Meet the 2021 TSA Board of Directors

The Tennessee Screenwriting Association is overseen by a board of directors, who are elected each December. A president, vice president, treasurer and secretary are then elected from among the board. Three provisional members are also elected.

2021 TSA Board of Directors

  • President: Jeff Chase
  • Vice President: Irish Johnston
  • Treasurer: Dave Deverell
  • Secretary: Paula Phelps-Weaver
  • Bob Giordano
  • Elvis Wilson
  • Tom Steinmann
  • Mark Naccarato
  • Debbie Wells
  • Pam Tate
  • Daniel Spear

Provisional board members (will have the power to vote at board meetings should a regular board member be unable to attend):

  • Tom Wood
  • Pete Kremer
  • Sandra Watson

Webmaster (non-board member):

  • Gary Frazier

Jeffrey Alan Chase – President

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Jeff Chase

Jeff Chase moved to Nashville from Mesa, Ariz., to hone his talents as a songwriter and screenwriter after several careers, including advertising executive and commercial Real Estate broker. As a songwriter, he’s amassed a catalog of over 600 songs, many of which have been cut by country and pop artists and include songs licensed in movies and TV.

As a screenwriter, Jeff has multiple full-length feature screenplays and numerous short scripts under his belt.   Two scripts were quarter-finalists in the prestigious Nicholl competition. His romantic comedy Grinder’s Switch took second place in the Tennessee Screenplay Contest.  Country Songwriters won the LA Screenwriting Competition for Comedy Short.

Jeff is a SAG actor who has appeared in numerous commercials, videos and industrial films. He has appeared in numerous films including, Ernest Goes to Jail and When the Eagle Cries and co-starred with Robert Carradine and Chris Mitchum in the thriller Lycanthrope.  He worked alongside Kathy Bates and Alfree Woodard in Tyler Perry’s hit movie, The Family that Preys.

He has been a board member and past president of Film Nashville, board member, past president and vice president of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association, board member and past vice president of Nashville Publishers Network. He is president of Chase Internet an IT consulting and web design company and president of Blue Drops Publishing Co. (ASCAP).

His interests include hiking, sailing, golf and rebuilding 1960s English sports cars.  He’s a licensed pro and amateur boxing referee.  He lives on a farm outside of Dickson, Tennessee with his wife and their dogs, cats and assorted chickens.

Irish Johnston – Vice President

Irish Johnston
Irish Johnston

Writer, actor, producer Irish (Burch) Johnston began as an actress in Los Angeles and Nashville. She currently spends most of her time writing screenplays, three of which have been finalists or won awards: Redhanded, Scents, and The Hole Truth, in several film festival competitions. Being a native Nashvillian, with a piano, she has finally surrendered to the siren call of song writing as well. She loves every aspect of the film industry, from writing and composing to acting, to her latest challenge, producing.

David DeverellTreasurer

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David Deverell

David Deverell is a Nashville screenwriter. He received his degree in Film and Television from Loyola Marymount University, and after graduating, wrote, produced and directed an award-winning 30- minute drama for Encylcopaedia Britannica’s Short Story Showcase Series, “The Hunt,” an adaptation of Richard Connell’s short story, “The Most Dangerous Game.” David went on to have a long career in the advertising industry and retired eight years ago.

In retirement, David returned to writing and has since written four feature-length screenplays. His first, The Shoe Box, won first place at the 10th Annual Tennessee Screenwriting Association Screenplay Competition in 2010, when he became a member. His other screenplays have been finalists in other competitions, including The Page Awards, Table Read My Screenplay, Emerging Screenwriters and Access Screenplays.

In 2015, David relocated to Nashville from Los Angeles and is actively involved in helping the Nashville Film Community develop a robust industry.

Paula Phelps-Weaver – Secretary

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Paula Phelps-Weaver

Paula Phelps-Weaver is a relative newcomer to the world of screenwriting.  After a career as an internal medicine physician and then some years as a stay at home parent, she is finally pursuing her love of writing.

Though her academic background is in science, she has attended several writing courses and workshops, and will begin submitting her work to contests in 2019.  She is currently working on a dramedy TV pilot.

Her interests include horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, soccer, jazz, and growing things. She lives on a farm with her husband of thirty-nine years, her horses, and her dog.

