Program for Friday February 28, 2020                 Saturday » | Sunday »
12:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
1:30 Orientation Session
Welcome, Introductions, What's New / Updates for the Weekend
2:00

Navigating Your Life and Career As A Writer: The Positive Approach
Opening Keynote

Renowned writer/producer/TV personality Herbie J Pilato shares his thirty-plus-years experience in publishing and entertainment with his special brand of cheerful motivation.  The author of twelve top-selling, critically-acclaimed media tie-in books, and the host of Amazon Prime's hit new TV talk show, Then Again with Herbie J Pilato, this multi-hyphenate creative shares practical strategies, acquired knowledge, and insightful expertise on how to balance the writer's life and career with a positive perspective and successful results in print, television, film, and music. 

2:45

Meet the Publishers Panel

You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch Literary agents and/or Indie Publishers find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that industry expert often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more? This panel of publishers and professionals du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later at the conference.

4:00 - 6:30 ProCritiques™ with Editors & Literary Agents
1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal FREE Pitch. Some editors may take new submissions on site. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk.  We recommend you attend the Friday and Saturday "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material

A separate fee applies to Advanced Submission ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

SIGN UP at the "1-on-1 Desk" next to Registration on pm Friday

4:00

Shaping the Hero’s Journey so It Works for You

You may know the precepts of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, but how can you use it to meet the needs of your particular story? After all, every narrative has its own demands and unique qualities. In this interactive seminar, together we will explore which elements of this great model can strengthen your particular story, while discarding aspects that aren’t as relevant to you. In this way you’ll learn how to integrate the hero’s journey without compromising your unique voice.

Please bring in a brief synopsis of your story so we can discover how to use the hero’s journey to make your story successful.

John Henry Davis  (Solo Spotlight)


Things I Wish a Pro Had Told Me When I First Started Writing

Becoming a writer and then a published author is a steep, steep learning curve. Even for those with prior experience and previously published books, the rapidly changing landscape of the industry means you can easily make mistakes; in your writing, pitching, marketing and certainly when it comes to finding and signing a deal with a publisher or entering the shark-infested waters of the self-publishing pool. The aim of this session is to keep you safe, strong and smart as you progress in your work and career. (We cover this topic regularly, each time with new authors and educators so aspiring authors can hear from new voices)

Neil V. Young, Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Brennan Harvey, (plus panel)


5:15

Forging First Lines, Mastering First Pages

Writing a first line that will grab an editor and immediately announce your authority as an author. This will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how real pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the author, then offer improvements covering everything from glaring grammar errors to story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Deanna Brady and a panel of industry pros


Using History to Bring Your Stories to Life

Why do so many authors set their stories in the past? How do you immerse a reader in an historical setting without data dumping? How do you make characters who have beliefs or engage in behavior rooted in their time relate-able to modern readers?  How do you do the research and when do you stop? When it comes to history, what is the difference between researching fiction and non-fiction? Writers of urban fiction often seem to make a city a character. To what degree should authors do this with historical periods? What common mistakes do authors make when writing stories set in other periods? How can history be used to enrich contemporary stories?

Peter Woodward, William F. Wu, plus panel, Marco Subias(M)


How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal that Sells

The nuts and bolts of the business of writing are as essential to a writer’s success as the writer’s work itself. How does a writer get an agent and an attorney? How does the writer’s work get sold and how is the writer compensated? What will the agent and the lawyer do for the writer? How are they compensated? How do writers work together?

Elise Capron, Paul S. Levine, Steve Hutson, Herbie J Pilato(M)


6:15

Creating Compelling Characters

The success of a story rests on its characters. We remember truly compelling, vivid characters long after we’ve finished reading a novel or watching a movie. Simply knowing how important characters are doesn’t help you much, though. This panel will discuss how to create truly compelling characters who readers care about, laugh about, even cry about.

Laurel Anne Hill, Thomas Allbaugh, Madeline Sharples(M)


Selling Literary Material or a True Life-Story Project to Hollywood

How do you “pitch” your project to the studio / production company / network / cable channel / streaming service executive so that you’re not ripped off? Which rights that you have acquired do you “sell”, and which, if any, do you keep? How is that “sale” done? And just what kind of money can you make from all of this, anyway? One of the best legal experts on the West Coast will discuss the pitfalls to avoid, and reveal the secrets to reach success with your project.

