Late July 2019 - 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

July 12th-17th, 2019
Marouatte Castle,
The Dordogne,
France

Making the impossible happen

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!

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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)

Your late July 2019 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; four times Emmy-nominated comedy writer Martin Olson, who currently writes for Disney; Pamela Jaye Smith, award-winning producer/director with over thirty years’ experience in features, TV and documentaries and million-dollar screenwriter Diane Drake, who wrote box office hits WHAT WOMEN WANT with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt & ONLY YOU with Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.

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 16 writers at the retreat.

Through focused, practical presentations in the mornings, afternoon mentoring sessions, evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of 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!

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About

Write. Engage. Experience.

Rocaberti July 2018
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 16 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 award-winning director. 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, 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:

  • 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 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.

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 an award-winning director? 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 castle grounds with a movie producer who’s worked on one of the most critically-acclaimed box office hits of recent years?!

With a faculty/participant ratio of 1:4, the Rocaberti mentors 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.

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Program

The retreat commences the evening of Friday, July 12th, with welcome cocktails, introductions, and dinner in the castle’s historic banqueting hall.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday:

8.00am – 8.30am: Morning meditation (optional), focused on opening our minds and calming our hearts, in order to get the creative juices flowing and focused on our stories.

8.30am – 9.30am: A leisurely breakfast, followed by:

9.30am – 10.30am: Presentation and Q&A discussions with our mentors.

10.30am – 11am: Coffee break.

11am – 2pm: 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.

2pm – 3.30pm: A delicious lunch, al fresco, on the castle’s beautiful terrace, prepared with fresh, local ingredients by the Retreat’s chef.

2.45pm – 3.30pm: ASK ME A QUESTION: Each day, a different mentor will take your questions on any aspect of the film or writing business.

3.30pm – 3.45pm: Break.

3.45pm – 5pm: ‘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.

5pm – 8pm: 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 each day on a film or TV 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.

Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
Château Marouatte
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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, owned by music industry legend, Miles Copeland.

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

Jen Grisanti

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.

Martin Olson is an author, comedy writer and songwriter who plays Hunson Abadeer, Lord of Evil, on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.

He is best known as a head writer for Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, for his New York Times best-selling humor book The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia (Abrams, 2013), and his notorious satire Encyclopaedia of Hell (Feral House, 2011).

Specializing in writing comedy specials and directing one-man shows, Martin became producer-writer for Penn and Teller on their FX variety series Penn Teller’s Sin City Spectacular.

Martin has just published his third book for Adventure Time, The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook (Abrams, 2015), with his daughter, singer/songwriter Olivia Olson (Joanna in Love Actually). He is currently staff writer for the Disney series Milo Murphy’s Law.

Martin has received four Emmy nominations, two for television writing and two for songwriting. He also received an Ace Award for comedy writing and has sold comedy screenplays to Dreamworks, UA, Touchstone and Warner Bros.

The film rights to Encyclopedia of Hell have recently been bought by Warner Bros, through producer Andrew Lazar for Mad Chance Productions.

Martin Olson
Pamela Jaye Smith

Pamela Jaye Smith is a mythologist, author, international consultant and award-winning writer/producer/director with 30+ years in features, TV, music videos, commercials, documentaries, web series, corporate and military films. As a story consultant, she works with writers of novels, screenplays, short stories, memoirs, web series, virtual reality, and narrative non-fiction, helping writers discover and use their own personal myths and archetypes.

Smith is the author of The Power of the Dark Side, Inner Drives, Symbols Images Codes, Show Me the Love!Beyond the Hero’s Journey, and the movie guidebook, Romantic Comedies.

She appears as a myth expert for Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, Microsoft’s Age of Mythology and the American Jedi documentary.

Pamela is the founder of Mythworks and co-founder of Mythic Challenges and the Alpha Babe Academy. Her credits include Fox, Disney, Paramount, Microsoft, Universal, RAI-TV Rome, UCLA, USC Film School, The American Film Institute, Women in Film, The National Film Institute of Denmark, the Marseille WebFest, Romance Writers of America, Children’s Book Writers LA, and many media festivals and story conferences.

She is on the Board of Advisors for the LAWebFest, the Jaipur International Film Festival and c3 Center for Conscious Creativity. She has served on think-tanks for the Entertainment Industries’ Council, Boeing’s Workforce Development, and the U.S. Army’s Advanced Warfighting Working Group at Fort Knox.

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).

Diane Drake
Claire Terry

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.

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Special Guests

Miles Copeland

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.

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The retreat is €4,595* 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 / £4,125. (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.)

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Sponsors

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London Film Academy Rocaberti Writers Sponsor