Bob Giordano

Bob Giordano
Bob Giordano

Bob Giordano is a principal of Uproar Pictures, based in Nashville, TN. He is the 2017 Grand Prize Winner of “The Poe Contest” for his script, The Odds, and the director of The Odds feature. He has been a quarterfinalist, a semifinalist, a finalist, and/or won several of Hollywood’s most prestigious screenplay contests, including The Southern California Screenplay Competition (The Odds), Nicholl Fellowship (Sicko), Fade-In (Uprise), The Writer’s Network contest (Resistance), the Hollywood Symposium (Grendel) and Script Open Door.

Over many years, Bob has worked on numerous short films and independent features as a writer, director, assistant director, camera operator, and editor. Since coming to Nashville in the1980s, he has continuously taught screenwriting and filmmaking to adults, teens and children, including his ongoing screenwriting courses at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. He is also a past president and current officer of the Tennessee Screenwriting Association. As a prolific writer of dozens of completed scripts, he often says, “Daylight’s burning.”

Elvis Wilson

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Elvis Wilson

Elvis Wilson was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., and grew up in Cleveland, Tenn., where he was raised on a healthy dose of TV like The Twilight Zone, Gilligan’s Island and his favorite TV show, Space 1999.Like  most folks his age, Star Wars rocked his world in 1977.

Inspired by a steady dose of Coen Brother’s films and Monty Python reruns over the last three decades, he has written over ten screenplays, produced four short films, and directed scores of music videos and industrial films. In 2008, he and his wife produced an award-winning feature documentary, Being Lincoln: Men With Hats (which had a two-year run on the now defunct Documentary Channel and also aired on Showtime). In 2015, he started principle photography of his self-produced, award-winning feature FOGG. FOGG had a great festival run and was picked up by RedBox.

Elvis is currently working on FOGG 2 with Executive Producer Kelly Frey. He’s also written a  TV pilot called Strawberry Plains, which was in the top 30 scripts in the prestigious AMC’s Drama Pilot category at the 2018 Austin Film Festival (over 10,500 scripts were entered). While still not able to quit his  day job, Elvis writes almost every day and is happy to hang with his brothers and sisters of the TSA. 

Mark Naccarato

Mark_headshot-500pxWhile working in Nashville’s TV and film production industry in the 90’s, Mark Naccarato‘s first TV spec script caught the attention of producers at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and he was invited to pitch to the hit series. Even though he didn’t make a sale, the first story Mark pitched to them was nearly identical to a story that was already in production. 

 

Encouraged by that experience and then by a near-sale on Star Trek: Voyager, Mark decided to make his first “real” film. The Crusader, a superhero movie disguised as a true-crime reality show was a cult hit at comic conventions across the South and punched above its weight with a budget of less than $3,000 using a cast and crew of over a hundred volunteers. Mark’s current short film, The Romulan War, puts a spin on the sci-fi effects movie by using a documentary format and “found footage” from an interstellar war in the 22nd century.

 

Mark’s pilot script The Exodusters – an historical drama set during the Kansas Exodus of the 1870’s – has landed a finalist slot in the Nashville Film Festival and he’s a co-producer on several independent films, including Potter’s Ground and Gates of Flesh – both of which were filmed in Tennessee.

Gary Frazier – Webmaster

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Gary Frazier

Writer Gary Frazier, who writes as G. Robert Frazier, spent most of his career as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor, routinely covering local government, politics, business, crime, and education in Tennessee. When the newspaper industry imploded, he found a new outlet for his creative pursuits as an author and screenwriter.

His script, “ZARS – Zombie Apprehension & Relocation Serivce,” was a top three finalist in the 2019 Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition in the Scripted Digital Series category and is ranked No. 1 on Coverfly’s Red List for Horror Web Series. His latest script, “Bill Fisher’s Trading Post,”  is a semifinalist in the 2020 Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competition. “Kings of Mississippi,” which he co-wrote with TSA member Jay Wright, is a semifinalist in The Script Lab’s 2020 free screenwriting contest and was a semifinalist, placing in the top five scripts overall, in the 2019 Nashville Film Fest contest.

His short fiction has appeared in two volumes of Our Voices: Williamson County Literary Review. He also wrote a flash-fiction piece, “The Twister,” which appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine’s November 2015 issue. But his true passion is screenwriting, which he finds as a much more fun medium.

He has served as a script competition reader for two prestigious competitions, having read and rated more than 750 scripts.

