photo/video from “An Evening with Rafael Alvarez”

Many thanks to Rafael Alvarez for the great talk!

Some photos:




Video, part 1/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 1/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.

Video, part 2/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 2/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.

Video, part 3/3:

Rafael Alvarez, MWA talk, part 3/3 from fablestofilm on Vimeo.




October at MWAA: Hometown Boy Rafael Alvarez Talks About His Writing Life

MWAA is proud to welcome Rafael Alvarez on Wednesday, October 19th at 6:30 p.m.

rafael-alvarezJournalist, author, screenwriter, member of the Seafarers International Union of North America: Rafael Alvarez has done it all, and he’ll be sharing some of those experiences with us.

Alvarez is a tireless chronicler of the under-represented, roving the streets of Baltimore with a disposable camera to collect faces and stories that emerge unpredictably throughout his work.

Come hear one of Baltimore’s favorite sons talk about working the city desk for the Baltimore Sun back in its heyday; writing his memoirs (Hometown Boy and Storyteller), short story collections (The Fountain of Highlandtown, Orlo and Leini, Tales from the Holy Land), and essays (Crabtown); and dealing with the unique–and often maddening–demands placed on Hollywood’s writers for large and small screens.


This and all meetings are open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWA meetings meet the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in Room 205 of the Maryland Hall, located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401.

November 2014 speaker at the Annapolis MWA – Harrison Demchick

Harrison Demchick, novelist, screenwriter and developmental editor at Ambitious Enterprises, will speak November 19, 2014, to the Annapolis chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association.

The Skeleton in the Closet: What Film Structure Can Teach Us About Crafting Our Stories

The world of film is filled with comedy and drama, sci-fi and fantasy, thriller and romance, and everything in-between, but what many don’t realize is that nearly every film boils down to the same three-act structure. Novels and memoirs are different, based upon a less precise formula of inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement. But there’s a lot we can learn about general story structure by focusing on three-act film structure. This talk will explore what three-act structure teaches us about how and why stories are constructed, and how these lessons can be incorporated into our own writing.

Three things this presentation will teach you are:

  • How inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement are reflected in the precision of three-act screenplay structure.
  • What the precise location of plot points in film, specifically points of no return, can teach us about building a story through the principle of cause and effect.
  • Why the protagonist typically faces his lowest moment, sometimes called the all is lost moment, shortly before the climax in the third act—and why novels and memoirs can benefit from this approach as well.

About the speaker: Harrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than two dozen published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. An expert in manuscripts as diverse as young adult, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, literary fiction, women’s fiction, memoir, and everything in-between, Harrison is known for quite possibly the most detailed and informative editorial letters in the industry—if not the entire universe.

Harrison is also an award-winning, twice-optioned screenwriter, and the author of literary horror novel The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012). He’s currently accepting new clients in fiction and memoir at Ambitious Enterprises.

October 2014 speaker at the Annapolis MWA – James Gossard

Local screenwriter, playwright and fiction writer, James Gossard, will speak to the Annapolis chapter of the MWA on October 15th, at 6:30pm. Jim will be speaking about the differences between narrative expression and screenwriting. His talk will include a discussion of subplots and subtext and how they work in film. The title of his talk is “Don’t Forget About Subplots!”

James Gossard

The meeting is open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. The Annapolis MWA chapter typically meets the third Wednesday of every month in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. However, for October, we meet in room 307. For more information visit:

While penning his first novel, Jim worked as a freelance journalist, writing for wildlife journals. In addition to being an active screenwriter today, he owns a company that consults and writes for businesses and provides business advice to artists. He regularly leads screenwriting workshops that focus on building a screenwriter’s toolbox and understanding the elements that create a rich story in film. His workshops have been held locally at Balticon and for Women in Film & Video, in Washington. He has also served as a screenplay judge and as a script consultant for independent films. He wrote the Cory McCabe novels, Grizzly Heart and Murder on Marias Pass. His stage plays have been produced and have received multiple awards, including the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award. Jim’s co-authored, feature length screenplay, Mobtown, placed as semifinalist in the 2013 Final Draft Screenwriters competition, among others. His latest thriller, White Dust, was named this year as a top ten finalist by StoryPros. He is currently producing Mobtown into a short film and graphic novel. Jim studied creative writing at the University of Montana and received his M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Jim is a member of Women in Film & Video, Maryland Film Festival, and The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. Today, Jim lives with his wife, Ann, in Ellicott City, Maryland

Note: This meeting will be in room 307 and not room 205.

videos from Yvonne Medley’s talk May 21, 2014

Here are the videos of Yvonne Medley’s very insightful talk.

part 1:

part 2:

part 3:

Some messages from her talk:

  • “Don’t edit yourself before anyone sees it. Your writing has to be as big as your story.”
  • “Just because the road is hard doesn’t mean your writing it’s worth it.”

