Last week, Wellesley in Entertainment (WIE), a subgroup of the alumni organization Wellesley Club of Los Angeles (WCLA), announced Camille Bond ’17 as the first winner of their annual Screenwriting Competition. Bond, who won for her feature-length screenplay “The Sleeping Gods,” will be flown to LA during spring break for three days of meetings with professionals to get industry exposure and feedback on her work. The annual competition, which is open to Wellesley seniors of all majors, accepts original scripts from all genres including features, short films, television pilots and web series.
For Bond, an English major, submitting “The Sleeping Gods” was a daunting prospect, as it was the first feature film screenplay she ever completed. “On a personal level, this felt really significant for me,” she said. “I tend to be reserved about sharing my writing because I put a lot of myself into it.” She wrote the first of six drafts in two weeks over the summer, though a lot of the ideas had already been circulating in her mind for a while.
When asked what “The Sleeping Gods” is about, Bond responded, “I’d have a hard time summarizing the plot, but it’s an adventure story that tries to raise questions about privileged institutions’ use of advanced nuclear/technological capabilities and about the right of these institutions—nations, individuals, organizations—to intervene in situations they might not fully understand.” Having been inspired by her experience interning at a film production office last summer, Bond sees screenwriting as her dream job. She is currently thinking about entering the film industry via production and branching into writing from there.
Kate Erickson ’05, a member of WIE’s steering committee, said that the idea for the screenwriting competition came from the first committee meeting. The committee, comprised of Erickson, Erin Judge, Katie Barsotti, Lynn Sternberger, Michelle Lirtzman and Kathleen Scott, had a few different goals with the competition. Beyond the prize package for the winner, the committee wanted the competition to motivate students to complete writing samples before graduation that they could use to apply to other competitions, fellowships and career opportunities—for example, those seeking representation such as agents and managers. Furthermore, the committee wanted Wellesley students to be aware of, as Erickson explained, the “vibrant, active, supportive community of alum writers, filmmakers, producers, directors and arts [who] are eager to welcome [them] into the wider world.”
For Wellesley students looking to pursue careers in entertainment, Erickson has some advice beyond entering the WIE screenwriting competition. For those interested in comedy: “If you’d like to try your hand at standup, look for places to do that in Boston. Maybe get a summer internship in New York and take a class at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Submit short pieces to McSweeney’s or the New Yorker’s Daily Shouts.” For those interested in dramatic writing, she suggested submitting prose pieces for publication at pw.org. For aspiring screenwriters at Wellesley, she suggested students submit screenplays to programs like the Michael Collyer Fellowship—available to seniors—and others, listed on the websites of organizations like the Writers Guild of America.
More generally, she suggests that students “foster connections early” by making use of resources like Career Education and Wellesley’s alumni network, including WIE. “Students should join the Wellesley In Entertainment Facebook page. Through that, they can also let me know if they’d like to be added to the WIE newsletter, which sends out alum accomplishments, event info and other announcements. The events mostly happen in LA, but when or if students visit/move there, the events are a great way to network, learn and generally find community.”
Details of WIE’s 2017-2018 Screenwriting Competition will be announced on May 5.