October 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

October 4th-9th, 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.”

Here’s what a few of them had to say!

David Paul Kirkpatrick

Rocaberti mentor & the former President of Paramount Pictures

Monique Rosario

Rocaberti mentee

James McSherry

Rocaberti mentee

“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 October 2019 Rocaberti Retreat mentors include include renowned script consultant Linda Seger, who invented the profession, and counts Oscar-winning Peter Jackson (THE LORD OF THE RINGS) amongst her clients; British producer Joan Lane, who developed the Academy Award-winning THE KING’S SPEECH; Debra Landwehr Engle, best-selling author with over 25 years’ experience helping writers secure agents and land publishing deals and veteran Hollywood screenwriter; Gerald di Pego, who wrote PHENOMENON with John Travolta and MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE with Kevin Costner and Paul Newman and David Paul Kirkpatrick, the former President of Paramount Pictures and Head of Production at Disney & Touchstone.

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 1:5—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 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 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, October 4th, 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

Linda Seger

The success or failure of any film begins with the screenwriter’s ability to communicate their exact vision to the producers, directors, actors, and others involved in its production. Screenwriters often turn to script consultants, for advice in this process. And Dr. Linda Seger was the first person in the Hollywood industry to offer such a service. She began her script consulting business in 1981 based on her doctoral dissertation project of what makes a good script a great script.

When Peter Jackson was just beginning his career, Linda helped him on his breakthrough film BRAIN DEAD. He and other well-known filmmakers, such as writer Ray Bradbury, have gained valuable insights from Linda Seger.

Over the years, Linda has gone on to become one of the most prolific writers on screenwriting topics with nine books to her credit on that topic. Her book, Making a Good Script Great, remains a staple for writers and many universities use it as a textbook in screenwriting classes.

She has also become a sought-after keynote speaker and guest on many panels in the states and abroad. In fact, she has spoken and given seminars in over 30 countries!

Additionally, Linda has written six books on success and spirituality, based on the wisdom she gained working in such a competitive and demanding field. She has garnered awards for her work in the film industry, including the Candlelight Award for being a Light to the Entertainment Industry, the Moondance Film Festival Living Legacy Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Redemptive Film Festival, and the Pacific School of Religion Distinguished Alumni Award.

Seger earned M.A. degrees in drama from Northwestern University; in religion and the arts from Pacific School of Religion; and in feminist theology from Immaculate Heart College Center. She received a Th.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in theology and drama.

Joan Lane is a film and theatre producer and has worked in arts management and production for over 30 years. Trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, with a background as a music scholar, she has also worked as a vocal consultant.

Her company, Wild Thyme Productions, has toured six innovative productions of Shakespeare’s plays in the UK and Germany and mounted world premiere showcases and readings of new plays and musicals in London. She is a member of Musical Theatre Network UK, concerned with the writing of new musicals, and also of The British Shakespeare Association.

Primarily engaged as a Consultant by the BBC, Joan’s skills were used for the recording, filming and Royal Opera House performance of THE LITTLE PRINCE. She was a director for BBC Radio Two and BBC Television’s New Talent UK-wide search for the Voice of Musical Theatre, involved with background music for the film THE ACTORS, coordinated the participation of singing Angels for Stephen Fry’s directorial film debut, BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS and worked on the BBC’s Promenade Concert/Opera, THE WATER DIVINER’S TALE.

As well as touring with her own company, Joan has worked on several plays at the Royal National Theatre and toured plays with ATG and Pleasance Theatre. She recommends scripts to Russian translator colleagues and two plays were produced in Russia recently.

Her varied work in music, theatre, film and television exposed Joan to scripts and screenplays and she is known for having developed the film, THE KING’S SPEECH, directed by Tom Hooper, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, and adapted from the stage play by its author David Seidler.

More recently, she has developed a screenplay from a radio play and has been commissioned to write a screenplay based on a true story. Currently, four TV series on which Joan has worked with first-time writers are under consideration and three films are expected to go into production in 2018.

Joan Lane
Deb Engle Rocaberti Writers

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 recently signed a contract for her fourth book of nonfiction, which will be released in the spring of 2019. And she’s currently working on a novel and biography. She also is proudly serving as co-Executive Producer for Claire Elizabeth Terry’s movie Thirty Minutes.

Debra’s book The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance and Peace of Mind, was translated into four languages and has been an international bestseller. It features a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

In addition, her book Let Your Spirit Guides Speak was published in 2016 by Hampton Roads in the U.S. and Random House in Germany.

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 GardensCountry HomeCountry 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.

Debra holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in Baltimore. As a writing mentor and coach, she works with budding authors one-on-one, in small groups, and through retreats and online courses.

Debra and her husband Bob live in Madison County, Iowa, the location that inspired the literary and film phenomenon, The Bridges of Madison County.

Veteran Hollywood screenwriter Gerald DiPego is the son of an Italian immigrant father and an Italian-American mother. Born in Chicago, he later moved to the small town of Round Lake, Illinois, where he worked in the family grocery store. He studied journalism at Northern Illinois University and worked as a reporter and and teacher, later moving to Los Angeles to work as a successful screenwriter, novelist and playwright.

DiPego is the writer of box office hits such as PHENOMENON, starring John Travolta, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, with Kevin Costner and Paul Newman and more recently, WORDS AND PICTURES, starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche.

In 2016 he published WRITE! Find the Truth in Your Fiction, detailing the methods which he himself has learned and practiced in a career spanning over 45 years.

Gerald DiPego
David Paul Kirkpatrick

David Paul Kirkpatrick has been a storyteller all his life. At age eight, he started a neighborhood puppet theater. By the age of sixteen, he had sold his first screenplay to Paramount Pictures. His college education was underwritten by the Walt Disney and Peter Stark Foundations. During his professional career, David worked on over 1,000 motion pictures. He estimates he has read over 80,000 screenplays.

Most notably in his career, he was the President of Paramount Pictures and the Production President of Walt Disney Studios.

He is a novelist, speaker and an advocate for those who cannot speak: the land and the animals. He is the founder of the MIT Center for Future Storytelling and is currently working on a series of novels based on the ancient Celtic mythology of Merlin, the wizard.

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.

Claire Terry
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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. $5,145 / £4,056. (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