Kicking off the ScreenCraft Writers Summit in Atlanta

by Mitch Olson on April 7, 2019

The following is written by Mitch Olson, who is with us all weekend at the ScreenCraft Writers Summit in Atlanta. If you're interested in attending next year's summit, pre-order your badge here.

The ScreenCraft Writers Summit kicked off on Friday night to great success. Here’s what went down and how it went. 

The venue was AMAZING. Holy cow! I’d say ScreenCraft has outdone themselves yet again, but anyone who knows them knows that they just keep setting the bar higher and higher, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. The Georgian Terrace Hotel is stunning. This classic building with a beautifully designed interior has an outstanding and courteous staff, as well as a storied history. F. Scott Fitzgerald and President Calvin Coolidge are among notable former guest and the film Gone with the Wind even premiered there. Director Victor Fleming and screenwriter Sidney Howard stayed at the hotel and attended the premiere event.

Which makes perfect sense for our event to be housed there because it’s been a historical site for film for NINETY years. And while the original opulence of the hotel remains, it has been updated, and so has film and television industry in Georgia. There’s a rejuvenation happening. And we’re all blessed to be part of it. 

There were so many talented people there.

One of the most interesting aspects of last night’s gathering was how many writers and filmmakers came from out of state (and even out of the country)! I met people from New York, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Columbia, and London. There were even people who flew from Los Angeles. It wasn’t just Georgians; it was a melting pot of talent from all over the world and a great opportunity for emerging and seasoned talent to come together.

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Friday night’s kick-off event was a reception.

It was a chance for all the attendees, panelists, and staff to mingle and get to know each other before the workshops and panels began. It was tasteful in its simplicity and still intimate enough to bring us together with the same goal – have fun, learn, and connect. And, obviously, no one hates free drinks, so that was great too. Check-in to the event was a breeze, there were tons of photo ops, and again: FREE DRINKS. 

For those of you who read my networking article, this was a fantastic, low-stakes opportunity to execute those tips and tricks, and to hone your skills for the days to come.

I, for one, gave out lots of business cards and even more compliments. The amount of wonderful people gathered here is mind-blowing, but also not unbelievable. An event of this caliber, in a venue of this stature, would obviously attract the best of the best, and that was on display last night. 

If you happened to make it to Edgar’s Proof and Provision bar for the after party: good on you. If you decided to put your Elite Badge to work and got standby tickets to the Atlanta Film Festival premiere night: good on you too. If you went home, or back to your room, and rested up: smart move. The rest of us are probably jealous of how fresh you’ll be this morning. 

But the fun is only just beginning. There's a long slate of craft workshops and interesting panels to attend. Not to mention pitches to present. Good luck to all! 

I’m excited to meet more of you and how you enjoyed the first night as much as I did. 

Mitch Olson is the Founder and CEO of Point South Productions, a literary management and development company based in Georgia. Prior to moving to out east, he worked in Los Angeles in development and on shows for NBC, Fox, CBS and Netflix. In addition to Mitch's work at Point South Productions, he teaches Screen and TV Writing at Kennesaw State University where he is building a Screen and TV Writing MFA program and training the many diverse and talented writers that he hopes to one day represent and work with. Additionally, he has partnered with Georgia Film Academy to develop high school curriculum aimed at providing students with skills and career opportunities in dramatic writing.

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