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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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Maureen Connell: 20 Years of Inspiring Students

After 20 years of teaching novel writing for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, instructor Maureen Connell is retiring.  Maureen, a short fiction writer and author of the novel Mary Lacey, has helped literally hundreds of students get their novels started through her beginning-level novel writing workshops. One former student sums up her experience in Maureen’s […]

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Feature Film Finalists Named

The Writers’ Program is pleased to announce the top three finalists of its 7th annual Feature Film Writing Competition. In alphabetical order, they are: Eric Borden (for his detective mystery “Fever”), Markham Cook (for his thriller “Restoration”), and Chandra Wicke (for her drama “Surviving the Captain”). Eric, Markham, and Chandra will now be mentored one-on-one […]

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TV Spec Competition Finalists Named

Last week we named the three finalists of the pilot writing competition.  This week, we’re delighted to announce the names and loglines of the three finalists in the 2012 TV Spec Writing Competition.  Here they are in no particular order… Matt Peabody for his half-hour spec script, Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Larry the Donor” Larry becomes […]

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Finalists of TV Pilot Competition Named

First there was the Feature Film Writing Competition.  Then came the Television Writing Competition. This year, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program added a third option to the mix by splitting the Television Writing competition into two distinct categories:  TV Pilot Writing and TV Spec Writing.   The goal of all three competitions remains the same: to […]

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The Act of Playwriting

Despite the reputation that Los Angeles has for being a world of plastic people and Hollywood special effects, the art and culture scene is thriving. We are fortunate to have access to up-and-coming artists in any form: live music any night of the week in Hollywood; world-class museums; cutting-edge fashion made right downtown in the […]

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UCLA Extension Honors Judith Simon Prager and Harry Youtt

On May 17, 2012, UCLA Extension honored 16 instructors for their commitment and consistent excellence in teaching.  Among this extraordinary group included our very own Judith Prager and Harry Youtt, who have been co-teaching creative writing workshops for the Writers’ Program since 1989.  Linda Venis, Director of the Writers’ Program, wrote this in her nomination […]

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Join us at the Publication Party on June 7th

Looking for a fun, free, and stimulating weeknight event?  Want to mingle with some of Los Angeles’ most talented writers?  Then join us at the 19th annual Publication Party on June 7th! Held at the picturesque Skirball Cultural Center from 7-9pm, the evening includes readings by 18 Writers’ Program instructors from work they’ve published in […]

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Social Networking with the Wp

You’ve explored the website, taken a class, and perhaps attended our annual Writers Faire or Publication Party.  But did you know you can stay connected with us here at the Writers’ Program on a daily basis?  Choose one or all of our options below to join a community of writers who are every bit as […]

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Making Time for Your Writing: Part III

How’s the writing going?  Have you managed to carve out daily time for your writing goals?  (Even just fifteen write-able minutes?!) It’s been a few months since our last batch of inspired tips from our instructors on how to make daily time for your writing.  Here are a few more to keep you going! “To […]

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Summer Preview: Writing Commercial Fiction

Do you dream of alternate universes, aliens, or time travel?  Is the next In Her Shoes floating around in your psyche, just waiting for the right moment to spill onto the page?  Or perhaps you’ve written a couple of chapters of a murder mystery but aren’t sure whodunit.  While science fiction, chick lit, and thrillers may have […]

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What’s Up for Summer? Just Ask Our Staff…

Flip flops: check. New beach cooler: check. Writing class… check? The UCLA Extension summer catalog is officially released on April 25th and if you’re ready to make a commitment to your writing this summer but clueless where to begin, we can help! I turned to the Writers’ Program staff—scribes themselves who have taken many a […]

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Q&A With Instructor Jim Jennewein

Former ad copywriter and professional feature film writer Jim Jennewein shares some of his knowledge and experience with the Writers’ Program, while also discussing the importance of “the scene” and his upcoming summer course. Writers’ Program: I see in your list of credits that you’ve written original screenplays, sequels, and adaptations. Which do you most […]

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Get Your Geek On at the Festival of Books

If you haven’t been to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival you’re seriously missing out. This lively event features authors, screenwriters, poets, celebrities and musicians on stages and in theaters once again on the beautiful USC campus. The festival is entertaining for children, teens and adults alike. And did I mention that it’s free! Whether […]

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Summertime…and the Writing is Easy!

