Develop a new idea, or figure out why that old one isn’t quite working. Our workshop-style classes, practical lessons, and one-to-one consultations will help you get your feature or television script ready for agents and studios.
The Italy writing retreat is designed to move each project forward, offering each participant analysis and discussion with our leader and collaboration with fellow writers. We focus on exchanging ideas and pages so that you feel inspired and productive. We offer practical exercises to hone your writing skills and teach you a few tricks of the screen trade. Our skills-based mini-lessons will tackle specifics such as subtext, stakes, beginnings, creating characters that pop, “getting in late and getting out early” from a scene, defining relationships, being precise and concise, and much more.
For new material, we will guide you through assembling a script, from pitch to outline to completed scenes. If you’d like to perfect an existing project, we will break it down and put it back together again, giving you insight into what works and what doesn’t, so that you can leave with a strong, streamlined screenplay that you’ll feel confident handing over to any agent or studio in town.
Also, you’ll be away from your daily grind working against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, delicious cuisine and inspiring culture – ITALY! You’ll have the option of writing breaks ranging from town walks, to cathedral and underground city tours, wine tastings, and other exploration.
The registration fee covers coaching and mentoring, 13 nights lodging at Agriturismo Montalbino, 13 continental breakfasts, and 10 lunches and dinners, plus welcome dinner on the first night. We will pick up and drop off participants at the local train station, if required.
A graduate of UCLA’s screenwriting program, Heidi has been writing steadily since 2003. She started her writing career with her first feature placing as a quarter finalist in the AAA contest through Creative Screenwriting Magazine. From there, she’s written numerous features, treatments, and TV pilots for various independent producers. One of her most recent TV pilots is being packaged by Mar Vista Entertainment while another is in casting with an independent production company. Her novel is looking for a publisher.
As a contest judge and feedback expert for contests like Slamdance and the Page Awards, Heidi evaluates up to 400 scripts a year. Seeing writers face the same struggles and make the same mistakes over and over, she knew she could make difference. She and husband Carlo Cavagna founded PageCraft in 2008 with the goal of giving writers time, space, and guidance to accomplish their writing goals and have fun doing so. She teaches new writers the fundamentals of story structure, character building, and script formatting. She teaches advanced writers captivating scene construction, dialog fine-tuning, and nuanced balancing of multiple story threads. She helps writers create rich characters with strong psychological underpinnings and stories with satisfying payoffs.
Both workshop participants and one-on-one consulting clients have gone on to find representation, win contests, and become working writers. Two of her 2013 workshop participants boast back-to-back wins at ATX Pitch Fest 2013 and 2014 and one was recently staffed on the network sitcom, Life in Pieces. A two-time alum is currently developing a series for HBO Scandinavia and another is developing a feature through RADA in London. Several participants have gone on to write and produce award-winning independent shorts and features.
In 2013, after directing a music video for a musician friend, Heidi founded Supposable Productions with cinematographer/designer parter Erik Nielsen. Through their company, Heidi has written, directed, and produced numerous commercials, music videos for various artists, and several electronic press kits for those artists. In addition to ongoing commercial and video work, she’s making a documentary film about British artist Paul Whitehead.
Heidi holds a BA in English from University of California at Irvine as well as a certificate in Advanced Screenwriting from UCLA. During her undergraduate work, she spent her junior year studying art history and english literature from an Italian perspective at Universita’ di Padova in northern Italy. Italy and Italian language and culture have been a lifelong love of hers and are part of the reason PageCraft holds their annual writing retreat in Italy. Writing remains Heidi’s first love. Teaching the language and structure of story and character is an expression of that. By expanding writers’ tool kits and helping them reach their career goals, Heidi is proud to provide stepping stones on many paths to pages.
Our readers judge for major screenwriting competitions, including Slamdance, Page International, and NYWIFT/IRIS Writer’s Lab. We will read your script, and offer a choice of a detailed written report diagnosing problems and suggesting improvements, or a one-hour telephone/Skype consultation, or both.
We design our feedback not only to give you a thorough understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and what could work better, but also to provide you with a roadmap for moving forward. If you choose the written feedback, you’ll get at least four pages covering presentation and formatting, story structure, plot, character, dialogue, tone, style, and commercial potential. We generate a logline and short synopsis so that you can see how your story comes across. Finally, we make clear recommendations so that you can use the feedback to your best advantage. Our commitment to you is that working with us will help you take your writing to the next level, whatever that is for your career.
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