Paul S. Levine, Literary Agent, IP Attorney (Solo Spotlight)


Public Relations for Authors: The Right Path to Getting Media Attention for Your Book
And When Should You Hire A Pro

Learn about the world of book publicity and how to reach out to media, using the proper PR etiquette, protocol and savvy. This panel of media movers and shakers will provide you with a foundation to help you garner media attention for you and your book.  You will also learn about the value of press kits and press releases as well as learn how to identify the right media outlets, editors, reporters and producers to pitch for coverage.

Monica Matulich, Darice Fisher, Desiree Duffy, Flo Selfman(M)

7:30

"A Gathering of Writers"
All attendees and guests are welcome to meet and network with the agents, speakers and special guests in the Share Lounge and lobby bar.
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  Program for Saturday February 29, 2020                  « Friday | Sunday »
7:30 am - 9:00
Generative Workshop Breakfast on NOVELISTS
with Art Holcomb

Bring something to write with and write on. Join Art and a group of your fellow writers for a
90± minute round-table discussion and critique. You will go through a series of prompts and exercises that will get your creative juices flowing. No host breakfast. Limited seating.
Must RSVP by FRIDAY at WC2 Registration Desk, 3rd floor.
8:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag

9:30 - 11:00

Special
90 Minute Block

Meet the Literary Agents and Talent Managers

You've spent a year or more working on a great novel and now you feel it's ready to be shared with the world. Naturally, the first step is to pitch literary agents and find one who shares your passion for the work and is willing to sign you. While many authors submit countless query letters and emails -- without result, a few wise souls know that agents often look to conferences as a source for new talented writers. It is a unique window to have your work considered firsthand. But what do you say? How do you present yourself and your manuscript in order to have them ask for more? This panel of agents and industry professionals du jour will discuss what they expect and answer your questions. This is an opportunity to hear what each agent needs in order to make a decision. Listen well, then rehearse before scheduling a pitch session with any or all of them later at the conference.

Sherry Robb, Elise Capron, Elizabeth Kracht, Paul S. Levine, Steven Hutson, Alyssa Roat, Ken Sherman, Tony N. Todaro(M)


Steps and Phases of Getting a Book Published

How do you write so that publishers will notice and readers will gather? Learn about the two sides of being an author – the creative, artistic side of writing and the business side of publishing – as children’s author Mina Javaherbin takes you through the steps and phases of getting a book published. Mina will share her background and experiences in order to help you find your voice, build a writing habit, and navigate the publishing world; and will encourage you to get to know yourself in earnest so you can write from a place of love and confidence.

Mina Javaherbin (Solo Spotlight)

10:00 am

How to Write A Memoir that More than Your Family will want to Buy & Read

What makes “Eat, Pray, Love,” “The Liar’s Club” or “Angela’s Ashes” garner dazzling reviews or make readers weep or howl with laughter? How do you impose order on a thousand memories? Why is it important to resist the temptation to summarize your life?

In this workshop, we’ll identify what makes great memoirs unforgettable, as well as identify moments from your own life: the lowest ebb, the most unusual, shattering, funny or triumphant incidents that reveal your character and move readers.

Bilal Alaji, Marcia Meier, Debra Eckering, Thomas Allbaugh, Ray Richmond, Madeline Sharples(M)


11:15 am - 6:30 pm ProCritiques™ with Editors
Master ProCritiques™ w/ Agents

1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents & Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal FREE Pitch. Some editors may take new submissions on site. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk.  We recommend you attend the Friday and Saturday "How to Pitch" sessions in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material

A separate fee applies to Advanced Submission ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance.

SIGN UP at the "1-on-1 Desk" next to Registration Desk

11:15 am - 12:15 pm

The Secrets to Hollywood Productivity

This is a condensed version of Art's popular seminar series that offers new writers a chance to learn the productivity techniques of professional Hollywood writers  When you have a busy life and are working under very short deadlines, you have to have a system that can create great work quickly.

Art Holcomb (Solo Spotlight)


Creating Magic Out of Thin Air

In theory, anything that you can image could be considered magic. But in a story, the author must adhere to certain rules in order to make the magic believeable and keep the reader turning turning pages, or convince the audience the impossible is real. This panel will discus the reality of using magic to improve your story without break the author's own rules.