Summertime. The beach. The sand. The surf. Dodgers games. Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. In the summer it’s time to take it easy in the sun, right? You bet.  Time to shirk your writing?  NO WAY!   You can grab your beach ball and have a summer BBQ, but you still need to write, write, write! […]

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Together at Last!

Three weeks ago, students from our Master Class in Novel Writing came together with instructor Lisa Cron in Westwood for four days of brainstorming and workshopping. The students , who have been working together online for the past 6-months, hailed from locales as diverse as Philadelphia, Santa Cruz, and Manhattan Beach. They are all focused […]

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Join us at the Cyberhouse!

Curious about online learning?  Then you’ll want to participate in our free Cyberhouse:  An Online Open House, offered May 1-4 in Cyberspace.  This free “event” features more than 30 summer instructors available to answer your questions online. Explore the online format, participate in live chats, access links to instructors’ bios and statements, and speak with […]

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You’re Cordially Invited…

Calling all residents of Downtown LA, Pasadena, Eagle Rock, and the Greater Eastside!  You know that hour-plus after-work commute to the Westside that inspires fantasies of jet packs and private helicopters?   You can now reclaim hours of your life and still take the Writers’ Program courses you know and love by enrolling in one of […]

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Making (Even More) Time for Your Writing

A few weeks back, we shared some great tips from Writers’ Program instructors on how to make time for your writing.  Have you put some of the tips to use yet?  For those of you still hungry for inspiration, our instructors share more of their insight—for both creative writers and screenwriters alike! CREATING (AND CHANGING) […]

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Now Available: The Writers’ Program Scholarship Application

It’s the week everyone’s been waiting for… the 2012 UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship application is now available for download! To download a pdf of the 2012 -2013 application packet, click here. Now in its second year, our Scholarship Program will provide ten lucky scholars—in either creative writing or screenwriting—the unique opportunity to take three […]

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New Instructor Terry Pierce

Terry Pierce may be a new instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, but with 17 published children’s books under her belt, she’s a veteran when it comes to the craft of writing for little ones. Here Terry shares her advice, her muse, and her secret to a successful children’s story. Writers’ Program:  This spring […]

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Springtime is Writing Time

Springtime is writing time, don’t you think? There’s something special in the air, and I’m not just talking about the pollen.  Spring is, after all, nature’s time for rebirth, for renewal: dried leaves on the ground are replaced by new buds. It’s time for you to renew vows to write this year, especially if you […]

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Making Time for Everyday Writing

Has it been days since you’re written?  Weeks, perhaps?  Months?!  Maybe you’ve been too busy, or else you just haven’t felt inspired to write.  Plus, Dexter’s on tonight, dirty dishes and laundry are calling your name, your kids aren’t sleeping through the night yet (which means you’re tired), and every time you sit down to […]

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Writing Tips and Tricks from our Instructors

My home computer is adorned with a bright yellow post-it note that reads:  “Don’t confuse what happens in your story with what your story is about.”  This pithy writing tip, submitted by a Writers’ Program instructor during a recent promotional campaign, was actually my big “aha moment,” the one when I realized that what I […]

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Q &A with Francesca Lia Block

We’re coming right up to the start of the 2012 Writers Studio, from February 9 – 12!  The office is gearing up for the opening reception, and I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces, along with meeting new Studio students as well. Personally, I think the Studio is a great opportunity for our […]

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Joel Thompson's credits

Instructor Joel Thompson on How He Got His Start and the Relevence of the One-Hour Spec Script