When he’s not writing, he’s reading. He frequently writes book reviews for Bookpage, Killer Nashville, and Chapter 16, the website for Tennessee Humanities, and has previously written book reviews for Blogging for Books and US Review of Books. He has interviewed several authors for The Big Thrill, the online magazine of the International Thriller Writers.

Look him up on Stage 32 and follow him on Twitter @grfrazier23 and Facebook.

Quotage

Looking for words of wisdom or inspiration to finish your script? Look no further. We’ve found some gems and listed them below. If you’re ever stuck or feeling depressed about the process, come back again for a quick pick-me-up. We’ll occasionally add more quotes to live by to this list.

“A screenwriter’s currency is a finished script. Not an outline, a take, a beat sheet, a rough draft. A finished script.” – F. Scott Frazier

 “Bad exposition is like bad lighting. It exposes more than it illuminates.” – Josh Friedman

“I was by no means the best writer in my class in college. I’m just the one still writing.” – Akiva Goldsman

“Too many creatives looking to runbefore they can walk. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Dig in, be a sponge, know the business, cut out the negativity, be selfless… Win the $!&$@!day…every day.”  – Richard RB Botto

“If you write, if you create content that is interesting, and you upload it, and it’s good, it can find an audience. You don’t have to get on a bus from Iowa to Hollywood to makeit.” – F.J. Pratt

 “What has always been at the heart of film making was the value of a script. It was really thewriter who could make or break a film.” 

Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

“To me, writing is fun. It doesn’t matter what you are writing,as long as you can tell a story.” – Stan Lee

“It’s important to stay in the world of the characters. Once you enter that space, you gotta just stay in it.” – Barry Jenkins

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them.” – Orson Scott Card

“Writing requires talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong.” – Jeffrey Carver

“A writer can always write. That’s one of the great luxuries we have: Words are cheap.” – John August

 “As an artist I feel that we must try different things—but above all we must dare to fail.” – John Cassavetes

Ethan Canin: “Don’t write about a character. Become that character, and then write your story.”

Web Links: How to write a screenplay

No matter what stage of your writing career you are in, there are ample articles to help you in everything from Fade In to Fade Out. We’ve listed a few standout articles here to refer to as needed, whether you need advice on coming up with your idea to writing a logline to building character arcs. We’ll add more as we come across them.

Reading

One of the best ways to learn how to write a screenplay is by reading screenplays. Before long, you’ll learn formatting tricks, dialogue techniques, and more. There are ample places on the internet to find scripts. Many screenwriting contests also seek readers to help evaluate their entries.

8 Reasons to Read Screenplays – ScreenwritingU Magazine

How to Read A Screenplay – Go Into the Story

Blacklist Scripts: The Complete Guide – Script Reader Pro

Script Index – LA Screenwriter

Read the Best Screenplays from the 1950s– Shore Scripts

Genre Screenplay Collection – Shore Scripts

20 Best Comedy Scripts to Read and Download – Script Reader Pro

TV Pilots to Read – Shore Scripts

Getting Started

Before diving into your script, take time to prep. We’ve listed numerous articles here to help you test your idea, craft a logline, and much more.

