BEST WRITERS' WORKSHOP - 2000
At this year's Gotham Awards for Independent Screenwriting, where two Minnesota locals won prizes, host Sandra Bernhardt was heard to exclaim: "God, what's going on? It seems like all the good projects are coming out of Minnesota." With all the well-known mainstream writing centers and workshops in town vying for the attention and resources of the local lit scene, it may be surprising that the writers' workshop currently getting the most buzz these days is one you've likely never heard of. A devoted and growing band of screenplay writers turn up for events such as weekly workshops run by a group facilitator, monthly group critiques of in-progress screenplays, readings of screenplays for the public at Metro State University that involve local actors, and occasional ad hoc public forums and presentations. The group has enjoyed visits from such established talents as Barry Morrow, writer of Rain Man, and won grants from the Jerome and McKnight foundations to support their various programs. Several of their members have won national screenwriting awards, have written scripts for TV shows such as The X-Files and teleplays for HBO, and are currently shopping their screenplays around Hollywood. And the best news is that the Screenwriter's Workshop is currently seeking to expand its membership in order to open a fourth script group. All you've got to do to join is aspire to write a screenplay (and hand over $40 for membership dues).