Television writer, story editor and one-hour drama instructor Joel Thompson recently took some time to tell us about his amazing list of credits plus his upcoming Writers’ Studio course in February. Writers’ Program: First off, your IMdB page has four major show titles splashed across the top banner (Battlestar Galactica, House M.D., Boomtown, and Falling […]

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The 2012 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 actual blood, sweat, and tears of making 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 […]

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Announcing the Winners of the 2011 James Kirkwood Award in Creative Writing

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.  Now in its twentieth year, this year’s competition had 41 outstanding submissions.  First round judges Ron Alexander, Beth Ann Bauman, liz gonzalez, […]

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2012: The Year We Write

Here we are, a brand new year! What are your writing goals for 2012?  Chances are, whatever you have in mind, the Writers’ Program can give you a helping hand in reaching those goals. Let this be the year that you finish that first draft, take up a new exciting genre, or approach writing for […]

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Happy Holidays from the Writers' Program!

Happy New Year!

Please don’t hate us, dear readers in the Midwest, Northeast, and anywhere else with marginally cold weather, but Southern California is blissfully clear after a day of rain, the air is fresh, and while outside you probably want a sweater or light jacket, inside it’s still tank top weather.  Despite the lack of snow, frost, […]

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Wp's Laurence Rosenthal and Samantha Dunn

2011 Outstanding Instructors of the Year: Samantha Dunn and Laurence Rosenthal

Each year, as part of the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Outstanding Instructor and Employee Awards, the Writers’ Program has the privilege of honoring two deserving instructors.  This year’s nominees—Samantha Dunn and Laurence Rosenthal—are both seasoned veterans who have inspired more than a thousand students over the years with their prolific experience, thoughtfulness in […]

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Wp' Instructor Michelle Meyering

Bizarre Leaps on the Page: LA Literary Journals

Los Angeles: the city of glitz, glamour and beautiful people. Not to mention shorts-in-November weather.  We here at the Writers’ Program know this city is filled with a thriving community of every kind of writer, most of whom are hunkered down in a cafe, laptop opened and coffee cup in hand. We sat down and […]

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Minecraft

Getting Into the Game with Writers Studio Instructor Robert Bryant

The line between writing for Hollywood and writing for video games is becoming ever more blurred as technology pushes the boundaries of both mediums. Game developer and Writers’ Program instructor Robert Bryant recently had time for an interview to discuss his upcoming four-day course in “narrative design” and all things gaming. Writers’ Program: To start, […]

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Wp' staffers peruse the winter catalog

Staff Picks for Winter

The UCLA Extension winter catalog is out and enrollment is officially underway!  As always, the Writers’ Program has more than a hundred excellent workshops to choose from this quarter in fiction, memoir, personal essay, television writing, and feature film writing, to name a few.  Don’t know where to begin?  To give you a head start, […]

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Wp' Online Student

Online Learning Demystified!

As an advisor for online creative writing courses, without a doubt the question I hear most from students is some variation of “How do online classes work?”  While the internet is undeniably intertwined with so many aspects of our lives—bill pay, reservations, dating, shopping, and the engines that support our social lives, Facebook and Twitter—many […]

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Wp' Instructor Michael Buckley

Keep Writing Time Sacred: A Q&A with instructor Michael Buckley

How do we put ourselves in a creative mode of thinking? Is it as simple as sitting in front of a blank computer screen? Well, if you’re anything like me, that’s probably the worst place to try and be creative, with the internet and endless time-wasting vortexes a mere thumb tap away. How do the […]

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Schaffner. Image by Casey Curry for PEN Center USA

WHERE IS SHE NOW? A Q&A with Former Kirkwood Literary Prize Finalist Jamie Schaffner

Fall is an exciting time of year for the Creative Writing side of the Wp’, a time when our intermediate and advanced-level instructors consider all of their students’ work from the preceding year and choose two nominees for the annual James Kirkwood Literary Prize. This year’s finalists will be celebrated at a luncheon with their […]

