April 2018 - Rocaberti Castle Writers' Retreat
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Château Marouatte

TELL YOUR STORY.

On the page. On the screen.

Learn More

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The Rocaberti Writers Retreat

April 20th-25th, 2018
Marouatte Castle,
The Dordogne,
France

Making the impossible happen

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 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!

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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)

Click here for photos & more testimonials from previous retreats

Your Rocaberti Retreat mentors include Oscar-winning screenwriter, Pamela Wallace (Witness), James Crawford, Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, Kathie Fong Yoneda, former Disney and Touchstone Exec, who’s also worked for Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox, and Lit. Manager Spencer Robinson of Art/Work.

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 12 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 1:3—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!

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About

Write. Engage. Experience.

Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte

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 an executive director, script expert 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…

  • You’re working on a book/screenplay combination or have an idea for one.
  • You have a book and want to turn it into a screenplay or vice-versa—or sell it directly to Hollywood.
  • You’re unsure how to get your book/screenplay in front of agents and producers.
  • You’re serious about completing your project and making your dream come true!
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The retreat includes…

Expert Tuition

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:

  • Story development.
  • Honing your craft.
  • The art of revision.
  • How to turn an existing book into a screenplay.
  • How to write/finish a book with your eye on the silver screen.
  • Marketing your manuscript/screenplay.
  • Learning the business side of writing (an often overlooked but vital step), from securing the best literary agent to selling your script and working with film directors and producers on rewrites.
  • Lunchtime ASK ME A QUESTION sessions, where a different mentor each day will take Q & A on any aspect of the business you’d like to know about.
  • Afternoon ‘Pitch to the Expert’ sessions with specific feedback on your project!
  • Free time to just relax, write, take a dip in the pool, or take a stroll in the idyllic surrounding countryside with your new friends.
  • After-dinner Q & A with a different mentor each day, on a film which they’ve been involved with.
  • And so much more..!
Small group mentoring sessions

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.

All meals and drinks

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.

Five nights' lodging

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!

Round-trip transportation between Angoulême train station and the castle

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.

Exclusive access

Where else could you sit down to breakfast with a writer who has an Oscar on the shelf at home? Or sip fine French wine by the fireplace with a published author who’s been invited to a private audience with Mikhail Gorbachev to sign copies of her book? Sit next to a bona fide Hollywood agent at dinner?

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.

Reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now
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Program

The retreat commences the evening of Friday, April 20th, with welcome cocktails, dinner and then, with a glass of fine wine in hand, a group discussion about writing in the castle’s historical salon.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday:

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.

4.15pm – 7.30pm: Uninterrupted free time* in the afternoon to go for a walk in the castle grounds (240 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..

*Optional activities include a trip to the local caves, with 19,000-year-old paintings.

Then, we’ll meet for dinner prepared by our private chef, 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!

Tuesday evening will be our farewell dinner and after 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.

Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Please reserve my spot at the retreat
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Your accommodation

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.

Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
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Your Rocaberti Retreat Mentors

Pamela Wallace is a screenwriter/producer. She won an Academy Award, Writers Guild of America Award, and Mystery Writers of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for co-writing the movie Witness. She won a CAMIE (Character and Morality in Entertainment Award) for writing the Hallmark Cable Channel film Love’s Unending Legacy.

Pamela has written several other produced films, including a dozen movies for television. She has published more than twenty-five novels, several of which have been optioned or produced as television movies or mini-series. As a screenwriter, she has adapted some of her own novels to film, as well as adapting books by other authors.

Pamela has taught screenwriting classes on the university level and at seminars throughout the U.S. and around the world, including France, Australia, Germany, Canada and Singapore. She has judged several screenwriting competitions, including the prestigious Nicholls Fellowship competition sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Spencer Robinson was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, and got his start in the Film Industry as a Production Assistant on glamorous productions like car commercial, cereal commercial, and other car commercial.  He then landed a job in the mailroom at MBST Entertainment, where he learned about management from some of the legends of the representation world.

After mastering the art of making phone calls and scheduling lunches as an assistant at Cornice Entertainment and Howard Entertainment, he eventually moved to Verve Entertainment where he was promoted to manager.  His focus was always split between writers and actors because having relationships with both sides only helps the clients that much more.  Six years ago, Verve merged with Art/Work Entertainment, and Spencer is still there.

Art/Work has writers and actors on several TV series, as well as feature writers making movies for major studios.  The company also represents comedians who tour nationally and internationally.  Spencer has been a manager for 10 years.  He loves to watch TV, and even sleeps sometimes.

With 35+ years experience, Kathie Fong Yoneda has worked for Paramount, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Disney, focusing on analysis and development of live action/animated film,  television, novels, adaptations, and web series projects. Her career includes exec posts with Disney, Touchstone, Island Pictures and Disney TV Animation.

Kathie has given workshops in North America, Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia, and wrote a column on screenwriting which became her book, The Script-Selling Game. Some of her clients include RAI-TV Roma, National Film School of Denmark, Bournemouth University, ScreenTraining Ireland, South Carolina Writers, Singapore Media Academy, Romance Writers of America, ScriptFest, Roma Webfest, Writers Institute, Hawaii International Film Festival, and Melbourne Webfest. She was a guest of The Soviet Peace Committee for a 10-day media symposium in Moscow and was Keynote Speaker for Asian-Pacific Heritage Month at The Smithsonian. Kathie received the Mayor’s medal from the City of Marseille for her work in Cultural Arts and was honored as a Catalyst SuperStar for her work by the BronzeLens Film Festival.

Kathie also team-teaches with author/consultant, Linda Seger, Pamela Wallace (writer-producer, co-writer of Oscar-winning WITNESS), Carole Kirschner (author, CBS TV exec) and Pamela Jaye Smith (author, writer-producer, creator of MYTHWORKS).

Kathie’s clientele includes several award-winning writers. The Script Selling Game (2nd edition) is used in screenwriting curricula in universities worldwide. She also co-exec produced the cable series Beyond the Break and is on the Advisory Board for IMAGO (French Production Company) and LAWEBFEST.

James Crawford is the Executive Director of Development at Engage Entertainment, which has developed and produced seven movies for Hallmark Channel over the past three years. He was the supervising producer for The Rooftop Christmas Tree (UPTV), and Associate Producer on Sleigh Bells Ring (Hallmark) and has developed several 1-hour television series pitches, primarily for high-end cable.

Prior to joining Engage Entertainment, James was the Creative Executive at Cartel Entertainment, a television/film literary management and production company, and was responsible for identifying and developing content for its first-look deal with eOne. He has also worked as a cinematographer and gaffer in Los Angeles, as a film critic for the Village Voice, an educator at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY, and as a researcher for the Australian Film Commission in Sydney, Australia.

James received his Bachelors degree from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy before earning his MA in Cinema Studies from New York University, and his PhD in Cinema Studies from the University of Southern California.

Claire Terry

Claire Elizabeth Terry is your Rocaberti 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.

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Please reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now

The retreat is $3,499 per person, including 5 nights’ accommodation at Château Marouatte, all meals and drinks, all tuition and round-trip transportation between Angoulême train station and the castle.

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