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Screenwriting Department

Nunzio DeFilippis Nunzio DeFilippis
Chair of Screenwriting; Dean Of Faculty; Master’s Thesis Workshop, Genre Studies, Elements Of Screenwriting

MFA in Screenwriting, USC. Writer/producer on HBO's Arliss and wrote for the Disney Channel series Kim Possible. Had features optioned at Hollywood Pictures, Process Media, and Humble Journey Films. Developed a video game at Sony and a TV movie (Two Step) at Oxygen. With his writing partner, he wrote for the comics New X-Men, Adventures of Superman, Batman Confidential, and Dragon Age, among many others. They created the comic franchises Bad Medicine (in development at Closed On Mondays with NBC), The Amy Devlin Mysteries (in development as a TV series at E!), and Frenemy of the State (co-created with Rashida Jones, optioned as a feature film by Imagine Entertainment/Universal Pictures.)

Jenny Sterner Jenny Sterner
Associate Chair of Screenwriting
Story Generation, Building & Researching Your World

MFA in Screenwriting, New York Film Academy. Currently at work on a manga for Seven Seas Entertainment. Creator of the webseries Searching for Eden. Served as Coordinator of the Screenwriting Department for five years before taking over as Associate Chair.

Alexa Alemanni Boothe Alexa Alemanni Boothe
Scene Study, Script To Screen, Writing The Feature Film, Writing The TV Pilot, Character Development

BA in History & Theater, Vassar College. Started as an actress on Emmy-winning drama Mad Men for four seasons, for which she won a SAG Award. In television, has staffed on TNT’s The Librarians and sold a pilot to Tornante with Intrigue Entertainment. In feature films, wrote Something Borrowed, the sequel to the 2006 hit Something Blue for Black Label Media, and the adaptation of the book Serpent’s Bite by Warren Adler for Grey Eagle Films. Sold the feature I Won’t Be Home for Christmas to UCP for USA. Another feature project, The Lion in the Library, was recently set up with Prodigal Entertainment and Level Forward. She has projects in development with Team Downey, Hello Sunshine, and A Thousand Ships.

Andy Ashcraft Andy Ashcraft
Interactive Narrative

BA in Graphic Design, UCLA. Founder of Giantsdance Games. Game Design positions at: Sony Computer Entertainment of America (working on God of War and God of War II), Electronic Arts, THQ, Disney Mobile, Disney Consumer Products, THQ.

Andy Ashcraft Vanessa Baden-Kelly
Writing The TV Spec, Writing The TV Pilot, New Media, Script To Screen, Acting for Writers

Vanessa Baden-Kelly has an MFA in Creative Writing, from Antioch University. She began her career as a child actress on the Nickelodeon series Gullah Gullah Island and Kenan and Kel. She wrote on the staff of the TV shows Animal Kingdom and Guilty Party. She has also acted in and wrote for the web series Giants, which earned her an Emmy for Best Actress in a digital series.

Andy Ashcraft Lori Balaban
Writing The Feature Film Screenplay, Elements of Screenwriting

MFA in Creative Writing, City College of New York. Lori Balaban has an MFA in Creative Writing from City College of New York. She is the creator of the webseries Irrelevant White Girl, WTF, Property Vets, and Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary. Balaban worked as a writer and director on the TLC variety series Random Acts of Duff and penned the novel Left of Bang. Balaban has served as an Executive Producer at AMC and launched their integrated content department.

Ashley Bank Ashley Bank
Business of Screenwriting, The Art Of The Pitch, Script To Screen

BA in Film, NYU. Graduate of The Second City Conservatory. Worked as an actress, stand-up comedian, producer, and writer. Has appeared in over 40 commercials, and guest stared on Family Ties, My Two Dads, Frasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Has appeared in numerous TV Movies, with Henry Winkler, Dolly Parton, and Raquel Welch. Appeared in the feature film The Monster Squad. Has produced several award winning short films, one of which won the prestigious NYU Wasserman/King Award, and another of which was sold to IFC. Also worked as a producer for CBS News and 48 Hours, and for the CBS News documentary department. Worked on documentaries for History, The Food Network, A&E, Discovery, and ESPN. She's appeared in The Country Club and directed Don't Dress for Dinner with her theatre company, Accidents Happen.

Beth Bigler Beth Bigler
Adaptation, New Media, Online Screenwriting, Unscripted Storytelling

MFA in Creative Writing, Goddard College. Has worked since 2010 as a consultant on unscripted television, working with companies like Fremantle Media, Relativity Media, AOMedia, and many others. Served as Director of Development for Lionsgate TV/Shiny Objects Entertainment, and at Machete Productions. Served as Manager of Development at True Entertainment.

