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  • Writer's pictureFROM THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR

Stowe Story Lab

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

In September, I attended the Stowe Story Lab in Burlington, VT. I had applied the previous year and been a semi-finalist but was not selected. I worked on the script for a year and sent it in again. This year I made it in. The Lab receives applications from all over the world. One of the women in my small critique group was from Scotland. There are four days of seminars, group meetings, and peer feedback on your script. The group was more diverse than most screenwriter's workshops I've been to. Maybe half were women and I was not the only Asian woman, which was a welcome surprise. The Stowe experience is informal and personal. No stuffy lectures, just experienced professionals telling it like it is. I came to Stowe trying to decide if I should go with the episodic feature I had slaved over for the last year or write a new short.

Each person I talked to had a different story about how they had gotten their film funded and made. The common thread-- belief in your story and persistence. Follow your own path. I left Stowe still undecided but learned a lot, met an amazing group of writers, directors, and producers and was encouraged to continue. At a party on the last evening, I sat down next to Michael Holden, a London-based writer who'd been an ass to me earlier. What began as small talk turned into a very zen-like philosophical discussion about writing and life that had a profound impact on me. Michael said he has a file on his desktop for any story idea that pops into his head. One of several Michaelisms: “If I drop dead in the middle of the street, I hope I die in the middle of an idea."

Michael Holden on a panel discussing nitty gritty of screenwriting. Screenwriting is not pretty.
General session in Helen Day Center, Stowe Vermont
David Rocchio, Director of Stowe Writing Lab, and me

My new friend, screenwriter, Lindewe Mueller-Westernhagen from Germany. Our bond: we both like western music.

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