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From left: Carla, Alicia and Sara

Musical Chairs at the Writers’ Program

The Writers’ Program has undergone a number of staffing changes recently, so if you call your trusty advisor and someone new answers, do not be alarmed.  We are fully staffed, but with some new faces! If you ever call the Writers’ Program front desk (i.e. the “main line”), you’ll talk to the lovely Carla Janas, […]

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Competition winners Montoya and Dorian

Facing Down “Snarling Wolves and Trained Assassins”

This week we interviewed Ana Maria Montoya and Robert Dorian, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively of the UCLA Extension Feature Film Competition.  Their scripts—Hanging Moon and Dead of Winter—earned many praises from their mentors and judges alike.  Ana Maria and Robert both had much to share about taking writing courses, developing their prize winning […]

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Greg Sullivan

Erin’s Voice Tops the 2011 UCLA Extension Feature Film Competition

Last week we interviewed the winners of the UCLA Extension Television Writing Competition.  This week the spotlight’s on the winners of our Feature Film Competition.  Greg Sullivan, a feature film certificate student, took first place with his drama script, Erin’s Voice.  Greg shared recent developments following his win, as well as exciting news about his […]

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2nd & 3rd place winners Tricia Smith & Duke Cullen

WINNERS OF THE 2011 TELEVISION WRITING COMPETITION (CONT’D)

Last week, the Writers’ Program interviewed 1st Place Television Competition Winner Erika Mcpherson.  Here, our 2nd place winner Tricia Smith, (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Gets Kidnapped”), and our 3rd place winner Duke Cullen, (“Dexter: The Dark is Rising”), discuss their experience in the Writers’ Program, their thoughts about the competition, and their […]

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Erika Mcpherson, 1st place winner

WINNERS OF THE 2011 SCREENWRITING COMPETITIONS NAMED!

Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor, United Talent Agency, CBS Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer Television. These are just a few of the agencies and production companies we’ve heard from since announcing the winners of this year’s Screenwriting Competitions.  For Erika Mcpherson, Tricia Smith, and Duke Cullen, the winners of the inaugural Television Writing Competition, and for […]

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50,000 Words and Countless Cups of Coffee

Each November, tens of thousands of brave souls put their dream of becoming a novelist above all else and partake in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). To successfully complete the challenge, writers must produce 50,000 words in 30 days, or approximately six pages per day! Here at the Writers’ Program, instructor Ian Randall Wilson returns […]

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Eight of this year’s scholarship students

Announcing the 2011 – 2012 Writers’ Program Scholarship Recipients

We are very excited to announce the recipients of our inaugural UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship!  After a competitive judging process, we narrowed the applicants down to ten promising creative writing and screenwriting students who showed not only financial need, but a genuine passion for their craft. Our recipients shared a little more about themselves, […]

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Wp' instructor Quinton Peeples

A Peek Inside Screenwriter Quinton Peeples’ Toolbox

Everyone’s heard the adage “writing is rewriting.” Screenwriting instructor Quinton Peeples proves just that in his upcoming fall course: Rewrite Toolbox. Recently, the Writers’ Program had a chance to interview Quinton about his philosophies on writing, filmmaking, and living a happy life… Writers’ Program: Not only have you written for television and feature films, but […]

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Celebrate good times.

