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News for 2016 and 2017

May 17, 2016

Hello Writers!

The Writing the Waves cruise was fantastic this year with 22 of us writing our fingers off and seeing a lot of Spain and Italy and a lovely slice of France for good measure.

Here is what’s coming up from me this summer and fall:

My all day pitching class in Portland, Sat. Aug. 6, 9:30 to 3:30 pm. $50. Tabor Space, Muir Room. Email me if you’re interested.

My fall basic screenwriting class will be at my home in North Wilsonville, 6 Saturdays, 9 am to 3 pm. $495 includes a read and notes on your screenplay. Sept. 17 – Oct 22.

Master Class, ten Monday nights, 7 to 10 pm. We read an entire script by one student each night. $495. Class limited to 10. Must have taken my basic class to be eligible for this one.  It begins Sept. 12 and skips Halloween.

email me if you are interested in any of these.  cynwhitcomb@gmail.com
Love you all, and hope to see some of you.
Cynthia

Here is the flyer for next year’s cruise.  Prices are good if you register before June 29.  After that it may be a bit more.  Includes port fees and taxes.  Not airfare.

 

NOW ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS FOR

WRITING THE WAVES 2017

Hosted by Playwright/Screenwriter Cynthia Whitcomb

APRIL 6, 2017 ON THE Caribbean Princess,  Group #7698843

14 NIGHTS TRANSATLANTIC LEARNING/ADVENTURE CRUISE

 

Day 1 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Thur 4/6)

Day 2 Writing at Sea (Fri 4/7)

Day 3 Writing at Sea (Sat 4/8)

Day 4 Bermuda (Sun 4/9)

Day 5 Writing at Sea (Mon 4/10)

Day 6 Writing at Sea (Tue 4/11)

Day 7 Writing at Sea (Wed 4/12)

Day 8 Writing at Sea (Thur 4/13)

Day 9 Writing at Sea (Fri 4/14)

Day 10 Writing at Sea (Sat 4/15)

Day 11 Writing at Sea (Sun 4/16)

Day 12 Cobh (Cork), Ireland (Mon 4/17)

Day 13 Falmouth, England (Tue 4/18)

Day 14 Le Havre/Paris (Wed 4/19)

Day 15 Southampton, England (Thur 4/20)

 

All “At Sea” days will feature writing workshops from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Writing on your own in the afternoons. Dinner together at 6 pm, then evening writing salons 8 – 10 pm where we read aloud, critique our work and solve writing problems. With nine At Sea days, it’s possible to write more than 50 pages written on this voyage.

Prices: (per person, double occup. Air not    included)

Interior $1,894 ($1,394 non-writing               roommate)

Ocean View: $2,234. (NWR $1,734)

Balcony $2,454. ($1,954 NWR)

Registering after June 29, prices may vary slightly. $400 Deposit by 6/29/16. Final payment, 1/15/17. (Includes port taxes and fees)

 

The workshops will cover everything you need to know to successfully create, complete and market your projects. Subjects include:

How to choose an idea. Research.

Story structure. Character Development.

Scene cards and Storyboards. Love Stories. Genres. Film, Theatre and Book Formats.

Style. Voice. Scene and Summary.

Revising and Polishing. Using Right Brain/Left Brain. Laura Whitcomb’s Novel Shortcuts

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Agents, Editors, Producers & Managers.

Pitching. Editing. Breaking in.

 

Cynthia Whitcomb has sold over 70 screenplays, 29 of which have been produced on prime time national television. She’s been nominated for the Emmy, Cable Ace, WGA, Humanitas and Edgar Allan Poe Awards. Her books and classes on screenwriting are widely popular. She has written roles for such stars as Jason Robards, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Spacey, Martin Sheen, Gabriel Byrne and Anjelica Huston.

 

Writers who have taken 3 cruises with Cynthia

previously, will not be charged for the class.

(They will pay the non-writing roommate rate.)

 

To register email Walt Schaffrick at

wschaffrick@wth.com

(800)210-9444 option #2

New Years News

January 11, 2016

My new play “The Dark Rider” will have a reading at Artists Repertory Theatre during the Fertile Ground Festival.  Tuesday night Jan. 26 at 7:30 pm.  Admission is free.  It is directed by Tobias Anderson and stars Dave Bodin and Todd Van Voris.  Come if you can. I am also directing a reading of a new play by Ron Lee called “Under the Yew Tree” which will be at Lakewood Theatre in Lake Oswego on Sunday Jan. 24 at 2 pm.  Admission for that one is $10.  I hope to see you at one or both.

