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Join us at the 23rd Annual Writers’ Program Publication Party

Fun. Fabulous. FREE. Yes, I’m talking about the 23rd Annual Writers’ Program Publication Party. If you want to spend an evening mingling with some of Los Angeles’ most talented writers, then join us on Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 from 7-9pm at the Skirball Cultural Center. Nineteen Writers’ Program instructors will be reading from work they’ve published […]

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The Newest Addition to the WP family: Ani Cooney

After serving as the Creative Writing (Online) and Events assistant for the past two years, I, Phoebe Lim, recently made the switch-a-roo to the other side of our unit, where I now serve as the program assistant for creative writing onsite courses.  I am happy to announce that my previous seat has now been filled […]

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Summer Courses Await You!

What are your summer plans?  Multiple days at the beach?  A grand 4th of July celebration?  A weekend trip to wine country (I’m convinced there’s a “wine country” no matter where you live in the world)?  It’s time to get the summer calendar packed with fun!   But whatever you’ve got planned out for the next […]

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Master Classes in Novel Writing, Feature Film Writing, and Television Writing: Is One of Them Right for You?

Creative writers, do you have a completed manuscript that needs revising?  Screenwriters, do have at least one completed feature film script or television pilot script?  Are you serious about getting published or produced? Then you’ll want to consider one of the Writers’ Program’s three master classes this fall. Designed for writers who are committed to […]

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An Interview with UCLA Extension 2015 Outstanding Arts Instructor in Screenwriting Michael Weiss

WP Instructor Michael Weiss’ unrelenting perseverance translates not only to his success as a screenwriter and former Miramax VP of Production, but also through the unwavering patience he has for his students. It doesn’t take long for them to be won over by his charming demeanor, attentive ear, and extensive mastery of screenplays. Due to […]

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AWP16: The Place to be for Writers

Question:  What do you get when you put 12,000 writers, students, authors, editors, and publishers under one roof for three days?  Answer:  Opportunities galore to make connections with the most influential people in the literary world today. AWP16, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center this year from March 31-April 2, is the largest literary […]

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The Least Foolish Thing To Do on April 1st: Enter the 2016 Feature Film & Television Writing Competitions!

You’re no doubt familiar with the big screenwriting contests that have been known to launch careers: the Nicholl Fellowship, PAGE International, Austin Film Fest, Scriptapalooza, BlueCat, Sundance Lab, the Tracking Board, etc. Then, there’s the television network fellowships: CBS, Disney/ABC, FOX, NBC, the WB, Nickelodeon, and HBO, just to name a few. Thousands upon thousands […]

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An Interview with UCLA Extension 2015 Outstanding Arts Instructor in Creative Writing April Halprin Wayland

Children’s book author and poet April Halprin Wayland has been teaching at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program for more than 16 years. This spring, she’ll continue her amazing work in her course Writing Picture Books for Children. April’s teaching excellence and her remarkable contribution to the Writers’ Program has not gone unnoticed, and recently she […]

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A Handy Guide to Applying for Writers’ Program Scholarships and Prizes

The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is proud to be the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation, helping thousands of students each year make their writing dreams a reality. But what truly sets our program apart, in addition to the depth and breadth of our programs and course offerings, are the scholarships […]

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2015 Outstanding Arts Instructors of the Year: April Halprin Wayland and Michael Weiss!

Last Tuesday, the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts gathered in DeNeve Plaza to honor 9 instructors in the areas of interior design, landscape architecture, studio arts, design communication arts, directing, music, creative writing and screenwriting. As instructors came up one-by-one to accept their award, each expressed their gratitude toward not only their administrators, but […]

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An Interview with New Instructor Lindsay Maracotta

Here at the WP, we’re always excited to welcome new instructors to the fold. This summer, we’re pleased to announce that novelist and screenwriter, Lindsay Maracotta, will be joining our roster of esteemed instructors. Lindsay will be teaching Writing the Popular Novel this summer. She has published 11 books, including the novels The Producer’s Daughter (Crooked […]

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Playwriting vs. Television/Film: Is There Really a Difference?

What do Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs, The Social Network), and Sheila Callaghan (Shameless) have in common? They are among countless television and film writers who got their start in the theatre and who continue to work in both mediums. While newer writers tend to dismiss playwriting as an old art […]

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It’s Spring Enrollment Time and We Have New Courses—Don’t Delay!

The spring 2016 quarter enrollment time is here, folks! If you haven’t had a chance to peruse your options, check out the catalog. If you need guidance from an advisor, call us at 310-825-9415. And if need to spice up your course load with new offerings then check out my list below! We like to […]

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Here’s to You, Mrs. Gebauer: How One Instructor Brought America’s Most Reclusive Author into the Writers’ Program Life and Gave Deserving Students the Gift of Learning for Generations to Come

On an otherwise unremarkable spring afternoon ten years ago, I received a call from Phyllis Gebauer, a UCLA Extension Writers’ Program instructor who, for two decades, had taught novel and memoir writing. “Linda,” she said, “I have this book collection, and I was wondering if you have any ideas about what I might do with […]

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TV, Film, and Book Recommendations from Writers’ Program Staff!

TV, Film, and Book Recommendations from Writers’ Program Staff! Happy New Year!  I hope we can still reference the new year even though we’ve been back in the swing of office life for the last three weeks!  While we’ve been busy, busy answering your calls and emails,  it’s not all work and no play here […]

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Dan Fante: In Memoriam

It is with a keen sense of loss to the writing community and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program that I acknowledge the recent death of Dan Fante, who taught novel writing from 2012 to 2015. In early November, Dan informed us that he had cancer and was taking a break from teaching to focus on […]

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Writers’ Studio Spotlight: Flash Fiction Workshop with Colette Sartor

Colette Sartor is a bona fide smartypants. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she received her MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and has published in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Review, among others. This quarter, she helps short fiction writers hone their craft in a supportive workshop environment at the […]

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Ron Suppa: In Memoriam

Writers’ Program has lost one of its most longstanding and dedicated screenwriting instructors. Ron Suppa died on January 5, 2016 after a long battle with multiple myeloma. “They always call it a battle and they’re understating it,” Ron wrote me recently, promising to call if he regained his voice. That call never came. Ron joined […]

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Happy 50th Anniversary to the Writers’ Program!

The Writers’ Program staff is back in the office, rested and ready to take your calls and answer your emails. And even though we’re only a week or so into 2016, we know it’s going to be a very special year indeed! First and foremost, we’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary. That’s right. It’s been […]

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Goodbye 2015!

UCLA Extension is officially closed until January 4, 2016! As 2015 draws to a close, we remember what a good year it was for the Writers’ Program. Highlights include naming the first Allegra Johnson Prize recipient; launching and naming the recipients of the inaugural Claire Carmichael Scholarship Program in Novel Writing; and exhibiting at Story Expo, […]

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Winning Inspiration: Finalists of the 2015 Feature & Television Writing Competitions Tell All

Last week, the Writers’ Program formally congratulated the top three winners in each of three categories in the UCLA Extension Screenplay Competition: Feature Film Writing, Television Spec Writing, and Television Pilot Writing. Having read all nine scripts, I came away in awe of this year’s subject matter – a hitchhiking musician, a family drama in […]

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Meet Tomorrow’s Top Talent! Winners of the 2015 Feature & Television Writing Competitions

This week, the Writers’ Program formally congratulates the top 3 winners of each category of the UCLA Extension competition for Feature Film Writing, Television Spec Writing, and Television Pilot Writing. An ad featuring all nine writers was just published in the December 11th issue of The Hollywood Reporter (on shelves now!). In early January, the […]

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Announcing the Winners of the 2015 James Kirkwood Prize

Few things make us happier at the Writers’ Program than celebrating the hard work and talent of our students. The James Kirkwood Prize, established by benefactor Andrew Morse, a friend of the late Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning author, acknowledges and supports emerging and talented fiction writers. Former Kirkwood finalists have gone on to top […]

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Joe Blaustein: Lifelong Learning with an Extension Legend

When longtime instructor Amy Friedman walked into her Writing the Personal Essay classroom at the 2015 Writers Studio, she knew the next four days would be special. “Whenever I teach at UCLA Extension,” she says, “the students astound me with their intelligence and ability.” This year, there was one especially astounding student. “Every once in […]

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An Interview with New Instructor Liz Stephens

The new year brings with it a brand new instructor to the Writers’ Program. Liz Stephens is the author of the memoir The Days Are Gods (University of Nebraska Press). She was a managing editor and contributor to Brevity: A Journal of Concise Nonfiction, and has been nominated for both the Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award […]

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Meet Our Six Claire Carmichael Scholarship Recipients!

