Screenwriting Pedagogy, Story Development, and Mindfulness Meditation exercises 

Testimonial from Recent Participant: 

“Mindful Screenwriting reminded me of how fruitful sharing a learning space with storytelling devotees is. Every session filled me with inspiration and a discovery of new creative doorways into my script—and myself. It provided me with invaluable tools to build a more sustainable, rewarding, writing practice. This could only blossom under the passionate, generous and observant tutelage of a true screenwriting veteran like Howard, with whom mere conversations will make anyone a better writer.”

- Guillermo de la Rosa is a Venezuelan writer and director. His latest co-writing credit, "The Shadow of the Sun", is Venezuela's official selection for the 96th Academy Awards. His upcoming directorial work has been funded by the Canada, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils.




What are you called to write? How can we get to the river beneath the river of your story, and the thematic forces informing it? How can a focus on personal narrative inquiry, core values and even brief Tibetan-based meditation practice take you deeper into your story, into what it's about and how you might tell it? I don't claim to have answers, but I will promise some unanticipated questions in this contemplative workshop approach to story development. Currently an Associate Professor of Screenwriting at York for 18 years, I am also a certified meditation teacher (Dharma Moon and Tibet House, NYC). I also believe equally in the rigour of screenwriting craft. My focus in this workshop is on your voice and what the river means to you. The results, unpredictable, yet ideally a more deeply engaging story which only you can tell. 

Explore your feature, or TV project in this non-traditional, freestyle (yet structured) version of my graduate screenwriting class which I’ve taught for over 18 years as an Associate Professor and frequently Head of the Screenwriting Programme. I’m on sabbatical this year, then stepping back into my own creative work.  

Enrolment Limited- Post-Graduate Writers, Directors - Film, TV, New Media Professionals; also Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Novelists, Graphic Novelists.  The workshops require some dramatic writing experience and are not introduction to screenwriting classes.  Samples of writing and/or a brief zoom interview.  

Wiseman is also a Certified Meditation teacher (2022-2023) (Dharma Moon and Tibet House, New York City), drawing on other sources in addition to storytelling, including mindful self-compassion. 



JUNE/JULY WORKSHOP- STARTS SUNDAY, JUNE 2 til July 14 - 6 weeks IN-PERSON and ONLINE/HYBRID. 2:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Writing samples and/or zoom interview. In-Person class, High Park house, a block from Dundas West station and several online sessions. 

Enrollment Limited – under 6 per group - Post-Graduate Writers, Directors - Film, TV, New Media Professionals; also Playwrights, Short Story Writers, Novelists, Graphic Novelists. Workshops require some dramatic writing experience, not introduction to screenwriting classes.  Samples of writing and/or a brief zoom interview required. I’m also a Certified Meditation teacher (2022-2023) (Dharma Moon and Tibet House, New York City), drawing on other sources in addition to storytelling.

(June 2,9,23,30,July 7,July 14) (no class June 16) 



SUNDAYS 1 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. 

Accepting Applicants Now 


3. INDIVIDUAL STORY-EDITING AVAILABLE- currently consulting on Telefilm, Sodec and Canada Council supported projects, story consulting for TIFF Writers Program, Black Screen Office/Rogers TV program. FOR INQUIRIES, COST, & REGISTRATION – Mindfulscreenwriting.com or www.howardwiseman.com - CLICK ON "CONTACT," email (please forward to your lists)


Samples from the Workshop:

Journey to the Land of Story, planned and unplanned, sought after and seeking.

Techniques and Workshop Elements:

- traditional Tibetan group meditation 

- blue sky meditation

- drawing on the works of Tich Nhat Hanh, Kristen Neff, Chris Germer, Joseph Goldstein

- inner critic and core value exercises

- project or story concept -what is it -exploration and design 

- film excerpt examples screened throughout 

- connective tissue - characters, themes,

- story events, major and minor  

- I wish moment for our characters, and for ourselves 

- small groups listening and responding  




As you set out for Ithaka 

hope your road is a long one, 

full of adventure, full of discovery. 

Laistrygonians, Cyclops, 

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: 

you’ll never find things like that on your way 

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, 

as long as a rare excitement 

stirs your spirit and your body. 

Laistrygonians, Cyclops, 

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them 

unless you bring them along inside your soul, 

unless your soul sets them up in front of you. 

Hope your road is a long one. 

May there be many summer mornings when, 

with what pleasure, what joy, 

you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time; 

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations 

to buy fine things, 

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, 

sensual perfume of every kind— 

as many sensual perfumes as you can; 

and may you visit many Egyptian cities 

to learn and go on learning from their scholars. 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind. 

Arriving there is what you’re destined for. 

But don’t hurry the journey at all. 

Better if it lasts for years, 

so you’re old by the time you reach the island, 

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, 

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. 

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. 

Without her you wouldn't have set out. 

She has nothing left to give you now. 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. 

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, 

you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. 

C. P. Cavafy, "The City" from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Reproduced with permission of Princeton University Press. 

Source: C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1975)