48 Ways to Becoming a Productive Screenwriter – Script Reader Pro

How to Become A Screenwriter: The Ultimate Guide – Script Reader Pro

Screenwriting Rules, Guidelines & Expectations – Screencraft

What screenplay should you write next – ScriptFirm

The Ultimate List of Story Development Questions – Screencraft

101 ‘What If?’ Story Writing Prompts – Screencraft

5 Proven Ways to Unlock Original Movie Ideas – Script Reader Pro

3 Steps to Take Before Your First Draft – Script Reader Pro

The 3 C’s of Screenwriting – ScreenCraft

How to get started with your screenplay – Creative Screenwriting

What Makes a Great Screenplay – The Guardian

How long should it take to write a screenplay? – The Script Lab

Sun Tzu’s Art of Screenwriting – Screencraft

How to raise the stakes in your plot – Go Into the Story

How to write a killer first draft – ScriptMag

10 Steps: How I Write A Script – Scott Myers / Go Into the Story

Vomit Your Screenplay in 5 Weeks – The Script Lab

Why Your Outline Could Kill Your Screenplay – Creative Screenwriting

Outlines, Treatments and Scriptments, Oh My! – Screencraft

How to Write a Script Outline – Script Reader Pro

What is an Inciting Incident in a Screenplay? – Script Reader Pro

How to Write A Screenplay – ScriptNotes podcast with Craig Mazin

Michael Hauge’s Blueprint for a better script – Creative Screenwriting

Learning from the First Great Screenwriting Book: Part 1 – Screencraft

Learning from the First Great Screenwriting Book: Part 2 – Screencraft

Learning from the First Great Screenwriting Book: Part 3 – Screencraft

The Differences Between Traditional and Archetypal Storytelling – Screencraft

The Screenwriter’s ABC’s: An Alphabet of Screenwriting Advice – Screencraft

Top Script Writing Tips Every Screenwriter Should Own – Script Reader Pro

Agents and Managers

How to Get an Agent or Manager – Script Reader Pro

Characters

What your hero wants: Outer Motivation – Michael Hauge

What your hero wants: Inner Motivation – Michael Hauge

What your hero wants: Longings & Needs – Michael Hauge

What your hero wants: Preliminary Goals & Ultimate Objectives – Michael Hauge

What your hero wants: Sameness – Michael Hauge

What your hero wants: Revealing Your Hero’s Desires – Michael Hauge

How to Develop Your Characters – No Film School

4 Ways to Approach Desire in Your Main Character – LA Screenwriter

3 Ways to Make Characters More Dynamic – The Script Lab

4 Steps for Making Peculiar Characters Believable – LA Screenwriter

Children Don’t Think Like Little Adults – Creative Screenwriting

5 Ways to Write Better Female Characters – Screenplay Readers

3 Ways to Create Bad-Ass Characters – The Script Lab

VOTE Method: How to Write Super-Powerful Characters – Story Into Screenplay

Creative Ways to Conjure Character Names – Screencraft

What’s your character’s ultimate deal breaker – Script Magazine

The Ultimate Screenplay Character Development Hack – Script Reader Pro

How to Create the Perfect Character Arc Using Structure and Theme – Script Reader Pro

Concept

What is High-Concept and How Can I Write it? – Standout Books

How to Write and Pitch High-Concept Movies – Movie Outline

5 Questions to test your story concept – Go Into the Story

Contests

How Nicholl Fellowship readers judge a script – Go Into the Story

Getting Past the Reader – Shore Scripts

What Are Script Readers Looking For – Indie Wire

Conflict

3 Ways to Increase Conflict in Your Story – ScreenCraft

Description

How to write minimal description to maximum effect – Go Into the Story

Screenplay Exposition: How to Write it Lean and Mean – Screenplay Readers

Improve your writing style by comparing it to the pros – Script Reader Pro

Writers: Know your place – Creative Screenwriting

5 Secrets to Writing Memorable Character Descriptions – ScreenCraft

Editing / Polishing / Rewriting

35 Quick Edits to Improve Your Script – Script Reader Pro

Dialogue

6 Essential Tip for Writing Better Dialogue – Studio Binder

Writing Good Dialogue and Description – BlueCat

How to write dialogue between two characters – Script Reader Pro

10 Things to Eliminate from Your Dialogue Scenes Right Now – ScreenCraft

How to Avoid Writing On-the-Nose Dialogue – Screencraft

The Ultimate Screenplay Dialogue Audit – Script Reader Pro

Show Don’t Tell: How to Avoid Relying on Dialogue – Script Reader Pro

Endings

7 Ways to Master Endings to Your Screenplay – ScreenCraft

Formatting

How to Format a Screenplay – Screenplay.com

How to Format Your Screenplay Title Page – Script Reader Pro

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due – ScreenCraft

The Screenwriters’ Guide to Formatting TV Scripts – ScreenCraft

35 Common Writing Style Mistakes in Spec Screenplays – Script Reader Pro

Texting in the Movies – David Trottier

How to write a phone conversation in a screenplay – Script Reader Pro

Genre

How to Choose the Right Movie Genre for Your Concept – ScreenCraft

How to Write Four-Quadrant and Animated Scripts – ScreenCraft

10 Steps to Writing a Micro-Budget Screenplay – ScreenCraft

How to Write a Coming of Age Movie – Industrial Scirpts

50 Best Coming of Age Movies with Writing Tips – No Film School

Writing Horror Screenplays: How to Write Occult Horror – Industrial Scripts

Thriller vs. Horror: Why the Subtle Differences Can Save Your Script – Industrial Scripts