We are thrilled to announce the six recipients of the inaugural Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing! Claire, a UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor who has taught more than 90 courses and mentorships for the Writers’ Program since 1994, and who has helped numerous students get their work published, created the scholarship to acknowledge promising novelists […]

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The Writers Studio is Back

Can you believe November is here? Now that Halloween festivities are over, Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping will be here before you know it, followed by the never-ending holiday spirit in December, wrapping up with the grand finale of welcoming in 2016! If you have any plans to write before 2015 comes to an end, […]

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Join us at AFI FEST!

The Writers’ Program is proud to host Bob and the Trees at AFI FEST 2015. Bob and the Trees, an American feature film directed by Diego Ongaro, is the story of a middle-aged logger who gambles his personal and professional livelihood on harvesting an unyielding piece of land. Pushed into an uncharted emotional terrain, Bob […]

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TV Showrunners & Show Writers Panel November 7th!

Ever wonder what a TV showrunner is or what he or she does? How they get hired? How they assemble a writing staff? Who they answer to? If so, be sure to attend the upcoming panel of television showrunners and executive producer/writers on Saturday, November 7th where you’ll learn answers to all these questions and […]

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Getting in the Mood

Do you have a pre-writing ritual?! If so, do tell! I am in desperate need of a new pre-writing ritual. Let me explain my current ritual and you’ll understand why… First, I say to myself, Hey, why don’t I do some writing? And then I follow it up by doing something else—like balancing the check […]

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Is a Certificate Program Right for You?

Do you have a novel you’ve been working on for years? How about a script you’ve been dying to write? More often than not our creative projects get set aside because we simply can’t find the time to work on them. A certificate program is the perfect way to give your writing the time it […]

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The Writers’ Program’s 1st All-Female Literary Smackdown

Join us as three Writers’ Program instructors/writers with a fabulous flair for comedy go to the mat (literally!), to compete for the title of funniest storyteller. With comedy aficionados Erika Schickel, Melinda Hill, and Rachel Kann performing, and the always hilarious Tod Goldberg (an award-winning author and former WP instructor) as emcee, it’s a sure […]

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Writing with the Pros: The Best (and Most Inexpensive) Resource for Film & TV Writers

While no educational experience can replicate working with a professional screenwriter in a 10-week screenwriting course, we know that sometimes time and/or money is in short supply. But that doesn’t mean your screenwriting education has to come to a halt, especially when you can get practical, timely, and valuable feature film or television writing information […]

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Late Starting Fall Courses Just For YOU! Yes, YOU!

I don’t want to alarm you but FALL QUARTER STARTS THIS WEEK! Can you believe it?! I cannot. It seems like just yesterday I was planning a fabulous summer trip and then enjoying that fabulous summer trip followed by returning to work and recounting stories of my fabulous summer trip to my coworkers. Now here […]

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Is a Writing Partner Right for You?

Writing a script is no easy feat, and getting it produced and made in Hollywood is a whole other animal. And once you sell your script, you have intensive collaboration with network executives and producers to look forward to. Perhaps a writing partner is the solution for you! Screenwriters David Diamond and David Weissman know […]

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Announcing the Writers’ Program 2015-16 Scholarship Recipients!

Each year, the Writers’ Program awards up to 10 needs-based scholarships to aspiring creative writers and screenwriters. The process begins in spring, when we make the application available on our website and submissions start rolling in. By late June, we begin the fun but difficult task of narrowing down the applications. In addition to basic […]

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Deadline for Novel Writing Scholarship is Approaching!

If you’ve taken at least one novel writing course at the Writers’ Program in the last 18 months, have at least 10 pages of a novel in progress, and are serious about becoming a writer, then you may qualify for the inaugural Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing. But you’ll have to hurry. The deadline […]

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Writers’ Program at the SCBWI Summer Conference

Every summer, I look forward to three things: 1) longer days to do more fun stuff, 2) less traffic on the roads, and most importantly, 3) the SCBWI Summer Conference. Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or SCBWI, is one of the largest organizations for children’s book writers and illustrators, […]

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Days of the Deadlines

For some, fall traditionally signals the beginning of the “Day of the Dead.” At the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, it also signals the “Days of the Deadlines.” As summer breezes give way to autumn winds, and fall trickles in as stealthily as fog on Halloween, you’ll want to be ever mindful of encroaching deadlines for […]

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Visit Us at Story Expo!

For the third year in a row, the Writers’ Program will have a major presence at STORY EXPO: the world’s largest convention for writers. Whether you’re a budding novelist, a seasoned screenwriter, or an overall writing enthusiast who’d like to learn more about the art and craft, Story Expo is the place to be. Over […]

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Writers Studio 2016: A Creative Retreat in the Heart of Westwood

Every February, writers from around the globe convene in Westwood for the Writers Studio — four days of exploration, learning, and intense productivity. Students range in age, geographic location, and areas of interest, but the one thing they all have in common is an intense desire to improve their craft and a willingness to put […]

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Find Your Voice with New Instructor Ryan McIlvain!

The Writers’ Program is thrilled to welcome Ryan McIlvain to our corps of onsite creative writing instructors! Ryan is the author of Elders: A Novel and numerous stories and essays. I recently chatted with Ryan about his life as a writer and instructor—here’s what he had to say! Writers’ Program: Hi Ryan!  Welcome to the […]

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What Course are you Taking this Fall?

Yes, we’re fully aware that it’s still summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about fall. In fact, fall registration opens next week on July 27, and to whet your appetite, here are just some of the exciting writing courses we’ll be offering. Screenwriting Courses: For the most part, writing is […]

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Winner of the Inaugural Allegra Johnson Prize in Memoir Writing Announced

Drug addiction, murder, and sexual abuse. Such were the subjects of the captivating memoirs-in-progress of the three talented Writers’ Program students who vied for first place in the 2015 Allegra Johnson Prize in Memoir Writing. On June 18, first place winner Henriette Ivanans, and finalists Elle Johnson and Raluca Sanders, were honored at a celebratory […]

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Budding Novelists: This One’s for you!

If you’ve taken at least one novel writing course at the Writers’ Program, and have at least ten pages of a novel in progress, then you’ll be delighted to hear about the brand new Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing. Claire, an instructor who has taught more than 90 courses for the Writers’ Program since […]

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Writers Helping Writers

I have a confession—I’m really good at supporting other people’s writing pursuits but not nearly as good at supporting my own. In fact, I’m rather awful at it. I am living proof that one can be fully immersed in working at a writing institution all day yet not be able to find the time/energy/motivation to […]

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Comic-Con: The Sequel!

Last year, the Writers’ Program was fortunate enough to exhibit at the largest convention in the world for all things fantasy and fiction-related: SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON! In case you missed our recap of our adventurous 2014 excursion, you can find it online here. As the Writers’ Program screenwriting advisors, Chae Ko and I are suiting […]

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Follow Your Writing Passion this Summer

While everyone else is packing their flip-flops and sunglasses and flying off to the most exotic vacation spot this summer, you are packing your writing gear and heading down to the nearest coffee shop. And while they all sip cool drinks and dive into the pool, you order a gallon of coffee and dive into […]

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Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Do you lack access to quality writing programs? If so, don’t miss your chance to apply for a 2015-16 Writers’ Program Scholarship. Up to 10 qualified applicants will be selected to receive three complimentary full-length Writers’ Program courses during a one-year period. But the application deadline is rapidly approaching! All materials must be received in […]

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2015 UCLA Extension Graduation Ceremony Only a Few Weeks Away!

Its graduation time again! Over 2,000 students have completed certificate programs this year through UCLA Extension and more than half of those students have expressed interest in attending the ceremony which will take place on Friday, June 19th at Royce Hall. It will be a grand affair and we’re so proud of our new grads! […]

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WP Publication Party is Coming Soon!

