Late July 2020
3 spots left
Late July 2020
July 10th-15th, 2020
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!Please reserve my place, and the mentor of my choice, now
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.
Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, the official film education & networking platform of AFM and the Marche du Film at Cannes Film Festival. Stage32.com is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Since 2011, Stage 32 has emerged as an online community of over 500,000 creatives with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by over 500 industry executives.
RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award winning feature, Another Happy Day, written & directed by Sam Levinson (starring Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Barkin), the documentary Crutch, the feature What Lies Ahead (starring Rumer Willis and Emma Dumon) releasing in 2019 and the upcoming Rain- Beau’s End (starring Ed Asner, Sean Young and Kate Arrington). As a writer, his latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently set up at Covert Media. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festvial.
Botto is a best-selling author with his book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers, published by Routledge Press under the American Film Market Presents banner. The book can be found at the Routledge Press booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon, where it has over 50 5-star reviews.
A sought-after speaker and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Sundance, Raindance, SXSW, Portugal FEST and Winston Baker. He has also taught at institutions such as Harvard and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business.
Stan Zimmerman’s long career covers multiple mediums (TV, film and theatre) and he’s won many LA directing awards, including one from BroadwayWorld.com. In addition, he's been nominated for two WGA Awards for Best Comedy Episodic writing for his work on the classic TV series, THE GOLDEN GIRLS and ROSEANNE.
Stan’s also written and produced on GILMORE GIRLS and co-created the Lifetime sitcom, RITA ROCKS. He was Director/Writer/EP/Creator on the Emmy-nominated web series, SECS & EXECS, on Tellofilms. In film, he wrote both BRADY BUNCH movies.
He has been busy lately writing, directing and producing theatre in Los Angeles. Some of Stan's critically-acclaimed productions include: the LatinX The Diary of Anne Frank, Heartbreak Help, Pledge, Warm Cheese, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, BLINK & You Might Miss Me, Spike Heels, A Tuna Christmas and Gemini. He also directed two of the plays he wrote with Christian McLaughlin: Yes Virginia, Knife to the Heart and Meet & Greet.
Stan has appeared on Broadway with Nureyev & the Joffrey Ballet at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and was the Host/Showrunner on Sean Hayes’ Bravo reality show, SITUATION: COMEDY. Stan also teaches audition technique classes in LA and NYC. He has a BFA-Drama NYU/Circle-in-the-Square.
Stan currently has 1 spot left for the late July 2020 retreat.Reserve my spot with Stan
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.
Spencer currently has 2 spots left for the late July 2020 retreat.Reserve my spot with Spencer
Kala Guess is the industry liaison for Final Draft and the Contest Director for the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest.
As the Director of the Big Break Contest, Kala champions screenwriters to break into the industry and to date has had seven writers signed (two of whom sold pilots and a spec in the room!), one writer staffed as a showrunner's assistant and six option deals, amongst numerous other successes.
Kala has successfully evolved the contest alumni into one of the largest in the business and a real community where filmmakers mix with industry movers and shakers from top studios and streaming platforms, such as Berlanti Productions, CBS, Starz, HBO, Netflix, NBC and many more.
She is also the driving force behind Final Draft’s move towards representation and inclusivity in the entertainment industry, which includes partnerships with Sundance, The Black List, Women in Film, The Geena Davis Institute, Free the Work, CBS Diversity & Inclusion, NBC Talent and Inclusion, NALIP, NHMC, Bromont Program, Get Lit, Ghetto Film School and many more. Kala also championed Final Draft to create the Inclusivity Analysis Feature, a free tool for studios and writers to measure how inclusive a script is.
As Content Producer for Final Draft, Kala has built strong relationships with major PR companies, such as 42 West, Netflix, Strategy PR, Ginsberg Libby, Warner Brothers, and many more and is regularly invited to speak on panels about writing, development, producing and inclusion.
With ten years of experience in the entertainment industry, a passion for championing storytellers, a keen eye for talent, and a vast network of aspiring and award-winning creators, Kala continues to turn her ‘wild’ ideas into exciting success stories and is looking forward to mentoring at the retreat to work with each writer to help them get their scripts market-ready.
The Retreat includes...
You’ll meet daily with your mentor* in small groups of 4 writers, 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 mentor of your choice, it’s imperative to book early, as places in the mentoring groups are allocated on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
Each morning, after a presentation from one of our industry experts, you’ll meet with your 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..!
From dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure, all 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 local cuisine.
As befits a castle, all the bedrooms are unique and range greatly in size, furnishings and views, and so will be allocated on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.
*At the Italian castle, the lodging is for seven nights.
To make your travel easy and stress-free, we’re providing a private driver to and from Barcelona airport (for the Spanish Retreat) and Angoulême train station (for the French retreat) 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.
*Please note that due to the Italian Retreat being on an island off an island, we are unable to provide private transportation, but do promise to give you detailed travel advice and hold your hand every step of the way!
Where else could you sit down to breakfast with an Academy award-winning writer? Sip Bordeaux in the salon with a major movie producer? Go for a leisurely stroll through the castle grounds with a director 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.
A typical day’s program is as follows:
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 – 1pm: In small groups of 4, you’ll meet with your mentor for two hours, 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.
1pm – 2.30pm: A delicious lunch, al fresco, on the castle’s beautiful terrace, prepared with fresh, local ingredients by the Retreat’s chef.
2pm – 2.30pm: ASK ME A QUESTION: Each day, a different mentor will take your questions on any aspect of the film or writing business.
2.30pm – 3.30pm: Individual sessions with your mentor/free writing time.
3.30pm – 4.30pm: Free writing time.
4.30pm – 5.30pm: ‘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.
5.30pm – 7.30pm: Uninterrupted free time in the afternoon to go for a walk in the castle grounds, 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!