Monday, March 31, 2014

Focus is on New Media at the Willamette Writers Conference

By Mary Andonian

As this year’s film coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference, my goal is to bring in new managers and producers, perennial favorites from years’ past, and crossover “hybrids” who accept both book and film pitches. The new trend in Hollywood is to find projects that contain “storyworlds,” worlds that can transcend platforms: movies, television, books, gaming applications, tablet/phone apps, merchandise, and internet content. Portland is the perfect place to find these worlds! Not only do we house a vibrant graphics novel industry, the Northwest contains more writers/authors per capita than anywhere else in America!

Genres these managers and producers are looking for include: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Horror/Supernatural, Mystery, Sci-fi, Romance, Television, Spiritual, and Thriller. These are just the basics! Consider all of the blends and subgenres these categories offer and you’re bound to find someone from LA who will want to learn more about your script/project at the conference.

Here’s the complete list of Who’s Who this year: ADAM BLUM –Producer, Panay Films; TAI DUNCAN –Producer, Zero Gravity Management; DANNIE FESTA –Producer and Manager, Festa Entertainment; KIM GUIDONE –Independent Producer; ANDY HORWITZ –Producer, Atlas Entertainment; SETH JARET –CEO, Content Engine; SCOTT KROOPF –Producer, Evergreen Studios; MIKE KUCIAK –Producer and Manager, Samurai MK; MARC MANUS –Manager and Producer, Manus Entertainment; KAILEY MARSH –Manger and Producer, Kailey Marsh Management and Production (and founder of the annual BLOOD LIST); LUKE RYAN – CEO, The Alchemists; PATRICK SANTA –Director of Development, John Glenn Entertainment-Universal Studios; MITCH SOLOMON –Manager and Producer, Magnet Management; ERIC WILLIAMS – Founding Partner and Manager, Zero Gravity Management.

More about the WW Conference


Mary Andonian is the 2014 film coordinator and former board member for Willamette Writers. In past years she was the program chair and lit coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference. She’s the author of the teen book, Bitsy’s Labyrinth, which she later adapted into a screenplay. She is at work on her fourth screenplay, a thriller, called GAMBLING.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Creating Plots for Page Turners" Robert Dugoni May 17th, 2014 - DoubleTree at Lloyd Center

To celebrate our new venue and the opening of registration for the 2014 Willamette Writers Conference, Willamette Writers has invited best-selling author, speaker, teacher, (and all-around awesome guy), Robert Dugoni, to speak with the membership and share his knowledge of developing plot and creating a story that compels the reader.

From initial query letter to published novel, the writer must convey that she understands classic story structure. Bob will teach the fundamental relationship between good stories and journeys and use in-class exercises and assignments to help participants better understand story structure. PDF copy of the workshop description.

Evaluate your novel’s plot.
Make educated choices on your opening chapter.
Make critical judgments on your book’s often unwieldy middle.
Ensure your book’s ending brings into collision the forces you’ve set in motion that will deliver an emotionally satisfying conclusion.

1:15 – 2:00 pm Come for the member meeting and listen - then stick around for the workshop and learn!
2:30 – 5:00 pm Workshop “Creating Plots for Page Turners”
5:30 – 6:30 pm If you attend the workshop you can buy a $20 raffle ticket for the opportunity to spend an hour in conversation after the workshop with Bob and two other lucky winners.

The workshop is held at the DoubleTree at Lloyd Center, which is at 1000 NE Multnomah, Portland, OR 97232.

The general meeting is free for Willamette Writers members. Guests are $10.

The workshop is available to current Willamette Writers members for $50. Non-members are welcome to register for the workshop but will incur an additional fee of $36 for a one-year membership; students are $18 and a family membership is $54.

You can register for this class by mailing a check (with May Dugoni Workshop in the memo line) to: Willamette Writers' Cynthia Whitcomb House
2108 Buck Street
West Linn, OR 97068

You may also call 503-305-6729 and register over the phone, or pay with a credit card by calling the WW office.

FilmLab Finalist Announced

While we wait to find out who our Grand Prize Winner will be for the 2014 Willamette Writers FiLMLaB competition, you might be interested in learning more about our top five finalists:


Xavier Chavez is a screenwriter that has been active in a local screenwriters’ group and volunteering with the Willamette Writers’ Conference. He is experimenting with video production and won a finalist prize with ProjectEd for a short educational video this year. He enjoys creating compelling characters that let the audience experience a range of emotions. Xavier is looking for opportunities to become involved with a web series, TV, features, or gaming and enjoys learning and collaborating with others.

Jon Dragt has a software development business where he writes hundreds of lines of code when he’s not writing hundreds of lines of dialog. He recently retired as a hot air balloon pilot and gave up his weekly movie review column for the Canby Herald to spend more time pursuing other writing projects. He lives, works and writes at his small farm near Canby, Oregon, accompanied by his wife, Brenda, and his cat, Claire.

Susan Fleming is a not-quite native Oregonian. She has worked in marketing, public relations, and event planning for nonprofits in Oregon and Washington, D.C. She studied English at Willamette University, fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University, and screenwriting with Cynthia Whitcomb. She would like to thank the members of Willamette Writers for many inspirations, especially her writing group for endless encouragement. She lives in Portland with her husband and two young children. She blogs about parenting, fear, and failure at

Elisa Graybill is an award-winning writer who was born and raised in and around Seattle. She graduated from the Evergreen University and then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Elisa partnered with E. Michael Lewis on the screenplay Cargo, based on E. Michael’s short story of the same name, which is currently in development at Hammerhead Studios. Elisa has written numerous other screenplays as well, and has won or placed in many writing contests, including Emerging Screenwriters, Scriptapalooza, the Cyberspace Open, and the AAA Screenwriting Contest.

She currently lives just outside Portland, Oregon with her husband (and tireless editor), two wonderful children, and two dogs. You can reach Elisa Graybill at And be sure to ‘like’ her at!

Michael Meyers
Before venturing into screenwriting, Michael Meyers spent five years as a TV commercial writer and director. He is a two-time Alaska Broadcasters Association honoree including the winner of a Goldie Award for Best TV Commercial of the Year. He was born and raised in Portland and has, over the years, studied writing and film making with WGA Screenwriter David Alexander, Sue Mach, Roger Margolis and Tom Taylor among others. Michael holds an English degree from Whitman College and currently lives in West Linn with his wife, two children and their dog.

Congratulations again, Finalists!