It's that time of year again, and the buzz is starting about the Willamette Writers Conference. This year's theme is "Fresh Brewed," and it's all about percolating new ideas, fermenting those that we’ve already got to make them even better, and brewing up a unique writing experience. Portland, home to coffee roasters and breweries, is the perfect source of inspiration.
Included this year is a workshop that builds over the course of three days. John Ellis, of Portland Internet Design, will be teaching a Web Warrior series of classes. Whether you're going the traditional route or self-publishing, these classes are all about learning how to get your writing on the web...successfully. John will focus on SEO writing mechanics, increasing site performance, using keywords, and mastering Google+. And yes, he fully expects you to bring your iPad, laptop or smart phone for some hands-on learning.
Other classes include those from popular workshop leaders like Jessica Morrell, Cynthia Whitcomb, Danny Manus, and Larry Brooks, as well as new faces like Seth Jaret and Debra Gwartney.
And the consultants will be there in full force! On the film side, some perennial favorites coming are Luke Ryan, Jacqueline Gault (who is already working with local screenwriters), and returning managers Josh Kesselman and Marc Manus, fresh from the sale of a spec script. For those interested in literary agents and editors, there's a wide and varied range interested in every genre, including Annie Bomke, Linda Epstein, Angela Rinaldi, and John Cusick.
The keynote speaker at the Saturday Night Gala this year is Kelly Willams Brown, the author of Adulting and conference success story. Lunch speakers include Dennis Stovall of Ooligan Press; screenwriter and director Gordy Hoffman, and author Jennifer Lauck.
FiLMLaB has been a huge success this year so far. The Script-to-Screen competition doubled its entries over 2012, and not only will the winning script be made into a movie, but it will also be shown during the FiLMLaB event after the Friday Night Reception. Judges this year included Erik Bork (Emmy and Golden Globe winning writer/editor of Band of Brothers), Stacy Chattaway (Executive Director of Development at LAIKA Entertainment), Zach Cox (Manager at Circle of Confusion – Walking Dead), Mary Cybriwsky (Manager/Producer at Scooty Woop Entertainment), and Luke Ryan (Executive Vice President at Disruption Entertainment). And just to show that even when it’s over it’s not really over, a new opportunity has opened up. A Northwest production company that features short films in many of its projects wants to see vetted scripts from FiLMLaB, so those from the semi-finalists and finalists (both this year's and last's) will be passed on to them.
So come and get inspired! The conference is three days of learning about the craft of writing, getting excited about writing, practicing writing, seeing great accomplishments in writing, talking about writing, and then...yep. Writing some more.