Tamalewood Screenwriting

Welcome to Tamalewood:  A Hands-on Screenwriting Workshop

With Eliot Fisher and Lisa Fisher

Week 1:  (6/8 – 6/12)


How can we identify and employ skills we have learned as teachers to create captivating cinematic stories? And, importantly, how can we take advantage of the evolving landscape of the media industry to get our story produced once we have written it?  And what is the essence of the art of story-telling?

Not long ago, it was a common dream to publish the next great novel. Today, that aspiration has shifted for many to newer forms of popular art: film and television are experiencing a renaissance of talented writers with creative control articulating their distinctive vision. By working with our students, we high school teachers gain a great number of skills that are necessary to be successful cinematic storytellers. We learn how to shape the arc of a lesson or discussion so our audience will get out of it what we intend—so why not apply the same principles to write a script for that film we have rolling around in our head?

lisa fisherThis workshop, ideal for English teachers and teachers in the performing arts, is designed for teachers who are interested in spending a week in beautiful northern New Mexico developing their stories into screenplays for short films, a traditional first step for aspiring screenwriters. In addition to working on developing our own scripts, we will also screen and discuss recognized short films and meet with screenwriters and filmmakers at the Center for Contemporary Arts and the Film School at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Guest speakers will provide invaluable advice both on the craft of screenwriting and on strategies for getting a script produced in today’s evolving media landscape—a landscape in which emerging film industries across the country, such as New Mexico’s “Tamalewood,” are likely to produce the next Breaking Bad.

Here are some things that the 2014 participants in this course had to say:

  • “I found it incredibly interesting and motivating and each of the guests was gracious and humble, regardless of their stature in the industry.”
  • “Our instructor, Eliot,  had a wonderful way of validating and educating us while keeping the entire experience relevant and fun.”
  • “I have gained something incredible by working with Eliot, the fellow writers in the colloquium, and the experts he found to help us progress in the art of screenwriting.  I return home with valuable techniques and tools in screenwriting, and perhaps even more importantly, I have gained access to an inner creative power I didn’t know I had. Eliot’s course showed me how to synthesize previously distinct and separated aspects of my storytelling into the screenplay.  I couldn’t be more grateful. Eliot is one of the most effective and powerful creative teachers I have ever worked with anywhere. I am indebted to him for the ways in which I return to my work this summer and beyond, as I know I have made a creative breakthrough. It is also rewarding to know that as teachers, we will be able to share these techniques and insights, and our creative confidence, with our students.  What wonderful work we share.”

You can find a current day-by-day schedule here:  Tamalewood Schedule


Oh wait!  One more thing!  If you have an Performing Arts teacher with whom you’d like to work, why not send them to the Center Stage acting class during the second week of the program?  Then, when you return to school, the ball will be rolling on some great collaboration!



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