the reader to give them something of value. She warns new writers against creating cardboard characters, and told us to make sure they come across as real people. The hero must be capable of action, plus have one flaw to make him appear human. The villain has to be a worthy opponent who believes in what he wants, not somebody we can ridicule, and he should have a redeeming quality to add to his realism.

Consistency is also important. If there’s violence throughout the story, she gives the reader violence in the end.

Gayle offered excellent advice to beginning writers. “The way you learn to write is to just sit down and do it and make a lot of mistakes,” she said. For example she told us starting a story off with ‘If she’d only known…’ is amateurish. But she told new writers to make their mistakes now because when they get famous, people will know who they are.

A true professional, Gayle is the award-winning author of nine spy novels and she ended the evening by signing her latest, The Book of Spies.