Hollywood scribe to offer “Diagnosis: Mystery” at Western

CULLOWHEE – It will be “Diagnosis: Mystery” when a Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include “Diagnosis: Murder” visits Western Carolina University on Monday, Jan. 10, to launch a semester of classes and lectures on writing for television and motion pictures.

A member of the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America who also has written for “Hill Street Blues” and “Stargate SG-1,” Terry Curtis Fox will speak on “Writing the Series Mystery” at 7:30 p.m. in the theater of Western’s A.K. Hinds University Center. It will be the first of several public screenings and talks by Fox, who will discuss a writer’s perspective on movies and TV shows.

To open the Jan. 10 lecture, Fox will screen an episode of the popular “Diagnosis: Murder” series that starred Dick van Dyke as a Los Angeles hospital chief of staff who helps solve crimes. “I’ll talk about the particular problems of writing a show late in its run when characters have been set in stone and it seems like every plot has not merely been done, but done twice,” he said. “Then we’ll open up the floor for questions and answers.”

The lecture is part of Fox’s duties as a visiting artist in the department of English at Western during the spring semester, when he will be teaching two screenwriting classes on a special schedule involving intensive work during four separate weeks spaced throughout the semester.

Fox will teach “Introduction to Screenwriting” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 until 9:50 p.m., and “Advanced Screenwriting: Adapting the Short Story” on Mondays and Fridays from 1 until 4 p.m. The introductory course was originally announced as scheduled for 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, but was moved to evenings to accommodate demand.

Fox will be on campus Jan. 10-14, Feb. 14-18, March 17-23 and April 18-22. Weeks between classes will be used for writing and reviewing the work of classmates.

Both classes will be limited to 15 people. There are no prerequisites for either class, but some creative writing experience would be helpful, said Elizabeth Addison, head of the English department.

The classes are part of a new motion picture studies concentration being developed at the university.

Fox’s visit is being arranged by Jack Sholder , a motion picture director, writer and editor who joined the faculty in September as professor of digital motion pictures and video, and producer/director in the studios of the Center for Applied Technology at Western. Director of “The Hidden,” “Nightmare on Elm Street 2,” “Renegades” and HBO’s “By Dawn’s Early Light,” Sholder won an Emmy Award for his editing work on “3-2-1 Contact.”

For information on the screenwriting classes, contact the English department at (828) 227-7264.