See the videos for more!

The script for “August: Osage County” that Yvonne mentioned is available for download here.

Here is the contest Ynonne mentioned in her talk:

The Prison Plumb Line Contest2014

Good luck!

Video and a few pics from the 2014 Maryland Writers Conference

The organizers did a great job with the 2014 Maryland Writers’ Association Conference. Here are a few pics.

MWA President Paul Lagasse doing introductions for the keynote talk:

Paul Lagasse
Paul Lagasse

Screenwriter/novelist/journalist Rafael Alvarez giving his keynote address:

Rafael Alvarez
Rafael Alvarez

Rafael Alvarez at a book signing:

Rafael Alvarez signing books
Rafael Alvarez signing books

Video of the keynote address:

Video of the masterclass:

upcoming Writers Center classes by Randy Baker

Randy Baker, who spoke to the Annapolis chapter last February, has two upcoming classes at the Writer’s Center: Playwriting I, from May 6-June 10, and 24-hour Play Workshop, on June 7 and 8.

(Note from the webmaster: As a student of Randy’s I can assure you he is excellent. In fact, I’m signed up for Playwriting I:-)

For more information on this classes, click here.

Screenwriter David S. Ward visits Annapolis in March 2014

The Annapolis Film Festival will have two programmed events with David S. Ward – one a panel and the other a special presentation at the Maryland Hall auditorium.

  • (Friday 2pm-4pm, Maryland Hall) Panel: Screenwriting
    Screenwriting isn’t something learned in grammar school. It feels more like a mysterious dark art, but the truth is that screenwriting is within the grasp of all who are interested. If you’ve ever told a story in your life, you already have the basic knowledge needed to write a movie. Our acclaimed panel explores the difference between the literary and visual mediums, with guidance on how to find your unique voice and work within a creative team. PANELISTS: David S. Ward, Oscar winning screenwriter, The Sting & Sleepless in Seattle Lane Shadgett, screenwriter, Jamesy Boy & Perkins ’14 Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, Editor & Online Community Manager, Script Magazine
    MODERATOR: Michael I. Miller, writer, producer & member, Writers Guild of America; Advisory Board, Annapolis Film Festival
  • (Saturday 5pm, Maryland Hall)
    Enjoy this special presentation by David S. Ward, best known for his Oscar-winning screenplay The Sting, a popular and critical hit, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. Following this success, Ward wrote and directed the hit baseball comedy Major League, starring Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen, a movie filmed in Baltimore at Camden Yards. He later scored another box-office coup for his screenplay Sleepless in Seattle, for which he and co-writers Nora Ephron and Jeff Arch received an Oscar nomination. Ward’s other major credits include writing and directing Cannery Row, King Ralph, The Program, and Down Periscope; and writing numerous screenplays including The Milagro Beanfield War, The Mask of Zorro, and Flyboys starring James Franco. Currently, the director/screenwriter brings his distinguished filmography to leading the screenwriting program in the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapmen University.He has an M.F.A. in Motion Pictures from U.C.L.A. and studied political science at Pomona College, where he is a member of the board of trustees. Ward continues as an active director, with two features currently in production. The Sting will be viewed in its entirety with a Q&A to follow after the Conversation with David Ward.
    HOST/INTERVIEWER: Ann Oldenburg, entertainment reporter, film critic & blogger, USA Today


February 2014 meeting of the Annapolis MWA – Randy Baker

Local playwright, director and educator Randy Baker has agreed to speak at the Maryland Writers Association Annapolis Chapter meeting on Wednesday February 19, 2014. The speaker is the co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre, is on the faculty of American University, as well as the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and is a member of The Playwright’s Arena. Randy also offers classes through the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. He will speak on his experiences and success as a playwright.

The meeting is open to the public and free to MWA members and first-time guests. All others may pay $5.00. Annual dues to MWA are $40.00 and include other benefits on top of monthly attendance. MWA meetings meet the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm in room 205 at Maryland Hall. Maryland Hall is located at 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. For more information visit:

About the speaker: Besides writing and directing for the Rorschach Theatre, Randy Baker has directed for Source Theatre, Inkwell Theatre, First Draft, NCDA’s Actors Repertory Theatre, Wayward Theatre, Cherry Red Productions, American University, Imagination Stage and Young Playwrights Theater. Randy grew up overseas, mostly in Malaysia and Singapore and came back to attend the University of Richmond. He moved to Washington DC in 1997 and currently lives in Adams Morgan with his wife, costume designer Debra Kim Sivigny. He received his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. For more information about the speaker, see and