I wanted to make sure everyone knows that my next writing class is coming up in February.  If you’re interested or know someone who might be, here’s the info:

Cynthia Whitcomb’s Screenwriting Class

Spring 2016

Six Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Feb. 20, 27,  Mar. 12, 19, 26, &  April 2

Cost $495

Location: Cynthia’s Home in North Wilsonville

To enroll call Willamette Writers

(503) 305-6729

Or online at willamettewriters.com

From Idea to Completed Script

Includes structure, scene cards, storyboards, set ups, payoffs, subplots, character development, research, format, dialogue, hiding exposition, buttoning scenes, how to write great openings, great endings, big moments. How to make ‘em laugh and cry. Selling, Marketing. Agents, producers, deals, WGA, breaking in. Everything you need.

Writers welcome at every level of experience from novice to pro.

Come prepared to work hard and break through!

Make it happen!

 

 

Upcoming Writing Classes

May 14, 2015

Hello Writers,  I just got back from our annual “Writing the Waves” cruise which was fabulous this year.  It’s time to start thinking about what’s next.  Here are my upcoming writing workshops and classes.  Please join me for some of them, or pass the word to anyone who might be interested.

One Day Pitching Class

Sat. Aug. 1, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Everything you need to know to polish your pitch before the Willamette Writers Conference the following weekend.

Also the same content is useful for query letters. Class is for all genres, books and screenplays.

Cost of class:  $50.  To sign up go to willamettewriters.com or call Bill at the WW office (503)305-6729

Fall Screenwriting Class

Six Saturdays, 9 am to 3 pm at my home in north Wilsonville near I-5 and the 205.

Cost $495.  To register contact Bill Johnson at Willamette Writers (above)

Includes everything you need to know to write and sell screenplays successfully.

Students from this class have gone on to sell scripts and have success in films and TV.

Most of the class material is applicable to plays, stories, novels and memoirs as well.

Dates:  Sept. 19, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, and Nov. 7.

The Master Class

Open to those who have previously taken Sat classes or Writing Cruise.

This class is limited to 10 students, and each Monday evening we meet from 7 to 10 pm and read an entire screenplay by one of them.  Cost is $495.  To register for this class email me directly at cynwhitcomb@gmail.com.  (It is not through Willamette Writers.)  It also meets at my home.

Next year’s cruise itinerary is set.  Contact me for a flyer.

We’ll be going to Spain, France and Italy.

Pitching Class July 26

July 17, 2014

I will be teaching my popular pitching class on Saturday July 26

from 9 am to 3 pm through Willamette Writers.  Class fee is $50.

This class is for screenwriters and book writers, both fiction and nonfiction.

I will cover everything and everyone will have the chance to pitch a project.

To register go to willamettewriters.com

or call at (503)305-6729

or email Bill at wilwrite@willamettewriters.com

Or just show up with a check

TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

We have a great time.  I hope you can join us.

Writing the Waves 2014

August 25, 2013

NOW ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS FOR

WRITING THE WAVES 2014

Hosted by Playwright/Screenwriter Cynthia Whitcomb

APRIL 20, 2014 ON THE Celebrity Silhouette

15 NIGHTS TRANSATLANTIC LEARNING/ADVENTURE CRUISE

 

 

Day 1  Fort Lauderdale, Florida  (Sun 4/20)

Day 2  Writing at Sea (Mon 4/21)

Day 3  Writing at Sea  (Tue 4/22)

Day 4  Writing at Sea (Wed 4/23)

Day 5  Writing at Sea (Thur 4/24)

Day 6  Writing at Sea  (Fri  4/25)

Day 7  Writing at Sea  (Sat 4/26)

Day 8  Writing at Sea (Sun 4/27)

Day 9  Funchal Madeira (Mon 4/28)

Day 10 Writing at Sea (Tue 4/29)

Day 11 Gibraltar (UK) (Wed 4/30)

Day 12  Writing at Sea (Thur 5/1)

Day 13 Sardinia, Italy (Fri 5/2)

Day 14  Sicily, Italy (Sat 5/3)

Day 15  Naples, Italy (Sun 5/4)

Day 16 Rome, Italy (Mon 5/5)

 

 

All “At Sea” days will feature writing workshops from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.

