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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 creative nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. Her essay collection, BLUR & Other Essays, was named one of three finalists in Bauhan Publishing’s 2017 Monadnock Essay Collection Prize, and her essay, “Blur,” is a notable in Best American Essays 2018. Kerry’s plays have received honors and awards from Sundance Theater Lab, Nantucket Short Play Festival and Competition, The Great Platte River Playwrights Festival, The Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, Trustus Theater Festival, and she has optioned and sold screenplays to producers in the US & Mexico. In late 2018, her award-winning play, The Night Buster Keaton Dreamed Me, was published in both English and Spanish by No Passport Press. A graduate of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program, she has led writing workshops for teens at Children of the Night.
  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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