It’s back! Our 22nd Annual Publication Party is just two short weeks away on June 11. Whether you’re a Pub Party regular or a newbie, YOU and all your friends are invited to join the fun, FREE, inspiring night where you can mingle with talented LA writers who also happen to be Writers’ Program instructors. […]

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The Perks of Being a Writing Group

The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. — Roald Dahl Writing is such a lonely task and slogging through a manuscript you’ve revised a thousand times can be downright painful. Add […]

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Entering a Script Contest? Consult Your Local Professional

As you know, winning a screenwriting competition is considered one of the best ways to break into Hollywood, and some of the biggest film and TV writing competition deadlines are fast approaching (Script Pipeline, May 15; Austin Film Festival, May 20th; NBC Writers on the Verge, May 30; Launch Pad, May 31; Slamdance, July 21; […]

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Breaking Boundaries at the &Now Festival with Tantra Bensko

For the second year in a row, Writers’ Program instructor Tantra Bensko was chosen to participate in the traveling literary &Now Festival of New Writing which took place at the inspiring CalArts campus in Valencia last March. The goal of the event, whose subtitle was “Blast Radius: Writing and the Other Arts,” was to push […]

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Five Reasons to Apply for a Writers’ Program Scholarship Today!

Did you know? In an effort to acknowledge and foster the talent of promising writers from diverse backgrounds and cultures who might otherwise not have the opportunity, the Writers’ Program awards scholarships to up to 10 students annually. Read on for five great reasons we encourage qualified applicants to apply. 5. Find Your Niche As […]

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WP Advising Team Answers Your Burning Questions!

A while back, I announced to the world (via our website) that we here at the Writers’ Program do something somewhat atypical in this day and age…we answer our phones. If you have questions about Writers’ Program classes, events, mentorships, consultations, certificates, instructors, or (insert topic here!), all you have to do is call our […]

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Master Class Reading at Barnes & Noble – a Truly Inspiring Event!

As the streetlights flickered on in Santa Monica’s famous Third Street Promenade, seven talented writers led by their brilliant mentor, filed into the meeting room of the three-story Barnes and Noble to begin their one-of-a kind performance. Last March 13, 2015, seven UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Master Class students experienced their first public appearance as […]

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Sell Yourself, Then Your Work: Deborah Dean Davis on the Art of the Pitch

This spring, screenwriter and chapter author of Cut to the Chase: Writing Feature Films with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, Deborah Dean Davis, will be teaching her 2-day workshop “Selling Yourself and Your Work”. In this course, Deborah not only covers the art of skillful pitching, but the art of selling the person […]

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Spring Has Sprung! Enroll Today.

Spring quarter is here, folks! Birds are chirping, bunnies are hopping, and a plethora of amazing writing classes are waiting for you. But what to do with a catalog full of titillating offerings when you have to choose just one? Luckily your friendly neighborhood Writers’ Program advisor is here to help. Read on for some […]

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West Words — How the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program changed my life (and maybe yours, too)

*Reprinted by permission of UCLA Magazine Written by Samantha Dunn, Photos by Mathieu Young Published Apr 1, 2015 8:00 PM The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program would be famous enough if it were just the largest and most comprehensive continuing education creative writing and screenwriting program in the world. But it’s also an incubator for talent, a creative […]

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Meet Writers’ Program Fantasy Instructor Paul Witcover

Paul Witcover may be a new instructor for the Writers’ Program, but he’s far from being a newcomer in the science fiction and fantasy realm of published writers and teachers. As the author of six novels – The Watchman of Eternity comes out in the UK in May 2015! – Paul is living proof that […]

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Want to get your script noticed? Enter the 2015 UCLA Extension Screenplay Competition!

It’s no secret that the fields of film and television writing are highly competitive. Every year, thousands of screenplays and pilots are written by aspiring writers all over the world, but sadly, the great majority of them go unread and unproduced. How can you ensure that your script will get the exposure it deserves? By […]

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Q+A with BinderCon Presenter and WP Instructor Deborah Dean Davis

Calling all female and gender non-conforming writers! Are you frustrated with the lack of diversity in the media and literary arts? Looking for a community of like-minded writers with a strong dose of female empowerment? Look no further than BinderCon 2015, the second professional development conference by Out of the Binders, an organization which aims […]

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Former Screenplay Contest Winner Elissa Matsueda on Going From Student to Produced Screenwriter!

As you may know, the Writers’ Program recently announced the success of former screenwriting student Elissa Matsueda having her first film, Spare Parts, released in theaters this past January. Based on a true story, the film is about four underprivileged Hispanic high school students who formed a robotics club and competed against the country’s reigning […]

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Master Class Students Gear Up to Read at Barnes & Noble!

Support your fellow aspiring writers as they read from their Works-in-Progress! On Friday, March 13, 2015, eight talented students from the Writers’ Program Master Class will be reading from their works-in-progress at Barnes & Noble Santa Monica. Located in the Third Street Promenade, one of L.A.’s most popular gathering places, the reading will also showcase […]

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Announcing the 2015 Writers Program Scholarship

Are you passionate about writing but lack the financial resources to take courses? Do you yearn for the guidance of a professional writer and the camaraderie of fellow students? If so, then the Writers’ Program Scholarship Program may be for you. Designed for promising writers from diverse backgrounds who lack the opportunity to study in […]

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The Writers Studio — Something for Every Type of Writer!

The key to being a writer is, “Write. Rewrite. Then write some more.” Of course, we all know that’s easier said than done, which is why we offer our annual Writers Studio, 4-days of intensive writing, amazing guest speakers, a collaborative community of passionate writers, and top-notch instructors! Every year, Writers’ Program students are transformed […]

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2014 Outstanding Instructors of the Year: Greg Elliot and Norman Kolpas!

Last month, two very deserving Writers’ Program instructors were honored as part of the Arts Showcase, a celebratory luncheon highlighting the professional accomplishments of a select group of the Department of the Arts’ fabulous teachers and staff.   This year’s honorees, Greg Elliot and Norman Kolpas, received their Outstanding Instructor Awards in Screenwriting and Creative […]

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Screenwriting Certificate Students Tell All

For readers who don’t already know, the Writers’ Program offers three certificate programs in screenwriting:  1) Feature Film Writing, 2) Television Writing, and 3) Film and TV Comprehensive.  Certificate programs offer a structured course of study and are particularly appealing to students who want to focus on one project from start to finish.  Enrollment in […]

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Make 2015 Your Best Writing Year Yet!

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably already started mentally drafting New Year’s resolutions…go to yoga more often, spend less time playing Candy Crush, get 8 hours of sleep a night. And if you’re really like us, by the end of January you’ll be back to your regular routine, binge watching Netflix while scrolling through […]

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Writers’ Program Holiday Closure

Here at the Writers’ Program, we pride ourselves on being available when you need assistance. Call our office, Monday through Friday from 8am and 5pm, and you will be greeted by a live person—not the automated kind—to assist you with your writing education. Like we’ve said before, your call is important to us! That said, […]

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The Answer To Your Writing Woes

It’s December. The holidays are right around the corner. That means that 2015 is almost here. Yikes! But I still have so much to do! We’ve all been there. Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, all or none of the above, you’re probably swamped with massive to-do lists to wrap up the […]

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The 2014 James Kirkwood Literary Prize: Celebrating Emerging Writers

Recently, a group of students, instructors, and staff met for a luncheon in Westwood Village to honor the recipients of the 2014 James Kirkwood Literary Prize: R.T. Jamison, nominated by David Borofka; Ella Martinsen Gorham, nominated by Colette Sartor; and Greg Watkins, nominated by Robert Eversz. The Kirkwood luncheon is one of the Writers’ Program’s favorite events […]

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New Courses for Winter 2015!

At the Writers’ Program, we’re constantly looking for ways to keep our writers engaged and our courses current. So as the winter quarter begins this January 5th, we offer you the following exciting new courses, along with our tried and tested classes. If you live in Los Angeles, check out our NEW Onsite Offerings: Encountering […]

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Year in Review: The Best of Success Stories

Are you a creative person who yearns to make a living doing what you love? Do you find it tough to keep your spirits up when faced with an ever more competitive publishing industry or the insular world of Hollywood? Then this article is for you. There’s nothing we love more than sharing student successes […]

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2014 Hummel Scholarship Recipients Aspire to Write!

Each year, more than 3,000 international students arrive from over 60 countries to study at UCLA Extension. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the International Student Office was first opened thanks to Laurel Hummel. Laurel, who brought her love of travel and appreciation for other cultures to her work at UCLA Extension, retired in […]

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Carla’s List of Favorite Blogs by Writers’ Program Instructors!

