Screenwriter's Retreat at Sundance

"Revising for the Markets: Tools, Techniques & Tips"
September 20-23, 2018

Welcome to Sundance Resort where you can learn and write in a naturally relaxing and nurturing atmosphere.

My mission is
to provide you with the necessary knowledge, tools, and feedback to convert your current script (and future scripts) into a polished,  market-ready spec screenplay.

–Dave Trottier

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© David C. Schultz
Image courtesy David C. Schultz

Thank you, thank you! The time spent at Dave Trottier's Retreat at Sundance has left me forever changed. It is the catalyst that brought everything together for me. I see things differently now, and am thankful I attended. Dave has saved me time and agony. Not only did I learn a great deal, but I also picked up some of the 'intuitive' side of the craft. – Dee McKinney

Welcome to my 14th Annual Sundance Retreat, as featured in Script magazine. Our 2018 retreat includes a four-day agenda designed for your success and enjoyment. Let's begin by outlining some of the perks.


I will thoroughly analyze your writing sample of 10 pages. I will evaluate characterization, scene structure, dialogue, flow, and format. My normal fee for this service is $125, but it's free with your registration. This sample can be the first ten pages of your screenplay or a 10-page segment of that screenplay. You may send your 10 pages before or after the retreat. 

“Awesome. Dave has developed the Screenwriter’s Retreat into a world-class event that is uniquely focused on improving individual writing skills." -- Sheila Valesano

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I will be available on-site throughout the retreat to help you with situations and questions. I will also arrive early to all sessions and stay late to answer questions.

“I came back [from Sundance] with my heart absolutely bursting at the seams. You offer such an amazing array of gifts (the lessons, the scenery, the ambiance, the food, and especially your delicious humor). I will be forever grateful for my trip to Sundance. It was a life-changing experience." -- Kathy Bannister


Sundance2006DaveOneOnOne.jpg (72203 bytes)In addition, you will receive a 20-minute personal interview with me for any purpose under the sun. We can discuss your work, plot your career, or revise a scene. If you wish, I can pose as an agent or producer and critique your pitches.

The bottom line is that you will have an abundance of opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, methods, and techniques that you will use throughout your writing life, and that you can't get in any other way.

You are vastly knowledgeable about your subject and immensely approachable and supportive.  -- Cyndi Kennedy


As you can see, the analysis of your ten pages and the personal consultation add up to about $200, which reduces the actual cost of the retreat substantially, and that doesn't include the value of the retreat sessions themselves. In short, the registration fee is a bargain.

Click here for a tour of a previous year’s Sundance Retreat.

This is the best class I have ever taken on screenwriting.  The Sundance setting enhances the experience even more.  Worth all the time and money, tenfold! – Dave Beaty
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The completion of one script is required. This retreat is mainly aimed at helping you through the script revising stages with the end goal of selling your work. So feel free to bring a troublesome scene or a nagging writing issue, and give your fellow writers and retreat leader an opportunity to assist you. Let's share our insights with each other.

The retreat structure is informal and flexible in order to meet your needs, respond to your questions, and discuss your writing issues. We will have plenty of contact before the retreat begins so that we can make the most of our time together. In fact, I will send you a questionnaire to ascertain your needs and requests after you register.

Think of Sundance as a "working" retreat for writers eager to improve their skills. So sharpen your pencil and bring your work! The atmosphere will be relaxing and motivating. Our ultimate goal is crafting marketable material. If you wish, we can read a scene of yours in class. The focus of the retreat is on solving specific writing and revising problems.

I came feeling luke-warm about my material and left Sundance totally rejuvenated and motivated to finish my current script.  -- Mary Santarelli

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“This was the best workshop/retreat I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a gazillion." -- Sandy Craig



Sundance is 46 miles from Salt Lake International Airport. Click here for transportation options from the airport.

Once you arrive at Sundance, a retreat package will be waiting for you when you pick up your room or suite keys. Lodging information can be found on the registration form.

For free time ideas, scroll towards the bottom of this page and look for "Free time options."

Wednesday night at 7 p.m., I’ll be in the Wasatch Cabin waiting to meet you with light hors d’oeuvres.  This is an excellent opportunity to meet the other writers that will be attending.  There is no requirement to attend this little occasion (which can continue to 9 p.m. if you wish); this is purely a social gathering.

In a screenwriting world of commando gurus, your friendly and laid-back demeanor is refreshing. – Stephen Hoover
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Thursday, Friday & Saturday

9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Wasatch Cabin. See photo of our cabin.  A meal will be provided on all three days.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we will discuss specific issues relevant to developing and revising your work-in-progress. That includes answering your questions.

We will analyze excerpts from produced screenplays for dialogue, narrative description, dramatic impact, flow, and so on. We will also view clips to see how the written scenes play on the movie screen.

We will plumb your creative depths and help expand your creative power. We will review key micro spec writing and revising issues, and you will see ways to improve your dialogue and narrative description. We will address Act 2 problems, character arcs, directing the camera without camera directions, and other relevant revising issues. We will also review what studio readers look for in a screenplay and what makes a script salable.

I will provide revising exercises to complete in class and on your own time. The focus will be on specific revising tools in light of proven dramatic/comedic guidelines. On occasion, we will break into pairs or teams for a writing activity. Think of this as a "working" retreat.

One of the keys to improving your skills is to read and be read. Thus, if you so choose, I will orchestrate an opportunity to have excerpts of your work or your script read by one or two other writers; you, in turn, would agree to read and comment on the work of one or two other writers. This is purely optional. You will not be required to share anything you have written.

After 3:30 p.m. – Free time.

Just fantastic—exceeded my expectations in all areas. You should charge more. Scenery was unbelievable. I'll be back and I will keep writing. – Andrea Kolb
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We will kick off the day with a hearty breakfast and I will conduct most of the 20-minute one-on-one sessions this morning and afternoon. Most of you will be traveling home on this day, so I'll make sure everyone is scheduled at a convenient time on this day or on some previous day. There will be no instruction per se on this day.

The Wasatch Cabin will be available to all on this day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free Time Options

Throughout your time at Sundance, you can dig in and write, revise, reflect, read the work of others, chat with fellow writers, work on any retreat assignments, meet with me privately, and explore the natural surroundings.

You may wish to take a Scenic Lift Ride or a Zip Tour or take the easy hike to Stewart Falls or drive over the Alpine Loop or visit the Art Studio. If you have any questions, please email me.

It doesn't get much better than this: a fire going in the Wasatch Cabin, filled with people dedicated to screenwriting, and an instructor who is the best. Dave, your workshop was outstanding, funny, educational, and interesting. You are a credit to the craft. -- Dee McKinney


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Class of 2006

Class of 2007

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Class of 2008

Class of 2009

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Class of 2010

Class of 2011

Sundance 2012 Sundance 2013

Class of 2012

Class of 2013

Sundance 2014 Sundance 2016

Class of 2014

Class of 2016

Your retreat gave me the concrete foundation to make my dream of selling my screenplay come true. Loved it! -- Kristeen Tadich


I cannot express what a healing time Sundance was for me, and how much I appreciate you opening up this opportunity for my creativity to expand. --Kurt Wilson


Registration is limited to only 15 writers, so early registration is strongly suggested. The retreat sells out fast every year.

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If you have any questions, call me at 1-800-264-4900 or me.

Dave Trottier's retreat is not to be missed! Personal attention from Dave, terrific teaching (of course!), and good camaraderie. A great learning experience for screenwriters." -- Chris Kielich

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Photo © Dale Meier, courtesy Utah Pictures

See more photos of Sundance.