The Ventura County Writers Club was founded in 1933 by four writers in the Ojai, California area. Since then the club has grown to more than 150 members and holds regular monthly general membership meetings. In these meetings persons prominent in all areas and genres of the literary field speak on sources for ideas, enhancing creativity, and getting your work published. Click here for Membership Information...
August 2014 Meeting
Writers and Their Work - The Legal POV
Writers and their work—the legal POV” is the topic for our August 12 meeting. A show of hands at the last meeting revealed we write in a vast array of genres. Living at the back door of Hollywood as we do, it isn’t difficult to imagine that at any time there are numbers of us writing scripts for TV shows and movies. While we may be quite good at our craft, we are sometimes not as knowledgeable about the business of writing. When you’ve written, edited, and workshopped your creation, polished it to perfection and you’re ready to release it to the world, wouldn’t you like to know what you should do—legally?
Maybe your dream deal will bring your stage play or novel to the light. Are the caveats different depending on the method of publication? Perhaps your work is a self-help manual or a how-to or a history book. Are there different expectations regarding nonfiction publishers? Do you know how to protect yourself and your work when you self-publish or e-publish? Attorney Liat Cohen knows, and will share her answers to these questions and more.
Ms. Cohen has practiced law for over twenty years. For ten of them she handled many legal aspects of entertainment-industry law, including negotiations for top industry studios and actors. She was Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and Litigation for Lion’s Gate Entertainment for four years. She’s been a board member of the Encino Chamber of Commerce for ten years, and served as its president in 2003. Her experience in the industry has provided her a unique POV on the legal needs of writers.
Liat will cover copyright protection and copyright law; the do’s and don’ts of submitting materials; what a writer can expect from attorneys v. managers v. agents; and options, offers, deals and agreements with regard to film, TV, theater, Internet and print publishing.
Is your work not yet ready for prime time? Keep working. Remember, good luck is that happy juncture of opportunity and preparation. Prepare now to meet the opportunity coming your way.
Attorney Cohen is a legal veteran handling businesses contracts, partnerships, corporations, employer and employee issues, and related business operation matters. Recently, she joined the law firm of Alperstein, Simon, Farkas, Gillin & Scott, LLP which specializes in Estate Planning, Trust, Wills Probate, and business matters.
July 2014 Meeting
Being a Backpack Writer: Learn to Make Locations Live
Our July 8 speaker, Sarah Howery Hart, a VCWC member, magazine writer and murder mystery novelist, will share her experience in adding authenticity and impact to her work. Her workshop, “Backpack Writer” will include everything we need to know to be well prepared for fact checking, information gathering and absorbing the essence of setting. A comprehensive workbook will be included.
Have you ever gone to jail for the sake of perfecting the details of your story? Taken a stroll through a cathedral-style labyrinth? Hopped a 1950s prop plane to go explore a military island facility? Or slept all night on the floor of an outbound train?
Sarah has done all those things while working on her murder mysteries—Catch ’n Release: The Game and the sequel, Ring Master—and her magazine articles and short stories. She thoroughly enjoyed these experiences and many others, even jail. And, she says, the quality of her writing improved because of them.
Her career as a freelancer includes writing for publications such as The Writer magazine, the Alaska/Horizon Airlines inflight magazine, Ojai Quarterly, and Ventura County Star. Through those experiences and her past work as executive editor of the national magazine Your Wedding Day, Sarah discovered the joys and necessity of emerging from behind the desk to do research, conduct interviews, and even complete the writing itself “on location.” But working out of a backpack effectively and efficiently requires planning and strategy. At our July 8 meeting, Sarah will reveal her secrets.
Her tips include advice on:
- What to pack, in addition to the usual writer’s gear, to enhance any type of writing. (Why should a nonsmoking writer bring a pack of matches? Why a small plastic ruler; why a flashlight and a travel pillow?)
- How to pack it. (Why hang that small flashlight from a loop on the outside of your pack, rather than pack it inside?)
- Which backpack is best? (Why finding the words “rip-stop nylon,” “military grade,” and even “water-repellent” on the label will become your goal, although we Southern Californians seldom see a drop of rain.)
Sarah will also share how becoming a “backpack writer” leads to more powerful writing, including the secrets to:
- Determining exact locations to enhance fiction and nonfiction writing, and how your packed contents can facilitate having “good times,” regardless of the setting.
- Using those strategically selected items to aid in writing descriptions that make readers believe they’re really there.
- Using the six senses for crafting dynamic descriptions, and which backpack items can help you do that.
- Writing higher quality interviews for nonfiction books and articles, and using your backpack items to find the even better “story behind the story.”
Sarah will conclude by discussing how being a “backpack writer” and getting out of the house to do the actual writing can also make writers better at their craft.
The Play's The Thing
The One-Act Play-writing competition of the Elite Theatre Company in Channel Islands Harbor opened on March 1, 2014 and will close on June 30. The annual competition culminates in a One-Act Festival in January. Tom Eubanks, for ten years the Elite’s Artistic Director, was a VCWC member (1988-1994). He served VCWC as president, first vice-president, and helped start a novel workshop. Of the theater’s play contest he says, “I look forward to receiving [VCWC] members’ scripts in the near future.”
Now in its 21st year, Elite Theatre Company is one of a few Ventura theaters that feature new works from North American playwrights. For the last six years, a previously unproduced and unpublished work has been included in their Main Stage season.
Submissions are also open for full-length plays for the 2015 World Premier. This year’s World Premier, The Art of Something, follows two other Eubanks plays at ETC and two one-acts at other Ventura County theaters.
The Art of Something opens April 25 and runs through June 1. At the milestone age of 50, Arthur Jones, L.A. private eye, writer, painter, husband and father, is suffering the early stages of a mid-life crisis, a failing 29-year marriage, and agoraphobia: he sees the time left to reach his dream squandered by his profession that sinks him intimately into the lives of his clients. “Abnormal” is “normal” in the life of Arthur Jones.
The regular general admission ticket price is $18. Prices are $15 for seniors and students; military, $12. The theater is at 2731 S. Victoria Ave, Oxnard. For more information, go to www.elitetheatre.org.
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