Writing that jumps off the page: Screenwriter Craig Clyde keynotes writers workshop

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – When Craig Clyde was asked to be this year’s keynote speaker for the St. George Book Festival writer’s workshop he was surprised.

“I’m a screenwriter so this is the first time I’ve ever been asked to do something like that,” he said.

Screenwriter Craig Clyde will open the 2015 Writer's Workshop | Photo courtesy Craig Clyde, St. George News
Screenwriter Craig Clyde will open the 2015 Writer’s Workshop | Photo courtesy Craig Clyde, St. George News

Clyde is more than prepared to address the concerns of new writers. The veteran actor, director and writer spent years in television and radio before turning his talents to the big screen. Now with more than 20 films completed and numerous awards cluttering the shelves of his home, he plans to share his experience with the budding writers set to attend the workshop Friday.

He’s tailoring his remarks to people who’ve never tried writing of any kind before and are looking for the tools to begin, Clyde said. He will offer more than a few tips and secrets for writing a successful screenplay.

“The trick is, and this is the only trick, to not give up,” he said. “That and to keep doing it. You only get better. People don’t realize that but you get better every time. No matter how old you are, you get better.”

Clyde said he will explain what it takes to get a screenplay noticed by Hollywood decision-makers, the value of having a mentor and how to learn from other writers when beginning the lengthy task of mastering the screenplay form.

“A screenplay is really just a micronovel,” he said. “It has to be, I tell people that nobody reads it but whoever does, it has to be so good, so engaging they’re willing to literally spend millions of dollars to put this thing into development.”

Clyde will teach writers a few necessary skills to make their stories jump off the page. He said the most important lesson he plans to share with the class is a concept no writer can do without.

“If I can inspire them to not stop, I think I will have done my job,” he said. “I wish like crazy somebody had done that for me.”

After his brief stop in St. George, Clyde will get back to work on his latest project, a musical production he’s written in collaboration with Graham Russell of Air Supply fame. Russell asked him to write the libretto (the script) for the show which is now in the workshop phase and may eventually end up on Broadway. This is Clyde’s first musical.

“It’s been a very interesting last six months,” he said.

No matter what he’s writing, he’s always writing. This simple habit is a must for any writer at any level.

“I’m a big believer in getting up every day and writing and believing in yourself,” he said. “I don’t care if everybody in the world says it’s crap, it’s not to you or you wouldn’t have taken the time.”

He knows the challenges and the value of the solitary labor that is writing.

“If you’re going to write, you have to believe in only one person: yourself,” he said.

Event details

  • What: The Writer’s Journey – Writing Workshop
  • When: Friday, Oct. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Applied Technology College, 610 S. Airport Road, St. George
  • Registration: $5 early bird, $10 at the door; Speaker Box Lunch Fee: $20 early bird, $30 at the door (limited); Telephone 435-625-1743


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