American Film Market Launches ‘Writers Workshops’ Series

The American Film Market launches its new ‘Writers Workshops’ series, which will have its inauguration at this year’s market. These immersive workshops, with instructors from top Universities including USC and UCLA, will take place on Sunday, November 5 and Monday, November 6.

With the AFM continuing to create new programs that amplify the education component for different segments of the industry, the ‘Writers Workshops’ will serve as a platform and learning haven for screenwriters from around the world.


The following Writers Workshop sessions have been confirmed:

Sunday, November 5 | Writers Workshop I | 2:30pm – 5:30pm

“You Had Me at Page One”

Make the reader love you on the first page! Learn writing techniques that help your script hit the ground running. Through examples from your favorite scripts, we take a hard look at word choice, scene direction, dialogue approach, and the nuances of the page.

Instructor: Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On the Page


“The Art of Cinematic Storytelling: Transforming Your Premise into an Engaging Screenplay”

The greatest challenge facing all screenwriters, whether novice or professional, is the process of transforming a premise into a compelling, sustainable story. This workshop focuses solely on the art of the story, with an emphasis on such fundamentals as character development, super-objective, rising conflict, scene work, and three-act structure. Participants learn how to spot critical mistakes often made in the initial development of a screenplay’s narrative. The final goal of the workshop is a greater understanding of what makes a story work and a series of tools that participants can immediately apply to their current screenplay.

Instructor: Steven Wolfson, UCLA


Monday, November 6 | Writers Workshop II | 2:30pm – 5:30pm

“ReVision: Seeing Your Script with New Eyes”

If writing is rewriting, how can you best approach the task? This workshop lays out a pragmatic rewrite strategy, as well as identifying the larger questions a writer should ask when revising a script. It concludes with a hands-on exercise, in which participants examine a scene from a film script which has been intentionally sullied, and then attempt to rewrite it into sterling condition.

Instructor: Ken LaZebnik, Instructor, USC; Director, Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting


“Writing Compelling Characters”

No matter what genre you’re working in, getting your reader to empathize with and root for your story’s protagonist is one of the most important goals – if not THE most important goal – for a screenwriter to achieve. Using film clips, screenplay pages, and brief exercises, this workshop explores how to create powerful, memorable characters, and the most effective techniques for bringing them to life on the page.

Instructor: Billy Mernit, UCLA Instructor & Universal Studio Story Analyst

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