2016 Writers Lab

Our second annual Writers Lab retreat took place in the Connecticut River Valley, from Thursday, September 22th, through Sunday, September 25th, 2016.

The night before, on Wednesday the 21st, The Writers Guild of America East generously hosted a celebration for the 8 mentors (below) and 12 writers. Early on Thursday morning, the group traveled together to the retreat.

The heart of the Lab is script development. Over the course of those cool, late-summer days, the participants collected in various configurations: one-on-one with the mentors; in panel discussions; in small groups; over cocktails; and throughout meals.

Each writer met with two mentors separately and listened, discussed, queried, and learned. The panels and small groups focused on a variety of topics, from crafting strong openings for films, to tips for pitching to producers.

In the private, serene environment away from day-to-day pressures and distractions, writers had the opportunity to take their work to the next level.

The Mentors

The 2016 Writers Lab Participants

Carol Carpenter
The Guadalupe

On a hot August night, gunmen surround a remote American farmhouse near the Mexican border – but who are they, why are they here, and can the family survive the night?

Melody Cooper
Sound of Darkness

A blind Afro Cuban musician and a deaf Black American sculptor are haunted by a woman only they can see and hear, who leads them to help a missing girl and take on an epic fight against an evil legacy of racial violence.

Meredith DePaolo
Devil’s Eye

In the days leading up to the War of 1812, a Kentucky mining team toiling inside the world’s largest cave complex discovers the body of a pre-Columbian man. Now they’re facing a threat far greater than war.

Nancy Duff
Dead Drop

Sixteen year-old Scout Sawyer who thinks she’s been living in witness protection, finds out her dad’s really a spy. When he goes missing, she finds herself recruited into a special program for the children of secret agents.

Kate Erickson
Roll With It

When self-centered journalist Aurora Fetter is called home to settle her mother’s hoarder estate, she finds herself saddled with more than she expected: a basement full of marijuana plants, a roster of clients demanding their pot deliveries, and an eccentric brother unable to fend for himself.

Tina Field Howe

In 2095, a battle drone kills super-hacker Salina Sanchez’s best friend. When she breaks into top-secret code to learn who was behind the attack, she ends up in a battle for her life against the unscrupulous Vice President.

Christina Hulen
A Gentleman of Good Hope

At the turn of the 19th century, a controversial but brilliant British military surgeon must battle detractors who would subvert his pioneering reforms, while maintaining a career-ending secret:  He is a woman.

Christine Toy Johnson
Jumping The Third Rail

Kelly Chao, a 16-year old native New Yorker who found her place in the world through competitive gymnastics, lost it when her father and coach died trying to protect her, and wonders if she can find it again making subway art with some unlikely new friends on the A train.

Nanci Katz–Ellis

A high school freshman yearning for independence in early 80’s Brooklyn learns what it really means to grow up when her parents are forced to leave her and her siblings to fend for themselves, and it’s nothing like she expected.

Leslie Longworth
One Bad Astronaut

A young, unapologetically reckless rock n’roll legend gets a shot at redemption for a decade of bad behavior when he returns home to deal with a paternity suit and falls for the only woman on the planet who’s never heard of him.

Barbara Nunberg
Willful Blindness

An ambitious woman’s meteoric rise from secretary to editor of Britain’s largest tabloid newspaper catapults her to the top of the country’s power elite. When she authorizes the phone hacking of a teenage murder victim, she becomes entangled in a web of intrigue that could destroy the life she’s created.

Stephanie Stanley
The Radical

The story of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most influential women of the 20th Century. Starting out as a shy, powerless woman stuck in the shadow of her philandering husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the film explores Eleanor’s turbulent journey to find her own voice and greatly influence key social reforms we now take for granted.


Emily Abt Audrey’s Run
Jamee Decio H.R. 116
Colette Freedman Scattering Rachel
Clea Frost Imprint
Lovisa Inserra P.O.T.U.S.
Janet Lawler Absolution
Mickey McGovern Wake Up Kate!
Tammy Olsen Red Letter Conspiracy
Katherine Ruppe Dead of Winter
Kristen Tsetsi The Meeting Trees


Nancy Bannon Cornfield
Jill Bayor Eva Hesse
Laura Buchanan Major Schmidt-Storm
Michelle Cutler Girl’s High
Rachel Feldman The Antidote
Jessica Funches One Last Bow
Maria Gigante Eva Eva
Julianne Hall The Optimist Club
Laura Kelber Right Hand Man
Rainy Kerwin Baden (Death Row)
Susie Landau Finch The Doctor’s Wife
Kerry Jen Lopez A Lesser Man
Janice Margolis Charlotte
Janice Margolis The Lost Lounge
Chantal Marie Fiscal Year
Marjorie Neill-Butler Lost Girl
Maya Perez Bring Back Our Girls
Gibran Perrone United We Fall
Cornelia Ravenal A Midsummer Night’s Moose Story
Andie Redwine-Becker Launch
Elizabeth Savage Sullivan The Boy on the Cover
Regina Sharon Lakeland
Jill Snyder The Farm
Ela Thier A Story for Old Lovers
Lynn Wegenka Epiphanies
Ellen Westberg Murder at Shoe Tree
Amie Williams The Journey of Winter and Summer