MFA Screenwriting grad Melissa Palazuelos is currently working as head writer on Gossip Girl Acapulco, a Mexican adaptation of the hit American television show. Just six months after her graduation, she met with TV producer Pedro Torres, and pitched two of the screenplays she had written while at New York Film Academy. That piqued Torres’ interest, and he brought Melissa on to develop some reality shows, commercials, a web series, and a game show. She also recently worked on the hit video for the platinum-selling Mexican pop-rock duo Jesse & Joy’s song ¡Corre!, which has over 125 million views on YouTube!
When she heard that Torres and his production company, El Mall, was working with Warner Bros. on a Mexican adaptation of Gossip Girl, Melissa knew she had to be involved. “Being part of the writers room at that point sounded like an amazing opportunity for me so I immediately [watched] the five American seasons that were out so far and lost track of my own social life,” she says. “I kept a list of what I considered the best moments of the show, which characters would need some tweaking and more work on the Mexican version, and finally, once I could call myself a true Gossip Girl connoisseur, I took [NYFA instructor] Adam Moore’s advice when pitching a show to a producer, and dressed the part. All the research and plotting paid off and I became the head writer for the show!”
Melissa left her hometown of Mexico City to attend New York Film Academy’s MFA Screenwriting course in Los Angeles in 2009. She says, “I was very lucky to be taught by super talented instructors at NYFA LA.” She suggests that students “Take it seriously. Take notes. Use your time in school to work on a project that could possibly lead to business. I’d say think universally so that way you can get better chances of selling your story. Work so hard they can’t ignore you.