Years before I took a writing class and began working at the Writers’ Program, I was a blogger. In the early days, I blogged whatever I thought was funny (like the time I read so many trashy magazines I started talking like I was best friends with celebrity couples and my husband had to intervene […]

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If You Love Movies, You’ll Love AFI FEST!

The Writers’ Program is proud to host Blind at AFI FEST 2014. Blind, a film from Norway and the Netherlands, and directed by Eskil Bogt, made its festival debut at the Sundance Film Festival where it won a screenwriting award for World Cinema in the Dramatic category. Blind is the story of a woman named […]

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Certificate Programs in Creative Writing – New and Improved!

The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is proud to announce its newly revamped certificate programs in creative writing! With only 24 required units — a significant reduction from the previous 36 required units — students can now complete their certificates in Fiction Writing or Creative Nonfiction Writing more quickly and with less strain on their budget. […]

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Announcing Our 2014 Television Spec & Pilot Writing Competition Winners!

After 2 months of 1-on-1 mentoring by a Writers’ Program instructor, our television writing competition winners have been named! TV Spec Writing 1st Place: Elizabeth Baron for Parks and Recreation: “Parks vs. Recreation” 2nd Place: Anna Capezzera for Criminal Minds: “Salvation” 3rd Place: Laura Maccabee for The Good Wife: “Too Legit to Quit”   TV Pilot […]

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Announcing Our 2014 Feature Film Competition Winners!

After receiving two months of 1-on-1 mentoring by a Writers’ Program screenwriting instructor as part of their prize, our feature film competition finalists have been named! The Writers’ Program officially congratulates 1st Place Winner, H. R. Yablon, for The Good Cancer, 2nd Place Winner, Adi Blotman, for Reality Check, and 3rd Place Winner, Kurt Hohenstein, […]

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Introducing Our 2014-15 Scholarship Recipients!

Each year, the Writers’ Program awards up to 10 scholarships to aspiring creative writers and screenwriters. The process begins in spring, when we make the application available on our website and submissions start rolling in. By late June, we begin the fun but difficult task of narrowing down the applications. In addition to basic financial […]

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Canvas: The New Learning Management System (LMS) of UCLA Extension

“…I’ve had the daunting task of being the main point of contact between UCLA Extension and Canvas, and their support structure has been flawless. After comparing Canvas to our previous Learning Management System, I have no doubt that we made the right decision to go with Canvas…” Vartan Adamian (UCLA Extension Office of Instructional Enhancement) […]

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Writers’ Studio: Feb. 5-8, 2015!

It’s that time again—2015 Writers Studio! Our beloved 4-day event consisting of 10 writing workshops taught by some of the best screenwriting and creative writing teachers in L.A. may not be until February 5-8, 2015 but folks are already enrolling and you don’t want to miss out! Now, I can go on and on as […]

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Q & A with New Instructor Wendy Oleson

Have you ever started writing in a certain genre, and then realized that you would rather write something else instead? It’s as if your mind flipped a switch and decided to think in poems and rhymes; or, it could even be that your hilarious memoir for your worst dating experiences sets up a great premise […]

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Five Questions with Tempany Deckert

New-to-the-Wp’ instructor Tempany Deckert is one of those multitalented artists that is blessed with the ability to both write well and speak well. In addition to being an author of 18 middle grade and young adult novels, she is also a formally trained actress and motivational speaker. And while she won’t teach you to recite […]

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The Writers’ Program will be at Story Expo: Sept. 5th – 7th!

For the second year in a row, the Writers’ Program will have a major presence at STORY EXPO: the world’s largest convention for writers. Whether you’re a budding novelist, a seasoned screenwriter, or an overall writing enthusiast who’d like to learn more about the art and craft, Story Expo is the place to be. Over […]

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New Courses for Fall!

We here at the Writers’ Program like to keep things interesting and offer new courses as much as we can in addition to the tried and true offerings. Here’s what we have newly available to you this fall quarter, which begins September 29th! Screenwriting Courses: How to Write and Make Your Debut Feature Film, taught […]

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The Next Step In Your Professional Writing Career

Students come to the Writers’ Program from all over the world for a number of reasons: to learn basic creative writing skills, for a creative outlet, to explore the novel idea they’ve had simmering in the back of their mind for years. The majority of our students, however, come with an end-game: to have their […]

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The Magical Monstrosity that is Comic-Con

We at the Writers’ Program are known for pioneering new ways to reach new writers so more people can learn about who we are and what we do. This year, in an initiative spearheaded by screenwriting advisor Chae Ko, the Writers’ Program was granted the amazing opportunity to exhibit at the annual Comic-Con International in […]

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Five Ways a Master Class Can Take Your Writing to New Heights (Application Deadline August 29!)

As Writers’ Program advisors, we frequently hear from students who have worked hard for years and want to go from “aspiring writer” to “professional writer.” While we have several options available for students with a completed project (advanced classes, manuscript consultations, mentorships), our Master Classes are special. Special how, you ask? Read on for five […]

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Screenwriting Wisdom from Instructor Laurence Rosenthal

He’s a producer, development executive, chapter-author of Cut to the Chase (the Writers’ Program’s how-to guide on feature film writing), and the 2011 recipient of the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award. Laurence Rosenthal, a Writers’ Program instructor since 1997, kindly agreed to sit down with us to share some of his most […]

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The Writers’ Program’s Newest Staff Member – Nutschell Windsor

A couple of weeks ago, we welcomed the newest addition to our Wp’ family – Nutschell (pronounced Noo-Shell) Windsor. As the Program Representative in Creative Writing (Online) and Events, Nutschell is excited to be scheduling writing courses and planning fun annual events for Writers’ Program students. She certainly has a huge role to fill! However, […]

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Writers’ Program Recognizes Two 2014 UCLA Extension Graduates!

The UCLA Extension Certificate Graduation Ceremony took place June 27, 2014 at Royce Hall where an estimated 700 students were recognized for their achievement (around 2,000 graduate each year). Last year, Writers’ Program highlighted Jane Graham for her completion of a Certificate in Creative Nonfiction and this year we are showcasing two students who have […]

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PEN USA’s Emerging Voices

What if I told you that there was a magical place where aspiring writers (that would be you!) are guided through eight months of professional mentorship, master classes, hosted Q & A evenings, and—the cherry on top of the literary sundae—two complimentary Writers’ Program classes(!)? “Sure,” you say, “and tomorrow chocolate bonbons will fall from […]

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Finalists In 3 Screenwriting Competition Categories Named

After several rounds of judging by Writers’ Program instructors, the top 3 finalists in each of the 3 categories of the 2014 UCLA Extension Screenwriting Competition have been decided! These 9 talented writers now move on to the next phase of the competition in which they’ll spend 2 months revising and polishing their scripts with […]

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Writers’ Program: The First Stop on your Way to an MFA

Are you considering an MFA in Creative Writing? Does the 5% acceptance rate at most MFA programs give you pause? Did you know that the Writers’ Program can increase the odds that you’ll be accepted to the MFA program of your choice? As the popularity of MFA programs grows, so too grows the competition, which […]

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What Are You Waiting For?

How do I say this…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! THE UCLA EXTENSION WRITERS’ PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS QUICKLY APPROACHING AND YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT! Okay, I know the above may seem a little extreme—especially in all caps—but hear me out here. The UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship deadline is June 30, 2014! And […]

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Making Time to Write is Up to You

“I don’t have time to write.” Let’s face it. That line is an excuse. I’m guilty of saying it, and I’m pretty darn sure that you are too. As a writer I’ve definitely struggled to find time to write. Juggling work, classes, volunteering, more classes, family, friends, church – and may I add, Los Angeles […]

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Q+A with UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor Billy Mernit

Last month, longtime Writers’ Program instructor Billy Mernit was honored at the UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor Awards ceremony. A screenwriter, story analyst, and novelist, Billy was selected as one of this year’s recipients for his longtime (nearly two-decade) dedication to his students in both screenwriting and creative writing. With professional experience in so many realms […]

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Announcing: The Allegra Johnson Prize in Memoir and Novel Writing

The Writers’ Program is pleased to announce a new and very special opportunity for students: the Allegra Johnson Prize in Memoir and Novel Writing! The Allegra Johnson Prize was inaugurated on March 20, 2014 by Roberta J.M. Olson and Alexander B.V. Johnson to honor their daughter, Allegra Johnson (1983–2013), a prolific and talented young writer […]

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Earn a Certificate in Feature Film, TV Writing, or Both!

