Archive for the ‘Script Writing’ category

Highlights of the Day: Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2014 (Nov.6)

November 6, 2014

~CB McKenzie and Felicia. He wanted me to hold the ad I designed for him.~

It was a long day, but it was a good day! I spent the day learning, networking, and documenting. Here is a chronological look at my highlights:

8’ish~ I received an awesome text from my friend. It read… “Hey there busy lady! Have a wonderful hillerman conference! U never cease to amaze me with your endless energy and enthusiasm. U r an inspiration!! Can’t wait to hear all about it…” I can’t tell you how good it is to have people who show they care about me in my life. I’m lucky to have met her.

8’ish~ I received an email from author CB McKenzie. He said he was in Santa Fe and wanted to meet with me before leaving town.

10’ish~ Heard lots of good things about my program design.

1’ish~ Happened to see my favorite cabinet secretary, who is also on the commission for my agency at the conference headquarters. He was there for some meeting and we chatted for a while. I told him about my “other life” as a writer and creative force. I loved that he wanted to steal me away to go work for him at State Printing after I showed him the program I designed. I assured him that I loved my career in the archives and had no plans to leave.

3’ish~ The best writing teacher I have ever known, Sandi Ault, complimented me. She liked a super short piece I wrote during a timed exercise in her pre-conference workshop. After I read it she said… “Nice! There are agents in the room. Stand up. I want everyone to see you Felicia.” I was sitting on the floor in front because I was taking photos. If you knew Sandi, you would know why this is a big deal to me. She is amazing and very hard to please. The task was to write 3-4 sentences describing King Kong’s love (without calling it love) for the blonde the first time he held her in his hand. Here is what I wrote: “The animal in him melted away with the brush of her pale skin. A tingle ran through the thick palm of his hand. Years in the jungle had not hardened him enough to deny the softness of her face.” This evening she told me I’m a good writer. She heard other stuff I wrote during the workshop.

4’ish~ I had a meeting with CB McKenzie and sealed a deal. I’ll start working on an author web site and promotional material for him soon.

6’ish~ Got to hang with my two law enforcement buddies who are also writers and regulars at the conference. Betsy (lieutenant and spokeswoman in Oklahoma) and Sana (an officer in Texas). Both woman are originally from New Mexico. I just love Betsy. She kicks ass.

7’ish~ Watched some awesome videographies created by the Film School students of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. The Screen hosted a short film screening and panel presentation moderated by Justin Golding. It was about bringing a novel to the big screen. The panel included Melinda Snodgrass, David Morrell, and Kirk Ellis, who have all had their writing featured on the big screen and TV. I loved that Ellis said… “Our job as writers is to make shit up!”

It was a good day! Gotta get up super early tomorrow so I’m going to bed early. The new book/new author breakfast starts at 7:30am.

How Does Kirk Ellis Tell a Story?

November 8, 2013
~~~Kirk Ellis Presentation on 11.8.2013~~~

~~~Kirk Ellis Presentation on 11.8.2013~~~

Yesterday I learned about how Kirk Ellis tells a story. He is a talented man. His presentation was titled
How to Tell a Story: It’s Not As Easy As You Think. I learned so much from Ellis. He also had one of the most poignant comments during the 2013 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. He said “we are writers. It’s not about what we know. We make stuff up! It’s about imagination!” I loved this comment. Yes~ we are writers!!

The following information on Ellis was published by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission. The commission put out an awesome biography on Ellis. He is the chairman of the commission here in Santa Fe and the following is courtesy of the commission.


Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, a Golden Globe, a WGA Award, a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for his work on the HBO miniseries “John Adams.” The miniseries won a record breaking 13 Emmys in total, as well as four Golden Globe awards. Previously, Ellis received an Emmy nomination and won the WGA Award and Humanitas Prize for the ABC miniseries “Anne Frank,” which he wrote and co-produced. His miniseries “Into the West,” “Life With Judy Garland” and “The Beach Boys: An American Family,” all received multiple Emmy nominations.

Upcoming feature projects include a two-film biography of the Marquis de Lafayette for director Jean-Francois Richet (“Mesrine”) and Oscar-nominated Why Not Productions; the Mormon polygamy drama “Escape,” for director Lasse Hallstrom and star Katherine Heigl, and “Flying Tigers,” a story of the famed WWII fighter pilots, for Fox and New Regency. For HBO, Ellis is writing “The Day the Laughter Stopped,” an account of the Fatty Arbuckle trials of the 1920s, set to star Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) and to be directed by Barry Levinson (“You Don’t Know Jack”). He is currently at work on a series pilot script for HBO and George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions about the agribusiness world, and another for Starz concerning the early years of the O.S.S., the precursor to the C.I.A.

A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television, Ellis began his professional career as a film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, and at age 24 served as the magazine’s international editor. In 1992 he formed Shadow Catcher Productions, an independent production banner under which Ellis develops his own indie features and documentaries. A co-governor of the writers’ branch of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Ellis also serves as chairman of the Santa Fe, New Mexico Arts Commission, on the board of directors of Western Writers of America, and the advisory board of James River Writers.