We’ll write on our own in the afternoons.

We will reconvene to talk shop over dinner together,

then hold evening writing salons where we read aloud, critique our work and solve any writing problems that come up.

With nine At Sea days, it’s possible for each writer to have more than 50 pages written on this voyage.

 

Prices:  (per person, double occ. Air not included)

Interior $1,449 ($949 non-writing roommate)

Ocean View $1,699 ($1,199 NWR)

Balcony $1,849 ($1,349 NWR)

Suite $3,199 ($2,699 NWR)

 

The workshops will cover everything you need to know to successfully create, complete and market your projects. Subjects include:

How to choose an idea.  Research.

Story structure.  Character Development.

Scene cards and Storyboards.  Love Stories.  Humor.  Genres.  Film and Theatre Formats.

Style.  Voice.  Scene and Summary.

Revising and Polishing. Using Right Brain/Left Brain. Laura Whitcomb’s Novel Shortcuts

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Agents, Editors, Producers & Managers.

Pitching. Editing. Breaking in.  And most importantly:  Dealing with Success!

 

Cynthia Whitcomb has sold over 70 screenplays, 29 of which have been produced on prime time national television.

She’s been nominated for the Emmy, Cable Ace, WGA, Humanitas and Edgar Allan Poe Awards.  Her books and classes on screenwriting are widely popular.

Twice a finalist for the Angus Bowmer Award in Drama and twice semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill.

She has written roles for such stars as Jason Robards, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Spacey, Martin Sheen, Gabriel Byrne and Anjelica Huston.

 

Writers who have taken 3 cruises with Cynthia

previously, will not be charged for the class.

(They will pay the non-writing roommate rate.)

 

Only $25 to register and hold your space and these rates.

To register email Walt Schaffrick at wschaffrick@wth.com

 

Seven Wonders

January 9, 2013

I am thrilled to invite you to a reading of my new play The Seven Wonders of Chipping which will be at Artists Repertory Theatre, SW Morrison at 15th on Saturday January 26 at 2 pm and Monday January 28 at 7:30 p.m.  Suggested donation $10.  To get tickets call the ART box office at (503)241-1278.  Do it soon as I’m hoping that we sell this out.  The reading is part of the citywide Fertile Ground Festival of new plays being read by wonderful actors for low ticket prices at most theatres in Portland.

 

Seven Wonders is a charming romantic comedy set in a pub in the English countryside in 1953.  It is a blossoming story, like the classic film Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn as the aging school teacher from Akron, Ohio who goes to Venice and finds love (based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents.)  But the tone is more like The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill starring Hugh Grant.  If you don’t know these movies, I’ll wait while you type them into your Netflix que.

 

Have you seen the you-tube video of the proposal shot here in Portland with a whole gang of family and friends lip-synching Bruno Mars’ “I Think I Wanna Marry You?”  It’s had 16.5 million views since it went up a few months ago.  You’re kidding.  Okay, I’ll wait again.  Go type it in.  You can get it with “Isaac Proposal” or any of several variations.  No chance you won’t find it. 

 

Adorable, right?  Well, Isaac of the famed proposal is playing the romantic and funny leading man, Jonty, in Seven Wonders so there is yet another reason to come.  Plus my dear old friend Peggy Walton Walker (some of you remember her and her husband Keith, author of Free Willy, who came to our WW conferences back in the day) is flying in from New Orleans to read the dowager role.  Don Stewart Burns plays Old Bailey the local drunk and if you need a further reason, there’s a ghost. 

 

It has been fun to write this after writing two tragedies in a row.  Lear’s Follies, a new version of King Lear which some of you came to see this past summer.  And two years ago The Wilde Boy at Fertile Ground is my play about Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s lover, fifteen years after Wilde’s death.  A beautiful and sad story.

 

The Seven Wonders of Chipping almost didn’t get written.                      