The Benefits of a Certificate in Creative Writing

Perhaps you’ve taken a creative writing course or two, gotten the confidence to pursue your dream of being published, but you know you need to take more courses to continue to refine your craft. Have you considered adding a bit of structure to your coursework by enrolling in one of our two certificate programs (emphasis […]

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YOU’RE INVITED TO A FREE CELEBRATION OF WRITING

The Writers’ Program prides itself on fostering a community of writers and nowhere is that more evident than at the UCLA Extension Writers Faire.  Now in its 12th year, the Writers Faire can best be described as a celebration of all things writing. Whether you’ve considered doing some writing, have been writing for years, or […]

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Sean O’Reilly

Writing Comics with Sean O’Reilly

The Green Lantern. X-Men. The Incredible Hulk. Captain America.  Movies based on comic book characters are all the rage these days.  Whereas in the past it was not exactly “cool” to read comics (in fact, “Comic Book Guy” on The Simpsons made it hard to love your local comic book reader), these days comics are […]

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Phil Kellard, Lisa Cron, and Billy Mernit

Attention Advanced Students!

The Writers’ Program is still accepting applications for the 2011-2012 Master Classes in Novel Writing, Feature Film Writing, and Half-Hour Comedy Pilot 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 6 or 9 months.  Throughout the course, your instructor […]

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Just another day at the WP water cooler...

Staff Picks for Fall!

If you’ve read our blog or website, you know that Writers’ Program staff members are active writers and students; and just like you, we go back and forth on which workshops to take or instructors to study with.  We all feel pretty lucky to have first-hand experience with an amazing roster of courses and instructors, […]

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Q &A with Naomi Benaron: Following Her Passion Paid Off!

In January, online instructor Naomi Benaron’s first novel, Running the Rift, hits bookstores.  The book, about a young Tutsi athlete during the Rwandan genocide, has been generating a buzz since Naomi won the 2010 Bellwether Prize.  Most recently, she landed on the Publishers Weekly “Fiction First Timers” list for debut novelists, and Michael Schaub, a […]

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Student Profile: Erica Angle

Success as a writer can be measured in many ways, from a publication credit to simply achieving whatever goals you had when you took your very first Writers’ Program workshop.  For former student Eric Angle, her most recent success comes in the form of something that many aspiring writers dream of… a completed novel! Erica […]

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R. Dorian, A. Montoya, and G. Sullivan

Spirits, Orphans, and the Hearing-Impaired Take the Top Three Honors

Two weeks ago, we named the three finalists of the UCLA Extension Television Competition.  This week, we bring you the names of the top three finalists of this year’s Screenplay Competition. They are (in alphabetical order), Robert Dorian, Ana Maria Montoya, and Greg Sullivan. Having made it through several grueling rounds of judging, the writers […]

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Paige Suth

Graduating to the World of TV Writing

More than 1,800 students came to the UCLA campus on Tuesday, June 28 as UCLA Extension held its 3rd Annual Certificate Graduation Ceremony. Held in the historic and atmospheric Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, the UCLA Alumni Band and Cheer Squad were on hand to liven up the atmosphere for the filled-to-capacity crowd. Television […]

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Two Specs and a Pilot!

We’re pleased to announce the three finalists in the first annual UCLA Extension Television Writing Competition: Duke Cullen, Erika Mcpherson, and Tricia Smith! Each finalist will spend the summer working one-on-one with a professional television writer who will help ensure that the scripts are the best they can be. Once the judging is complete in […]

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film adapt. of L. Schwartz's novel, ANGELS CREST

Writing Fearless Fiction with Leslie Schwartz

In April, the film adaptation of instructor Leslie Schwartz’s novel, Angels Crest, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. This summer Leslie brings her hit class, Fearless Fiction: Techniques for Ongoing Creativity, to the Writers’ Program. Writers’ Program: While your summer course is new to the Writers’ Program, you’ve taught it many times before. Can you […]

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Q&A with Deb Everson Borofka: The Fine Line between Fiction and Nonfiction

As a Writers’ Program advisor, students will sometimes ask me if the story they are working on should be labeled fiction or creative nonfiction. If they take a few names and change them, or if they end up re-arranging the order of events, or if they have to make up a portion of the story […]

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Beth Ruscio

Student Profile: Beth Ruscio Finds Her Passion in Poetry

It’s not uncommon for UCLA Extension students to reinvent themselves, having first achieved success in other fields, then taking classes later in life to further explore their creativity, both personally and professionally.  Beth Ruscio is the perfect example.  Beth was a successful actress of stage and screen before coming to the Writers’ Program seven years […]

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Chae, Cindy, Kate, Mae, and Jeff

Walking the Walk: Writers’ Program Staffers Are Students Too!

