By Cali Gilbert
Do you write with images in your head?
Do you see your characters playing out roles in your story?
Have your friends told you your story or book would make a great movie?
Well then you’re in the right place.
Back in 2011 I experienced the most devastating year of my life. I lost a child, my car died, my relationship ended, money ran out and I lost my home.
I can smile now thinking of how I began that year, literally saying I wanted to detox my life. Well, no kidding. The Universe took that as a request and POOF, all gone.
Lesson – watch your words and thoughts. They are VERY powerful.
After experiencing that year of loss I needed an outlet for my grief and that became my writing and photography. I learned about the San Francisco Writers Conference and learned so much about publishing. I would publish four books over the course of the next 12 months combining my photography with my words.
When it came to writing my 5th book, It’s Simply Serendipity, the words flowed. Not only because it was autobiographical, but because I simply relived my experiences from 2011. You see, I am one who sees everything visually. Over the last decade I’ve published nine bestselling books, mostly non-fiction, but each one begins with a clear vision of the story in my head. I walk through the story prior to putting the words down on paper. I literally see it play out before me.
My 8th book, Timing The Tides is historical fiction based on true events sharing a story that takes place over the course of a century beginning in 1912. As soon as I began writing the story with my partner, I envisioned it as a film. It was so clear. I saw the characters, the locations, every detail. Last year I completed the script for the film and it’s currently in the hands of a Director and my ideal lead actor for review.
In 2014 after publishing six books I decided I wanted to become a screenwriter and make films. I didn’t know anything about the film industry at the time, except for what I watched on TV or saw on the award shows (Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, etc.) I had a clear vision of what I wanted to create and therefore set out to find mentors to support me and guide me by volunteering at numerous events. I was lucky to find some of the best.
In 2019 I launched my own production company and led the Book to Screen track at the Conference. It was wonderful to call upon my colleagues and mentors and share all we’ve learned to those interested in screenwriting and filmmaking. The track was a huge success and I was asked to expand on it for the 2020 Conference.
I’m thrilled to be returning to the Bay Area next month for the Conference and to lead the Inaugural Writing for Hollywood Summit on February 15th. Once again I’ve brought together an elite faculty of industry professionals to share their expertise.
This Summit is geared towards supporting writers of ALL levels, whether you are just starting out and simply curious about screenwriting and filmmaking, or if you are an established author ready to take your work to the next level and showcase your story on the BIG screen.
Topics will include writing for film, television and streaming services, what agents and buyers are looking for in the entertainment industry, how to adapt your book to the screen, and the ins and out of breaking into Hollywood, as well as the Business of Screenwriting.
With the continuous growth in technology today, there are ample opportunities to showcase your work aside from the traditional film and television routes. Streaming services are now the BIG winners at the top awards shows and web series and short documentary series are also very popular.
Over the past year my career in the industry has taken off. I released a short film entitled INVISIBLE in October, a film that has already won an award at the Los Angeles Motion Picture Festival and has been submitted to top global festivals. Through my production company I’m also working on a number of other projects and will be shooting another film next month in the Bay Area following the Conference.
I would love for you to join me and my colleagues at the Summit on February 15th. You just never know where YOU will be a year from now. If you dream of a career in the entertainment industry, I can’t wait to support you every step of the way.