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Aspiring screenwriters take note! The 10-year contract for the Writer's Guild of America expires next May, and predictions are dire--that no scripts will be available for most of 2001, and anyone who sells one will be considered a scab by the all-powerful WGA.

Studios are scrambling to put films into production before a possible year-long strike ensues, and between now and May the search for fresh scripts is intense. Coming at a perfect time to help you write that movie you've always dreamed of is the first annual North Carolina Screenwriting Conference, to be held Nov. 10-12 in Raleigh. The conference has been a major undertaking, funded by the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council and organized by UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, N.C. State and the North Carolina Writers' Network. It includes a weekend's worth of tips about screenwriting, about breaking into the movie business and making connections in North Carolina.

Special guests include Ron Yerxa, Gary Hawkins and Frank Capra, Jr. Yerxa is the producer of Jack the Bear, Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill, Election and other features, and will be speaking in a panel discussion titled "What Makes a Great Script?" moderated by Jane Gaines from Duke University. Part of a session called "Creating Indelible Characters and Stories," Hawkins has taught directing at the North Carolina School of the Arts for the past five years, and his fiction/non-fiction hybrid The Rough South of Larry Brown will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next February. Capra, of Wilmington's well-known Screen Gems, appears in the final session of the conference with the producer from "Dawson's Creek" and others to discuss the "North Carolina Connection."

For more details about the program and registration information, check out www.ncscreenwriting.org or contact the NCWN at 967-9540.

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