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Eugene International Film Festival

Screenwriters/Filmmakers Retreat

The Eugene International Film Festival, now in its 10th successful year, again proudly presents an intensive 3-day Screenwriters/Filmmakers Retreat taught by Hollywood insiders. The Retreat runs concurrently with the Festival, Nov. 13-15, 2015, with an opening reception for Retreat registrants Thursday evening Nov. 12th.

Over the course of the Retreat, you will have the quality time you have always wanted to further your career with renowned industry professionals.

Major Film/TV/Book Agent Ken Sherman, TV Series Producer/Showrunner/Screenwriter/Playright/Bestselling Novelist Tom Sawyer and successful Film/Video Distributor/Packager/Producer Mike Katchman teach no-nonsense techniques for creating and selling movie and TV projects in today’s difficult marketplace.

These successful veterans of “the Biz,” work one-on-one with aspiring writers, helping them hone their material, and then effectively “pitch” their concepts (and themselves) – essential elements of breaking into Film and/or TV Writing, and winning.

Sharing their experiences and answering questions about how to launch one’s career. Sherman, Sawyer and Katchman’s popular, widely acclaimed course is now in its 8th year at the Eugene Festival. Read-on for more about Sawyer, Sherman, Katchman, plus class schedules.

What Former Retreat Students are Saying

I had an idea for a screenplay and needed real-time feedback and expertise to realize my goal. I found that and more at the EIFF Screenwriters/Filmmakers Retreat, with professional screenwriter Tom Sawyer as well as film distributor Mike Katchman and Hollywood literary agent Ken Sherman. I just found out that a 5 page version of "Mourning After," has been selected as a winner at the "7th Lady Filmmakers Film Festival" in Beverly Hills; there will be a live audience, table read (with real actors) and the potential for a much more professional production. Wow. Instruction, mentorship, networking -- the EIFF Retreat has it all -- it's a weekend that can change your creative life.
Kathleen Caprario-Ulrich, Writer/Producer "Mourning After"

Tom, Ken and Mike helped me develop my skills as a storyteller as well as make top-notch industry contacts. Great people, great information, great time!
JoJo Jensen, author, screenwriter

Thank you for your invaluable knowledge and insights...your down to earth teaching methods! I have been inspired to polish and improve my screenplay...the logline and synopsis now express the essence...
Peter Holden, screenwriter, actor

I learned a great deal about structure and what makes for a good story. Again, thanks for the help and encouragement.
Ann Clark, journalist, screenwriter

It was a pleasure learning your insights on writing, specifically the emphasis on conflict and emotion. Equally inspiring were your stories from your experiences in Los Angeles.
Justin Hogan, screenwriter

A kindly but rigorous atmosphere for experimentation. Ken, Mike and Tom’s high-level skills in evaluating student work were helpful beyond my expectations.
Patricia Burkhart, writer

“Attending the EIFF Screenwriters/Filmmakers Retreat is a once in a lifetime experience. The mentors at the helm of the retreat set me on the road to creating a great screenplay!”Lauren Chouinard, Author


Screenwriter, novelist, playwright Tom Sawyer was Head Writer/Showrunner of the classic CBS series, Murder, She Wrote, for which he wrote 24 episodes.  Edgar and Emmy-nominated, Tom has sold and written 9 TV series pilots, 100 episodes, both comedy and drama, and was Head Writer/Showrunner or Story Editor on 15 network TV series.  He wrote/directed/produced the feature-film cult comedy, Gosh, Alice Goodbody. His documentary film, Reunion, was honored by the New York Film Festival, and received national theatrical release. 

Tom is co-librettist/lyricist of JACK, a musical drama about John F. Kennedy, backed by the Shuberts, that has been performed to acclaim in the US and Europe. He is publisher of Storybase 2.0 writer's software. Tom's book, Fiction Writing Demystified, and Storybase are Writer's Digest Book Club Selections. He's taught writing at UCLA, at other colleges, at writers conferences from Maui to Cape Cod, Florida, Las Vegas, Dallas, Biloxi & elsewhere. 

Tom currently teaches Storytelling online at Screenwriters University. A member of the DGA, WGA, MWA, ITW and ATAS, his recent best-selling thriller: No Place to Run. His newest, a thriller-with-humor: Cross Purposes.


Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman and Associates, a Los Angeles-based literary agency. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books as well as life rights. 

Ken's clients include David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, Tawni O'Dell, whose screenplay of her international bestselling, Oprah Book Club first novel, Back Roads, is about to become a major, Adrian Lyne movie (starring Spiderman Andrew Garfield), Anne Perry, the world's best-known Victorian murder mystery writer and author of 60 books, and Starhawk, considered the best-known witch in the world.David Cronenberg's movie, A Dangerous Method, released last October, is based on client John Kerr's book. Ken also represents the estates of Luis Buñuel, John Hersey, and Simon Wiesenthal. 

Ken has lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola University in both New Orleans and Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Writer's Conference, Maui Writer's Conference, University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experimental College, Santa Fe Writer's Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference/San Diego, San Francisco Writer’s Conference, Aspen Institute, and The Aspen Summer Words Writer's Conference.

Since graduating from the UC-Berkeley as a psychology major, Ken has taught his course, The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and Publishing, at both USC and UCLA for more than six years.

Ken maintains strong community involvement, serving as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner in the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA) and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.


Following his successful career in home video marketing, sales, and acquisitions, Mike Katchman was recruited by Orion Films, quickly moving into management where he flourished during the golden era in which Orion set the pace with such hits as Dances with Wolves and Silence of the Lambs.  

From there, Mike became involved with film acquisitions as well as marketing.  Rising to Senior VP of Sales, Mike became responsible for all of Orion's entertainment sales in the U.S. and Canada.  When Orion was sold to MGM, he filled a similar role until being drafted by Lionsgate. In his three very productive years with Lionsgate, their revenues rose from $32 million to $110 million.  Lured away by First Look Studios, from 2004-07 Mr. Katchman was central to an even more dramatic 500% increase in sales. 

Following that achievement, Mike decided to break away from the establishment and create a brand new entity, Rivercoast Media, which has become the next great success story, spawning such innovations as Reel Click and Patient Educational Media Services.




A Unique, Intensive Course in Writing and Marketing
Your Screenplays and TV Projects

Presented by Hollywood Professionals
Writer/Producer TOM SAWYER, Literary Agent KEN SHERMAN, 
& Movie/Video Distributor MIKE KATCHMAN 

9 Hours over 3 Days – plus Homework Assignments

SESSION #1 – Friday Evening – Nov 13, 6 – 9 PM


A. In class, students write one 1-3 sentence story idea/logline.
B. Students expand each into one paragraph.

Write a one or two-page synopsis with brief descriptions of each major character.

SESSION #2 – Saturday Morning – Nov 14, 9 AM – Noon


A.  Basic three-act structure.
B.  Scene structure.

WORKSHOP: Ken & Mike
Pitching your work – and yourself.


Write a two to three page dialogue scene.

SESSION #3 – Sunday Morning – Nov 15, 9 AM – Noon

PRESENT/CRITIQUE ASSIGNMENTS (roles played by students): Ken, Mike & Tom

A. Character creation.
B. Motivating plot by building conflict into character mix.

WORKSHOP: Ken & Mike
Writing for Publishing, Film and Television. What you need to break in and stay in!

Ken, Mike & Tom

NO HOST LUNCH with Ken, Mike & Tom.