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Chicago Screenwriters Network (CSN) is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

2012 Topics and Guest Speakers

“Heads Up!” Avoiding and Solving Common Screenplay Problems

On May 10th, the Chicago Screenwriters Network Speaker Series presents Mary Ruth Clarke, who co-wrote and starred in the original Meet the Parents and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version that starred Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. She has script doctored many screenplays, including A Guy Thing and The Godfather of Green Bay. She’s a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting, and beginning this June she will be teaching at Second City’s Film, TV and Digital division.

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How To Write A Great Ending – April 12, 2015 CSN meeting

On Sunday, April 12th, our guest speaker will be Grant Robbin, a screenwriting coach and an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, whose presentation is entitled How To Write A Great Ending.


If you don’t have a strong, compelling ending, you don’t have a story! In this unique, enlightening presentation, utilizing various movie clips, Grant will show you how to create great endings. He will discuss different kinds of endings: the lesser of two evils, two irreconcilable goods, up, down, ironic, open, closed, false and contrived (a.k.a., the “deus ex machina”). Grant will further explore how a solid ending is the key to unlocking the character arc and theme of your story.

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Sun. March 8th meeting – “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?”: No Conflict = No Story

Our guest speaker for March 2015 will be novelist and writing instructor Mary Carter of The Writers Loft. Her presentation will be on the topic of conflict — one of the key elements of storytelling — and is entitled “What’s Your Problem?”

As the late Jerry Cleaver stated in his book Immediate Fiction, “No Conflict = No Story”. Jerry founded The Writers Loft course and he was Mary’s writing mentor; her CSN presentation will be drawn from the book and from Jerry’s course materials. Mary assumed Jerry’s role as instructor of The Writers Loft following his death last year.

Screenwriters of all levels — as well as members of the creative, film, and television communities — are invited to this meeting, which takes place on Sunday, March 8, 2015 (6:00-8:30pm), at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. [CSN meets on the 2nd floor.]

Mrs. Murphy & Sons has a parking lot for guests two doors south of the restaurant at the SE corner of Lincoln & Byron.  Add’l. street parking on Lincoln Ave. is free on Sundays; also, side streets in the area do not require permits for parking.

The doors open at 6:00pm for drinks, dining, and networking; the panel discussion commences at 7:00pm, followed by Q&A with audience members.

Admission is $5.00 in advance via Eventbrite — available until two (2) hours before the meeting begins — or $10.00 at the door.

Admission is free of charge for CSN annual membership holders; memberships can be purchased for $40.00/year at the door or via the Chicago Screenwriters Network website.

Feb. 8th CSN meeting – “How Different Media Disciplines Work With Screenplays”

For Chicago Screenwriters Network’s second meeting of its 20th anniversary year, on Sunday, February 8, 2015, we welcome a panel of diverse media production professionals (film, television, and digital) who will discuss their perspectives on the screenwriter’s craft and how they work with screenplays in executing their respective responsibilities.

Scheduled to appear on the panel:

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CSN – Writing Resolutions for 2015 (and how to keep them)


CSN enters its platinum anniversary year with a new meeting night (the second Sunday of each month), a new board of directors, and a new home.

Screenwriters of all levels — as well as members of the creative, film, and television communities — are invited to a special kick-off meeting to mark the start of CSN’s 20th anniversary year. This event takes place from 6:00-8:00pm on Sunday, January 11, 2015, at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. [CSN meets on the 2nd floor.]

The evening’s program will cover…

  • RESOLUTIONS for writing in 2015
  • RESUMING a full schedule of CSN monthly meetings
  • REUNITING CSN’s members with each other
  • REVEALING our new meeting venue
  • REVAMPING CSN’s plans & programming for 2015

And best of all, this first meeting of 2015 is FREE — no charge for admission!

In order for Mrs. Murphy & Sons to provide adequate staffing, please RSVP via email reply or at Eventbrite to let us know you’re coming.  [Cash bar; full menu available, though NO minimum food purchase is required at this January 2015 meeting.]

Attendees will have the opportunity to enter a raffle – we’re giving away hundreds of dollars worth of great prizes! (Drawing at end of meeting; winners must be present.)

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2012 In Review

  • January '12:
    Table Read - "My First Five Pages"
  • February '12:
    Jessica Bendinger - First-Page Criticques
  • March '12:
    Gary and Beth Hoover - Teamwork
  • April '12:
    Jon McNaughton - Get Wild
  • May '12:
    Leslie Conliffe - Pitches
  • June '12:
    Daliah Saper - Entertainment Law
  • July '12
    Mini-Pitch Weekend
  • Augus '12
    Jennifer Grisanti - TV Pilot Class
  • September '12
    CSN Contest Award Show
  • October '12
    Police Veteran Timothy Janowick & Crime Writer Michael Allen Dymmoch Myths and Realities of Crime