Tuesday, 17 September 2013



What is Writing Women?

Writing Women is a screenplay development series dedicated to the development and production of short films with female-driven stories.  

How did Writing Women begin?

Writing Women was a collaborative creation between Evert Houston, Creative Director of the Blue Flame Collective, and Lauren MacKinlay and Farah Merani, both Associate Artists of the Blue Flame Collective.  Writing Women was launched as a platform set to inspire screenwriters to write and develop the very thing most needed in the Canadian film marketplace:  stories about women.  A two-month development series was created where short form, original content films focused on female stories would be developed weekly with a group of film industry professionals.  The focus of the series was on giving the participating screenwriters voices to hear their words, as well as the expertise to hone their craft and improve their work with the discussions held between the professional actors reading the screenplays and the Canadian film & television professionals facilitating the evening.  The evenings also had a semi-networking function, allowing the writers to meet fellow industry professionals and potential collaborators.

How does Writing Women function?

In September of 2012, Writing Women put out a call for submissions for short film screenplays with female-driven stories.  Of the nearly 100 submissions received, 16 were selected to undergo a development process spanning 8 weeks where, once a week, mentors from the Canadian film and television industry volunteered an evening of their time to offer the selected writers valuable insight into how to make their work the best it could be.  Professional actors also volunteered their time for staged table reads, bringing the screenplays to life and contributing their unique observations of the work.  Writing Women also had the pleasure of securing Ciara Murphy of Pier 21 Films as the resident dramaturg for the entirety of the series.  We are pleased to announce that Ms. Murphy will be returning to dramaturg the 2013 series.

There will be some unique changes for Writing Women’s 2013 series.  Eight writers will be selected this year and will be present for each of the eight nights of development, from October 8th to November 26th.  The first four week of the series, the mentors will come from a writing background, allowing the screenwriters an initial focus on the content of their films.  The second half of the series will be manned by producer mentors, giving the writers a sense of how their work would be produced and how it would function in the film & television industry.  We believe that this format will allow for greater development of the screenplays and allow the writers to hit the ground running at the culmination of the series.

The format of a typical evening is as follows:  Two writers’ scripts are developed per night.  Each script gets an hour beginning with a staged table read by professional actors, following which the writer mentor leads the room through a critique of the work, highlighting strengths and unpacking areas for improvement.  The screenwriter has four weeks from the initial presentation of the screenplay to rework their film, and a new draft will be worked in a second session by a producer mentor.  The screenplay will be read outloud again and the film will be discussed in a production capacity.  At the culmination of the series, there will be live reading of all eight selected screenplays at an evening with Canadian film & television industry professionals, allowing the writers to feature their work and network amongst fellow industry professionals.

What are the rules for submitting to Writing Women?

Details of Writing Women

- The development series will take place every Tuesday evening from October 8th to November 26th; writers must be available in Toronto for all of these dates in order to be considered.

- To be considered for the 8 week series, short screenplay submissions must be under 15 pages and have female-driven story lines.

- There will be a $99 fee to participate in the program; however, there will be no cost to submit.

- The deadline for submissions is midnight, September 30th.

For more information or to submit, please contact bluewritersroom@gmail.com

Who were the 2012 Writing Women Mentors?

Rosemary Dunsmore - Acclaimed star of Canadian stage, screen and television, and teacher of acting and directing at the Canadian Film Centre, Equity Showcase, National Theatre School, Shortworks Halifax and the University of Toronto.

Virginia Thompson - President of Verite Films, award-winning executive producer, producer and TV show creator, best known for her work as executive producer of Corner Gas.

Morwyn Brebner - Writer and Producer, Rookie Blue and Saving Hope.

Sonya Di Rienzo - Development Executive at Whizbang productions.

Amy Cameron - Head of Development, Drama & Scripted Television at Verite Films.

Jennifer Whalen - Writer for InSecurity and This Hour has 22 Minutes.

Kate Hewlett - Writer for the LA Complex and InSecurity.

Jenn Engels - Writer for Less Than Kind and InSecurity.

Jennifer Holness - Writer, Director and Producer for television, documentaries and feature films.  Executive Producer of She’s The Mayor.

Who are the 2013 Writing Women Mentors?
A complete list of our mentors is TBA.

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