The write stuff from L.A. script expert

SCREENWRITERS WILL GET A CHANCE to quiz L.A. screenwriting consultant Phillippa Burgess on how to move their careers forward and other vital breakthrough info Dec. 7 at the Chicago Screenwriters Network meeting.

As a partner in Creative Convergence, a multifaceted entertainment company representing writers, directors, producers and the like, Burgess is certainly equipped to provide the answers. (See Screenings & Events for details.)

TWENTY-ONE HOLLYWOOD COMPANIES are eagerly poised and awaiting the winning entries in the aforementioned CSN’s first-ever screenwriting contest. Alert! Submission deadline is Dec. 31, so enter now for possible Hollywood fame and fortune!

Your screenplay will go to an impressive lineup of literary agencies and production companies that include ABC Family, Alex Rose Pictures, Appleseed Entertainment, Clifford Werber Productions, HQ Pictures, Madhouse Entertainment, Original Content, Universal Home Animation and more.

DRAFTFCB RECEIVED A WELCOME YEAR-END GIFT from MillerCoors. Its first assignment for the Miller Lite brand was six holiday-themed spots to bow Thanksgiving Day and run until Dec. 31.

JOAN CUSACK has often said if she did another TV series, it would be like her “What About Joan” sitcom and produced in Chicago. According to the Sun-Times’ Bill Zwecker, Cusack is planning just that – a new NBC series based on the world of psychiatry.

FUTURE MEDIA CONCEPTS received Gold Level Status in recognition of its excellence in training as an Apple Authorized Training Center. The Chicago branch opened in 2007 and is one of seven FMC Gold Level training centers operating in the East, L.A., Orlando and Dubai, UAE.

THE MONSTER AICP SHOW and party will place at a new venue next November — the Cultural Center, after almost all of its 17 years of the show were held at the Chicago History Museum.

APPLE’S EAGERLY AWAITED IPHONE 2.2 software update has been released ? in the middle of the night? — and is available on the iTunes store for download.

LOCAL TV STATIONS rarely produce any of their own programming outside of the news, so it is of modest interest but worth noting that Ch. 9 has produced “Chicago’s Very Own Holidays” (a play on WGN slogan ? Chicago’s Very Own Station).

Ch. 9’s very own Mark Suppelsa hosts the half-hour nostalgic look at Chicago Christmases over the past 100 years. The show airs Dec 20 and Dec. 24.

OFFICE GIFT GIVING? In The Creative Group’s new poll of advertising and marketing executives said 79% percent of respondents said holiday gift-giving occurs in their offices.

Fifty-one percent said managers give gifts to staff members, and the same number exchange gifts with one another. Picking names out of a hat account for 43% of office gift-giving. On the suck-up front, 39% said staff members give gifts to managers.

FYI: NEARLY $5.9 BILLION was the amount spent for online advertising during the third quarter, an increase of 11% over the same period in 2007, and up 2% over the second quarter of 2008.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the $5. billion represents the second-best quarter ever for the industry.