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Adapt that screenplay!

Screenwriter Dennis Foon one of the instructors at the Writers Adventure Camp at The Point



Have you read or written a novel, short story, play or article that would make a good movie?

Screenwriter Dennis Foon can help you turn it into a screenplay.

"The question you ask is whether there is enough material to make a movie. Is there a movie here on a number of levels? It might be a good read, but I might not see the movie," he says.

Foon, a veteran screenwriter with over 31 film writing credits, is offering Adaptation to Screen — a four-day workshop that is part of the Writers Adventure Camp, which takes place from May 31 to June 4.

The camp, now in its third year at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Alta Lake, is an immersive program with workshops varying from fiction, to digital storytelling, to memoir, to self-publishing.

Foon's screenwriting program is on offer during the camp's morning sessions.

One of his more recent projects was the adaptation of the novel Indian Horse by indigenous novelist Richard Wagamese, who died earlier this year. The film is currently in postproduction.

"The project was one of those things that when they called me, right out the gate, I realized it was very important subject. I thought I couldn't do it as a white guy; I had Richard's blessing and he mentored me through it. Otherwise it wouldn't be right," Foon recalls.

"He absolutely read every draft and gave input and support through it. Of course, it's absolutely crushing not to have him here now. Really devastating. I know he was really happy with it. It looks beautiful."

Foon says that to get a screenplay made into a film — usually a very difficult proposition — it can help to have a "property" behind it, whether a book such as Harry Potter or a comic strip such as The Hulk.

A novelist as well, Foon says this has helped make him sensitive to the challenges of translating prose into film.

Over the four days of his program, writers will be walked through how Foon would approach adapting a piece.

"From the moment of asking why I am connected to this material and take it from there," he says.

He will also look at whether a story is adaptable.

Foon believes writers of all types can benefit from his workshops.

"I see the building blocks of screenwriting being intrinsic to any kind of any kind of creative writing, so my hope is that it would help anyone working in any genre," Foon says.

"You're looking at how you put a story together."

Writers of all levels can register for the full camp or take individual one-off afternoon workshops.

Full and half-day camp registration closes on May 15.

The cost for the full camp is $755, and includes four morning workshops in a selected genre (fiction, memoir or scriptwriting), plus four afternoon workshops (artisanal self-publishing, exploring digital narratives, performance for writers, and writing success YA fiction).

The half camp is $375. Individual workshops (deadline May 8) are $95 ($50 for those under 18).

For full details and to register visit www.writersadventurecamp.ca.