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Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club Brings Hollywood to San Diego for the 7th Annual CCA Writers’ Conference

Kendall Shewrood
Kendall Sherwood Courtesy

Canyon Crest Academy’s Creative Writing Club has announced the three speakers at the 7th Annual CCA Writers’ Conference who will be sharing their screenwriting and producing experience in Hollywood with attendees. The 7th Annual Canyon Crest Academy Writers’ Conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. High school students from all over San Diego County are welcome to this event, the only free writing conference for high school students in the U.S. Every year, over 200 students attend from Chula Vista to Oceanside, La Jolla to Santee, and even as far away as Ramona. Students can find more information and register at ccawritersconference2018.weebly.com.

Abdi Nazemian
Abdi Nazemian Marc OHrem-Leclef

Kendall Sherwood, an LA-based playwright/screenwriter who spent the last four years writing for TNT’s “Major Crimes,” will present Writing for TV. Sherwood has presented workshops at the last three conferences and noted, “Every year, I'm surprised at how insightful the questions are that I get from the students. I often leave with as much to think about as they do. The passion and creativity these kids have cultivated is inspiring.”

Sherwood’s theatre credits include a workshop production of The Record Breakers in Denver (Athena Project); a month-long run of Devil May Care in Chicago (Wishbone Theatre Collective); and the honor of being named a finalist two years running for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference for Found Religion and The Record Breakers.

New to the conference is screenwriter, producer and author Abdi Nazemian who will present Movie, Book, Play, TV? How to decide what your story is meant to be. Nazemian’s first novel, The Walk-In Closet, won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Debut. His debut YA novel, The Authentics, was released by HarperCollins, and received two starred reviews, as well as being featured in People Magazine as their "Teen Pick."

Nazemian said, "I'm so excited to take part in a conference that focuses on writing in all its forms. From journalism to television to essays, CCA offers students a unique chance to learn from writers, ask questions, and engage in the many possibilities the written word offers. Writing is often about self-creation, and hopefully we will be inspiring students to follow their dreams."

His screenwriting credits include Menendez: Blood Brothers, The Quiet, Beautiful Girl, and Celeste in the City. Nazemian is an alumnus of the Sundance Writer’s Lab, has been a mentor at the Outfest Screenwriter’s Lab, and has taught screenwriting at UCLA Extension. As the head of development for Water’s End Productions, he has served as an executive producer or associate producer on a number of films, including Call Me By Your Name.

Daniel Sweren-Becker is an author, television writer and playwright living in Los Angeles. This is his first time at the conference, and he will present Conflict, An Author’s BFF. He has written for ABC, USA, MTV and Nickelodeon, and his play Stress Positions premiered in New York at the SoHo Playhouse. He grew up in Manhattan, mostly in and around pizzerias, basketball courts, and the gem room of the Museum of Natural History. From there, he attended Wesleyan University and then graduate school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nowadays he spends his free time beaching it up, chasing down all of LA’s new ice cream sandwiches and teaching creative writing at 826LA’s community center.

Sweren-Becker said, "I love coming down from Los Angeles to engage with young storytellers who are just starting their journey. The world is their oyster and it's always inspiring to see how many new voices and stories we will be hearing soon."

Because of the generosity of conference sponsors Hamilton College Consultants and PrintNET, the support of the CCA Foundation and ASB, and extensive fundraising by the Creative Writing Club, this event is free to high school students. The CCA Creative Writing Club is looking for individual and corporate sponsors. Individuals can sponsor a student for as little as $25, or become a Gold Sponsor for more. Sponsors can email ccawritersconference@gmail.com for more information on how to contribute.

The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will sell speakers’ books with a portion of the proceeds going to the conference. Students can learn more about the conference at ccawritersconference2018.weebly.com, by liking the CCA Writers’ Conference page on Facebook, or following it on Twitter. The conference will take place in the Proscenium Theater and Media Center, Canyon Crest Academy, 5951 Village Center Loop Road, San Diego, CA 92130. Registration is required.

General informationThe 7th Annual CCA Writers’ Conference will be from 8:00am-4:30pm on Saturday, February 24, 2018, at Canyon Crest Academy, (Proscenium and Media Center), 5951 Village Center Loop Road, San Diego, CA 92130. The event is for high school students only, and is free. Registration at ccawritersconference2018.weebly.com/ is required.

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