Happy 2014 everyone!
My new year is off to a rousing start as the MFA program in Writing for Stage and Screen that I run launches into its ten-day winter residency this weekend in beautiful Peterborough, NH. Student writers are traveling in from across the country and Canada in spite of a snow storm that has inconveniently decided to fly into New England at the same time. We’ll just have to adjust accordingly and use any “special” travel experiences as part of a writing exercise once we’re all safely gathered around a roaring fire and sipping hot chocolate or perhaps some other beverage that warms the head and heart.
This residency promises to be especially exciting for all of us for several reasons besides our scheduled afternoon sleigh ride mid-week. First, we’re welcoming new faculty member and Visiting Artist Clare Sera to our growing roster of established faculty writers:
Clare, who hails from Los Angeles, co-wrote (among many other projects) the screenplay for the upcoming Adam Sandler/ Drew Barrymore film Blended due out in May. She’ll be teaching classes to both our continuing students and those just starting the program.
Also joining us for the first time will be NYC playwright and screenwriter Karen Sunde (see her bio and others on the program’s website), who will also be working closely with students for several days. Karen’s track record and experience in the theatre is extensive and her classes no doubt will be very lively. Rounding out our faculty for this residency are returning playwrights Russell Davis and Kathleen Clarke as well as yours truly.
We’ll also be doing readings of several screenplays written by students during the past semester, bringing in professional actors to spark the new work to life and test its viability. The readings will be followed by lengthy discussion and feedback sessions. I’m especially looking forward to this aspect of the residency because the true test of any MFA program like ours is the output and quality of scripts that students deliver during their time with us. I’m happy to say that, judging from the work turned in so far, we’re well on our way to achieving our goal of having each student graduate at the end of their two years with at least four potent full-length scripts (either plays or screenplays or both) ready to make the professional rounds and hit the marketplace.
So as you work away on your current project, you’ll know what’ll be transpiring in the winter wonderland and picture perfect village of Peterborough, NH for the next couple of weeks. Maybe we’ll even discover that our sleigh ride experience will turn out to be the germ of several new plays or screenplays. You never know where and how new ideas materialize…
* * * *
I’m the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art and we are currently accepting applications for entering the program at our June 2014 summer residency. I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter), and a professional script consultant.