Sunday, March 23, 2014

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!