Writing in the Dark,, an apt metaphor for anyone who has ever tried to tap out words on a  backlit screen.  This book, a collection of essays gathered by Max van Manen, shows how "different kinds of human experience may be explored, the methods for investigating phenomena contributing to human experience…the process of inquiry, reflection and writing…a valuable and rich resource".   That is to say, writing is an attempt to reflect what goes on inside us.  Inside us is where "story" occurs.Scott Popjes maintains a busy schedule, writing, producing and editing major theatrical trailers, promos and EPK's and developing and producing TV series and films, such as "The Remarkably 20th Century" and "The Long Ride Home".  Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, this everyman director/editor loves making movies.Ernest Hemingway - The man who ran with the bulls.  His literary sparseness and compression, well-worn and well-earned, captured the attention of critics and public in a volatile age.  In 1952, he received the Pulitzer for The Old Man and the Sea.   In 1954, he received the Nobel Prize for his "powerful style-making mastery of the modern art of narration."  He wrote from life.  Until his life subdued and rescued him.Will Shakespeare - Aka "The bard".  Arguably the best English writer to ever glide pen to page, populist hero as well as aristocratic raconteur, though we wish he had used all women instead of all men to populate his plays.  (Not a prejudice, just a fact.)   His sonnets remain divine.  Rare is the writer who can scribble successfully in one genre, let alone two.  Some postulate this poet and playwright was, in fact, more than one man…or woman.  What would he have done with film, we wonder?Though he produced fewer than 40 paintings, Dutch painter Jan Vermeer is one of the most respected artists of the European tradition. He is known for his serene, luminous interiors populated by one or two figures. Vermeer grew up in Delft, Holland, joined the painters' guild in 1653, and worked as an art dealer to support his wife and 11 children.  In 1672, war with France ruined Holland’s economy and Vermeer's business failed.  Soon after, he died of a stroke at age 42, leaving his family bankrupt.  Vermeer's paintings were largely forgotten for nearly 200 years, until 1858 when a French critic began to write admiringly about his work.  Interest in Vermeer surged again recently with his work exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Contemporary writers have also been inspired by him, including Tracy Chevalier whose novel Girl with a Pearl Earring imagines the life of the girl in Vermeer's painting of the same name. L.Ron Hubbard - Whatever you may think of his other worldly beliefs, the full body of L. Ron Hubbard's work includes more than 5,000 writings and 3,000 tape-recorded lectures, spanning five, highly productive decades.  A humanitarian and adventurer, he  believes, "There are only two tests of a life well lived: Did one do as one intended? And were people glad one lived?"  We add, "And can one write about it, anyhow?"Johannes Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid" records a prior chivalrous age where class decorum reigned.  (Oh, well, you can't have everything.)   One of the most talented painters in the Dutch Golden Age, that's the 1600's, Vermeer's work was forgotten for centuries.  The most brilliant artists of any century are probably never discovered, their paintings hidden till ruin, their pages dropping to dust in unfound attics.  We find this oddly comforting.  No martyr of time, this particular masterpiece hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  Definitely worth a gaze.Jules Verne - Ode to childhood and the player within us.  Verne was born, aptly, in Nates, France in 1828.  He promptly ran off to become cabin boy on a merchant ship but was caught and sent back to his parents.  Thus constrained, his imagination wandered.  He wrote story after story, became very rich, bought a yacht and resumed his initial intent - to sail around the world.  Or Europe anyhow.   Our favorite remains Twenty Thousand Leagues.
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The Writers Place Cofounders
In addition to co-founding The Writers Place, Paula Brancato is a published poet, playwright and screenwriter, living in New York and Los Angeles. A second generation Sicilian-American, she was one of the first women executives on Wall Street, a film producer in Hollywood, a music industry CFO and strategic planner for the World Bank.

Brancato’s film company, Brancato Productions, executive produced the feature film SOMEWHERE IN THE CITY, starring Sandra Bernhard, which won the Karlovy Vary (Czech) film festival and HER FATHER’S DAUGHTER, a Sundance finalist. Her film awards include: Angelciti Film Festival, African American Film Festival, Remi Worldfest and American Screenwriting awards.

Brancato has written 12 screenplays for hire/option including: SUBTERFUGE, optioned for packaging by CAA; ELLEN JERSEY, Stein Productions; THE FAB FIVE, a parody of Harvard Business School commissioned by alums; LOVE YOU TO DEATH, sequel to CRIMES OF PASSION; THE WANTING (16 screenwriting awards); and ALPHA BABE. Her literary awards include: The National Screenwriters, WINFEMME, Organization of Black Screenwriters, Chesterfield H. Jones Foundation, Asheville and Pacific Northwest Writers awards, and Chesterfield and Nicholl’s semi-finals.

Brancato currently teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She is also working on her first novel, NEVER IRON NAKED, and is slated to direct the film SHOWBUNNIES, an homage to bunny rabbits. Brancato received her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, where she was a Godfrey-Cabot fellow. She is a graduate of Hunter College and the Los Angeles Film School.

Doctor James E. Fischer, cofounder of The Writers Place, is also an award-winning screenwriter, a novelist, a producer and a director, happily married and living in Pensacola. Dr. Fischer's military action-thriller, The Dark Ages, was published in 1996. He re-published Ignoble – The Dark Ages Trilogy, volume I, in 2005 and Malignance – The Dark Ages Trilogy, volume II, in 2007 and will continue until the entire three-phased story is in place. See www.sturmenkrieg.com. He is co-writer of SUBTERFUGE, optioned for packaging by CAA, and THE WANTING (16 screenwriting awards).

Dr. Fischer’s literary awards include: The Hollywood Scriptwriters Institute, National Screenwriters, WINFEMME, Organization of Black Screenwriters, Houston International Film Festival (2nd place), BDR 2000, and the 2003 American Screenwriting Award. Dr. Fischer has, in addition, acted in 38 stage plays, independent films, teleplays, industrials, and commercials combined. He has directed 18 stage plays and 5 television productions. He trained as an actor/director at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York and at Herbert Berghoff (HB) Studios.

Additionally, Dr. Fischer is an adjunct, online professor with Corinthian Colleges, Inc., teaching Computer Applications, Network Managing and Systems Analysis & Design.

A past member of the Psychological Operations Association and the International Association of Airborne Veterans, Dr. Fischer earned two Master Degrees (Unconventional Warfare & Strategic Intelligence) from The American Military University in Virginia. He earned a third Master Degree (Management Information Systems) from Northcentral University in Arizona -- where he was also awarded his Ph.D. on completion of his dissertation entitled Propaganda and the Internet.