Laurel Ann Hill, Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Mike Robinson, Chrome Oxide, Brandie June(M)


As Bad as We Wanna Be: Creating Captivating Villains Your Readers Love to Hate

Our bad characters can be as good as our good characters—maybe even better. Let’s talk about the bad guys in this panel featuring authors who make their villains both evil and lovable. What character traits should we give our bad guys? How can we give them compelling character arcs? How is your villain different than your protagonist—and how are they the same?

  • Bilal Alaji: entrepreneur, mentor, investor, motivational speaker & author of award-wining memoir This Ain’t My Life
  • Sheryl Benko: screenwriter, post-production supervisor, and author of The Last of Will
  • Brandyn Cross: screenwriter, director, producer, musician, author of The Legacy Book Series
  • Naomi Brett Rourke: author / contributor to anthologies Straight Outta Tombstone, The Saturday Evening Post and others
  • Sara Winokur: PhD geneticist and researcher, world traveler, and author of the forthcoming novel Double Blind
  • Jenna Busch(M): writer, journalist, Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia, podcast host, co-hosted Cocktails with Stan with Stan Lee

12:30 Keynote Buffet Luncheon with beverages  REGISTER »»
1:00

Secret Sauce
A Zesty Blend of Creativity, Professionalism, and Business Savvy

Sue Arroyo, Publisher of CamCat Books, offers a fresh and inspiring take on the well-known fact that publishing is...a business. Her keynote will take you on the journey every writer must make to be successful: from creative ingenuity to quality product to offering the product to its market. Publishers are looking for consummate writing professionals to collaboratively nurture and grow an audience, one well-made book at a time. Sue’s approach to establishing long-term relationships between publisher, author and audience will help writers embrace their new role. 

Sue Arroyo, Publisher of
CamCat Books and SynergEbooks Publishing


2:15 Star Wars Memories: My Time In The (Death Star) Trenches

Craig Miller was the original Director of Fan Relations at Lucasfilm, working on "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back". He was a publicist, a writer, an editor, and a producer who wrote press material and articles, created and ran the Official Star Wars Fan Club, oversaw a staff who opened and responded to the seeming tons of fan mail the films received, worked with licensees, created a telephone publicity stunt that accidentally shut down the state of Illinois’ phone system, operated R2-D2, and spent weeks hanging out on the set of "The Empire Strikes Back".

In “Star Wars Memories” he will talk about all of that and more, including Mark Hamill barbecuing him a burger in London, having lunch in a Sunset Strip restaurant with Harrison Ford while he rolled and smoked a joint, and watching Carrie Fisher introduce "The Empire Strikes Back"’s British production crew to tacos. In the words of Gary Kurtz, producer of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back", “’Star Wars Memories’ gives a look at the original Star Wars films and Lucasfilm from Craig Miller’s unique perspective. His book consists of stories you haven’t heard before; an insider’s look from someone who, himself, is a fan and found the whole experience joyful and exciting. These stories are told in a way that brings you in and makes you feel like you were there.”

Craig Miller (Solo Spotlight)


How to Combat Writers' Block and Get Back in the Game
Many of us know how it feels. The cursor blinks at you in disapproval on a blank page. The words are there, somewhere in the back of your mind, but you just can’t bring them to your fingertips. You’re frustrated, overwhelmed, and stuck. You have what we in the writing world call, writer’s block. How do you rediscover that creative spark that made you a writer in the first place? Now you can learn how to bring new life to your work by a UCLA Extension Writers’ Program veteran instructor.

John Henry Davis (Solo Spotlight)


Use Social Media to Increase Your Platform and Chances for Success

These days, it isn’t enough for an author to have a website for their bio and book – a digital storefront extends to social media marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it’s time to start capitalizing on it. Admit it: you are a brand in the marketplace. If you don't have social media accounts, it’s time to get with the program and bring yourself up to speed with this important marketing tool and strategy.

A panel of authors and social media experts will explain the "why's" and the "how's" that lead to a solid platform as an author and successful selling of your books.

Tony Ferraro, Jenna Busch, Debra Eckerling, Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Russell Nohelty, Brandie June(M)


3:30

Adapt Your Story for Film or TV to Help It Sell in an Ever-Changing Industry

The world of TV and film changes constantly and if we want to sell a project, it's up to us as writers to stay on top of it. Does our project belong on TV or film? What new opportunities and formats are out there for untested, as well as experienced, writers? How does the conflict between the Writer's Guild of America and the big agencies affect those opportunities?

