July 6th-11th, 2018
Have you dreamed of writing a screenplay and seeing it come to life on the silver screen?
Or maybe you’ve published a book and are wondering about how to turn it into a film script?
Seems impossible, right?
Well, the answer, is, NO! Nothing is impossible, and on this one-of- a-kind writers’ retreat, at the beautiful 14th century Marouatte Castle in the Dordogne, Southwestern France 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 July 2018 Rocaberti Retreat mentors include million-dollar screenwriter Diane Drake (WHAT WOMEN WANT with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt and ONLY YOU with Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei); Jen Grisanti, former Studio Executive and VP of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount and now a highly-sought after Story and Career Consultant; William M. Akers, screenwriter, teacher, script consultant and author of the best-selling book Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great; award-winning Italian screenwriter Menotti, nominated for an Italian Oscar for THEY CALL ME JEEG 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 no more than 20 writers at the retreat.
Through focused, practical presentations in the mornings, afternoon mentoring sessions, evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of approximately 1:4—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 20 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 bona fide Hollywood producer or Oscar-winning screenwriter. 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 round the castle grounds.
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, after a presentation from one of our industry experts, you’ll meet with your own mentor and the other three 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 up to 4, 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 Friday night to breakfast Wednesday 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 French 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 Angoulême train station 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 Bordeaux 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 million-dollar screenwriter?
With a faculty/participant ratio of approximately 1:4, 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 Friday, April 20th, with welcome cocktails, introductions, and dinner in the castle’s historic banqueting hall.
Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday:
7.30am – 8.00am: Morning meditation (optional) – led by renowned spiritual practitioner, Jason Chan, 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 4, 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: Each day, a different mentor will take your questions on any aspect of the film or writing business.
3pm – 3.15pm: Break.
3.15pm – 4.30pm: ‘Pitch to the Expert’: each day a small group of writers will take their turn pitching their project to the mentors, receiving valuable feedback on this stage of the process.
4.30pm – 7.30pm: Uninterrupted free time in the afternoon to go for a walk in the castle grounds (270 acres of woodland, with tennis courts, badminton and ping pong!), take a dip in the pool or simply write, take a siesta or chat with fellow mentors and writers.
Then, we’ll meet for dinner prepared by our private chef, followed by a talk and then Q & A with a different mentor / special guest each day on a TV or film project which they’ve been involved with. We’ll also be tasting some of the delicious local wines!
Tuesday evening will be our farewell dinner and after meditation and breakfast on Wednesday, the Retreat’s private driver will take you to the station for your departure home or on to your own vacation in this stunning region of France.
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 Marouatte Castle, in the heart of Southwestern France.
Each room is exquisitely decorated and each writer will have their own private room.
Diane Drake is an accomplished professional screenwriter, writing instructor, story consultant, speaker, and author. Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as Vice President of Creative Affairs for Academy Award-winning director/producer Sydney Pollack. Her first produced original script, ONLY YOU, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, WHAT WOMEN WANT, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, is the second highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. In addition, both films have recently been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars.
Diane is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America and has been an instructor/speaker/panelist for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Writer’s Program, Scriptwriter’s Network, Story Development Group, University Club, and Writer’s Store. She has also served as a judge for the Austin Film Festival, UCLA Extension Contest, and The Humanitas Prize. She recently released her debut book, Get Your Story Straight: A Step-By-Step Guide To Screenwriting By A Million Dollar Screenwriter, (Reel Life Publishing, May 2016).
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.
Menotti (the pen name of Roberto Marchionni) studied Fine Arts in Bologna, Semiotics in Berlin and Filmmaking in New York (NYU).
As an award-winning comic book artist, he 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.
A founding member of the Writer’s Guild of Italy, he has written hundreds of TV series episodes and several films. His last feature, Benedetta Follia, is currently among the top three highest-grossing Italian movies in 2018. Menotti is also known for Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (‘They Call Me Jeeg’), the first Italian superhero film, nominated for best screenplay and winner of seven statuettes at the David di Donatello Awards 2016.
Menotti works in Rome and is currently developing an international TV series for Amazon Prime Video.
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.
Author of Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Great, William M. Akers is a WGA Lifetime Member and has had three feature films produced from his screenplays. He has written for studios, independent producers, and the major television networks. He’s Chair of the Motion Pictures Program at Belmont University. His novel, Mrs. Ravenbach’s Way, was published in 2016. Akers consults with screenwriting clients around the world, speaks French and was a Jeopardy! contestant. He didn’t win.
Claire Elizabeth Terry is your Rocaberti Retreat host and moderator and is a British screenwriter, travel writer and novelist.
After graduating in Stage-management from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 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 recently wrote and directed THIRTY MINUTES, a short film starring Lúcia Moniz of LOVE, ACTUALLY and is also the screenwriter and producer of the upcoming film ROSES, about four friends from all over the world, whose lives are transformed when a rose is secretly drawn for each of the women. 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.
As one of the music industry’s most influential figures, Miles Copeland has a career in the business that stretches back more than 40 years.
In London, during the 1970s, he represented Wishbone Ash, Joan Armatrading and all sides of progressive rock until he jumped ship, landed in the turbulent ocean of punk, and worked with the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Blondie, along with many other seminal bands.
In 1978, Miles became the manager for his brother Stewart’s band, The Police, who became one of the biggest bands of the 1980s. The success of The Police and the novel methods used to break them brought Miles to found I.R.S. Records.
During the next few years, the company had hits with REM, The Buzzcocks, The English Beat, The Cramps, Fine Young Cannibals, Wall of Voodoo, Timbuk 3 and a Number One album with the all-girl group, The Go-Gos.
He continued to manage Sting (solo) through seven blockbuster albums, along with The Bangles and Squeeze. Eventually, he introduced Sting to Algerian Raï singer, Cheb Mami. Their collaboration bloomed with “Desert Rose” whose worldwide success was attributed to Miles’ innovative corporate deal with Jaguar.
Miles can rightfully claim to having been responsible for the sale of over $1.5 billion of recorded music sales and over $500 million in ticket sales.
Miles also successfully ran his own film production company, IRS Media, producing over 35 movies, including Billy Bob Thornton’s directorial debut, One False Move.
Currently, he owns and operates CIA – Copeland International Arts, which is comprised of a record company, music publishing, merchandise and performing arts properties.
Additionally, Miles also co-hosts a yearly song writing retreat with ASCAP at his castle in France, the lastest song written being the Number One hit, “Somethin’ Bad” sung by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
The retreat is €4,495* per person, including 5 nights’ accommodation at Marouatte Castle, all meals and drinks, all tuition and round-trip transportation between Angoulême train station and the castle.
For information about our payment plans, please visit: Payment Plans
* At today’s exchange rate, this converts to approx. $5,300 / £3,935. (Please note the fees in other currencies are listed solely for informational purposes. The actual conversion will depend on the daily market rate and any fees your bank or payment processor may charge.)