It's no newsflash that many pro screenwriters and novelists speak at conferences. But when one finds a "best kept secret" that's not so secret, they want their friends to join in the fun. My buddy Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Bad Boys, Hostage) has taught at the Central Coast Writers Conference the past couple of years and introduced me to the event's Managing Director, Teri Bayus. I had to find out what this magical event was all about.
"For 33 years, The Central Coast Writers Conference has been an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year writers join our community for three days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to our staff."
With multiple conferences out there, it's hard to know which one is worth your time and money. Let's face it, we only have so much of each. Why CCWC?
"CCWC is named one of the best writing conferences in the US. It is a small, intimate conference that focuses on writing for the screen all in a seaside setting with a focus on networking, food and wine after the bones of the conference. We bring some of the worlds best Hollywood creators to teach and act as mentors. This is a place where you can get your screenplay read and commented on by an Academy Award winner or network developer."
Sounds perfect. So, I buzzed over to their Facebook page and found this shot of a bar and a beach... full of writers. Sold!
Location. Check. But what about money? I'm a practical girl, with two kids in college. Some of these conferences are a bit pricey. Luckily, this ain't one of 'em!
"Conference registration is one of the most reasonable, at $225 for three days of learning, workshops and networking. We keep the entry fee low by soliciting sponsors. We also have many scholarships for those with financial needs. You can register here."
Reasonable price. Check. But who are those Hollywood people whose brains we get to pick?
"We feature over 60 presenters offering screenwriting, workshops, panels, critiques, keynotes, and craft lectures. We will have literary agents, editors and Academy Award winners to New York Times Best selling authors to Poets, nonfiction, and NetFlix stars, our staff strives to teach and motivate."
Who wouldn't want to sip wine and listen to the waves splash with Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society, What About Bob?), Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why), literary agent Ken Sherman, Doug Richardson (Bad Boys, Die Hard 2, Hostage), Peter Dunne (Melrose Place, Dallas, CSI, Eight is Enough), Paul T. Scheuring (Prison Break), poet Kim Addonizio, Lifestyle Coach Mary LoVerde, to name a few.
There's something magical about being at a conference, rubbing elbows with generous professionals, offering insights into their work process. But there's also the special spark of inspiration that comes simply from being around other writers. These small conferences are even better because of that intimacy. When I speak at events, I always encourage the writers to look to their left and look to their right and connect with their fellow artists. That is where the fun of the journey exists.
When you go back home with sea salt still in your hair, the hope is you'll open up your laptop and either rip apart your baby in rewrites, or dive into the blank page and create your next masterpiece, using the tips and tricks you learned at CCWC.
"We want our participants to feel they are part of a community that is set to inspire and lift them up. We work very hard to light the fire and give the tools of success for writers. Many of our attendees have achieved star status and become successful writers utilizing the tools learned and contacts made at the conference."
Inspiration and support. Check. I now see why the conference has been such a success for 33 years. But what about the future?
"I have a bucket list of creators that I reach for every year. The ones who inspire and motivate while sharing success with our attendees. We have started many new programs including a Mothing event and Burn the Bully that I would love to see grow into an integral part of the event."
As the site says, "It's time to tell your story!" That's exactly what I'll be doing September 28th to 30th at Central Coast Writers Conference, alongside my buddies Doug Richardson and Tom Schulman. Doug has never steered me wrong before. I have a feeling I'm going to owe him big for this one. There's nothing I love more than learning and hanging out with my fellow writers.
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