Do you prefer a structured course of study with definitive writing goals to taking courses a la carte? If so, then you have the option of enrolling in a certificate program through the Writers’ Program. Writers’ Program certificate programs are designed to provide perspective, knowledge, and training in several dynamic writing fields. The coordinated, sequential […]

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You’re Invited to the 21st Annual Publication Party!

Looking for a fun, free, and inspiring way to spend a weeknight?  Want to mingle with some of Los Angeles’ most talented writers?  Then join us on June 12th at the 21st annual Publication Party where you can talk with some of the published authors who teach at the Writers’ Program. Not to be forgotten—the delicious […]

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Breaking Into Hollywood

Whether you are an aspiring writer taking classes for the first time, or a seasoned writer signed with an esteemed agent, I’m sure you’re hoping that all roads eventually lead to Hollywood. But the reality is that only a small fraction of aspiring writers ever break into the business. How can you increase the odds […]

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Instructor Profile: Colette Sartor

“I write because I can’t imagine not writing.” Jersey girl Colette Sartor is a Writers’ Program all-star, guiding beginning students from their first pages of their first stories and helping experienced writers refine their work for publication. A graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she won a Truman Capote fellowship, she has been […]

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New for Summer!

Who says school’s out for summer? Don’t let warm weather and weekend getaways get in the way of your writing! Starting in July, the Writers’ Program has several new courses available for screenwriters and creative writers alike that will help keep your writing on track. Creative Writing Courses When you can take online courses from […]

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Why Life’s Tragedies Will Help You Become a Better Writer…

Writers’ Program instructor Sharon Bray is no stranger to tragedy–nor is she a stranger to publishing. In a recent interview, Sharon shares with the Wp’ why life’s most difficult events can make us better storytellers, and why her summer course, Transformational Writing: Writing to Heal and Make Life into Art (Online) may be just the […]

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Your Call is Important to Us and We’ll Answer the Phone to Prove It!

A few years ago and in a past life (as a struggling actor in Chicago), I voiced automated phone lines. I voiced everything from I’m sorry, our lines are busy, please keep holding to If you’d like to speak with a representative, please press one or just say “representative”.   It was a lot of fun […]

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5 Ways to Join the Writers’ Program Community

Two Words: Social media. For writers, and for pretty much anyone in any profession, social media can be a nothing more than a distraction and a curse. Who among us hasn’t sworn off all social media as a useless time-suck, only to find it making its evil way back into our lives in one way […]

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Scholarship Applications Now Available!

Are you passionate about writing but lack the financial resources to take courses? Do you yearn for the guidance of a professional writer and the camaraderie of fellow students? If so, then the Writers’ Program Scholarship Program may be for you. Designed for promising writers from diverse backgrounds who lack the opportunity to study in […]

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Wp’ Master Classes and What Students are Saying!

Each year, the Writers’ Program offers master classes for advanced creative writers and screenwriters. Each master class is a six-to-nine month adventure for a supportive group of only 8 hand-picked students who work together to polish their writing projects. Master class students describe it as a challenging yet incredibly rewarding experience: “The Master Class in […]

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What are they doing now? Past Feature Film & Television Writing Competition Winners/Finalists Share Their Successes!

Each year, the Writers’ Program hosts a feature film and television writing competition in which 3 winners are chosen in three categories (Feature Film, Television Spec, and Television Pilot). Winners receive cash prizes and are featured in an ad in The Hollywood Reporter and in a newsletter mailed to over 1,000 entertainment executives.  Recently, the […]

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Downtown LA: A Great Place to Live, Work, Play…and Learn

If you live or work in downtown LA, then you know that for the past decade or so, the area has been undergoing unprecedented growth.  Long-empty storefronts and abandoned buildings continue to be replaced by high-end retail stores, pricey condos, towering skyscrapers, and trendy restaurants.  Blogs such as laconservancy.org, dtlarising.com, and downtownLA.com exist solely to […]

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Why a Mentorship with the Wp’ May be Just What You Need

Do you prefer one-on-one learning to a traditional classroom setting? If so, consider a Writers’ Program Mentorship with one of our mentorship instructors in either creative writing or screenwriting! Mentorships are perfect for students looking to take their project to the next level by working closely with an instructor for one month (or more! Many […]

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Get it Written with New Instructor Craig Cox

Hey, you!  Yes, you, the one with that fabulous feature film idea that’s been playing over and over in your head for AGES.  Sure, I know you’ve got that all-star cast picked out and a sense of the beginning, middle, and end, but here’s the thing—to be a writer, you have to write!  So, if […]

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Work Out Your Brain with Lisa Medway

Is your mind feeling out of shape? Are you struggling from a mild, or perhaps severe, form of writer’s block? Then you’ve come to the right place because Lisa Medway’s Right Brain Aerobics for Writers is just what you need. With her background in sitcoms and animation, and as an author of award-winning columns for […]

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New for Spring!

This year Southern California seems to have skipped our version of winter altogether (hey, 50 degrees is cold!), and jumped straight to spring.  Which works well for us, because we’ve already got a hot lineup of courses for you–offered online, in Westwood, and at our Downtown LA location.  So what’s new and exciting for spring?  […]

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It’s a Great Big World for International Screenwriters!

In the last ten years, international interest in Hollywood storytelling has grown. U.S. films are more widely released and distributed in foreign territories while conversely, domestic audiences have more platforms available to them now more than ever for viewing films made around the world. It’s no coincidence that international student demand for screenwriting courses has […]

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The Ultimate Online Resource for Screenwriters

It’s a great big competitive world out there for aspiring screenwriters. Not only do you have to learn to write (and then continue to write) well, but you also have to find ways to get your writing noticed. This can be a daunting task for anyone–especially those of you who are just starting out in […]

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The 2014 Writers Studio: Four Days of Writing, Inspiration, and Community

If you make New Year’s resolutions you probably know the feeling: the holiday parties have come and gone and the time to make your goals a reality has begun.  It’s what I like to call the mid-January drag.   It’s during this critical period, when habits are still solidifying and our new routines are shaky, that […]

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Screenwriters Wanted!

It’s said that everyone in Los Angeles is writing a screenplay, but how many aspiring writers actually break into the industry?  Find out how to increase your odds by joining us on Friday, January 24, when the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program proudly hosts a panel at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena entitled Breaking into Hollywood as […]

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Q+A with New Instructor Peter Serchuk

Do you ever feel like you just don’t “get” poetry?  It can often feel like a secret language only the most culturally refined among us understand, perhaps triggering flashbacks to middle school readings of Beowulf. But fear not, intrepid writers.  Because not only do we offer poetry classes each quarter designed to inspire and intrigue […]

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Connecting with the Wp’ During the Holiday Closure

With temperatures in the 70’s and so many gifts still to be purchased, it’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner.  Don’t be fooled though.  As is the practice every year at this time, UCLA Extension will close its doors at 5 pm on Friday, December 20, and won’t open them […]

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Congratulations to Writers’ Program’s Outstanding Instructors for 2013!

Every year, the Writers’ Program—along with the rest of the Department of the Arts within UCLA Extension—honors two instructors with the prestigious award of Outstanding Instructor of the year.  This year’s deserving winners are Cindy Davis in Screenwriting and Steven Wolfson in Creative Writing.  Cindy has taught all levels of writing a feature film from […]

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Writing the Memoir: Q+A with Instructor Jayanti Tamm

She was born and raised in a cult in mainstream America and proclaimed “The Chosen One” before being permanently ousted from the group by the age of 25. Sounds like a great premise for a bestselling novel, right?  But for Writers’ Program instructor Jayanti Tamm, this fascinating story is anything but fictional. As a Pushcart […]

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The Winners of the 2013 Kirkwood Awards…!

A yearly highlight of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is our James Kirkwood Literary Prize in Creative Writing, which gives intermediate and advanced level instructors the chance to nominate their very best students.  First round judges Michael Buckley, Linzi Glass, Adam Prince, and Deborah Reed narrowed the 30 outstanding submissions down to 6, and final round judges Jim Gavin and […]

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New Instructor Melanie Thorne!

