A revitalized CSN prepares for 20th year activities

Chicago Screenwriters Network (CSN) is starting its 20th anniversary year with a new, reinvigorated board, meetings at a new permanent venue and expansive program plans including famous screenwriting gurus to help members achieve their career goals.

At 20, CSN is Chicago’s oldest, continuously running film-related organization. And this year, after a period of “organizational instability,” the new nine-member board is ramping up CSN’s status as a premier resource for screenwriters.

Above all, says new board chairman Dante A. Bacani, “We’re recommitting to our mission of educating members in the craft of screenwriting and the skills needed to establish and maintain a viable career in the industry,”

A special kick-off meeting Sunday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. starts the anniversary year.  Actress and life coach Courtney Rioux speaks on “Screenwriting Resolutions for 2015 (and sticking to them),” followed by introductions to the new board and announcement of programs and a schedule of CSN’s monthly meetings, now being held the second Sunday of the month.

Future programs include February’s panel of experts from other disciplines, such as directors and actors, talking about their perspectives on screenplays and how the writers can optimize their scripts with these collaborators in mind.

Noted screenwriting consultants John TrubyPilar Alessandra, Chris Soth and Linda Seger are among the prominent screenwriting and industry experts who have been invited to speak. 

Workshops led by experts and focused on specific screenwriting areas are scheduled for the fourth Saturday of most months.

Dante A. Bacani, CSN new board presidentCSN’s long-running Screenwriting Contest should return this year after skipping 2014. Bacani is also working on “forging mutually helpful partnerships” with Los Angeles and New York screenwriting organizations.”

The new board to be introduced Jan. 11 is comprised of president/CEO, Bacani; secretary, Ian Hamilton; treasurer, Amorous Lesko and Sydney Armstrong, Noreen Cashman Kelly, Linda Frothingham, Jane Morson, Thomas Sigmon and Joy Valdez-Pappas

The free opening meeting takes place at CSN’s new permanent home back on the North Side Mrs Murphy and Sons Irish Bistrot, 3905 N. Lincoln, after several years of moving around different West Loop restaurants.

Cash bar, no minimum food purchase required for this meeting, and nearby free parking.  There’s also a first-time raffle of hundreds of dollars of valuable prizes. RSVP here.

The Chicago Screenwriters Network was cofounded in 1995 by former Chicago policeman Ed Bernero and Christiana King-Miller and Kenneth Mader.  All three went on to achieve notable success in the film/television industry.

Bernero was a showrunner for NBC’s “Third Watch” and executive producer of CBS’s “Criminal Minds.”  King-Miller, wrote for ABC’s “General Hospital” and Mader is currently directing a feature, “Displacement,” which he also co-wrote.

“Over the past two decades, CSN has grown from a handful of enthusiasts into a nonprofit organization, with a large and growing membership and social media presence on Facebook and Twitter,” Bacani says.

“Many of our members have won awards for their screenplays or have had their work produced for film or television.”