July 9th-14th, 2017
Rocaberti Castle, Figueres
(75 miles from Barcelona, Spain)
Have you ever dreamed of writing a novel and seeing it come to life on the silver screen?
Or maybe you’ve already published your book and are wondering about how to turn it into a screenplay?
Seems impossible, right?
Well, the answer, is, NO! Nothing is impossible, and on this one-of-a-kind writer’s retreat at the enchanting 14th century Rocaberti Castle, halfway between Barcelona and the French border, we’ll show you just how your words, your vision—let’s face it, your baby—can make it all the way to the big screen!
The first Rocaberti Retreat, held in March 2016, completely transcended all expectations: out of the eleven writers who attended, one had her script optioned before the end of the retreat, two are currently in the midst of negotiations for their script or book to be optioned and deals are in the works for several others … the impossible did happen, and it happened at Rocaberti!
Here’s what Georgia Clark, winner of the first Rocaberti Scholarship, said about her Rocaberti experience:
“I was honored to be awarded the scholarship for the inaugural Rocaberti Writers Retreat. My mentor was simply fabulous: experienced, generous, warm, funny and insightful. We made great headway on helping turn my new adult fiction THE REGULARS into a feature film. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, and all in Spain!”
And the second Rocaberti Retreat surpassed even the first (there’s even a reality TV show in the works, involving one of the special guests)!
Attendees called the retreat, “A magical, miraculous event”, “The experience of a lifetime”, “The best decision I’ve ever made” and “Life-changing.”
But let the writers speak for themselves!
“The Rocaberti Writers’ Retreat was a smashing success. The accommodations in a medieval castle near the Mediterranean sea in Spain, meals by a chef, Tai Chi and meditation, a visit from royalty, intrigue and after-parties all created lasting memories. The teaching blew away my expectations. We had experts in agency representation, production, story structure, screenwriting, pitching, book and memoir writing, book proposals, and career advice. A combination of lectures and individual mentoring sharpened my knowledge of the craft of writing and how this industry works. Thanks to Claire and her colleagues it’s a trip I will cherish forever.”
–Betty Sullivan (October 2016)
Your Summer 2017 Rocaberti Retreat mentors include Jen Grisanti, former Studio Executive and VP of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount and now a highly sought-after Story and Career Consultant; award-winning Italian screenwriter, Roberto Marchionni, whose film They Call Me Jeeg Robot, in addition to being no.1 at the Italian box office, was nominated for best screenplay and won seven statuettes at the David di Donatello Awards in 2016; Debra Landwehr Engle, best-selling author with over 25 years’ experience helping writers secure agents and land publishing deals, and film financing and international distribution expert Scott Collette, who is now an in-demand writer and story consultant, with six projects in development.
We’ve joined forces because we want to help show you how to bring your “literary twins”—your book and screenplay—to life! Not only how to finish writing them (an art in itself, as anyone who has an unfinished manuscript or screenplay lying around their home will tell you!) but also how to have them successfully published … and made into a movie!
You’ll be part of a small and exclusive group of a maximum of 12 writers at the retreat.
Through focused, practical presentations and small-group mentoring sessions in the mornings, afternoon ‘Pitch to the Expert’ sessions with individual feedback and evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of approximately 1:3—you’ll learn how to tell your story on the page and on the screen, and be one step closer to seeing your dream come to life!
Sound enticing? We’re inviting writers of fiction, non-fiction, and for the screen to come join us for what promises to be a memorable (and productive!) experience. Enrollment is limited to just 12 guests to ensure small class size and maximum access to our mentors.
Picture yourself staying at a 14th century castle (how’s that for inspiration?). Participating in stimulating workshops. Enjoying a glass of wine with a produced screenwriter, former Paramount Studio Exec or published author. Sharing your work with others for constructive feedback. Just taking the time to breathe—and to write, away from the demands of your daily routine. Imagine the conversations that might unfold daily around the breakfast table or on a walk into the village.
Whether you’ve written a book, are working on a screenplay—or are just thinking about it!—wherever you are in the process, we’re here to help you move forward and show you that dreams can become reality!
This retreat is for you if…
Each morning, you’ll meet with your mentor and the other two writers in your small group, in sessions of three hours, going in-depth into the topics which matter most to you, including:
You’ll meet daily with your mentor—the presenter of your choice*—in small groups of 3, to discuss your project. This is your chance to receive their undivided attention and ask questions about anything related to your writing—from the arc of your story to gaining traction in your writing career to crafting the perfect pitch for an agent or producer.
*Please note: in order to have the presenter of your choice as your mentor, it’s imperative to book early, as places in the mentoring groups will be allocated on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
From dinner Sunday night to breakfast Friday morning, your meals will be prepared by a private chef using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. We’ll be serving vegetarian and gluten-free options along with a variety of traditional Spanish cuisine.