Writers’ Program welcomes Melanie Thorne as a creative writing instructor!  Melanie will be teaching Introduction to Fiction Writing in the winter quarter and Writers’ Program recently chatted with her about her recent(ish) move to L.A., how she goes about shaping a story, and the importance of reading A LOT. WP: If memory serves me, you […]

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What’s New for Winter 2014

Ah, winter.  Fresh snow on the ground, a chill in the air, warm coats—or at least, that’s what I’m told.  Here in Los Angeles it’s likely to be clear skies, sunny, and maybe sweater weather (if we’re lucky).  But wherever you’re at geographically, winter brings with it a sense of renewal, of feeling refreshed and ready […]

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Master Class Alumni Barbara Stepansky Becomes a Nicholl Fellow!

The Writers’ Program officially congratulates student Barbara Stepansky, who last month was not only crowned 1st Place Winner of our own Feature Film Writing Competition, but her same script, Sugar In My Veins, also beat over 7,200 submissions for the coveted Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. […]

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Meet Our 2013 Television Writing Competitions Winners!

After receiving two months of 1-on-1 mentoring by an instructor, our television writing competition winners in each category (specs and pilots) have been named! The Writers’ Program officially congratulates: In the category of TV Pilots 1st Place: Aaron Rollins for Ordnung (One-Hour Drama) 2nd Place: Grete Heinemann for Valleywood (One-Hour Drama) 3rd Place: Julie Wong […]

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Meet Our 2013 Feature Film Competition Winners!

After receiving two months of 1-on-1 mentoring by an instructor, our feature film competition finalists have been named! The Writers’ Program officially congratulates 1st Place Winner, Barbara Stepansky, for Sugar in My Veins, 2nd Place Winner, Shira Rosenzweig, for Processor, and 3rd Place Winner, James Warren, for Headshot. Last week, an ad featuring all three […]

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215 Writers’ Program Teachers: A Visual History, a Tribute, and a “Thank You”!

The slide show you see here is of the 215 professional writers who currently teach for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.  From the sagacity of instructors who have taught for decades and to the fresh perspectives of new instructors, they bring the gifts of knowledge, discernment, and support to our students.  In short, they are […]

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Q+A with Instructor Alison Singh Gee

Writers’ Program instructor and former student Alison Singh Gee has made a career writing for People, In Style, and the Los Angeles Times, won Amnesty International’s Feature Writing Award for a cover story she wrote on child prostitution in Southeast Asia, and in February published her debut memoir, Where the Peacocks Sing, which has garnered rave reviews.  […]

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Congratulations to Wp’ Instructor and Poet Anna Maria Hong!

Each year several prizes are awarded for the best work published in Poetry Magazine during the previous year. This year, the honor went to Writers’ Program instructor Anna Maria Hong who was awarded the Frederick Bock Prize for two of her poems: “Pluralisms” and “A Fable”. Congratulations to Anna Maria!  It’s no wonder why her […]

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Writers’ Program Welcomes Ron Darian to its Instructor Corps!

Ron Darian has a long history with the Writers’ Program as a student—most notably as the third place winner of the 21st Annual James Kirkwood Award.  This fall, we proudly welcomed him to our instructor corps to teach From Fiction to Screenplay: Adapting Your Short Story/Novel for Film and TV.  I sat down with Ron recently to discuss […]

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In Memory of Les Plesko

In Memoriam Les Plesko (1954-2013) On September 16, 2013, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program fiction writing instructor Les Plesko died in Venice, California.  On September 26th, over 100 people gathered at Beyond Baroque to pay tribute to the man that many present said would take one look at the gathering, say “Oh brother,” and walk out.  […]

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Former Lit Agent Nancy Nigrosh Helps Writers Crack the Code to Success

This fall, former talent and literary agent Nancy Nigrosh will be offering her very popular course, Cracking the Code: How to Become a Professional Screenwriter in Hollywood, in which she aims to help aspiring screenwriters unlock the secrets to success. Nancy has represented Academy Award caliber talents like Kathryn Bigelow, Stuart Beattie, and Barry Morrow, […]

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Q+A with NYT Bestselling Novelist Caroline Leavitt

Writers’ Program instructor Caroline Leavitt has done it again. On the heels of her 2011 New York Times Bestseller Pictures of You comes Is This Tomorrow, lauded by the Miami Herald as “A page-turning heartbreaker.” Set in 1950s suburbia, the novel centers around divorcee Ava Lark and her 12-year-old son Lewis as they deal with […]

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Announcing Our Scholarship Winners!

We are thrilled to announce our 2013-2014 Writers’ Program scholarship recipients.  Choosing ten students from the dozens of qualified applicants was no easy task, but we are excited as the winners embark on a new and productive phase in their creative journey. Here they share what the scholarship means to them and their goals for […]

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2013 Screenwriting Competition Finalists Announced!

The Writers’ Program officially congratulates the top three finalists in each category of the 2013 Screenwriting and Television Writing Competitions! The finalists now move on to the next phase of the competition in which they have 2 months to rewrite and polish their scripts with the help of a Writers’ Program instructor/mentor.  The finalists’ scripts […]

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Have You Sent in Your Master Class Application?

The Writers’ Program is still accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Master Classes in Novel Writing and Feature Film Writing. Designed for advanced students on the verge of producing professional quality work, the classes bring 8 students and a top-notch instructor together for 9 months in which you re-envision, rewrite, and polish your novel or script […]

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10 Reasons to Attend the Writers Faire!

Anyone who has attended the Writers Faire knows what a fun, energizing, and educational day it is.  This year’s event is coming up on Sunday, August 25th at the UCLA campus, and if the word “free” is not enough to convince you, here are ten great reasons to join us at our cornerstone annual event. […]

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Cut to the Chase and Inside the Room Bring Writers’ Program Expertise to Aspiring Screenwriters Worldwide

England may have His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge (and, okay, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray), but in our little corner of the planet, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program has been doing its own victory dance with the 8/6/13 publication of Cut to the Chase:  Writing Feature Films with the Pros from the […]

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Q+A with Writers’ Program Student-Turned-Instructor Jim Gavin

Writers’ Program student Jim Gavin rocketed to author stardom when  his short story “Costello” was published in the New Yorker in 2010. Then, earlier this year, Simon & Schuster released his collection Middle Men, which includes the short story that put him on the map.  In the past few months, Middle Men has been featured […]

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Welcome Deborah Reed!

This fall, the Writers’ Program welcomes new instructor Deborah Reed to our roster of novel writing instructors!  We recently chatted with her about her experience as a novelist, writing under a pen name, and her latest novel, Things We Set On Fire, which makes its debut in November of this year. Deborah, welcome to our […]

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Congratulations to the 2013 Screenwriting Competition Semifinalists!

The Writers’ Program would like to officially congratulate the semifinalists selected in each category of our 2013 Screenwriting and Television Writing Competitions. This year, a record number of students submitted the feature length scripts, television specs, and television pilots they developed in Writers’ Program courses. Afterwards, each entry endured several rounds of anonymous judging by […]

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Writers’ Program Instructor Amy Friedman on the Katie Couric Show!

Writers’ Program instructor and creative nonfiction writer, Amy Friedman, was a guest on the Katie Couric show last week where she talked about her new memoir, Desperado’s Wife, about falling in love and marrying a man in prison. Amy’s story is fascinating, and of course, we had to know more: Writers’ Program: What was it […]

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It’s Not Too Late to Reach Your Goals This Summer!

This time of year it can feel like everyone is on vacation, relaxing somewhere tropical, sipping a beverage out of a coconut.  But at the Writers’ Program we are in full gear, offering nearly 100 courses online and onsite, and helping our students achieve their writing goals one class at a time.  So don’t let […]

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Screenwriter Deborah Dean Davis Means Business

This summer, Deborah Dean Davis will be teaching a 1-day course for screenwriters on how to sell yourself and your work while navigating the trenches of Hollywood.  The Writers’ Program recently sat down with Deborah to get her thoughts on the “biz” side of showbiz and the perils of pitch meetings. Read on to see […]

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Student Jane Graham Explores, Experiences, Expands

Get out your caps and gowns, folks, because the UCLA Extension Graduation for certificate students is upon us!  This year’s ceremony takes place on June 25th at Royce Hall, where 400+ students across Extension will receive their diplomas. Read on for an interview with online student Jane Graham who recently completed her Certificate in Creative […]

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2013-2014 Writers’ Program Scholarship Application Deadline: June 28th

“I was so honored to be chosen as one of the scholars in the Writers’ Program.  I’ve never been in classes with such writing talent, and with people with such ability to articulate helpful feedback.” – Jessie Lanoil, 2012-2013 Scholarship Recipient It’s that time of year again: air conditioning units rumble to life after months […]

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Why Write?

