Writer’s retreat looks to provide attendees with an opportunity to take a crack at creative careers, bringing in industry professional in novels, television and film
Liz Keyishian and Betsy Leighton both have worn many hats. Though screenwriting brought them together, both women have held roles in various media and entertainment industries. Whether it’s producing a historical documentary, writing for children’s television or working in reality TV, you can bet these two have probably done it.
With illustrious careers under their belts, both eventually came to a point where it was time to change hats yet again. Keyishian and Leighton decided they were ready to share the gift that brought them together, writing, with others who may have been hesitant to try out a new field. These days the two call on others to try something different with their retreat program, Call to Adventure Media.
“There are people who spent their life sort of watching other people have creative careers and didn’t allow themselves to explore that,” Leighton said. “This retreat is for those people.”
A driving force behind the retreat is to change industry norms. Keyishian and Leighton note that there is this notion that someone has to live in Los Angeles or New York to make it in these industries. The two have started these retreats in less metropolitan areas, such as Breckenridge, to expand opportunities for writers and support talent outside the hubs of L.A. and New York.
Leighton moved to Denver midway through her career. During this time she had just wrapped up a career working in reality TV and was looking to get back into writers rooms. So, at 53, she got a master’s degree in screenwriting.
When Leighton got back to Denver, she said there were no writers rooms for her to utilize this new degree. Not letting this stop her, Leighton began creating writers rooms. Since then she estimates she has put on 12-15.
Leighton and Keyishian bring in talent with accolades in various industries to provide top tier instruction.
Call to Adventure is coming to Breckenridge Oct. 6-9 for the “Level-Up Your Story” retreat. Four writing mentors will accompany Keyishian and Leighton for the retreat — all have different specialities yet equally impressive credentials.
Peter Blauner is an award-winning novelist and former journalist for New York Magazine. He has also written for tv shows including “Blue Bloods” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
Dawn Comer Jefferson is a nonfiction author and essayist. She teaches screenwriting at the University of Southern California and the Stephens College film and television master of fine arts program.
Alexa Junge is Emmy-nominated TV and film writer. Her career has included writing for “Bosch,” “Friends” and “Grace & Frankie.”
Mentor Ken LaZebnik is a renowned playwright and the director of the Long Island University Brooklyn master of fine arts program for television.
The retreat will take place on Shock Hill Drive in Breckenridge, where Leighton has a home and is renting other places for traveling guests to stay in. There are also spots reserved for Breckenridge and Summit County locals, though they are limited. As of Saturday afternoon, Sept. 16, Keyishian and Leighton estimated that there were three or four spots left for locals. Attendees can expect small group mentor-led writers rooms and daily craft talks. There will also be chef-prepared organic meals and nature hikes.
This three-day retreat costs $2,250 per person.
The group will run another retreat in Florida Keys in November for those who want to ditch shoulder season. Information can be found on Call to Adventure’s website: CallToAdventure.media.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.