PANAMA CITY — I often spend my lunch breaks with a journal and a pen, scribbling stories, outlines and ideas. Writing is my vocation, but it was first my obsession. I’m not alone in that, as the coffee shops around town seem to be full of people typing or penning tales of one sort or another when they aren’t leisurely reading their favorite author’s work. Luckily for us, this area offers lots of opportunities for writers to learn and network. Here are just a few that are coming up soon:
The director of development for The Story Co., with credits including “Barbershop,” “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man” and “Fantastic Four,” will host a film-writing workshop from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at FSU Panama City, 4750 Collegiate Drive. During the three-part workshop, Doug Griffin will discuss the art and mechanics of successful film writing and how to create high-concept stories. Griffin also will be available to meet with interested local writers and answer questions.
Griffin is a former actor and theater and writing teacher. He’s currently with director Tim Story’s production company. Story, the top African-American director in the world, is currently working to produce “Holocaust in the Homeland,” a film about the Tulsa race riot based on a book by FSU Panama City writing instructor Corinda Marsh.
Griffin has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film, television and theater from UCLA and a master’s in education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His workshop will be in the Bland Conference Center. Registration, which includes lunch, is free for FSU and Gulf Coast State College students or $25 for the general public. To reserve a seat, call Michelle Roberson at 850-770-2150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Floriopolis gallery at 1125 Beck Ave. in Panama City will host “Authors, Readers & Conversations” from 2-4 p.m. July 28. The event will feature local authors Faith Eidse (“Healing Falls”) and Anne Ake (“Turning Turtles in Tortguero”) with Fred Womack, who will present his late mother Marlene Womack’s historical books, including “Ghost Towns, Mysteries, & Tombstone Tales.”
The event is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to meet the authors, who will do short readings from their work, participate in and Q&A session, and be available for conversation with readers and prospective authors. They will also sell and sign books, which will be available for purchase, or bring your own copies for them to sign. For details, visit Facebook.com/Floriopolis and find the event post, or call 850-249-9295.
The continuing education division at Gulf Coast State College will present its seasonal Education Encore program from Sept. 21 to Oct. 26. Registration kick-off is 8 a.m. Aug. 3, at the GCSC Student Union East Conference Center (second floor), 5230 W. U.S. 98 in Panama City. Education Encore is offered by the Corporate College Department and provides non-credit enrichment classes for adults in the fall and spring semesters, with more than 40 courses on a wide variety of topics.
The program includes a couple of classes for writers: “So You Want to be an Author,” led by retired educator and novelist Craig Bush, is designed for those who are interested in becoming published or writing an initial manuscript; and I will lead “Build Your Best Story” for those interested in writing a family story, a personal memoir, a piece of fiction or creative nonfiction, focused on developing the building blocks and achieving a layered piece of work to share.
For details on Education Encore, including fees, class catalogs and more, visit GulfCoast.edu/Encore online or call the Corporate College Department at 850-873-3583.
November is coming sooner than you think, and with it comes National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The Bay County County Public Library is teaming up with local authors, The Syndicate Studio and other groups to put together an monthlong series of workshops and events, so keep your eyes peeled for details right here. You can also visit NWRLS.com or call 850-522-2100 for information.
Meanwhile, keep writing!