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By Hammad Zaidi | April 2, 2013

Welcome to “Going Bionic,” #151. I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend, whether you celebrated Easter, Passover, both or neither. As for me, my weekend was quite eventful, as I spent Saturday afternoon at WonderCon in Anaheim, and then spent Sunday taking my wife and daughters to Easter Brunch, where we enjoyed an Easter egg hunt, a pony ride and a picture with the Easter Bunny. Thus, my weekend was filled with meeting good people in great costumes!

As promised last week, today we’re exploring “Michelangelo Screenwriting,” a writing intensive summer excursion that takes place in Orvieto, Italy. As an added bonus, we’re also taking a peek behind the mask of WonderCon – Anaheim.” So, without further adieu, Let’s start our journey in Orvieto, Italy.

Michelangelo Screenwriting (
The Michelangelo Screenwriting program is a two-week, or one-week intensive writing workshop that takes place in the serene backdrop of Orvieto, Italy, a town that’s nestled on top of a breathtaking butte of volcanic rock. The program is designed to encourage writers to write; while it also creates a non-threatening support group of other writers to help your words flow as easily as the warm Italian summer breeze.

nMichelAngelo Screenwriting #1MichelAngelo Screenwriting #2

Should you worry that joining strange writers in the middle of Italy for two weeks during the summer will turn into a vacation rather than it a writing excursion, don’t, because: a) All writers are strange, including you and b) There are writing instructors to guide you along the way. Furthermore, the instructors hold daily writing seminars for part of your time abroad, while other days and times you’re left alone to write.

What I Love About It
As someone who loves to write, I know how important it is to be in an environment that encourages creativity. Luckily for me, I travel internationally to film festivals an film markets, so I’m always in places that get my creative juices flowing, (i.e. Cannes, Tokyo and Hong Kong). However, if you’re not racking up 85,000-110,000 frequent flier miles per year like I am, then the Michelangelo Screenwriting Program may be just what you need to get your script where it needs to be to sell.

Act One
The first session takes place from June 16-June 30, 2013, and still has a few slots open.

Act Two
The second session, a one-week intensive on writing for television, (June 30-July 6, 2013), is already sold-out.

Act Three
You win the Oscar for best original or best-adapted screenplay in 2015, and you thank Michelangelo Screenwriting for helping you craft your script into a career-changing slam-dunk. Hell, if you do win an Oscar utilizing what you learned from the Michelangelo Screenwriting Program, then don’t forget to mention you heard about it first, right here at “Going Bionic.”

Should you contact Michelangelo Screenwriting, feel free to ask for Heidi Hornbacker-Cavagna, who is an old friend of mine. While Heidi won’t give you a discount for dropping my name (she may charge you more…) she might tell you the story of how my car was towed while she and I were at lunch a few months ago.

The other event we’re discussing today is WonderCon Anaheim, which was simply amazing.

My good friend, Martin Shapiro, the creator of the “Chopper” comic book series, invited me to WonderCon, because he was on a panel Saturday afternoon about turning graphic novels into feature films. I’m glad I took Martin up on the offer, because the experience was quite memorable.

Location, Location, Location
Located at the Anaheim Convention Center, just steps away from the far more sanitized Disneyland, WonderCon was way more crowded than I had expected.  Thousands of attendees packed the aisles as hundreds of vendors sold and promoted their stuff at an alarming rate.

Crowded, But Not Suffocating
Since there were families with young children in attendance, and the feel of the event was more of a celebration of the comic book and graphic novel world, as opposed to the corporate environment that Comic-Con has morphed itself into over the past several years. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a corporate environment, because it’s a sign that big money is being made. However, if you want a kinder, gentler, and somewhat more creatively inspired experience, WonderCon is perfect for you.

WonderCon Anaheim #1

WonderCon VS. Comic-Con
Unlike Comic-Con, which I also love, WonderCon allowed you to maneuver around a tad bit easier. However, just like Comic-Con, WonderCon has turned into a platform for major studios to position and promote their comic-related feature films.  In fact, there was a huge display for the upcoming Tom Cruise film, “Oblivion,” which is being released this month.

WonderCon - Anaheim #2

A Quick Plug For “The Brass Teapot”
During my aimless stroll around WonderCon, I ran into a stand promoting the current Magnolia Pictures release, “The Brass Teapot,” a story about a couple that finds a brass teapot that gives them money every time they physically injure themselves. The couple is in need of a lot of money, so the film explores how far people will go for money. While I haven’t seen “The Brass Teapot,” the film’s director Ramaa Mosely was nice to me when I stopped by her booth, so I thought I’d mention her film.

Okay, filmmakers. That’s what I’ve got for you today. As always, I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I look forward to borrowing them again next Tuesday! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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