Rose O’Neill Literary House starts new Sophie Kerr Screenwriters Series

By Faith Jarrell

Student Life Editor

The Rose O’Neill Literary House and Sophie Kerr Screenwriters Series kicked off on Tuesday, Sept. 5 with first guest speaker Amy Güth.

This series will invite six different screenwriters, including Güth, to Washington College and the Literary House to speak on their specialties.

Screenwriter and producer Güth visited WC for two separate talks. The first was on Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m. and was entitled “Adapt!” This discussion was about “adapting literature to the big screen,” according to the poster. The second was on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. and was entitled “Produce!” This talk was about producing films in Hollywood.

Both talks were free to students, faculty, and the public. As for the theme of her first event on adaptation, Güth chose it because she believes it is “a really special place in the screenplay world.”

“Every word in a screenplay needs a job. I mean, arguably, that’s true with anything we write. But especially in a screenplay, not only does every word get a job, it needs a visual job,” Güth said.

As a screenwriter, producer, and journalist, Güth had plenty of advice to give during her talks, with her biggest “trick” being the ability to decide “what to leave out.”

“It’s a valuable exercise to just write it, write it, and get it done. You can always go back and then decide ‘How can I do this more economically? How can I learn about formatting, or camera stuff and think about this in a different way of how this might be edited to be condensed in a really small way?’” Güth said.

The series coordinators chose Güth as the first speaker in the series because she was so “student-focused,” according to Associate Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Professor Roy Kesey. Prof. Kesey was the point person in charge of the events featuring Güth.

“We are looking for people who care about the student experience of what they’re here to do, not just the content of it,” Prof. Kesey said.

The events had a large turnout, showing how they were well-received by the college. According to Prof. Kesey, there were over 60 people in attendance at the event on Sept. 5, most of whom were WC students.

“Something that was really gratifying was seeing that the students that were there and it was a large group,” Prof. Kesey said. “It was great to see Washington College students get that experience, get the benefit of Amy Güth’s expertise and experience and then get their own questions answered about adaptation or about production.”

Students like sophomore Faith Poulten are excited to see the rest of the Screenwriters Series, having enjoyed Güth’s talk so much.

“I think this event is important to students, especially students majoring in English and communications, because it shows them that there are people making a living and being successful with these degrees,” Poulten said.

Future events will feature collaborations between the English department and other departments on campus. In the screenwriters series, there will be collaborations with the Communications and Media Studies department, the Environmental Science and Studies department, the Office of Admissions, and more.

“The one big thing that I hope students take away from these events is just a sense of what is possible, a sense of what they can look forward to if they’re willing to do the work and put in the hours, and dedicate their good brains and their good hearts to this kind of work,” Prof. Kesey said.

Speakers coming in for the series during this semester and next include Whit Stillman, Jonterri Gadson, Ron Currie Jr., Eugene Garcia-Cross, and Joey Siara.

Photo Caption: Amy Güth is the first speaker in the Literary House and Sophie Kerr Screenwriter Series.

Photo courtesy of Dante Chavez

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