Screenwriters Jumpstart Their Creativity in Spain at Rocaberti Writers Retreat

Aug 23, 2017 | Screenwriting Fellowships and Labs

Writing retreats create an experience that allows the writer to go deeper into the experience of emotional truth. When you write from a place of emotional truth, you take your story to the next level. There is a value in going away to a captivating place where most people don’t know one another. You can unveil and let go. When you are uninhibited, you can take your creative process to new heights.

Are you a writer who has thought about taking the plunge and committing to this experience, but haven’t done so yet? The value of the writing retreat is that you get the life experience mixed with the story experience from a variety of worldviews. I am going to give you a glimpse inside my recent experience with Rocaberti Writers’ Retreat. It will help you to see that by taking action, you will receive an outcome that goes beyond your wildest expectations.

I arrived in Spain in July. I met the founder, Claire Elizabeth Terry, and the other three mentors on the bus ride to the castle. The anticipation on the ride up was enthralling. We stayed in a castle in Spain that was 75 miles from Barcelona. When we arrived at the castle, it was simply breathtaking. There were 15 bedrooms. It was massive. Yet, it had so much charm. There was an immediate sense of intimacy with how it was all set up.

First, we met the incredible staff of people who would be providing the food and helping to create the experience. Then, we sat with the visionary, Claire Elizabeth Terry, and the woman that helped to organize it, Gillian Pollock. I think for all of us, in the beginning, it was designing a plan of action that would create the transformation for the writer. It was about providing the story tools, the platform for teaching these tools, the opportunity to practice the tools, and the mentorship to help directly with each story. The gift was that the mentors came from varying worldviews on story.

We had a mentor, Scott Collette, from the film-distribution world. Scott is also a writer that has had success. We had a mentor from Italy, Roberto Marchionni, who is a screenwriter/director/teacher who had been nominated for the equivalent of an Academy Award® in Italy the year before. Then we had a mentor, Deb Engle, from the book world, who is an author/speaker/coach that has had tremendous success. I came from the worldview of the network-writing instructor/former TV executive/author/speaker/consultant.

The writers arrived the following day. They were from all over the world. I knew several of them from events that I did in London and New York City, as well as online. Most, if not all of the writers, did not know one another before arriving. Watching the connections and relationships form between them was a beautiful part of the process. Also, seeing whom they were when they arrived and what opened up in a new way when they left is one of the contributing factors that made this experience so remarkable.

Retreats definitely attract writers that are serious about the craft and committed to the process. The talent in this group was amazing. The process was that each writer submitted material to the program. The mentor read the material for each mentee. So, we started the experience with knowing their story. We were able to experience their voice.

Each day started with a meditation and experience with sound healing. Also, where we were in Spain, you’d hear the church bells and roosters in the morning. It was a beautiful way to wake up. We’d have breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. The food was such a memorable part of it all. Then, one of the four mentors would present. We’d break into our group with our mentees and work with them from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In the group, we’d go over story tools and development and discuss what each writer wrote. It was like a mini writers’ room. Then, we’d have lunch. After lunch, one of the mentors would answer any questions that the writers had.

Next, we’d have a pitch session where the four mentors would give feedback on pitches. Then, there was some free time to write. Dinner was at 7:00 p.m. This was a time to truly connect and hear the personal stories. The wine and champagne would flow. This was in a gorgeous setting outside. All of this really allowed for the creative spirit to come through.

This is what we did for the week that we were there. One day, several of us ventured out to the Salvador Dali Museum and were able to really experience what voice is through the vision of the artist.

What I saw transpire from the first day to the last day was a building of a community that I believe will live on for years to come. The unveiling was very evident on the last night when the whole group was up dancing for our final evening together. Writing can be a very isolating experience. When you make a choice and take an action like this, the outcome could exceed your expectation and bring you a life experience that will live on in your heart and show up in your writing in a way that you never imagined.

From the mentor perspective, the gift of a retreat is that it allows us time to dig much deeper into their content. We get to really be in the process of the transformation. We get to experience “aha” moments that writers have and see it show up on the page and in the room with the way that they convey their story. When you tell and sell your story from a place of emotional truth, you give your audience a glimpse inside what you want to say to the world and the impact that you want to make. Attending a retreat like Rocaberti is a channel that will get you to this type of destination.

If this sounds like an experience for you, join us in France of 2018: https://rocabertiwriters.com/july-2018

Jennifer Grisanti

Script Consultant / Writing Instructor

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, a former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and her new book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.