This week at Taliesin Nexus I have been prepping for the Apollo Storytellers Workshop. The 4-day creative workshop is one of Taliesin Nexus’ key annual programs which connects young budding screenwriters with accomplished film industry professionals for a weekend of writing, pitching and professional development.
Each applicant is required to produce a short film script (anywhere between 8-50 pages), and pitch said script to a professional mentor. The applicants are then given feedback and assisted in finessing their project, improving their skills and hearing talks to help them fine-tune their professional film industry prowess.
This year’s mentors for the upcoming workshop include Bill Marsilii (The Screenwriter of “Déjà Vu”), Paul Guay (The screenwriter behind “Liar Liar”) and Craig Titley (A writer/producer for Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D).
I have prepared a script that is a surreal crime story with a narrative undercurrent that makes a statement about the practice and treatment of whistleblowers and government leakers. I have not written scripts before and am therefore excited to dive into the workshop and learn what I can.
The more I intern at Taliesin Nexus, the more I come to recognize a great story with a terrific liberty undercurrent. Flicking through books at the neighbouring Last Book Store, I stumbled upon a cool and compelling dramatic historical fiction novel titled “Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor”. On the surface the novel appears to be of little ideological affiliation, however I see it fitting the void Taliesin Nexus specialises in; sweeping, emotionally-resonant stories, told in union with themes of individual liberty and personal revolution. The story also uniquely tells the historical tale of the federal government’s intervention and takeover of Native communities, from the perspective of two rival warring Indian chiefs, spanning years. This way, the author tells the sweeping story not as an “Indian against white man story” but rather uniquely, as taking the conflict and telling it as a “human against human” story.
There has been a few things I have taken from my Taliesin Nexus experience; being thrust into story reading and seeking has altered the way I look at stories and view them. I always appreciate the subtlety of an idea being presented and the power of the message it is trying to present.
My journey here is nearing its conclusion but the experience and lessons I am learning are invaluable.