 

The story came to me more than ten years ago.  I used to take my kids and sister and sometimes my parents and rent a cottage or farmhouse in the English countryside for two weeks in the summer.  This is cheaper than hotels and they come with kitchen, woods, cows and bunnies.  I would always choose a small town in the gorgeous Cotswolds from which we could take day trips by rented car to places like Stonehenge, Avebury and Stratford.  And we would frequent the local pubs.  A fellow at the local pub, whose last name , oddly, was a synonym for drunk, told me about “the seven wonders” of his town.  And they were funny and charming and that was the seed that sprouted this play years later.

 

I put off writing it for a long time because it seemed hopelessly uncommercial and unhip.  It is charming and heartwarming and has a happy ending.  It is the kind of play they don’t write or produce much any more.  One of my all time favorite playwrights, Herb Gardner, best known for A Thousand Clowns, wrote this kind of play.  Nowadays plays are darker, edgier, more cynical, mostly about dysfunctional families, politics or social issues.  This play has a dark side.  The people in it have been damaged by things that have happened to them in life, but it’s a play that makes you feel good. 

 

I tried to talk myself out of writing this play, but it wouldn’t go away.  I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you.  The story that you refuse, but that keeps developing anyway like an unwanted pregnancy and eventually you have to give up and give birth to it.  This one got delivered on last spring’s Trans-Atlantic cruise.  We had a whole month at sea and I read scenes aloud to the group and by the time we landed at our final port of Venice, I had a draft.

 

The second stage of playwriting (after doing everything you can think of alone in a room to make it good and then make it better) is to invite actors over to your house to read it out loud to you.  You pay them with good food.  Since this play is set in a pub, I made shepherd’s pie and stocked up on Guinness.  And you invite a dozen or so of your smartest friends to sit in so you can get some feedback and find out where the laughs are, if there are any laughs. 

 

At the end of this first living room read, (in which there was much laughter, thank you Gods of Humor whatever your Greek names may be) several of my old writing cronies who know all my plays told me this was the best one so far.  And even more unprecedented, three of the seven actors asked me if they could keep the copy of the play and would I sign it .  I know.  As good as a standing O.

 

My heart is in this.  I have given up the struggle and let myself fall in love with a story about falling in love.  Let’s make this a science project.  A test case to see if heart warming and charming have a place in our culture.  Please come.  You are hereby invited personally.  I’ll see you there. XOXO

A Writer’s Bucket List

September 12, 2012

On the cruise ship during our Writing the Waves voyage last month, sitting on my balcony watching the sun set heading across the Mediterranean from Rome toward Alexandria, Egypt, I heard an unseen couple on the balcony next door talking.  She sounded like Olympia Dukakis.  Apparently the pyramids were on her bucket list.  She said, “We should write it down.”  Now, you know any sentence with the word “write” in it is going to get my attention.

“Write what down?”  He sounded like Vincent Gardenia, as if Cher’s parents from Moonstruck had the cabin next to mine.

“Our bucket list,” clarified Olympia.

“No,” he said.  “I don’t want to do that.”

“Why not?”  It was starting to sound more like a harangue.  “Are you afraid if you did everything on the list, you’d die?”

Silence from old Vince.    Maybe he did think that.  You see how powerful writing can be?  Words jotted down on the back of an envelope at twenty can unleash the fear of mortality thirty or forty years later.

In fact my original bucket list written in my mid-twenties included “ride a camel” which I was determined to do in Egypt.  Some of the things on it I have outgrown or the world has changed enough that they no longer seem important or possible.  I have ridden an elephant, though of the circus variety.    I have not seen Narwhals in the wild, but I have seen some spectacular footage of them on the Planet Earth DVD.  I’m still totally dedicated to seeing the Aurora Borealis.  I haven’t had a play on Broadway yet, but I did have one Off Broadway for one glorious night and this is one of those dreams I will not stop aspiring to until the last breath of life sighs away.      To be photographed under the heading “What becomes a legend most?” while wearing a black sable coat?  Well some things have vanished into thin air.  It was never the coat I was interested in anyway.

