Politics and Pens

In the morning workshop, writers will play the role of a member of congress and write a piece of legislation, arguments, and speeches for a fictional scenario, mimicking the real process of government. In the afternoon, writers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of multi-genre writing electives with a political spin, including graphic noveling, filmmaking, spoken word poetry, songwriting, literary sports, worldbuilding, improv, playwriting & performance, zinemaking, and speech writing. The week will culmimate in a visit from a local elected official who will play the role of president in a mock session of Congress. Writers will then get to share their elective projects and discuss civic action outside of Writopia.

Songwriting Studio

Photo of Songwriting session

If writing lyrics and melodies makes your heart sing, then Songwriting Studio is perfect for you! At Writopia’s Songwriting Studio, recording artists trained in the Writopia Teaching Method lead teens (ages 11+) in writing and recording their own original compositions. Instructors versed in rap, pop, rock, and musical theater work with students to help them to explore musical genres, craft lyrics, and gain confidence in the recording process.

Photo of Songwriting session

Students will leave Songwriting Studio with a recorded EP of 2-3 original songs of their own or in collaboration with other students. Students develop their projects according to their own artistic vision and instructors assist with cultivating and supporting those goals. Students will be taught the full studio experience by learning to mic instruments, and record, layer, and edit tracks in Garageband. Songs of all musical genres are welcome!

Some experience with a musical instrument is recommended but not required. Instructors meet students at their skill level and assist each individual in improving, experimenting, and defining their own style.

Advanced Songwriting

For those advanced musicians we also have the Advanced Songwriting Studio program, you may apply here and submit a video or recording of your songwriter.


Check out a couple of songs from our SoundCloud channel!

Photojournalism

In Writopia's photojournalism workshops, participants spend the first half of the workshop working with trained photographers to document important moments and people in their communities and interview the subjects of their photographs. During the second half of the workshop, young photographers return to Writopia with their work, where they review, edit, and curate their own pieces of photojournalism.

Photojournalism at Writopia Lab

Playwriting

After School, Weekend, and Summer Half-Day Workshops

Writers of any age who choose to write plays in creative writing workshops are guided by produced playwrights throughout the script-writing process. All Writopia plays written by playwrights ages 8-18, are considered for professional production each year in May as part of our annual Worldwide Plays Festival. Between 25 and 80 plays are produced Off-Broadway each year depending on funding streams.

Playwriting & Performance

Trimester Workshops and Camps

In age-based groups, young playwrights spend the the first half of each session developing plays or musicals under the guidance of a professional playwright. The second half of each session, writers work to bring their plays to life, exploring acting, directing, and all elements of theater production with NYC theater professionals. The workshop or camp culminates in a final showcase of one-act plays.

Graphic Novels

Where Artwork Meets Language

Graphic Novel

Graphic noveling is an art form where words and images can together tell a compelling story. At Writopia, published writers and artists trained in the Writopia Teaching Method lead kids and teens in Writopia’s graphic storytelling workshop. Students will improve their drawing skills through the staging and drafting of an original visual story concept they create. Instructors work with students to help them understand how to use the landscape of each panel and page to create a dynamic story with a delicate balance of artwork and language.

Workshops

Graphic Novel

Students will leave the Graphic Novel Workshop with at least one polished short-form comic. If a student is working on a long-form piece, they will leave workshop with a complete script and a visual rough draft. Students choose their own projects according to the original story they want to tell, and instructors assist with cultivating and supporting their artistic goal. Graphic novels of all genres are welcome!

No technical illustration skills are necessary for this workshop. Instructors meet students at their skill level and assist each individual student improve their skills, define their own style, and experiment with different processes. Students will be taught how to digitally color and letter their work if they are interested. They may also choose to focus on creating their entire project by hand.

