HOW I GOT STARTED
In 1998 I was invited, sort of by accident, to teach a summer screenwriting class at UCLA. My roommate’s friend booked the instructors and he had a last-minute cancellation. I like to think I got hired because he loved my writing sample, but I’m guessing he was probably just desperate.
As it turned out, I loved teaching. I’d read every book on writing and attended every story seminar I could find, but I’d never found a workshop that guided me through the process of creating a story in a way that didn’t feel sort of like math.
I decided to start L.A. Writers’ Lab in 2002, as a workshop that taught a process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure.
The workshops began in my dining room and soon grew to a small theater on Melrose Avenue. But after publishing The 90-Day Novel in 2010, I started getting emails from writers around the world asking me when I was going to offer classes online.
So, here we are.
In my experience, there are two types of workshops. There’s the “free-writing” workshop that can often lead to wonderful prose, but frequently leaves you with a manuscript in search of a narrative. Or, there’s the standard Hollywood screenwriting workshop where story structure is taught by a “script consultant” or “story analyst” as some kind of formula, but fails to offer a process to unlock its magic.
YOUR STORY IS VALID
What you desire to express is valid. The 90-Day workshops are not about figuring out your story, but rather connecting to that ineffable impulse that dwells within - and marrying it to a framework that makes your personal experience universal. We call it the lab because this is a place where you cannot fail. Everything you write either belongs or is leading you to what belongs in your story. This is a place of joy, curiosity, wonder, and grief, of acceptance fully and completely - and always staying open to possibility. The 90-day experience is not math class, in fact, our goal as storytellers is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts - thus the experience is more akin to a Polaroid coming into focus.
The workshops have bestselling authors and established screenwriters working shoulder to shoulder with brand new writers. Writing is a practice, like meditation, and you can start where you are. The creative process should not be Darwinian, it should be joyful and thrilling and sometimes scary, but in a way that isn’t paralyzing.
The 90-Day Novel and The 90-Day Screenplay are donation-based, so they can be affordable to everyone.
I’m the bestselling author of the novels, Diamond Dogs and Days Are Gone, and three books on writing, The 90-Day Novel, The 90-Day Screenplay, and The 90-Day Rewrite. I’m also the writer/director of the feature film, Interior Night, which won four best feature awards at U.S. film festivals as well as the Boston Film Festival's Filmmaker Visionary Award.
I love working with writers and artists, and my deep abiding passion is story. I look forward to hearing yours.
Founder, L.A. Writers' Lab
The 7 Maxims
The story lives within you.
I help you find it.