Summer Workshop in Italy

Friend and colleague from UCLA, Paul Chitlik, now a clinical assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television, holds a residential writing seminar in Europe every summer. This year, the seminar is in Cairo Montenotte, Italy. Here are the details as provided by Paul, who is also the author of Rewrite: A Step-by-Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Characters, and Drama in Your Screenplay.

Are you thinking about how you can get to the next level with a script you’ve been meaning to write or rewrite? Probably you are. You can deal with both at the same time by signing up for a screenwriting retreat coming up June 16-June 29 in Cairo, Italy. Yes. Cairo Montenotte in the Liguria region of Northern Italy.

We’ll be staying in a sumptuous villa with ten bedrooms, a huge kitchen and 2 living rooms as well as a large swimming pool, a tennis court, a separate pizza house and nineteen acres of land with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. It is a mere 3 minutes drive from the city center of Cairo Montenotte and 25 minutes drive from the beach. Cairo Montenotte lies in the region of Liguria in the North Western part of Italy and borders on the Piedmonte region to the North. Combined, the two regions boast a long shore-line on the Mediterranean, seaside resorts, ancient ports and towns, hills, plains and many places of historic interest. This part of Italy is known for its delicate food and famous wine.

But you don’t go to a screenwriting retreat for lodging or the food, although we will be having our own local chef prepare lunch and dinner. You go for the concentrated writing experience. This year there will again be two seminars at the same time! I will lead one that will focus on rewriting an existing script. If you prefer to write a new script from scratch, Nanou Matteson, UCLA MFA grad, who has been expertly teaching and coaching writers for 20 years, will lead our second annual first draft seminar.

Nanou has worked with hundreds of writers in addition to attending many of my retreats. She knows my method and has always been a leader in my classes. Her students last year were wowed by her passion, wit, and knowledge.

I’ll be focusing on the usual – story, character, dialogue, then more story, then more story (not a typo), then pages until we get your existing script up to the next level. Nanou will take those who face the blank page through the whole process as if you were in a UCLA 434 graduate seminar, only better since she’ll have only 5 in her section.

Talk to a former participant – it’s intense. There are three hours of seminar every afternoon, office hours in the morning, group meals, long walks after – all focused on script work. Mornings, early afternoons, and, if you’re a night writer, nights will be for writing.

If you were not able to get into one of my 434s or Professional Program advanced classes at UCLA, this may be your only opportunity to see why more than one MFA grad has said, “I learned more in ten weeks with Paul than I learned in two years at bleep University.” By the way, I will not be teaching at UCLA again as I am exclusive to Loyola Marymount University now.

The level is always high – last year we had several MFAs, MFA candidates, and alumni of UCLA’s Professional Program in screenwriting, not to mention professionals from Australia, England, and Germany. Oh, and me, the not-tooting-my-horn former UCLA Prof Program instructor and sometime Visiting Assistant Professor in the MFA program, currently Clinical Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University, and author of Rewrite, A Step by Step Guide to Strengthen Structure, Character, and Drama in Your Screenplay, now in its second printing. BTW, you’ll get a copy of the book on your arrival.

The villa is about an hour from Turin, about 45 minutes to Genoa, less than 25 minutes to Savona on the Med. Lots of small villages to explore if you rent a car (you can share – we’ll put you in touch with others in the program). And if you’re feeling frisky, Nice, France is 90 minutes up the coast.

You’re wondering about cost. For Paul’s program, if you have a single room, it will be $3745 by check ($3858 if by PayPal). A shared room will be $3245 ($3343 via PayPal). If you go for Nanou’s startup workshop, a single will be $3495 ($3599 via PayPal) and a double will be the incredibly affordable $2950 ($3039 via PayPal). If there is demand, there will be three triples available at $2745 ($2828 via Paypal). There’s a 10% discount for you if you’ve taken one of our private workshops before.

Think about it – 13 days and nights in an Italian villa, room and board plus instruction for a lot less than, say, tuition only for an equivalent course at a private university. My section will be limited to seven, and Nanou’s section will be limited to five, so you’ll get lots of personal attention.

Deadline has been extended to March 1 for Laurie’s readers for the initial deposit of $200 to hold your place. Contact Nanou immediately, though, if you want to make sure you have a spot. We have only one place left in each seminar. First come, first served.



  1. Reply flora scott 29th May 2014

    any space still available?

    if not, any recommendations? I really need a helping hand with my script.

    thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    flora scott

    • Reply Laurie Hutzler 17th June 2014

      Click on the link to check out availablities.

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