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 to “empower women and gender non-conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers”.

Held March 28-29 on the UCLA campus, the symposium will feature more than 60 speakers, panelists, and workshop leaders, including our own superstar Deborah Dean Davis. I recently sat down with Deborah (virtually, of course!) to chat about her BinderCon talk “Becoming a Professional Screenwriter: How to Give Yourself the Best Shot” as well as her own inspiring project.

Writers’ Program: What are you most excited to share at BinderCon?

Deborah Dean Davis: Teaching a class at BinderCon is an opportunity for me to cheerlead. Women are a huge minority in my business, but I believe that isn’t permanent. I really hope to make a dent in everyone’s doubts and send them out into show business armed with the tools they need to succeed.

WP: What do you see as the value of events like BinderCon?

DDD: Women need to hear things like: when you become famous don’t trade your vagina in for a key to the men’s room. We need to maintain our gender identity and WORK IT.

WP: What challenges have you come up against in your career as a result of being female?

DDD: I faced many challenges, like being replaced by a male writer solely because his name had more cache than mine. There were also times I was hired BECAUSE I’m a woman. There are people in this business that believe you must be a man to write men, a woman to write women; ludicrous.

WP: What are you working on at the moment?

DDD: I am kicking ass right now with an original spec screenplay that more than one company is interested in producing. One sees it as a big studio, high budget, tentpole film and the other sees it as a prestigious mini-series on a major network. Never, in my career, have I ever been more delighted to have a major decision in my hands.

Learn more from Deborah and BinderCon’s dozens of other inspiring presenters including Writers’ Program instructor Francesca Lia Block. Click here to purchase tickets.

Katy Flaherty is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Onsite). Write to her at kflaherty@uclaextension.edu.

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