If you’ve ever contacted the Writers’ Program office for advice about courses, you’ve no doubt talked to some of our friendly staffers, all of whom are enthusiastic about writing and most of whom are pursuing writing goals themselves.  Access to knowledge is a great benefit of working for an educational institution, and critical thinking and […]

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Semi-Finalists Named in Screenwriting Competitions!

The Writers’ Program congratulates the ten semi-finalists in our Feature Film writing competition and the ten semi-finalists in our inaugural Television writing competition. These 20 scripts are already in the hands of our next round of judges. Look for the top three finalists in both categories to be named in early June. Screenplay Competition Michael […]

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Instructor Amy Wallen at the 2009 LA Times FOB

Q&A: Amy Wallen Talks Moonpies, Movie Stars, and DimeStories

Bestselling author and new Writers’ Program instructor Amy Wallen has been a frequent literary critic for the Los Angeles Times in fiction and memoir and she is the creator of NPR’s popular reading series, DimeStories. This August, she’ll be teaching The Essential Beginnings: An Introductory Creative Writing Workshop. We chatted about connecting with readers, three […]

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Phyllis Gebauer with Pynchon giving peace sign

Instructor Gives Extraordinary Gift to the Writers’ Program

During a private event on the UCLA campus last week, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program celebrated receipt of a rare collection of personalized first edition novels written by the critically acclaimed and very private author, Thomas Pynchon. The books were donated to the Writers’ Program by twenty one-year veteran-instructor Phyllis Gebauer who received the books […]

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The New Year Has Come and Gone!

Summer quarter is almost here and believe it or not, we’re almost halfway through the year now.  It’s the perfect time for me to check in with all of you… have you set your writing routine yet?   (You know, the one you keep putting off?)  Did some of the great instructor tips that we offered […]

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The Festival of Books is Back!

It’s that time again, Angelenos!  Spring is in full bloom, the weather is warm, and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is this weekend.  Traditionally held at UCLA, the annual free festival comes to USC this year, providing a central location in the downtown arts and education corridor.  Parking is $10, both on campus […]

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Cyberhouse Is Back!

Curious about online learning?  Not sure which instructor is right for you?  Want to pay the lowest fees possible?   Then join our free Cyberhouse:  An Online Open House, offered May 3-6. Here are 8 great reasons to participate: 1)      Connect with more than 30 Writers’ Program online instructors.  Pose your writing-related questions to your choice […]

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WP instructor Rachel Kann

You’re Invited!

If you’re a fan of reading and writing (and really, who isn’t?), you’ll want to join us on Thursday, May 12 for our fun, festive, and free 18th Annual Publication Party.  You’ll be delighted and entertained as 19 Writers’ Program instructors read from their recently published fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  Mix and mingle with the […]

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Lynn Hightower

Four Days in LA

Last month, our 2010-11 Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-residency) students traveled to sunny southern California just in time for a beautiful long weekend.  Hailing from as far and wide as North Carolina, Colorado, and New York, our Master Classers were met and led by award-winning mystery novelist and teacher extraordinaire Lynn Hightower (who travelled […]

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WP instructor Ellis Weiner

Ellis Weiner Doesn’t Care What you Have to Say

New Writers’ Program instructor Ellis Weiner will be teaching Find Your Comic Voice(s)! this spring and he doesn’t care what you have to say, but rather, how you choose to say it.  Here, Ellis, author and a former editor of the National Lampoon, sheds some light on the genre of humor writing for us. Writers’ […]

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instructor Paul Levine

One Day Seminar Offers Insight on Agents, and a Bonus to Boot

Does the idea of finding representation for your book seem daunting?  Are you ready to take your book or novel to the next level, but have no idea where to begin?  Now you can get all your questions answered in a one-day seminar called Essential Guide to the Legal and Business Aspects of Getting Published.  […]

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Nia Malika Dixon on the set of City In the Sea

Success Story Students: Where Are They Now?

