writing

WRITING CLASSES AT BYRDCLIFFE

Winter 2019 Writing Class with Alex Smith – INDUCING YOUR ATHENA

This intensive writing workshop will teach you how to mine the movie, television series, novel or novella in your mind. In four distinct sessions, we will collaboratively work to draw your idea forth– å la Zeus– inducing the full-grown Athena from your brain– moving it from concept to conception. Most class time will be spent in workshop mode– you can learn as much about your idea brainstorming someone else’s project as you can when being workshopped. One-on-one meetings will also have their place. Topics such as Three-Act Structure, Plot vs. Premise, Plant & Payoff, and Discovery & Reversal will be covered. By seminar’s end, each student will have generated three finely wrought maps of the creation that is currently percolating in their mind: a SYNOPSIS, TREATMENT, and OUTLINE. They will have fully ‘broken’ their idea– and begun the process of turning it from idea to draft.

Thursdays: 10:00 am  2:00 pm
Four 4-hour sessions: January 17, 24, February 7, and 14, 2019 (note no class on January 31); minimum of 6 students needed for class to run

Location: BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY
Class fees: $230 for members, $250 for not-yet members; no materials fee

Pay your class fee online! Or you can call us at 845.679.2079 to pay over the phone with a credit card.

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Alex Smith’s class at Byrdcliffe is co-presented by the Woodstock Film Festival.

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ABOUT OUR INSTRUCTORS

Alex Smith is a screenwriter, filmmaker and educator who hails from Montana. He and his twin brother Andrew premiered their latest feature film, WALKING OUT, at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. WALKING OUT stars Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, and Lily Gladstone. The film was distributed by IFC Films. The Smiths also wrote, directed and produced WINTER IN THE BLOOD, a feature film based on the classic James Welch novel, which had its world premiere at the LA Film Festival, and stars Chaske Spencer, Julia Jones, and David Morse. The film won numerous festival awards and was screened at the Woodstock Film Festival. Previously, they wrote and directed THE SLAUGHTER RULE, a feature film starring Ryan Gosling, David Morse and Amy Adams, which premiered at Sundance 2002. Alex & Andrew are currently writing two television pilots— THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD for Amazon and THE DARKLINGS, a horror fantasy set in post-WWII Europe. The Smith Brothers have written scripts for HBO, Warner Bros, Disney, Sony, and FX. They adapted the graphic novel SON OF THE GUN by legendary cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky for Fox Searchlight. They also adapted the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Wallace Stegner novel REMEMBERING LAUGHTER. The Smith Brothers have worked with Lars Von Trier, Terrence Malick, and David O. Russell.

Alex is also a published writer of fiction, and is the recipient of many grants, including the Rainin Foundation/SFFS Grant. Alex teaches at NYU and Columbia, and taught screenwriting and film-making at the University of Texas, Austin for a decade, where he was the Creative Director of the University of Texas Film Institute. Several of his students have gone on to be short-listed for the National Book Award, to be included on the prestigious ‘Blacklist,’ and to win a variety of screenwriting awards, including the Nicholls Fellowship. Alex is a Michener Fellow, a Sundance Fellow, and a Rauschenberg Fellow. He is based in Woodstock, New York, where he is a resident at the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony.

Martha Frankel, executive director of the Woodstock Bookfest, began her writing career at the original Details magazine, writing a column about plastic surgery called Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous. She went on to write book reviews, essays and celebrity profiles for other magazines, such as Movieline, Cosmopolitan and The New Yorker.

Her memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses, chronicling her family’s lifelong love affair with gambling and her own later addiction to online gambling, was published in 2008 (Tarcher/Penguin Group). Hats and eyeglasses, an old gambling expression, describes an unfortunate run at the table. In Frankel’s childhood, gambling equated to friendship, food and laughter. “We bet on everything, from sports to how much our mothers would lose at Weight Watchers,” Frankel recalls in the book. Nowadays, Martha finds friendship and laughter in all sorts of places, including her radio show, Woodstock Booktalk, online anytime on Woodstockbooktalk.com and iTunes. In addition to Hats and Eyeglasses, Martha co-wrote a lifestyle book, Brazilian Sexy, is delighted to have an essay in Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, an anthology edited by her friend Ann Hood, and wrote the forward to My Body, My Words: a collection of bodies.