A sunset cruise, a night of pop trivia and a weekend retreat at Lake Arrowhead. The WGAW Activities Committee aims to give writers a respite from the solitude of their craft, foster community and help develop connections that may even stimulate creativity. No laptops allowed.
(August 4, 2014)
For many Guild members, with the exception of television writers fortunate enough to be staffed each year, work is a rather solitary experience. With this in mind, the WGAW’s Activities Committee painstakingly plans events throughout the year to bring writers together and help foster a sense of community and connection which, points out Committee Chair Kat Smith, may ultimately spark creativity.
Photos: Aaron Betts
Guild members cruise the high seas around Marina Del Rey on the annual sunset cruise.
"Studies have shown that we need playful activities to keep our creativity intact and stimulate brain function,” says Smith, half-joking. “These events also allow writers to develop relationships that don’t necessarily happen when we attend panels. Members form bonds with other writers who then become their support community.” There’s even a potential professional upside: the writers you meet become a source for professional referrals or can be a second pair of eyes when you’re looking for feedback on your script.
But planning activities that will entice writers is admittedly not an easy task. The dozen or so members of the Committee aim for events that are highly interactive – putt-putt golf, game night, hikes, to name a few - as an antidote to the sedentary writer’s life. Attendance has increased lately as more events are held at locations outside Guild headquarters. A movie club that launched last month brings Guild members together for a screening at the recently renovated Writers Guild Theater, followed by a post-movie thumbs up/thumbs down discussion at a nearby restaurant.
Several weeks ago, the Guild’s sunset cruise drew around 40 members for a few hours of eating, drinking and watching the views around Marina del Rey harbor from the deck of a three-level cruising boat (see accompanying photos). “This was an interesting mix of new members and familiar faces,” observes Smith. “We like to attract new people who don’t attend other types of Guild events. It gives them an affiliation with the Guild that they may not have otherwise. Our events can be a gateway to becoming more engaged with the Guild.”
The Activities Committee’s piece de resistance is a bucolic weekend conference and retreat at Lake Arrowhead every two years (next one: 2015). Amid the spectacular beauty of Arrowhead, members and their families play (kickball, tennis, games), eat, schmooze and attend master classes with some of the industry’s A-list writers. This event is always a sell-out.
One might ask what the pay-off is for Smith and the members of the Activities Committee, a stalwart group who voluntarily take on the seemingly thankless task of planning social events for Guild members. “We’re just student government geeks at heart,” says Smith, who has chaired the Committee since 2005. “We enjoy planning activities and events that are like play time for writers.”
Keep up with upcoming events by joining the WGAW Activities Committee FB group or join their opt-in list by writing Kymberly Jackson at Activities.