Sitting alone at my desk in the quiet hours of the evening watching the flashing cursor on the computer screen, I sometimes find myself lost in the difficulty of pushing those keys. For the uninitiated it would seem that this motion should be quite simple. But to transform an idea from concept into a fully […]

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What a Writer Knows: Q&A with Leslie Lehr

Longtime Writers’ Program instructor Leslie Lehr is celebrating the release of her third novel What A Mother Knows.  In her latest work, Leslie addresses motherhood through the unconventional lens of a literary thriller; when her hero, Michelle, wakes up from a coma, her family has come untethered and her daughter is missing. Leslie has also […]

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Publication Party 2012

You’re Invited to the 20th Annual Publication Party!

Looking for a fun, free, and inspiring way to spend a weeknight?  Want to mingle with some of Los Angeles’ most talented writers?  Then join us on June 6th at the 20th annual Publication Party where you can talk with some of the published authors who teach at the Writers’ Program. Not to be forgotten—the […]

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Introducing a New Certificate Program for Film & TV Writing!

Are you an international student interested in studying screenwriting? Are you a local student interested in studying both feature film and television writing under one certificate? If so, you’ll be happy to know that this spring, the Writers’ Program unveiled a new Film and TV Comprehensive screenwriting certificate program designed to meet the needs of […]

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The Writers’ Program: Fostering Emerging Voices

Each year, the Writers’ Program gives scholarships of two courses each to six students from the PEN Center USA Emerging Voices program, an eight-month writing fellowship for promising new writers who lack access to educational resources.  Through Writers’ Program classes, master classes, a professional mentorship, and more, PEN—a longtime Writers’ Program partner–provides its EV Fellows […]

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New Writers’ Program Feature Film and TV Writing Books to Debut!

Coming soon to bookstores, e-stores, and mobile devices near you and straight from the epicenter of the film and television industry come Cut to the Chase:  Writing Feature Films with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and Inside the Room:  Writing TV with the Pros at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program!  We at the Writers’ […]

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In Memoriam: Linda Palmer

“I always begin with an emphasis on the positive…and I have yet to find a student who didn’t have some strength.”  –Linda Palmer A light has gone out in the universe.  Linda Palmer, one of UCLA Extension Writers’ Program’s most cherished instructors, has died after a heroic battle with cancer on Sunday, April 21, 2013. […]

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Just in time for Summer Quarter: An All-New Writers’ Program Website

After working fast and furiously for the past several months, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is extremely happy to officially roll out its brand new website. This visually pleasing new site has everything that made the original Writers’ Program site so easy to use and navigate, plus a number of excellent new features designed to […]

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Student Spotlight: Clarissa Romano of the Los Angeles Review of Books

Ever wonder what editors really think when they receive submissions? Curious about MFA programs but not sure what to expect? Feel like the state of publishing is so bleak you may just slowly Tweet your next novel? Writers’ Program student Clarissa Romano is here to help! As a Senior Editor at Los Angeles Review of […]

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Festival + Books = Fun!

Do you like festivals? Books? Famous authors and celebrities? How about cooking demos, live music, and people watching? If you answered yes to the above, then there’s an event you must check out—the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 20 and 21! Held on the USC campus, there’s no charge for admission and […]

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Social Media: It’s Not Just for Procrastinators Anymore

Despite what the naysayers will have you believe about social media being a huge waste of time, the truth is that some media sites can actually provide real value — especially for aspiring writers. Whether you’re a full-time writer who spends all day in a small room with just you, yourself, and your computer; or […]

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Current Master Class student, Christine Bloom reads from her novel at Book Soup in Hollywood

Online Master Class Students Meet in Los Angeles for 4-Day Residency!

“The most inspiring aspect for me so far has been working in person with the people we’ve been sharing the class with online for several months. Today felt like we’d all been writing buddies for years.” So says Marcie Geffner, current student in the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) during the recent four-day residency […]

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Reinventing the Romantic Comedy

This spring, Writers’ Program instructor Billy Mernit will be imparting his expertise on the genre that never dies. Read what Billy has to say about the current state of the romantic comedy and how it’s being reinvigorated by new talent and societal shifts. Writers’ Program: Some writers and audiences today say the romantic comedy is […]

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Diving Deep at Writers Studio

I have a confession—I love my job. I mean, yeah, there are those bad days when nothing goes right: the printer breaks down as I’m scrambling to complete a project due five minutes ago; the copier declares itself jammed when I know that’s not true because I unjammed it five minutes ago; my computer crashes […]

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Scholarship Applications Now Available!

Are you passionate about writing but lack the financial resources to take courses? Do you yearn for the guidance of a professional writer and the camaraderie of fellow students? If so, then the Writers’ Program Scholarship Program may be for you. Designed for promising writers from diverse backgrounds who lack the opportunity to study in […]

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Comedy Content Wanted!

Veteran television writer and longtime Writers’ Program instructor, Bill Taub, is currently seeking short-form projects to develop for the Laugh Factory’s upcoming web channel. Read on to learn how the idea originated and how you can submit your own web series pitch! Writers’ Program: You’ve had a long career working as a television writer on […]

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Argo or Bust!

The 85th Annual Academy Awards is set for Sunday, February 24th and Writers’ Program staffers have been debating which movie is going to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. What do you think? Lincoln? Amour?  Argo?  (My goodness, what’s with all the one-word titles?)  There are nine nominees this year and I’m a little […]

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No More Excuses!

Are the voices in your head getting in the way of your writing?  Are you constantly questioning whether you have the chops you need to be a “real” writer?  Do you struggle to find the time to write?  Or maybe you have the time, but when faced with a blank screen you develop a really […]

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Breaking In

Screenwriting is hard work, and getting your script read by the people who matter can be even harder.  And while there is no surefire way to break into the industry, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of making it in Hollywood. As a screenwriting advisor for the UCLA Extension Writers’ […]

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Cracking the Code with Nancy Nigrosh

This spring, the Writers’ Program welcomes new instructor and former talent and literary agent Nancy Nigrosh who will be offering a course to help aspiring screenwriters unlock the secrets to success. And if anyone has the experience to deliver those secrets, it’s Nancy, who has represented (and/or discovered) Academy Award caliber talents like Kathryn Bigelow, […]

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Deadlines Are Your Friend

One of the best arguments there is for taking a writing course is that it forces you to write, week after week after week.  Whether you’re working on a character sketch or writing the next 10 pages of your novel, it’s easy to lose momentum if there isn’t a firm due date looming somewhere in […]

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Sarah Lim and Brandon Covey

A New Wp’ Family: Some Familiar Faces…and a Couple New Ones!

You may have noticed a few changes here at the Writers’ Program—staffing changes that is! Some of our veterans have moved away or shifted to different positions, and we’ve also welcomed two new members, Sarah Lim and Brandon Covey. Now that we’re once again fully staffed, we figured it’s a good time to remind you […]

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Countdown to Writers Studio 2013: Spaces Still Available!

Finally ready to start (or finish) your novel?  Got a great screenplay idea but can’t find the time to work on it?  Perhaps you’ve thought about writing for years but keep putting it on the backburner for other important things like work and family.  If any of this sounds like you, then you need to […]

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Success Stories from the Writers’ Program

The Writers’ Program is proud to count among its numerous success stories the following writers. Will this be the year we add you to our list? For information about our courses, competitions, certificates, consultations, mentorships, and free events, call 310/825-9415 or write to us at writers@uclaextension.edu/writers. Allison Abner, screenwriter, Hawaii Five-O, Without a Trace, The […]

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Happy Holidays to You All

It’s that time, folks.  We’ve shut down our computers, unplugged our printers, and lowered the heat in the building to a temperature just north of bitter cold.  The broken candy canes and half-eaten crullers that survived the initial holiday onslaught have been tossed out, along with everything in the fridge with a looming “use-by” date.  […]

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Announcing the Winners of the 21st Annual James Kirkwood Awards!

