'New Mexico New Voices' training programme launches for local screenwriters

The second annual scheme is open to ten emerging screenwriters developing their first or second feature film or TV project

By Priyanca Rajput 19 Apr 2023

'New Mexico New Voices' training programme launches for local screenwriters
Stowe Story Labs short film. (Cr: SSL)

The New Mexico Film Office is partnering with Stowe Story Labs to provide the second edition of 'New Voices New Mexico,' the training programme for emerging local screenwriters.

The programme will be administered in three parts over six months by Stowe Story Labs founder and director David Rocchio and is designed to support emerging screenwriters in developing foundational skills necessary for writing feature film or television scripts.

The 'New Voices New Mexico' inaugural programme ran in 2022 and aims to help emerging screenwriters and filmmakers learn skills and approaches to building a new feature film or TV script, starting with the foundation of a story. Participants come out of the program with a completed first draft of a script, the confidence to pitch their project, and the preparation to push their work forward. “Helping our above-the-line talent to hone their craft is the next step in creating a vibrant eco-system in this important economic development sector in New Mexico,” Economic Development cabinet secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “We’re grateful to our studio partners, Netflix and NBCUniversal, for contributing financially to make this training a reality for our screenwriters.”

The 2023 programme will begin in June and includes an online narrative lab curriculum focusing on skill development, story structure, and learning elements of pitching a project in various environments and packaging, including elements of creative production, casting, adaptation, and finance and distribution. Other programme highlights include direct access to working industry professionals, peer-to-peer script note sessions, roundtables, and networking opportunities to gain skills to navigate the film industry and create a network of talented peers.

“Running the lab online makes the program even more accessible,” Rocchio said. “We find our online programmes help forge community, and especially given that the writers' retreat will be in person, we are confident we will achieve the goals with this model.”

The lab will be followed by a long-form writing program, led by Stowe CoFounder David Pope, involving twelve three-hour online sessions; blocks of structured writing time; one-on-one meetings at critical points in the process; and focus on building stories from a character-centred approach focusing on internal conflict as the touchstone for development. Participants will also benefit from networking at shared mealtimes and activities, allowing broader conversations between peers and mentors. Most importantly, the retreat will include time to write and reflect on the scripts.

By the end of the programme, writers will have written a first draft and a synopsis of a new narrative feature or television script.

The writing programme will take place from July 9 – October 15, with writing time slated on October 23. November 4 – 7 will conclude the program with a writers’ retreat in Las Cruces (venue TBD).

The programme is open to ten emerging screenwriters and filmmakers developing their first or second feature film or TV project.

The deadline for applications is Monday, May 1, 2023. Interested New Mexicans can apply here.

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