HOUSTON -- "Too often writers are taught mechanical ways of plotting. I hope to train students to plot through emotions," explained dramatist, screenwriter, and television movie-of-the-week writer Casey Kelly, who will be offering Texas playwrights a three-hour seminar on the basics of plot writing Sunday, April 26, 1-4 PM. "I don't think consecutive actions make a good plot," Kelly continued. "This is too flat. I think people mistake the action line for plot. Plot comes from the head and the heart."
For those who want to make sure Kelly practices what she preaches, check out The Other Woman, her one-act that appears in the Best Short Plays of 1984 (Chilton). Kelly received a Delaware Humanities grant to write a musical (book/lyrics/music) on the state's indigenous ghosts; Delaware Ghosts made a 40-stop state tour. A member of The Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America, and a board member of the accredited School for Film and Television (for which she has taught), Kelly wrote two movies-of-the-week aired on NBC, The Hurricane Andrew Story, a sweeps week winner, and Miracle on I-880. Her original drama, Someplace Else is currently in pre-production at Lifetime. A number of other projects are under consideration at many studios. A recent transplant to Houston, Kelly will teach this coming fall "Goal Setting for Writers" at Rice University's School of Continuing Education.
For the three-hour workshop, Kelly, will guide participants construct a group plot. She will try, she said, "to train writers to recognize where they hurt and the power of what's not said, for frequently here are where the strains lie." Kelly hopes to demonstrate how to link emotions with action. Most essentially, she preaches connections: "how a character feels going into a scene; the character's motivation for the scene; the action of the scene; the result of the scene."
Kelly's "Plotting" seminar is only one of a host being offered throughout the month by the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP); others range from "Acting for the Lens" to "Location Sound Recording for Film, Video & Multimedia." SWAMP is a non-profit media art center founded in 1977 to promote the appreciation and development of film and video as creative art forms. The idea for SWAMP was spawned from the renowned Rice Media Center, which was created in 1968 as an expansion program of Rice University's fine arts department. With partners, SWAMP exhibits independent film and video works, most essentially on The Territory, a long-running public television series shown statewide since 1996. SWAMP also has established a comprehensive Media Literacy Training Institute for educators; seminars have been conducted for, most notably, the Houston Independent School District, the New Mexico State Department of Education, and Harvard University. SWAMP also provides other programs, including Artists-in-Education residencies throughout Texas.
Presented by the Southwest Alternate Media Project, Casey Kelly's "Plotting" seminar occurs April 26. For tickets, $40 - $55, call (713) 522-8592 -- By Peter Szatmary