The Writer Is In: Nashville Screenwriters Conference Starts Today at Union Station




Wide-eyed hopefuls clutching battered copies of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade and Syd Field books wander into the lobby. Shadowy figures shield their iPhones in dark corners, retweeting John August. A BARKER ushers them into the banquet hall.

"Hey, all you aspiring screenwriters that live in the greater Middle Tennessee area! Looking for a little advice on how to write the next great American screenplay from some industry pros? Brush off the old notepad and head on down to the annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference, taking place at the Union Station Hotel this Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2!"

ASPIRING SCREENWRITER stops and gives him a look.

"Man, that's the clumsiest exposition I've heard since the last Twilight movie."

OK, so nobody's clamoring for our script-doctoring services. But the 14th annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference has wrangled others who make their living from high-profile gigs in the industry, whether it's writing the blockbuster Hangover sequels (guest Craig Mazin) or devising scripts for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the clever Fright Night remake (that's Marti Noxon).

This year's conference supplements its roster of writers with a pair of popular performers. Everybody Loves Raymond fans will be delighted to see the return of previous NSC guest Doris Roberts, while Christopher Guest mockumentary mainstay Fred Willard — a man whose run of TV hilarity extends from Fernwood 2-Night to Modern Family — will helm a panel on comedy.

Just to name a few, music supervisor Amy Driscoll (Life of Pi), The Fighter co-writer Scott Silver and playwright Amy Willard will all be present at this weekend’s festivities. So will writers such as Nancy Pimental (Shameless), Phil Hay (Clash of the Titans), Alec Berg (Seinfeld) and Jenji Kohan (Weeds). The centerpiece is Anastasia Brown's annual music supervisors luncheon, this year featuring heavy hitters such as Julia Michels (Pitch Perfect), Manish Raval (The Big Lebowski) and Dawn Soler (Nashville).

Country Life recommends that, if anything, you check out the “How Did You Think of That?” panel Saturday, headlined by Toy Story 2 co-writer Rita Hsiao. Kung Fu Panda co-writer Glenn Berger, Zombieland co-writer Rhett Reese and Galaxy Quest writer Robert Gordon — yes, you can shake the hand of the man who wrote Galaxy Quest — will be joining in on that one. Now that’s a talented roster.

A weekend pass runs $110, with some events requiring a separate ticket (such as the music supervisors' luncheon). Check out the full schedule at the event’s website.

P.S. I’m not sure if Ms. Hsiao is one of the folks responsible for the Toy Story 2 bloopers seen above, but, if so, I’m eternally grateful. (I miss Pixar bloopers …)

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