Graphic Novel Panel Graphic Novel Panel Graphic Novel Panel Graphic Novel Panel

Filmmaking at Writopia Lab

film logo

Writopia Lab’s filmmaking programs are driven by the students’ creative vision. They are story-based programs elevated by professional-grade instruction. In a fun and productive space, students write, shoot, and/or edit short films under the guidance of professional filmmakers.

Our programs, described below, vary by age and location.

Summer Programs

School Year Programs


Summer Programs

Filmmaking Production Seminar

Teens 13+
New York City* | Los Angeles

We offer a film program in the summer that gives participants the opportunity to take part in a film-school style workshop. While the focus remains on the writing aspect of filmmaking, the structure allows for more depth into the technical aspects of the artform as well. Participants will write, produce, cast, and edit their own silent film, gaining better proficiency with professional-grade cameras, sound and lighting kits, and editing software. The seminar culminates in a film screening.

*Note: the New York City program is application only. To apply, click here.

Screenwriting Seminar

Teens 13+
New York City | Los Angeles

Teen screenwriters work under the guidance of a professional screenwriter in the style of Writopia’s creative writing workshops. Screenplays are devised, developed, and polished over the course of the school year, or, during the summer, over the course of five, three hour weekday sessions. Writers will also delve into film and TV show analysis with screenplay excerpts, and explore the ways in which acting, production, and directing all influence the choices one makes when crafting a script. All finished screenplays result in a table read.

Screenwriting Workshop

Kids 8-12
New York City | LA | New York Metro North

Young screenwriters work under the guidance of a professional screenwriter in the style of Writopia’s creative writing workshops. Screenplays are devised, developed, and polished over the course of the school year, or for half-day programs over the summer. Writers will also delve into film and TV show analysis with screenplay excerpts, and explore the ways in which acting, production, and directing all influence the choices one makes when crafting a script. All finished screenplays result in a table read.

Script to Screen Summer Elective

All Ages
New York City | Los Angeles | New York Metro North | Washington, DC

As part of our full-day summer camp, Fiction & Fun, writers get a chance to spend an hour and a half each day working on their own collaborative film, from the genesis of the idea through to the editing, in just a week.

School Year Programs

Inside the Writer’s Room -- TV Writing Workshop

Ages 13+
New York City \ Los Angeles

Each participant will help each writer write one five-to-ten-minute episode of a shared mini-series. In addition, this workshop will culminate in a public, theatrical reading with professional actors.

Private Sessions

All Ages

New York City | Los Angeles | New York Metro North | Washington, DC Writers will work one-on-one with a filmmaking professional to create their own, individualized project; whether a continuation of something the writer has worked on before or a brand-new idea.

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College Essay

Write Yourself into the School of Your Choice!

Dozens of seniors each summer and fall write their college essays at Writopia. Almost all of our college essay students win admittance to their top choice schools. We are thrilled to report that in recent years, our college essay students have won admittance to Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Williams, University of Chicago, Hampshire, UT Austin, University of Virginia, SUNY Binghamton, and many more.

We guide juniors and seniors through the process of identifying unique and meaningful personal stories, and we give them the space and guidance to tell those stories in their own authentic voices. We will not write essays for students. Each and every word is the student's own. We allow students to find their voices and give them the confidence to use them, and ultimately provide guidance on structure and editing. At Writopia Lab, we witness the power of authentic young voices every day. Students will not only have completed a college essay, but a new confidence in their own writing.

Workshops and Private Sessions

Students can receive college essay writing instruction at Writopia through the College Essay Workshop or Private Sessions. Workshops have a maximum of seven participants. College Essay Workshops programs are only available to students who are high school juniors or seniors.

Students who seek college essay writing instruction at Writopia come with a variety of preparation: students who may have not yet begun the college application process, students who may already have a draft they want to polish, and anyone in-between are welcome to join! Writopia instructors will be able to help students identify what essays they would like to write and work with them to to meet the admissions timeline.

Articles of Interest

Language Play

Writopia Lab Language Play is a story-building workshop for kids ages 2 to 6!