But my goal of seeing all seven continents got a big boost this month.  Our ship dropped anchor in four separate continents, two of which I’d never set foot on before.  Egypt, as you may have heard, is in Africa.  And Istanbul, Turkey is the only city on earth that lies on two continents, Europe on the west end of the bridge over the Bosphorous, and Asia on the eastern end.  I didn’t get across that bridge, but a few days later we were in Kusadasi, Turkey which is in Asia Minor, which guess what?  Is part of Asia!  I’m only missing Australia and Antarctica to have the full set from the actual Planet Earth.

We had a fabulous group of 20 writers on this year’s writing adventure.  For the first trans-Atlantic leg we had 10, all women except for Richard O’Connell the well known poet.  This group set a writing goal of 492 pages.  When I totaled this, I encouraged everyone to up their goal by one page each so we could shoot for 500, a much cooler number.  All agreed and at the end of two weeks, we had written 580!   This is an average of 73 pages per person.  (We didn’t average in the poet’s pages, as 20 pages for a poet is 100 pages for anyone else.)

In addition to all this writing, we had also been to Gibraltar (a British outpost whose huge rock is the logo for Prudential), Alicante, Spain, Barcelona, Spain, Marseilles, France where I had a romantic interlude with my college-year-abroad French boyfriend (more on this hopefully later), Florence and Rome, Italy.

Our ringer was Richard’s wife, a lovely little retired English professor (and actually English as well) Beryl O’Connell, who only started writing less than three years ago and on this voyage wrote 132 pages of a horror novel  that was so suspenseful, I had to forbid her to read last during our 8 -10 pm critique groups every night after it gave me Rosemary’s Babyesque nightmares.  So Beryl read first every night and we ended each evening with lighter fare.

In Rome we lost six who had to head home, and gained another ten writers, including my daughter Molly, 26, who met me at the Trevi Fountain in Rome.  Our second group of 14 had three men in it.  A better balance.  And this group, even though the number of “At Sea” days was halved, set an even more ambitious goal of 518 pages.  This group ended up writing 668 pages or an average of 58 pages per person.

Enough statistics.  Let’s get to the exciting part where Cynthia rides a camel.  We arrived in Alexandria, Egypt and climbed on a bus for a three hour ride up the Nile to Cairo and the Great Pyramids of Giza (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) and the Sphinx.    I was surprised to see this country a mess.  Trash and garbage everywhere.  Canals clogged with litter.  Unfinished buildings already turning into slum dwellings on the lower floors.

I had imagined that the pyramids would be out in the middle of the desert, but it turns out they are at the edge of the city, and there’s only one spot where you can photograph them without  ugly buildings in the background.  The sphinx is smaller than I imagined.  But I did get on a camel.  The exciting part is the moment the camel stands up.  He stands on his back legs first, then the front, so for a harrowing moment you are sitting on a nearly vertical downward facing camel saddle.  Ditto when he sits down at the end.  So it’s hold on tight which I did and loved it.  Worth the $7 for the ride plus one for the handler and one for the animal.  I can’t think of a more fun way to blow $9.

By the time we had lunch and were getting back onto the bus, maybe ninety minutes later, a man on the street came running up to me yelling “Five dollars!  Five dollars!” And waving an 8X10 color photo of me sitting on a camel with the pyramids in the background, tucked into a cute “See Egypt” photo folder.   I never saw him take the shot, but you’ve got to reward this kind of effort and ingenuity.  So I of course handed over $5.  That night when we met for our nightly writers salon, and I announced “I rode a camel today,” Peggy, our resident actress instantly retorted, “I rode two camels.”  So much for one’s moment of glory.  All I could say to Peg was, “At the same time?”

I’ll share more adventures next month.  In the meantime, if you love me or even like me a little, please go online to portlandshakes.org and buy tickets to my new play Lear’s Follies which will run at Artists Rep, NW15th and Morrison from July 11 to August 5.   For my pitching class see the box on p XXX and for my fall screenwriting class see the box on p. XXX.  See you all at the conference!

And remember, we writers never have to fear getting to the end of our bucket lists.  We can write more things on them at any time.  We hold the pens of immortality in our nimble fingers.  I am remembering the immortal Ray Bradbury who as a small boy, volunteered to go up on stage at a carnival with “Mister Electrico” who reached toward little Ray’s chest and a spark of electricity arced across the air and zapped the little boy with a crackle, as Mr. E shouted, “Live forever!”  And so you shall, Mr. Bradbury.  So you shall.

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