Have you ever been sitting in a movie and thought to yourself, “I could write something better than this trash”? Well, here is your chance. Announcing the third annual Word Farm. Word Farm is a program that allows up-and-coming screenwriters to get information from people who have actually made it in the film and television industry. Presented by the Screenwriters Co-op here at UCSB, the 2006 installment is already looking like an all-star list of guest speakers and panel discussions. Students will be invited to intimate lectures and presentations to develop their script writing, learn new techniques and expand their all-important personal network. It is rare for such a beneficial and enlightening thing to grace this beachside campus.
Word Farm will take place over three days this month, spanning the weekend of Jan. 21. Anyone can apply; all you need is a sample of your work. The work will then be examined by Zach Hart and Andrew Gayman, the co-chairs of the Screenwriters Co-op, and film studies Undergraduate Advisor Joe Palladino. According to Hart, “You don’t need to be a film major to enter, some of the best stuff I have seen has been from English and philosophy majors.” Sadly, out of all the applicants, only about 40 will be selected to attend the seminars. Scheduled to appear are such screenwriters as Jeff Arch (“Sleepless in Seattle”), Bob Gale (“Back to the Future”), Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit”) and Don Roos (“The Opposite of Sex”). In addition, UCSB’s own Paul Portuges and alumni Jeff Nathanson – who is currently working on “Indiana Jones 4” – are slated to participate. Each day, speakers and attendees will choose from a number of potential discussions.
In addition to all of this excitement, the Screenwriters Co-op will be holding a short script competition of its own prior to the Word Farm. “Creativity is the number one thing,” Hart said about the contest. First and second place scriptwriters will earn a guaranteed slot in the Word Farm, along with a cash prize.
Primarily, Word Farm hopes to build confidence in young, ambitious writers. The seminars will shed light on what the real world film industry is like. It will act as a forum for sharing ideas, as well as a helpful source of tricks and tools that will help students learn how to pitch ideas and expand their concepts into functional, competent scripts. “It is really just a job, and there are a lot of aspects to the occupation of screenwriting that people don’t know [about],” said Hart.
Exciting things always seem to be going on within the Film Studies Dept., whether it be the filmmakers, the Screenwriters Co-op, the Film Studies 106 projects or the Reel Loud competition, which takes place during Spring Quarter. All the details are online, but, for all you hopeful scriptwriters, applications and deadlines are coming up quick, so hop to it. For further information, we advise you to e-mail Zach Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Gayman at email@example.com.
Woody Allen or Charlie Kaufman started somewhere, and surely that somewhere wasn’t all that different from the 2006 Word Farm, or at least let’s hope so.