Writopia Lab partnered with child development specialists to develop Language Play, an innovative program designed to inspire and enhance your 2- to 6-year-old's imagination and language usage in a fun, interactive environment. Published writers and produced playwrights lead and follow children through imaginary adventures that expand vocabulary, improve linear thinking skills, and build confidence in self expression.

Each Language Play session includes:

  • storytelling
  • singing
  • dancing
  • literary yoga
  • sidewalk stories
  • character-building games

The Foundation

The age-specific, original curriculum is based on an integrative learning approach that encourages critical thinking and helps develop narrative skills. While little pre-writers discover and express their own individuality through a variety of activities, caregivers witness, participate in, and enjoy these magical moments.

Developing Storytelling Language and Theatrics

Speaking and writing are inseparable from thinking. When we encourage toddlers to relate their experiences or share an idea of funny made up thoughts, we show them that words have power. The more questions we ask them, the more they learn to process and narrate. The more we ask them to reflect and imagine, the better thinkers they become.

Cultivating Social Skills

As toddlers and workshop leaders work together to create stories, children experience first-hand the pleasure of brainstorming and building in a social setting.

The best thing about Language Play was watching the kids become active in storytelling, and involved in the creative process. No other comparable program offers practice using language, phonics, and creative language play.

Rebecca R.

I was so impressed with how the children answered questions in a group setting... and how they were prompted to think creatively. They worked together and listened to each other's ideas. And the instructor really focused on the children's ideas as well.

Cecily C.

Language Play is more focused on writing than any program I know of—and the group is more intimate.

Stephanie D.

Essay Writing

Young writers put the Say back in Essay at Writopia Lab!

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Through Writopia’s teaching method, students overcome the fear of writing an essay and discover writing as an engaging and empowering activity that requires creative thinking and clear expression. Writers learn to research material, do close readings, analyze evidence, craft arguments, and structure and organize their ideas.

We must ask young writers to express what they believe and think. Every essay written, be it for school or extracurricular, is a chance to express themselves. We ask young writers to think critically and give them tools to effectively present and organize an argument. Writers will not only have more fun, but also their writing will benefit through their personal investment. Our aim is to allow our writers to feel more comfortable and more open to writing an essay.

Engaging Creativity to Enhance Essays

We integrate creative writing into essay writing instruction because we believe that the critical and analytical thinking that goes into creative writing helps writers develop skills they need to become strong essay writers. We infuse workshops with creative writing games: 50 percent essay and 50 percent creative. We encourage writers to approach essay writing with creativity, liberty, and their unique personality.

When we promise creativity and joy to our essay writers, we don't mean to suggest that writers should subvert the form of an essay. We give our writers the tools to succeed in middle school, high school, and college. We stress the importance of a thesis statement and clear structure in an essay.

Participants often choose to explore and write on topics including, but not limited to, history, humanities, social sciences, politics, and sciences. They also come to workshop to receive preparation for essay writing on exams, admissions applications, or school assignments.

Workshops and Private Sessions

Students can receive essay writing instruction at Writopia through the Essay Writing Workshop or Private Sessions. Workshops have a maximum of six participants. Essay writing programs are only available to students who are 10 and older.

The goal for each writer is to develop an essay with a coherent and meaningful argument. Sessions are peppered with original and vibrant writing exercises, but focus primarily on exploring essay topics, drafting, completing, revising, and polishing essays. When coming up with project ideas, writers can choose subject matter that interest them.

In the interdisciplinary essay writing workshops, writers brainstorm ideas, explore material, work to use fluid language opposed to stilted language, and discuss the logic of various structural choices and the virtues of applying key literary tools.

“Our teen is thoroughly enjoying Writopia and we are seeing it translate into better work at his school. His teachers are commenting on how good his writing is this year and he seems to be much more confident in his abilities……so thank you!”

Mother of 13-year-old

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