Greg Artzner
Lynda Blankenship
Elizabeth Bloom
D.S. Cohen
Amy Crouse-Powers
Sandra Dutton
Biologists of the E.N. Huyck Preserve
Diane Gallo
Judge Helene G. Goldberger
Paul Grondahl
Kim and Reggie Harris
Audrey Hynes
Susan Jenks
Bryce Johannes
Pamela Katz
John La Rocca
Judy Lawson
Terry Leonino
Alice Lichtenstein
LYC Program of the NYSBA
Joe Maloney
Kelly Martin
Veronique Martin
Alison Miller
Linda Miller
Richard Miller
Kathleen OConnell
Penny Perkins
Bonnie Persico
Marylou Pudiak
Mary Rea
Mary Reed McCall
Mary Ann Ronconi
Bill Short
Art Thorman
Karina Walker
Mike Darwin Yerky
Bethany Zamek
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Penny Perkins

Penny is a writer and filmmaker. She makes a living as a communications professional in the software industry. She is the author of the science fiction novel Bob Bridges: An Apocalyptic Fable and several feature-length screenplays.

Penny's workshops are endowed by the Whiteside-Ehlert Memorial Writing Series


Fantasy in Flight

As special guests we have a flock of mystical guides awaiting you at The Carey Center in Rensselaerville: A very special art project of huge statues of birds will be our metaphor for taking flight in Fantasy Fiction. Writing will become inspired. Can young writers “break the spell and let them fly again”? Fantastical stories using invisible forces and super-natural encounters will come to life in the writing of the day.

Frightening Fiction

Students enjoy reading horror and definitely enjoy writing their own tantalizing tales. After analyzing examples of the genre for what creates fear and dread, Penny guides them into frightening fiction of their own. By end-of-day, the young "horrorists" will have a first draft to share.

Mathematics of Literature

The Haiku form of poetry has a mathematically precise formula: 3 lines with the each line having 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables respectively. The sestina form of poetry has a structure of 39 lines consisting of six stanzas of 6 lines each, followed by an ending 3-line stanza.

In this workshop students will create their own mathematical rules or formulas to come up with structures for poems and short stories. Along the way, they will learn about interesting number sequences (such as the Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Ratio, and prime number sequence) and how to use these number sequences as parameters for their writing.

Movies I: Write for the Screen

The mentors will put students on the right track writing screenplays. Over the course of the day students will be brainstorming ideas, story-boarding, beginning a film treatment and composing the screenplay dialog and description - all the work before calling in the cameras.

Movies II: Getting it on Film

The digital revolution in technology has made the once expensive and cost-prohibitive tools of movie making accessible to the masses. Future Steven Spielbergs learn how to make the most out of a digital video camera and computer editing systems, as well as the basics of making a movie from start to finish, including casting, directing, cinematography, sound, lights, set direction, and editing. This intensive hands-on process will involve every student in multiple aspects of making a short movie. A final copy of the movie will be made available for each school.

Writing Shakespeare

"Lend Me Your Ear!"
"There's Something Rotten in Denmark !"
"A Pox Upon Your House!"

Whether you'd rather party with Romeo or Lady Macbeth, whether you'd rather laugh at a tragedy or cry at a comedic wedding, whether you'd rather be a midsummer night's fairy or a murderous king, The Bard Billy Shakespeare has something of interest for you.

Come to this workshop to sharpen your love of words, increase your knowledge of dramatic structure, and to mix-and-mash famous Shakespeare quotes and plots. We'll use the greatest writer in the English language to highlight what makes drama work and show us how to create memorable characters, all while using powerful and poetic language .

Young Writers Day

Each participating student will be a writer for a day of interactive, thematic, real-world writing situations to "hook" the imagination and/or memories of the young to the wonder and power of the written word. Theme for May 2010 is "Dispatches From the Front": Writing from and through the Civil War.

For suggestions or questions please email
Minds On is a program of The Rensselaerville Institute ~ 63 Huyck Road ~ Rensselaerville, NY 12147
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