The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


Staff Spotlight: Karen Pluemer

Photo Courtesy of UW-Platteville

1. What is your title at UW-Platteville and how long have you been a professor at Platteville?
I’m a Senior Lecturer, and I’ve taught here since 2012.

2. What works have you done outside of the classroom?
I’ve written about seven screenplays in total; four of them are getting various forms of attention now. One script was second-rounded at the Austin Film Festival; one script was a semifinalist with the Stowe Story Labs Writers’ Retreat; another script was a semifinalist with CineStory Fellowships and another script was read by a production company that liked the writing and requested a meeting. I have also written a Young Adult novel that earned me an opportunity through an organization called Hedgebrook to study in a Master Class taught by Elizabeth George, a New York Times best-selling author. (Hedgebrook is a literary nonprofit organization that supports visionary women writers throughout the world.)

3. Explain your involvement in the Stowe Story Labs, and what is it?
Stowe Story Labs is a nonprofit that encourages and mentors screenwriters and filmmakers. I sent a script to them and was accepted into their programs prior to COVID-19. The retreat was postponed until this fall when I was able to attend in Sept. I met with mentors who had read my script and provided notes. I got fantastic notes from a casting director who had worked with some great people!

4. Describe how you got into screenplay writing.
I was researching “The Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell for my master’s thesis on Toni Morrison’s novel Paradise, and I saw an opportunity to attend an extension class at UW-Madison. The instructor was a developmental executive who had ties to the Midwest, and she was using Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey” as a text. Vogler’s text is based on Campbell’s text. At the time, I was a novelist, but screenplays are mostly dialogue and action and those elements play to my writing strengths.

5. What was your film about that progressed in the Austin Film Festival?
That script is a coming-of-age romantic comedy titled SHINY THINGS. The tagline is: “Sometimes, when we get what we want, we figure out what we need.” It is about how we can get distracted by people and things because that’s what society expects of us or tells us we want; when, really, we need something or someone else in our lives. The question is: How do we learn to be true to ourselves?

6. What is the Austin Film Festival?
The Austin Film Festival is significant because it is a film festival that’s also dedicated to screenwriting. The best part of it is meeting other writers and learning from some of the top writers in the industry. This year I met Katrin Benedikt (“Olympus Has Fallen,” “The Expendables 3,” “London Has Fallen” and “Angel Has Fallen”) in a hallway on the way to her panel and we had a terrific conversation about writing thrillers.

7. Do you have any films that you are currently working on now?
I have a romantic thriller script titled “HUNTED” that is being read right now by a production company. My other scripts are in various stages of revision or circulation, and I have got a couple of new ideas I am eager to start researching and outlining so that I can dig into the writing!

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