How to Write a Whodunnit or Detective Movie – Industrial Scripts

Legal

How to Copyright Your Script – Script Reader Pro

Loglines

Creating your logline and synopsis – ScriptMag

How to Write A Logline for a Character-Driven Drama – Go Into the Story

The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Logline – Script Reader Pro

101 Best Movie Loglines to Learn From – ScreenCraft

Pitching your script

Writing the perfect query letter for your scripts – Screencraft

4 Keys to Writing a Strong Synopsis – Script Reader Pro

How to master the elevator pitch – Screencraft

How to submit a screenplay like a pro – Script Reader Pro

Selling your script

The Ultimate BS Detector for Screenwriters – Screencraft

How to Write a Screenplay Treatment That Gets More Requests – Script Reader Pro

How to Write a Synopsis – Script Reader Pro

How to Sell A Screenplay: 6 Most Popular Methods – Script Reader Pro

How to Sell Your TV Series the Stranger Things Way – ScreenCraft

How to be Ready for Screenwriting Success – ScreenCraft

Podcasts and TED Talks

Best Screenwriting Podcasts for Savvy Screenwriters – Script Reader Pro

Top 20 Inspiring TED Talks for Storytellers – Script Reader Pro

Resources

Screenwriting Essentials: Books, contests, courses – Script Reader Pro

Hollywood Screenwriting Managers List – Script Reader Pro

Screenwriting Software: Comparing the Five Best – Script Reader Pro

10 Free Screenwriting Software Choices – Script Reader Pro

Scenes

Writing the Scene: Reversals – Script Reader Pro

Script Library

John August Library

TV Pilot Script Database

TV Writing Pilot Scripts

TV Writing Show Bibles

Shorts

A Short Guide on Short Films – Script Reader Pro

Structure

The Eight Sequences – The Script Lab

Screenplay Structure: Five Key Turning Points – Screenplay.com

Act I: Getting Your Protagonist Off to a Good Start – Script Magazine

Theme

5 Steps to Nailing Your Script’s Theme – Creative Screenwriting

3 Ways to Express Your Script’s Message – Script Reader Pro

TV

How to Write a TV Pilot If You’re Serious About Selling It – Script Reader Pro

Getting Paid

Ten Ways to Sidestep Writing for Free – MovieMaker

A Quick Guide to Screenwriters’ Salaries in TV & Film – Script Reader Pro

Getting to the Finish

Why You Procrastinate (And What You Need to Do to Stop) – Richard RB Botto

7 Ways to finally finish your script – BlueCat

See an article that would be a great addition to this list? Drop us a link at tennscreen@gmail.com. 

 

NOTES: TSA holiday party, December challenges, contest dates announced

Join us for our annual Tennessee Screenwriting Association holiday party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 8 at TSA member David Deverell’s house, 1418 Huffine St., Nashville. There is ample parking on the either shoulder of the street. See you there!

Nashville Women in Film & Television will also hold their holiday bash from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 8. Their party will be held at Nashville Film Institute, 191 Polk Ave, in Nashville. Admission is a $5 donation.

Don’t forget the TSA’s short screenplay holiday challenge coming to the Dec. 12 meeting at Watkins. Write a short screenplay up to five pages with a holiday theme and bring copies to be read. We’ll have holiday treats!

Entries for the 2019 Page International Screenwriting Awards are now being accepted. Page is considered one of the top screenwriting contests to submit to with a $25,000 grand prize.

Competitions in all categories for the 26th Annual Austin Film Festival open Dec. 5. Austin’s screenwriting competition is often cited as one of the top five screenwriting competitions, so sharpen up those scripts and submit. Also, if you entered this past year’s competition, look for feedback from your reader coming in the next week.

To celebrate National Screenwriters Day on Jan. 5, the folks over at Thirty Day Screenplay have issued a challenge to write a screenplay in a month. There’s no entry fee and no pressure, just a supportive community to help you see your screenplay from Fade In to Fade Out. Check out their site for more information.

ScreenwritingU Magazine has thrown down the gauntlet to read a screenplay a day leading up to National Screenwriters Day on Jan. 5. Reading screenplays is one of the best ways to learn how to write screenplays, so give it a shot. Follow Screenwriting Magazine on Twitter @WritingMag or Facebook for more info.

Got news to share? Email us at tennscreen@gmail.com and we’ll pass it along.