Join our panelists to hear their insightful answers to these questions and many more:

  • Sheryl Benko: screenwriter, post-production supervisor, and author of The Last of Will
  • Brandyn Cross: screenwriter, director, producer, musician. author of The Legacy Book Series
  • John Sill-up: talent manager, writer, producer, series episodic lead for A&E, Lifetime, and Global Cable Networks
  • Monica Matulich(M): Senior VP PRHollywood and senior business and marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies including Coca Cola and Disney

What Writers need to know about Publishing with an Indie Hybrid Press
Discover the differences between traditional, self-publishing and Indie or hybrid publishing. You will also learn what is expected from the author in each situation, and what are the advantages (and drawbacks) of each system
Marcia Meier (Solo Spotlight)

The Future of Science Fiction and Fantasy -- Have We Written Everything Possible?

What is the future of Science Fiction and Fantasy? Are the genres fading? Are writers running out of ideas? Have audiences grown tired of the same old thing? 

William F. Wu, Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Chrome Oxide, Jenna Busch, Marco Subias(M)


4:45

Making Monsters

What truly makes a character a monster? how is a monster different than other antagonists? From Hannibal Lecter to Darth Vader to every unimaginable variation this panel will explore the depths, and discuss when an author truly needs one.

Brennan Harvey, Neil V. Young, William F. Wu, Mandy, Jackson-Beverly, Brandy June, Marco Subias(M)


So Good You Cannot Be Denied - How to Make Your Competition Irrelevant 
The problem with self-publishing is that you are competing with a thousand different people in the same market.  But what if you could make your competition disappear? I'll teach them how to create a work that instantly stands out and demands attention - by simply being better than the rest.  Quality, Innovation and Greatness?  It really comes down to a choice.

Art Holcomb (Solo Spotlight)


Topic

Description

Faculty


6:00

World Building: Are you ready to play God?

One of the most enjoyable and daunting aspects of being a writer is the ability to create whole new worlds, settings, situations and environments. Especially in genre fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, thrillers and historical fiction can be your sandbox. What will you build? What are some best practices, ideas and dos and don’ts when it comes to building your world?

Naomi Brett Rourke, Sara Winokur, Harvey Brennan, Marco Subias, William Wu, Desireé Duffy (M)


The Power of the Pitch

Professionals are busy. They know what they are looking for and it could be your book, script, or original TV series.  Your pitch needs to fill all the criteria they are listening for and must be presented in an interesting and fast-paced manner. If you have written in a variety of genres, then you need to prepare all of your ideas. In that case, it would be wise to research beforehand the person or company’s interest/wheelhouse, or start your conversation with, “What genre(s) do you and/or your company like to work with?” Then, start pitching your story in their genre-interest. Having the perfect pitch for your project may be the most important tool in your marketing/sales box. Over the last 25 years, Sherry Robb has heard thousands of pitches and says that she honestly only recalls about ten that made her hair stand on end and stimulated a spark in her brain.

Creating a powerful logline that grabs the listener’s attention is crucial to the writer’s getting and keeping the ear of a producer, director, or financier. Then, if you still have the listener interested in hearing more, you will need to immediately follow with a well-prepared short synopsis. They may or may not be interested in pursuing your project further, but at least you will know that you actually pitched YOUR idea. So many writers do not have the slightest hint about what makes an effective pitch. So, if their project is rejected, it might not even be the REAL project that they have written, but rather, an ineffective pitch.

In this workshop, we will go over in detail how to grab the listener’s attention with your logline, how to hook their interest, and how to keep them engaged in a conversation about your project. We will also be going over some of the class writers’ pitches on the spot so that everyone in the workshop can experience how to develop and build an effective pitch for their project.

Sherry Robb, literary agent (Solo Spotlight)


"Secrets of Successful Indie and Self-Published Authors”

A panel that discusses how authors can navigate the trenches of Indie and self publishing. The topics include: - A review of what self publishing offers and companies and how to know which one is best for you/your book; - How to know when you DO or DO NOT need all the "bells and whistles" a company can offer  - Easy things you can DIY to make the process easier on you  - Recognizing that your role is not just that of an author but of a salesperson as well. Self publishing is an answer for authors who want to do anything, from building an audience/fan base, to using a book to promote a business or brand, to wanting to preserve a legacy  - Self publishing is an important "wave" of the future for authors and it's finally being recognized ... don't shy away from it, embrace it!