A yearly highlight of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is our James Kirkwood Literary Prize in Creative Writing, which gives intermediate and advanced level instructors the chance to nominate their very best students.  First round judges David Samuel Levinson, Kate Milliken, Yelizaveta Renfro, and Matt Sumell narrowed the 27 outstanding submissions down to 6, and […]

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Never Underestimate the Power of Screenwriting Competitions

Each year, the Writers’ Program hosts competitions open only to its Feature Film and Television Writing students. The top three winners of each category are featured in a full page ad in The Hollywood Reporter and their names and project loglines are mailed to more than 1,000 entertainment industry executives.  They also receive a cash […]

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Q & A with Soon-to-be-Published Student Stephanie Kegan

This week, Writers’ Program instructor Les Plesko interviews student Stephanie Kegan about her book, The Myth of Solid Ground, scheduled for release next summer by the Free Press. Les Plesko: Give us a sense of what the story is about. Stephanie Kegan: The story is based loosely on the Unabomber case of the 1990s. The […]

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Instructor Q&A: Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande has come a long way since her days as a Writers’ Program student.  Her first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains (2006) won the 2007 American Book Award and her follow up, Dancing with Butterflies (2009), won a 2010 International Latino Book Award.  Earlier this year she published her memoir, The Distance Between Us […]

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Outstanding Instructor of the Year, 2012: Phil Kellard

Each year, the Writers’ Program has the privilege of naming two instructors as Outstanding Instructors of the Year. At the 2012 awards luncheon to be held next month, onsite television writing instructor Phil Kellard will be recognized as one of this year’s recipients. For six years, Phil has taught the full spectrum of television spec […]

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Outstanding Instructor of the Year!

Each year the Writers’ Program has the privilege of giving two instructors Outstanding Instructor of the Year Awards. At the 2012 awards luncheon, online instructor Lynn Hightower will join us to be recognized as one of this year’s recipients. A favorite among students, Lynn’s courses and mentorship sessions are always incredibly popular as students seek […]

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The Value of Turning Your Screenplay into a Graphic Novel

This winter, the Writers’ Program will be offering a new course for adapting screenplays into graphic novels or comic books. New instructor Joanne Moore, who pitched the idea to the Wp’ last summer, was kind enough to sit down with us and describe why she thinks doing so can give unproduced writers a competitive edge. […]

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In Memoriam: Alan Kirschenbaum

It is with an incredible sense of loss for the writing community and the Writers’ Program that I acknowledge the recent death of Alan Kirschenbaum, who taught advanced sit com writing and served as a lead judge-mentor for the UCLA Extension Television Competition. When I received Alan’s letter expressing interest in teaching for the Writers’ […]

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New Year, New Classes

Ah, winter.  Fresh snow on the ground, a chill in the air, warm coats—or at least, that’s what I’m told.  Here in Los Angeles it’s likely to be clear skies, sunny, and maybe sweater weather (if we’re lucky).  But wherever you’re at geographically, winter brings with it a sense of renewal, of feeling refreshed and […]

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Your Glimpse Into the Online Classroom…

As advisors for the largest open-enrollment writing program in the country, one of the most frequent questions we hear from students inquiring about online courses is: “Um, how does that work??”  Given the multitude of learning platforms and formats currently available to universities and educators, this question is an important one. To start, UCLA Extension […]

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Building Consistent but Surprising Characters

If you’ve been wondering what makes a protagonist really stick in a readers’ mind, look no further than Wp’ instructor David Corbett’s winter quarter class, The Outer Limits of Inner Life: Building Consistent but Surprising Characters (Online). We all have a favorite protagonist from a novel, short story or movie—and David has a wealth of […]

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Winners of the 2012 UCLA Extension Television Pilot Competition Announced!

Exposure is a key factor in launching any writing career, and that’s a big part of the prize for the three talented winners of the 2012 Television Pilot Writing Competition: Mark Goldfinger (1st place for the half-hour animated comedy Lake Street Zoo); Patrick Moss (2nd place for the one-hour drama Hand to Mouth); and Franklin […]

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Winners of the 2012 UCLA Extension Television Spec Writing Competition Announced!

In case you missed the full-page ad in the Emmy Issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the Writers’ Program has announced the top three winners of the 2012 Television Spec Writing Competition.  They are: Denise Harkavy (1st place for Awkward: “Motherhood”), Sam Kendrick (2nd place for The Big Bang Theory: “Hypernova Deliberation”), and Matt Peabody (3rd […]

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Winners of the 2012 UCLA Extension Feature Film Writing Competition announced!

Though only a few short weeks have passed since the top three winners of the 2012 Feature Film Writing Competition have been named —  Markham Cook (1st place for Restoration), Chandra Wicke (2nd place winner for Surviving the Captain), and Eric Borden (3rd place winner for Fever) – the buzz in Hollywood has already begun.  […]

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Announcing Our Scholarship Winners

We are excited to finally announce the 2012 – 2013 UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship recipients.  This year, the Writers’ Program had the challenge of choosing ten qualified recipients out of close to one hundred applications submitted from individuals all across the country, and from a variety of backgrounds (not an easy task, trust us!).  […]

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Writing Funny with Jim Gavin

Humor can come in many forms, and appear in the least likely of places. Tragedy, romance, drama, and poetry can feature an interwoven layer of humor. To that end, a comic story can take shape in many different genres, and can be a technique put to use by many different types of writers. If you’re […]

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Out Loud: Performance Poetry, Hip Hop, and More (Online)

Award-winning poet, short story author and Writers’ Program instructor Rachel Kann talks with us about her NEW fall quarter performance poetry course, Out Loud: Performance Poetry, Hip Hop, and More (Online). This course is the first of its kind here at the Wp’! If you’ve taken our other poetry courses (or even if you haven’t) […]

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Staff Picks for Fall!

After a summer of lounging (it’s okay to admit it… nothing wrong with that), fall’s the time to finally get back into your writing.  We have a ton of classes ready to help you get your feet wet again—just ask our staff! Over in online creative writing, Katy Flaherty thinks you should try Out Loud: […]

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Calling All Advanced Students!

You’ve worked hard on your writing.  You’ve brainstormed and outlined and written and rewritten and…you’re still not quite there.  What’s a writer to do?  Lucky for you, we have a plethora of options for advanced students in fall 2012—online and onsite workshops in screenwriting and creative writing, two nine-month master classes, consultation services, online mentorships, […]

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Countdown to the Writers Faire

Attention, Writers! The Writers’ Program is holding its annual UCLA Extension Writers Faire this month, on Sunday, August 26th.  Whether you’ve never attended before, or have been there every year since its inception, you definitely need to come out and take advantage of all the free mini-classes, discounts, opportunities to meet like-minded people, community information, […]

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Creating & Selling Your Work in the Nonfiction Market

This fall quarter the Writers’ Program is proud to welcome new Wp’ instructor Yona McDonough, a successful freelance writer (and fiction writer too)! Students—if you’re looking to break into the nonfiction market you will love Yona’s new course where you can expect to learn the ins and outs of selling your work (yes—for money!) from […]

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In Memory of Jessie Lee Dawson-Wilson:
1936 – 2012

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Writers’ Program student Jessie Lee Dawson-Wilson. Jessie was 76-years-old and a Top 10 finalist in the 2012 Writers’ Program Screenplay Competition, as well as a participant in our Community Access Scholarship Program (CASP), and the recipient of a 2011 UCLA […]

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Student Veronica Rossi Scores Big with YA Trilogy

If you’re not familiar with the name Veronica Rossi, you will be soon.  Following in the footsteps of Orson Scott Card and Suzanne Collins, Rossi—with her blockbuster breakout novel Under the Never Sky—is proving that YA can be relevant, thought provoking, and wildly popular among adults.  Foreign rights have sold in over 25 territories; Warner […]

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Wp’ Certificate Grads Celebrate their Accomplishments

Hundreds of certificate graduates descended upon UCLA’s Royce Hall on June 29 for the 2012 UCLA Extension Certificate Graduation Ceremony. The audience was packed with graduates, their loved ones and their friends who came to cheer the graduates on. Attendees were treated to a keynote speech by Judge Elizabeth Allen White, as well as several […]

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