Ken Lee is Vice President of Michael Wiese Productions. MWP is the number one publisher in the world for indie filmmakers. MWP books are used in over 900 film schools throughout the world and have been translated into over 20 languages. You can contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org and find more information at mwp.com. We spoke recently about the upcoming UFVA conference in Minneapolis and the growth of MWP worldwide.
Dave Watson: The UFVA conference in Minneapolis in July 2019 will bring people from many different parts of the world together. Do you see a theme emerging among all the participants?
Ken Lee: The theme of this years UFVA conference is Land of 10,000 tales. I certainly believe that my panel, How to get Published, reflects that important theme. We have invited guests on my panel from around the world including Sweden, South Africa and the U.K.
DW: Who is new to UFVA this year?
KL: We are pleased to welcome Arvid Unsgaard from Film Gotlan - Story Academy (Ingmar Bergman Island) from Sweden. Also new to UFVA will be William Lin III from Studio School and the Joseph Campbell Writers Room.
Traveling the furthest for this event is Matthew Kalil, author of The Three Wells of Screenwriting, who is coming from Cape Town South Africa.
And, for the first time, we are welcoming Greg Loftin, author of Writing for the Cut, who is coming in from the U.K. Greg will also be representing his University.
Last year at UFVA Las Cruces, I met Dorothy Rompalske of the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts.
I’m thrilled to announce that we have just signed Dorothy Rompalske to write a book for us on Creation and Meditation. She has also graciously agreed to participate on my panel.
And finally Jason Kolinsky, Chief Marketing Officer from the Save the Cat! team will also be appearing at UFVA for the first time.
DW: You also have returning authors to UFVA.
KL: MWP authors enjoy UFVA and they come almost every year to connect with the film university community.Returning MWP authors include:
Kathie Fong Yoneda, Author of The Script Selling Game
Ellen Besen, Author of Animation Unleashed
Deb S. Patz, Author of Film Production Management 101, 2nd edition and Write, Shoot, Edit
Rona Edwards & Monika Skerbelis, Authors of The Complete Filmmakers’ Guide to Film Festivals
Robert Gerst, Author of Make Film History
William Akers, Author of Your Screenplay Sucks
It’s easy to connect with any of these MWP authors through mwp.com. MWP authors are passionate about what they do and that they are not only colleagues; someone has to help me set up the booth! They are also my friends.
DW: MWP is becoming a global presence, especially with books such as Weiko Lin's wonderful Crazy Screenwriting Secrets.
KL: I used to joke that the US has a great reputation in just two categories - fast food and filmmaking. We are blessed that we are experts in filmmaking. I met Weiko Lin at UFVA Las Vegas, and now his book Crazy Screenwriting Secrets is being released this month!
We were surprised recently when the CEO of a Chinese Literary agency told us that “no other company in the world has influenced Chinese filmmaking more than MWP."
China is emerging as the largest market in the world for filmmaking. Tens of thousands of Chinese film students are using our books. MWP authors are now traveling to China to give workshops as well. Steven D Katz, Author of Film Directing: Shot by Shot 25th Anniversary edition will be doing a directing workshop in Beijing this Summer.
Equally amazing, are the small stories of global connection. The “Meryl Streep of Iraq” recently emailed me and told me she wanted to publish Directing Actors by Judith Weston in Kurdish.
She was so determined to make this happen that she paid for the translation and publication out of her own pocket just to make it available to her students and peers in her home country.
DW: Are there certain countries that embrace storytelling concepts from Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey?
KL: The principles of The Writer’s Journey radiate throughout the world. We know that we are making a difference in the world when China, Russia, Japan, Italy, France , Korea, Bulgaria actively seek us out to publish this title for their markets.It’s even more exciting when these countries invite Vogler to speak. Vogler fondly refers to his book, The Writer’s Journey, as his magic carpet.
He thinks about a country and voila’ - he receives an invitation to speak about the importance of story and the life of a writer.
DW: What's next for you and MWP?
KL: While we are in Minneapolis this Summer, we are going to connect with the Screenwriters Workshop group at the end of July. We are looking forward to working with Screenwriters Workshop at the Future of Story Minneapolis event on July 31st at 630PM at the Playwrights' Center.
Later in August, we are going to help celebrate the grand opening of the Joseph Campbell Writer’s Room in LA at Studio School. We will have about forty MWP authors on hand to “pass the elixir” and donate several MWP books to this new Writers Room. Additionally, there will be a number a video tributes coming in from around the world.
MWP is looking forward to partnering with as many UFVA members and universities as possible. We want to reach out to the community and let them know that we don’t operate like a corporation but more like a community of like-minded storytellers. That’s how we’ve thrived and will continue to thrive in the future.
I certainly hope all UFVA attendees will have an opportunity join us at our panel discussion on July 31st at 2:15 to 4:00PM on How to Get Your Book Published.
If not, we will have a big welcoming booth at the UFVA exhibition center at Ausburg University. It will be impossible to miss us as MWP will have the largest booth at the Exhibition center and will feature discounted MWP books, MWP authors, Save the Cat Software and filmmakers from around the world.
Please stop on by - let’s shake hands - and talk about how we can work together.
DW: What is currently your favorite cinematic moment?
KL: With the current discourse in the world, I seem to be drawn to the classic romantic comedies lately. Some call it escapism; I like to call it cleansing my palate! Since I was just at the London Book Fair in March, I spent quite a bit of time in Notting Hill. So, naturally, I’ve been thinking a lot about one particular scene from that film.
Clip: Notting Hill
Founder and editor of Movies Matter, Dave Watson is a writer and educator in Madison, WI.