Sue Arroyo, Tony Ferraro, Russell Nohelty, Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Craig Miller (M)

7:30 - 9± A Gathering of Writers
No-host cocktail party and dinner. All attendees are welcome to meet and network with the speakers and special guests
. DoubleTree Hotel, First Floor, Share Lounge & Restaurant
8:00± pm - Renegade Late Night Read & Critique Workshop with Marco Subias
An after hours opportunity for registered attendees to bring work-in-progress and participate in a late night live editing. Would you like feedback on your work additional to the quick pitch meeting? What is it like to work with a critique group of good, focused writers? Fuel up on caffeine, drink and words, and join us for this amazing creative experience. (Hurry and sign up at Event Registration Desk! Limited seating.)

Bring 3 to 5 pages of your manuscript to read and share, and benefit the feedback exchange!
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 Program for Sunday, March 01, 2020 « Friday | « Saturday
8:00 am - 9:30 Generative Workshop Breakfast on SCREENWRITING with Art Holcomb and Guests
Bring something to write with and write on. Join Art and a group of your fellow writers for a 90± minute round-table discussion and critique. You will go through a series of prompts and exercises that will get your creative juices flowing. No host breakfast. Limited seating.
Must RSVP by SATURDAY at WC2 Registration Desk, 3rd floor.
9:30 Walk-up Registration, Pre-Registration pickup of credentials, badge, program, swag bag
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Great Beginnings for BOOKS  – Your First Line, First Pages

You've heard that if the first paragraph of your novel isn't strong enough, agents and publishers won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn to draft a first line that will grab an acquisition editor and announce your authority as an author. This will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the author, then offer improvements covering everything from glaring grammar errors to story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring six (6) copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how an agent or publisher reviews a manuscript. Time permitting, they may suggest improving the samples.

Panel of professional editors Including:
Steve Hutson, Tony Ferraro, Helga Schier, Deanna Brady, Sue Arroyo, plus Moderator


Great Beginnings for Screenplays– Your First Line, First Pages

You hear that if the first paragraph of your script isn't strong enough, the studios and producers won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn how to grab the attention of an agent and announce your authority as an screenwriter. This workshop will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the writer, then offer improvements covering everything from story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring 5 copies of your first 2 script pages. Selected works will be read aloud by actors or audience members for each part, so the audience can follow along and learn how a producer or agent reviews. Screenwriters are advised to network with fellow attendees to read "sides" of the script live for the panel. Time permitting, they may suggest improvements for the samples.

Dan Watanabe, John Henry Davis, Sara Anne Fox, Brandyn Cross, plus a panel and moderator


12:15 - 1:00

Closing Keynote

Unblock Your Mind, Free Your Creativity, Fulfill Your Potential

Marcie Geffner

Just when you thought you might want to leave the conference early...

Wouldn't you agree that potential is a terrible thing to waste? And wouldn't you agree that if you can't unblock your mind and free your creativity, you're never going to live up to your potential?

In this informative, experiential and interactive presentation, you will stay fully engaged from beginning to end. That is what Dr. Mark Goulston promises.

And that is because he will teach, show and have you try three catalytic doable by you and doable now hacks that will unblock your mind, free your creativity and jump start fulfilling your potential that you can easily continue. In fact, they are so easy to remember, that his talk will not have any slides or power point. 

Mark Goulston, M.D. (Solo Spotlight)

Dr. Mark Goulston is one of the world's foremost experts on empathic listening with his book, "Just Listen" Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, becoming the top book on listening in the world and something he recently spoke on in Moscow along with Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kahneman, author of, Thinking, Fast and Slow. He is also the author of six additional books including the best selling books, Get Out of Your Own Way and Talking to Crazy. He hosts the critically acclaimed podcast, My Wakeup Call, where he interviews influencers including Larry King, Norman Lear, Esther Wojcicki, Lori Gottlieb, Ivan Misner, Doug Conant and many more about their non-negotiable purpose in life. He is also a former UCLA professor specializing in suicide prevention and trainer of FBI/police hostage negotiators.

Plus, we will give away a ton of hardcover books, and hold a drawing for a free scholarship for the Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference in August (a $400 value). You must be present to win.


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