As part of our ongoing Letters from Past ScreenCraft Winners series, our 2017 winner Anna Klassen shares some thoughts on her experience.
My name is Anna Klassen and I am a winner of the 2017 ScreenCraft Film and TV Screenwriting Fellowship. I’d like to take a moment to share with you how valuable this experience was for me.
Before winning the ScreenCraft Fellowship I had won and placed in a handful of contests. It was exciting to be able to say I had won something, but the worth of winning basically stopped there. Yes, it was something I could put on a resume, but that was pretty much it. Sometimes the win came with award money (which is, as any writer knows, hugely appreciated), but there was no tangible way in which winning contests helped me further my writing career.
Enter, the ScreenCraft Fellowship. The ScreenCraft Fellowship is a jam-packed week of meetings with execs, producers, managers, and successful (even Oscar-winning) screenwriters. Before my fellowship week I met with ScreenCraft founders Cameron and John to prepare. They told me what to expect in meetings and they asked me to send them my other scripts. ScreenCraft gave me detailed, thorough, and thoughtful notes as well. We practiced my pitch, and they answered all of my questions (which I assure you, there were many). When the actual week rolled around, I knew what to expect, and I felt prepared to meet with a dozen powerful execs who were anxious to speak with me.
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I took meetings with Warner Bros., Sony, Fox Studios, STX, Vertigo Entertainment, The Combine, and Covert Media – to name a few. I had breakfast with the writers of Die Hard and Face/Off (and tried not to fan-girl too hard), and ate dinner with the Oscar-winning writers of Brokeback Mountain and Precious (and definitely fan-girl’ed too hard). Many of the meetings I took that week led to subsequent meetings, and one of the Oscar-winning screenwriters I met at the ScreenCraft Fellowship dinner recently recommended me for a writing gig.
I can’t begin to express how beneficial the ScreenCraft Fellowship was for my career. It put me in rooms I would have never otherwise gotten into. It gave me valuable experience pitching my projects. It helped land me a manager. And the ScreenCraft staff, specifically John and Cameron, have been my relentless cheerleaders ever since. Winning the ScreenCraft Fellowship is unlike winning any other contest because the people behind it really, truly, care about your success. When you join the ScreenCraft family their team will fight tooth-and-nail for your projects, and for you.
I recently signed with four agents at WME, and this past December my latest script, When Lightning Strikes — a J.K. Rowling biopic — placed in one of the top spots on The Black List. I would not have accomplished either of these things if not for The ScreenCraft Fellowship. It’s what jump-started my career.
If you’re on the fence about applying, let me just say… it’s the best career move I’ve ever made — full stop.
Anna Klassen was born and raised in Oregon. Growing up without a television, she naturally became a screenwriter. After winning the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship in 2017, she signed with Bash Naran at Writ Large and later United Talent Agency. She currently has two separate projects in development at Netflix.