Bring your story to life with a screenwriting summer retreat in Italy

Orvieto, Italy

Practical Film and Television Writing  

Sunday June 15 – Saturday June 28, 2014 
Orvieto, Italy
Single week option available.

Ready to get that criminally overlooked pilot off the ground?

Tired of lamenting that “dark night of the soul” you can’t crack? Longing for a time and place to just write?

You’ll never finish that script doing the same things you’ve been doing in the same places you’ve been doing them with the same tools you’ve always used.

Michaelangelo Screenwriting Program

Develop a new idea, or figure out why that old one isn’t quite working. Over the course of two weeks, our workshop-style classes, practical mini-lessons, and one-to-one consultations will help you get your feature or television script ready for agents and studios.

Our workshops consist of discussion and analysis of your project by our instructor and teaching assistants, as well as fellow students. For new material, we will guide you through assembling a script, from pitch to outline to completed scenes. If you choose to use this course to perfect that script on which you’ve been toiling for years, we will break it down and put it back together again, giving you insight into what works and what doesn’t, finally leading to a strong, streamlined screenplay that you’ll feel confident handing over to any agent or studio in town. It might be brutal, it will definitely be honest, but the goal is to come out with a bulletproof script.

We’ll focus on collaboration, exchanging ideas and pages so that you feel inspired and productive. We offer practical exercises to hone your writing skills and teach you a few tricks of the screen trade. These skills-based mini-lessons will tackle specifics such as subtext, beginnings, creating characters that pop in a brief scene, “getting in late and getting out early” from a scene, defining relationships, plant and payoff, being precise and concise, and much more.

These days, of course, writing a great spec script may not be enough, so adapting and pitching a concept to all media will be an integral part of the conversation. Ben Blacker will relate his experiences in creating a brand and help you formulate yours, while the group helps you brainstorm ideas launching and garnering attention for your project via Kickstarter, social media, and other DIY venues.

We know some people can find it difficult to get away for two weeks, so we offer a limited number of one-week slots in our Orvieto retreat. Single week participants can expect to workshop their idea with our instructor, and then spend time developing a detailed outline. For rewrites, we will workshop your treatment or outline and then zero in on issues holding your story back, helping to make your script as great as it can be.


The Orvieto workshop is intended for advanced screenwriting students who want to develop a new script or workshop an existing project, but we often accept less experienced students who have some writing or storytelling expertise.

To maximize your time, your teacher may ask you to submit story outlines, beat sheets, or treatments in advance. As part of the application, you must submit a brief description of the project you would like to tackle in Italy. You may change your mind, but you must agree the switch in advance with our teacher. To apply, see REGISTRATION.

Michelangelo is a paperless program. All submissions and exchanges of pages will be electronic. You will need a reliable laptop computer and a writing program capable of converting files to PDF format for distribution. A tablet with an application like Good Notes may be helpful.

Important: Michelangelo instructors are working writers. It has not yet happened, but there is always the possibility that a teacher may be pulled away unavoidably by the demands of an employer. In such an event, we have tentative arrangements in place to bring in an equally qualified replacement.

Take your writing on an Italian odyssey!

Full details and to book:

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