Earlier this year, junior filmmaking student Blake Donovan was awarded a Fellowship, which allowed him to attend the 2019 Stowe Story Lab. He spent Sept. 7 – 10 at the Helen Day Arts Center in the heart of Stowe, Vermont, where he worked with other screenwriters and industry mentors on their screenplays.
Seasoned industry professionals hosted panels and meetings with the attendees. David Pope, the co-founder of Stowe Story Labs, held a discussion about including subtext in a screenplay.
Pitching was a big focus of the retreat. Blake said of the mentors, “When you pitch to them, they approach it like it’s a professional pitch. So you get the experience of going into a really big meeting, without having the pressure of actually being in that meeting, because it was a safe environment there.”
The peer-to-peer groups consisted of attendees giving each other feedback on their screenplays. The attendees came from all over the world, including South Africa, Ireland, and Australia. Blake was the youngest and only student screenwriter in attendance. He said receiving such diverse feedback was incredibly helpful to him. Additionally, he was already interested in studying abroad, and this experience only piqued his interest in broadening his perspective.
Every year, a Champlain filmmaking student receives the Champlain Fellowship to the Stowe Story Lab retreat. A panel of Champlain College professors selects the recipient from eligible junior filmmaking students who have written a feature-length screenplay.
Erika Skorstad ’21—Contributor