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“I remember watching Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence at an arthouse cinema somewhere in Manhattan when I was in my twenties,” says instructor Kerry Muir. “The movie went against all convention. It made me want to tell stories about the truth, no matter how erratic, bumpy and insanely flawed the truth might really be.”

What movies have served as touchstones, guideposts, or talismans in your personal and creative life? How has the cinema influenced you as a writer, in terms of your style, voice, the types of characters you’re drawn to, the kinds of stories you feel called to tell?

In this five-week course, through in-class exercises, discussions, viewings of film clips, readings, and optional take-home assignments, we’ll explore the fertile connection between cinema and written narrative. Additionally, we’ll embark on a series of exercises designed to conscientiously apply cinematic techniques to written narratives, whether we’re working in fiction or memoir. While we tend to think of terms like zoom, framing the “shot,” depth of focus, and compression and dilation of time as cinematic in nature—and they are!—the fact is: the finest prose uses these very devices in spades.

Students will leave the class equipped with an arsenal of new techniques to help them become more capable writers of dramatic scenes that grab and hold a reader’s attention, page after page. All levels and genres welcome.


    Kerry Muir‘s plays include Running on Moontime, The Night Buster Keaton Dreamed Me, and Befriending Bertha/Conociendo a Bertha (a one-act for children), which were published in dual language (Spanish-English) editions by NoPassport Press as part of their Dreaming the Americas series, curated by Lifetime Achievement Obie Award-winning playwright, Caridad Svich. Her plays have garnered awards and productions at the Nantucket Short Play Festival, Great Platte River Playwrights Festival, Gibraltar International Drama Festival, and elsewhere. Her prose has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, Riverteeth, West Branch, Willow Springs, Fourth Genre and more. Two of her essays, “The Bridge” and “BLUR,” were named as notable in Best American Essays of 2011 and 2018, edited by Edwidge Danticat and Hilton Als, respectively. Her short film “Madame” (an official selection of San Francisco Independent Film Festival 2024, Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival 2024, AHITH Film Festival 2023) is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit. Visit her online at: https://kerry-muir-5gnx.squarespace.com.
  1. Saturday, May 11, 10:30am-1:00pm
  2. Saturday, May 18, 10:30am-1:00pm
  3. Saturday, June 1, 10:30am-1:00pm
  4. Saturday, June 8, 10:30am-1:00pm
  5. Saturday, June 15, 10:30am-1:00pm
  • Kerry's enthusiasm was contagious and she encouraged each student, while helping them see how to improve their work. She created a friendly and supportive atmosphere through group discussion, and suggested further readings.



Saturday, May 11, 2019 @ 5:30 pm PDT
Saturday, June 15, 2019 @ 8:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


2121 Bonar St, Studio D, 2nd Fl
Berkeley, CA United States
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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