As befits a castle, all the bedrooms are unique and range greatly in size, furnishings and views, so to have the room of your choice, book early!
To make your travel easy and stress-free, we’re providing a private driver to and from Barcelona Airport for all our guests. Once your place has been secured on the retreat, we’ll be in touch with details and recommendations with regards to your flight arrangements.
Where else could you sit down to breakfast with a screenwriter whose latest film was no. 1 at the box office? Sip Rioja in the salon with a published author who’s been invited to a private audience with Mikhail Gorbachev to sign copies of her book? Go for a leisurely stroll through the nearby village with a former Paramount Studio Exec to discuss your project?
With a faculty/participant ratio of approximately 1:3, our faculty will be available to you for impromptu conversations throughout the retreat, sharing the lessons and tips they’ve learned—and the joys of the creative process—with you every step of the way.
So come along and enjoy the most exclusive (and fun!) literary vacation of the year. In a castle.
The retreat commences the evening of Sunday, July 9th, with welcome cocktails, dinner and then, with a glass of fine Rioja in hand, a group discussion about writing in the castle’s historical salon.
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:
7.30am – 8am: Optional morning meditation led by gifted spiritual practitioner and chiropracter, Oliver Dawson, focused on opening our minds and calming our hearts, in order to get the creative juices flowing.
8am – 9am: A leisurely breakfast, followed by:
9am – 10am: Presentation and Q&A discussions with our mentors.
10am – 10.30am: Coffee break.
10.30am – 1.30pm: In small groups of 3, you’ll meet with your mentor for three hours, with a short break in the middle, to discuss your project. This is your chance to receive their undivided attention and ask questions about anything related to your writing—from the arc of your story to gaining traction in your writing career to crafting the perfect pitch for an agent or producer
1.30pm – 3pm: A delicious lunch, al fresco, on the castle’s beautiful terrace, prepared with fresh, local ingredients by the Retreat’s chef.
2pm – 3pm: ASK ME A QUESTION: a different mentor or special guest each day will take Q & A.
3pm – 3.15pm: Break.
3.15pm – 4.15pm: ‘Pitch to the Expert’: each day 3-4 people will take a turn pitching their project to a different mentor, receiving valuable feedback on this stage of the process.
4.15 – 7.30pm*: Uninterrupted free time in the afternoon to explore one of Spain’s most enchanting regions: go for a walk in the beautiful countryside nearby, take a refreshing dip in the castle’s plunge pool or simply write in the peace and stillness of your room (internet access is limited to the first floor, due to the castle’s 700-year-old stone walls so there are no distractions from social media or the internet).
*Optional activities include a trip to the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueres and one-on-one sessions with our resident chiropracter, Oliver Dawson, to help remove any blockages to our own success.
Then, we’ll meet for dinner prepared by our chef, Matt, followed by Q & A with a different mentor / special guest each day, on a film which they’ve been involved with. We’ll also be tasting some of the delicious local wines!
Thursday evening will be our farewell dinner and after breakfast on Friday, the retreat’s private driver will take you to Barcelona for your departure home or on to your own vacation in this stunning region of Spain.
When you go on a retreat to focus on your writing, you want a place which both inspires you and strengthens your commitment to your craft. (And if it happens to make you feel like royalty, while doing so? All the better!)
Which is why we chose the spectacular Rocaberti Castle, just one hour from Barcelona, Spain.
Situated in a traditional Catalan village, this four-story medieval castle offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and hills. Its spiral staircase, stone-carved archways, enclosed courtyard, antique writing desks and hidden window seats all conspire to transport you to a long-forgotten time of inspiration, simplicity and yes, fun!
Each bedroom in the castle is completely unique and we strongly urge you to reserve your place on the retreat early, so that you can book the room of your choice.
All rooms have ensuite bathrooms with either a tub and/or shower, except for two, where the bathroom, although private, is accessed through a separate entrance. When you reserve your spot on the retreat and indicate your preferred room, we’ll contact you to fill you in on the unique details of each room.
International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and her new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.
Grisanti started her career in 1992 as an assistant to Aaron Spelling, who served as her mentor for 12 years, and she quickly climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’s shows including Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and Charmed. In 2004, Grisanti was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered numerous shows, including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400 and Girlfriends.
In January 2008, Grisanti launched Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., a highly successful consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. Drawing on her experience as a studio executive where she gave daily notes to executive producers/showrunners, Grisanti personally guides writers to shape their material, hone their pitches and focus their careers. Since launching the consulting firm, Grisanti has worked with over 800 writers specializing in television, features and novels. Due to her expertise and mentorship, seventy-five of her writers have staffed on television shows and forty have sold pilots, five that that went to series.
