Should You Write a Script or a Novel? With Priyanka Kumar, Peter Rainer, and More

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 7:00pm

It's easier now than ever for a writer to succeed in pursuing writing projects in various mediums. But how do you decide what format is the best for your creative material? Are there certain styles or subjects that lend themselves better to a screenplay? Or is there an advantage to writing a novel first and possibly having a script follow? And where to begin?

Join us for an evening with novelist and award-winning filmmaker Priyanka Kumar, who will discuss both her feature documentary The Song of the Little Road as well as her new novel Take Wing and Fly Here. Her fellow panelists -- filmmaker Rashaad Ernesto Green, poet and screenwriter James Ragan, and film critic Peter Rainer -- will join Kumar in talking about the challenges and advantages of being multidisciplinary artists.

Priyanka Kumar wrote, produced, and directed the feature documentary The Song of the Little Road, starring Martin Scorsese, Ravi Shankar, and Ismail Merchant. It premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and is in the permanent collection of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Her awards include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award, Canada Council for the Arts Film/Video Grant, and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Fellowship. Take Wing and Fly Here is her new novel -- the first in Kumar’s New West Trilogy, which explores our changing relationship with the outdoors in the American West. Kumar received her M.F.A. from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-TV. She has lectured on filmmaking at UC Santa Cruz and on film culture at the University of Southern California.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and NYU Grad Film, New York native Rashaad Ernesto Green has been included in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and indieWIRE's Ten New Voices in Cinema.  His films have screened on HBO, BET, Sundance and festivals internationally.  He’s been supported by HBO, NBC, Time Warner, Sundance, Tribeca Film Institute and IFP.  Rashaad's first feature and thesis film Gun Hill Road premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, opened #1 for independent films in the summer of 2011 and is now available on DVD & Netflix.  Please visit & for further details.

James Ragan is an award-winning poet, playwright, and screenwriter who directed the graduate writing program at USC for 25 years. His most recent screenplay, Clownwise, received eight Czech Academy Award nominations this year, including Best Film and Best Screenplay.The film premiered last month at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Ragan has authored eight books of poetry including In the Talking Hours, Womb-Weary, The Hunger Wall, Lusions, Selected Poetry, Too Long a Solitude, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Collected Poems (co-editor).  He has read for six heads of state and at the United Nations and for audiences in China, Japan, England, France, Spain, Brazil, and the Czech Republic. In 1985, he was one of three Americans, including Bob Dylan and Robert Bly, invited to perform at the First International Poetry Festival in Moscow. Honors include three Fulbright Professorships, two Honorary Doctorates, the Emerson Poetry Prize, eight Pushcart Prize nominations, a PSA Citation, and the Swan Foundation Humanitarian Award. 

Currently the film critic for the online-only Christian Science Monitor, Peter Rainer is also a film columnist for Bloomberg News, a regular on KPCC-FM’s Film Week, and president of the National Society of Film Critics. He wrote Biography episodes for A&E about Sidney Poitier and the John Huston clan. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, he won Best Online Entertainment Critic in the 2010 National Entertainment Journalism Awards. His most recent book Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era was published last year.

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