It’s always a thrill when students let us know they’ve reached their goal of publication or production. As novelist Kim Wright recently put it, “you morph from the writer—who stumbles around in her bathrobe until noon, muttering—into the author, who is expected to be articulate, outgoing, perfectly dressed and media ready.” We managed to catch […]

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Sara Bond and Katy Flaherty in the WS office

Writers Studio 2011 Wrap Up

Another February has come and gone, which means another Writers Studio has blown through Westwood, leaving behind a trail of newly-inspired writers. At this year’s Studio, we had nearly 150 students from places as far away as Lithuania, Germany and France, to name a few. Nationally, students came from all over the country, including Georgia, […]

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From Plumbing Salesman to Published Author!

First, his ode to plumbing salesmen, “Costello,” was published in The New Yorker (complete with an interview with New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman ).  Before the awesome reality had a chance to set in, his short story collection, Middle Men, was picked up by Simon & Schuster.   Jim Gavin, a former plumbing salesman and […]

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Television Writers, Make This Your Breakout Year!

It’s no secret that the economic recession has hit Hollywood hard, forever changing the way it does business. There is however, an upside for television writers.  According to sitcom pilot writing instructor Christopher Parrish, “The networks and studios willingness to take a chance on pilots from rookie television writers has never been greater.” Capitalizing on […]

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Snoopy and Woodstock at work

The Joys of Revising: Moving from the First Draft Novel to the Second and Beyond

A bestselling author once said, “There aren’t good books and bad books. There are finished books and books that still need more work.” Any novelist who’s been through the transition from first draft to second knows that the revision process requires a supplementary set of craft tools. To borrow a decorating metaphor, some scenes may […]

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Writers' Program instructor Corey Mandell

The Writers Studio is Nigh!

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” said sportswriter Red Smith. As we all know, writing can be a very intense process that requires nothing less than your blood, sweat and tears. To make matters more difficult, some of us don’t have the time and […]

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WP instructor Chris Webb

A Better Script, Guaranteed!

“He’s a God among screenwriting teachers!”  So says a former student of Chris Webb, a Writers’ Program screenwriting instructor whose credits include Toy Story 2, Duckman, and Bruno the Kid: The Animated Movie, as well as a stint at The Second City in Chicago. Chris has been teaching for the Writers’ Program since 2006, and […]

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The clock continues to tick in 2011

The New Year is Here! How Will You Make Time for Your Writing?

If you’re like most writers, you struggle to find time to devote to your writing because family, work, and/or school commitments need to come first.  Last month, in an effort to see how the pros do it, I queried Writers’ Program instructors and asked them to share the secrets of their success in Part I […]

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Instructor Anne Sanow

Meet New Online Instructor Anne Sanow!

Massachusetts author Anne Sanow is new to the Writers’ Program, but brings with her eight years of teaching experience, several Pushcart Prize nominations, and a Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her 2009 story collection Triple Time.  We’re excited to have her with us, and this winter she’ll be teaching a new online course, Writing the […]

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New year, new writing goals?

New Year and New Writing Habits for You

Maybe you’re like me, which means you suffer a bit from what I think of as “writer’s panic.” It hits when you realize that you haven’t sat down to write in…a really long time. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I last looked at my comic book script. And […]

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Paz

Happy Holidays from the Writers’ Program!

For me, the holidays mean a flight back to the colder parts of the country, complete with making new TSA friends, fielding relatives’ questions about Nicole Richie’s Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf habits, and forcing myself not to drive like a Floridian through snow storms. The lead-up to these trips is spent searching the back […]

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