Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Glass City Screenwriters: Local group meets in support of Toledo film scribes

Area screenwriters looking for a chance to discuss ideas and test out material with fellow artists have a perfect opportunity every month at the Oregon Public Library.

Glass City Screenwriters, an organization created by area writer Virginia Shine, meets every third Thursday beginning at 6:30pm to share progress, read scripts and, in general, offer support to one another to grow their skills.

“Normally we spend an hour and a half, up to two hours,” Shine said. “I try to share basic formatting information, and of course we all love film so we share our favorites with each other. We also screen the short films we make to get feedback. There is such a diversity of talent and we all want to help build a stronger Toledo film community.”

 Virginia Shine.
Virginia Shine.

It starts with the script

The kernel of the idea that grew to become Glass City Screenwriters began when Shine was invited to hold a public reading of one of her screenplays during the inaugural Glass City Film Festival in 2016.

“After hearing my script read by actors for the first time, I thought how much of a help it is to hear the dialogue. It quickly tells you whether something sounds natural or not, so you can make adjustments in the words and the pacing,” Shine said.

“I have been in a general writing group before, but I was the only screenwriter, so I decided to start a local group myself and open it up to the whole Toledo filmmaking community. It all starts with the writing and the script.”

Shine can trace her own writing career back to high school and then to attending classes at the University of Toledo, where she took elective courses in creative writing and literature. After seeing the success of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in the wake of their screenplay for Good Will Hunting, Shine was inspired to reevaluate her own approach to writing.

“That is when it occurred to me, many of my ideas were very visual, how amazing it would be to write a film and see it come to life. I taught myself screenwriting by reading scripts and books. I completed my first feature screenplay to enter the first Project Greenlight contest, where I got some valuable feedback on my writing and that encouraged me to keep at it.”

Michael DeSanto.
Michael DeSanto.

Sharing and collaborating

Glass City Screenwriters meetings are open to any writers who wish to attend— Shine explains that currently anywhere from seven to 10 regular members meet every month, with new attendees joining frequently after discovering the group through its Facebook page (facebook.com/glasscityscreenwriters).

The Screenwriters are looking for more ways to expand, as well— at members’ request, recently occasional Saturday meetings have been held, and the group is planning a film retreat in coming months where members will work together on a project.

“The group has become a multipurpose place to share and collaborate on films, but I think our strongest function is still the round-table reading and feedback,” Shine said.

To those who have long dreamed about turning their filmmaking ideas into reality, Shine said she hopes her group can provide guidance to help begin their journey.

“Our group is welcoming, we have people at every level of experience, ready and willing to offer advice in an atmosphere that is laid back while also focused on improvement.”

Glass City Screenwriters meet every third Thursday at the Oregon Public Library at 3340 Dustin Rd, beginning at 6:30pm.
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