Roberto Marchionni (pen name Menotti) works in Rome, has lived in Germany but was born in Italy a long time ago.
He studied Fine Arts in Bologna, Italy, Semiotics in Berlin, Germany and Filmmaking in New York (NYU).
As an award-winning comic book artist, Roberto has worked for Italian and international magazines, such as Frigidaire, Comic Art, Il Manifesto, Cyborg, Mondo Naif and Blue. He also co-created the graphic novel Europa, published by Black Velvet.
As a screenwriter, he’s written several successful TV series, from Un posto al sole to Incantesimo, L’onore e il rispetto, La squadra and 7 Vite.
Besides other short and feature films, Roberto co-wrote Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (‘They Call Me Jeeg Robot’), the first Italian superhero film, nominated for best screenplay and winner of seven statuettes at the David di Donatello Awards 2016.
Debra Landwehr Engle, our literary expert, has been successfully mentoring writers for the last 20 years and has helped both fiction and nonfiction authors complete their manuscripts, secure agents and land publishing deals.
She is the author of the best-selling The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance and Peace of Mind, which was published by Hampton Roads in October 2014. Thanks to the help of retreat founder and organizer, Claire Elizabeth Terry, her book features a foreword by the Dalai Lama and an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
She is also the author of Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time and the upcoming Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, which will be released in September 2016 by Hampton Roads.
Debra has worked in publishing her entire career, beginning as a newspaper copywriter and Better Homes and Gardens book editor, then starting her own freelance business (much to her father’s chagrin!) just as she was going through a divorce.
Committed to making a living on her own, she went on to build a thriving business, writing hundreds of articles for such national publications as Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home, Country Gardens and other lifestyle magazines. She also has served as project manager on publications for Fortune 500 companies, sharpening her skills in crafting a story for any audience.
These days, Debra combines her love of writing and publishing with her lifelong interest in spirituality. Twelve years ago, she co-founded Tending Your Inner Garden®, a women’s program of personal and spiritual growth, and began teaching classes in A Course in Miracles.
Debra and her husband Bob live in Madison County, Iowa, the location that inspired the literary and film phenomenon, The Bridges of Madison County.
Scott Collette is a writer and story consultant with a background in pre-sales film financing and international distribution.
Collette started his career working for legendary producer Mark Damon at Foresight Unlimited, where he worked his way up to Executive Director, Sales and Distribution and was responsible for the international sales of Foresight’s titles in multiple territories in East Europe and Asia.
In addition to sales, Collette negotiated the majority of Foresight’s international licensing agreements and helped facilitate all production finance closings. These titles include Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes, 2 Guns, The Ledge, Flypaper, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, and Rob Cohen’s upcoming Category 5.
In 2013, Collette was invited to speak at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) to share his experience and knowledge of film distribution with the U.S. Department of Defense, aiming to educate the Department as to how private industries go about conducting business in fragile and emerging marketplaces around the globe.
Having never surrendered his passion for writing, Collette shifted gears with his career after writing multiple projects on spec and was hired by Hydra Entertainment as writer in 2015 to help a creative team develop a big budget, special effects-heavy feature (the details of which are currently under wraps).
Collette is currently in development on multiple television and feature projects, while also writing a novel.
Claire Elizabeth Terry is your Rocaberti Castle Retreat host and moderator and is a British screenwriter, travel writer and novelist.
After graduating, she worked for several years in British theatre, where she fought for, and won, the right to become the first female stage-hand at the Royal National Theatre, London.
Short-listed for the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize, Claire has also written for the Rough Guides travel series.
In 2008, Claire conceived, compiled and edited The Art of Living: a Practical Guide to Being Alive, published by Kairós Publishers in both English and Spanish, the profits from which are donated to Green Cross International, the environmental organization founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.
The book includes contributions from Michael Douglas, Desmond Tutu, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Mario Vargas Llosa, Richard Branson, Mikhail Gorbachev and several members of the United Nations’ Alliance of Civilizations.
Claire is also the founder and president of the website and not-for-profit of the same name, The Art of Living Guide. Federico Mayor Zaragoza, the former Director General of UNESCO, sits on the Honorary Board.
She is the screenwriter and executive producer of the upcoming film ROSEBOUND, about four friends from all over the world, whose lives are transformed when a rose is secretly drawn for each of the women.
The film is being produced by Golan Ramraz and Adam Sherer of Boom Picture Company and Alejandro Miranda of Versus Entertainment. George Parra, the Executive Producer of Silver Linings Playbook, Nebraska, The Descendants and Sideways, is attached to direct.
Claire’s novel of the movie, I Draw Roses was published in 2013.
The retreat is $4,995 per person, including 5 nights’ accommodation at Rocaberti Castle, all meals and drinks, all tuition and round-trip transportation between Barcelona airport and the castle.