Here are some of the Ellis quotes I found most interesting and inspiring. I also included some of the things I learned.

It is incumbent on us in the structured side of our brain. How are we going to move a story forward? These are important things we need to do from scene to scene.”

What we have to strive for as writers is economy of expression. How do we make the greatest effect with the smallest amount of tools possible?”

You are telling a story with a minimum of excess in your story.”

It’s not what you put in the book, it’s what you don’t put in the book.”

It’s the process of exclusion that makes a story interesting. This is how you come up with a narrative. “You need to know what your ending is and what your beginning is. If you don’t, you will just be flailing. You need to know the ending of the story because you need to know where your character will end up. A character needs to change to be interesting.”

Human life does not conform to that Shakespearean structure that we are use to, especially if you are basing stories on historical characters.”

Ellis thinks it is very important to look at the “economy” of words in a story. “How can you maximize that? You only have a limited amount of pages, space, words to describe your story.”

Point of view is very important.”

You are able to get into the inner world of characters. What are they thinking?”

“Make sure that you are giving a character the most vivid picture you can.”

Among the Gifted

April 2, 2013

I was very honored to be asked to develop a design to promote the 2013 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. This is my second promotional design for WORDHARVEST. The first one I designed was for the Hillerman Prize. Over the last week, I worked to complete a flyer for Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg.

Anne and Jean founded WORDHARVEST 11 years ago, which is “devoted to the art and craft of writing.” WORDHARVEST sponsors the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. I can’t wait to continue learning from these well known authors, and maybe one famous scriptwriter that I have never met. Anne and Jean have put together a fabulous array of gifted writers. This year, the conference will feature Anne Hillerman, James McGrath Morris, Kirk Ellis, Craig Johnson, David Morrell, Margaret Coel, Christine Barber, Linda Jacobs, Steve Havill, and many others!!

It would be awesome to talk with James McGrath Morris. He is the author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. As a former journalist, I have to read that book and get a special autograph from McGrath Morris. Joseph Pulitzer was a “media baron” who settled in St. Louis. The baron “transformed American journalism into a medium of mass consumption and immense influence.” How can I not read a book about the rise (and arguably the fall) of a champion of the Democratic Party? The media powerhouse is said to have “used his influence to advance a progressive political agenda and his power to fight those who opposed him.”

I would also love to meet the Emmy award winning screenwriter/producer Kirk Ellis. Ellis was the writer and the co~executive producer of John Adams (the HBO mini~series). He is also working on Blood and Thunder, which is an epic drama about Kit Carson and the Navajo Wars. In 2009, Ellis agreed to work on the adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway book Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir by A. E. Hotchner. You know I have to meet him right?! I adore Hemingway. Ellis also worked on the TV mini~series Into the West: Hell on Wheels and Anne Frank: The Whole Story.

I really can’t wait! Here is the design I came up with for the conference. It is sure to be a great!

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

~Designed by Felicia Lujan~

1st Day at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference

November 8, 2012

Today is the first day of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference. We have the bookstore all set up and we are ready to host a slew of book signings from today through Saturday. This year I was considered an official part of the team. I am very happy to be on board with this wonderful group. This is true creative force. I had to have my picture taken by this sign, as I found it to be a rather powerful message. I’ll keep you posted. I have already met some very interesting people. I have also learned so much more about a few people I already know.     Until later~ F

~Felicia at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference 2012~
Santa Fe, New Mexico

~Tony Hillerman Writers Conference Program~

An Opera Libretto: My New Project

September 14, 2012
Photograph I took on a hike in Bandelier National Monument in January 2012.

Photograph I took on a hike in Bandelier National Monument in January 2012.

Today I received the first script I have been asked to review. The libretto or script was written by a lovely Santa Fe woman. The libretto was adapted from a novel written by Adolf Bandelier in 1890. I was asked to review the piece and make notes about the imagery evoked by what I read. I am really good at that with my hyperactive imagination, so that should be easy for me to do! My notes will be tied to a proposed set design for the opera. Once my notes are complete, I will create line drawings and digital composites to accompany what I visualize and return them to the author.

I always say everything happens for a reason. I had been to Bandelier National Monument on a hike in January of this year when there was still snow on the ground. I felt very connected to site and the small river in this national monument. I remember wondering about the people who came before me and how they were given life by the river. I was intended to help this woman. I really believe everyone comes into my life for a reason. I may not understand why, but I still respect that. She loved my photographs of the monument, and said they were just what she had been looking for. She and I were intended to connect. Her script carried several of my signs– the main one being water. Her characters and story line are also aligned with my interests. There are: herbalists and secret shaman from the Water Clan; lovers; warriors; and rain makers. I am excited about this project- I will not get paid for the work, but I am often satisfied with respect and acknowledgment.

If you would like to learn more about Adolph Bandelier (a Swiss anthropologist), this amazing historic site near my home town (Pojoaque), or see the photos I snapped on my last hike there, you can take a look at the following post. It is also an awesome hike if you are into that—

A Single Drop in the Ever Flowing River by Felicia Lujan- January 2012

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