Hal Cantor Hal Cantor
Online Screenwriting: Television

MA in Dramatic Writing, NYU; MS in Journalism, Northwestern University. Hal is a writer and producer, known for the TV series Hold, Please and Berlin Halexanderplatz. Currently developing a half-hour series with Sony Pictures Television. Has sold pilots to Showtime, Fox Television, and Sony Pictures Television, and developed features with Twentieth Century Fox and independent companies. Has put several plays on stage, wrote/directed multiple shorts, and created a webseries for the Writers Guilds member-only initiative, Strike.TV

Eric Conner Eric Conner
Writing the Television Spec, Writing the Television Pilot, The Great Screenplays, Master’s Thesis Workshop

MFA, USC School of Cinema and Television. Has collaborated on screenplays with Robert Gardner (Writer, The Wedding Palace) and is developing a pilot with Hayden Black (Goodnight Burbank, Gen Zed). Currently a regular contributor to As part of a team, adapted the New York Times bestselling young-adult series Vampire Kisses and developed a feature film based on Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt. Currently hosting, producing and writing the podcast The Backlot for NYFA and was previously commissioned to write the original one-act play/short film The Also-Rans. Winner of the Sloan Award & Hamptons' Writer's Workshop for feature script Just Enough. Worked as a production manager on the documentary The Cutting Edge: The Story of Cinema Editing. Interview subjects included Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Sean Penn.

Morgan Dameron Morgan Dameron
Art of the Pitch, Feature Film Workshop

BA in Film & Television Production, USC. Wrote, directed, and produced the feature film, Different Flowers. Previously worked at Bad Robot Productions on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Adam B. Finer Adam B. Finer
Transmedia, New Media, and Business of Screenwriting

MA in Film, Staffordshire University. Served as Director of Market Research at Universal Pictures. Co-founder of Arpil Entertainment, a literary management and production company. Consults individuals in career planning, as well as working with content creators, writers, directors, producers, and studio executives to design marketing plans, and business and branding strategies. Producer on War of the Worlds: The Next Wave, The Day the Earth Stopped, and Megafault for Syfy.

Colette Freedman Colette Freedman
Writing The Feature Film, Script To Screen, Playwriting

MAT in Drama, Colgate University. Screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and actress. Has written the Lifetime film Sister Cities (Jacki Weaver, Alfred Molina, Stana Katic) as well as three other made-for-television films. Feature films include And Then There Was Eve (2017 LA Muse Jury Prize Winner at LA Film Festival) and Miles Underwater. Colette is an internationally-produced playwright with over 35 produced plays, voted "One of 50 to Watch" by The Dramatists Guild. Plays include Serial Killer Barbie, The Affair, and Blind Spots (Encore Award 2018 Hollywood Fringe fest). Has written nine published novels, including the thriller The Thirteen Hallows (2009 Tor Publishing) with #1 New York Times author Michael Scott; the YA book Anomalies with Sadie Turner (Select Books); and the legendary Steve Dorff memoir I Wrote That One Too (2018 Backbeat Books). Has co-produced several independent films, including Quality Problems (2017 Best Feature, Women Texas Film Fest), currently available on VOD. As an actress, has worked on many television shows, including That 70s Show, The Young and the Restless, and JAG, as well as several independent films.

Matt Harry Matt Harry
Master’s Thesis Workshop, Writing The Feature Film, Writing For Television, Great Screenplays, Script To Screen, Web Series, Genre Studies

MFA in Film Production, USC. Has worked as a reality television writer, editor, director, and feature film producer on the following: The Bachelor, Design on a Dime, Seriously Funny Kids, Rock the Reception, and Red Serpent. Wrote and produced Fugue, which won Best Horror Film at the Mississippi Film Festival. Written for Flynn Picture Co., Evolution Entertainment, and Fishbowl Films. Wrote and co-directed Super Kids for 1st Ave Machine/YouTube. Has also written the novel Sorcery for Beginners and its sequel Cryptozoology for Beginners.

Laura House Laura House
Writing The Television Spec, Writing The Television Pilot
MFA in Film Production, USC

BA in English, University of Texas at Austin. Writer, comedian, actor. Writer for the Emmy-winning shows CBS’ Mom and ABC’s Samantha Who and The George Lopez Show, MTV’s Loosely Exactly Nicole, The WB’s Blue Collar TV, and others. Sold pilots to ABC with Barry Sonnenfeld, to FX with Katey Sagal, and two shows to Nickelodeon. Co-created and starred on MTV’s Austin Stories. Her script How to Hate Yourself was honored on the “We for She” list. Her comedy album, Mouth Punch, produced by Comedy Dynamics, is available on all platforms. Her writing appears in Vice, Broadly, and several anthology books, including Darkness Before Light, Stricken the 5000 Stages of Grief, True Tales of Lust and Love, and Comedy Film Nerds Guide to the Movies. Currently writes on the BBC’s BAFTA-winning Secret Life of Boys, where she received an International Emmy nomination..

Terah Jackson Terah Jackson
Writing The Feature Film, Genre Studies, Playwriting, Great Playwrights

MFA in Screenwriting, American Film Institute. Wrote and produced Counter, wrote and assistant directed on Splendor, and was the assistant director on It’s Not Always Sunny and Fanta Face.

Heather Jeng Bladt Heather Jeng Bladt
Writing The TV Spec, Writing The TV Pilot

BFA in Writing for Screen & Television, USC. Wrote on the staff of Orange Is The New Black. Has also written for Mad Men. WGA Award Nominee.
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson
Elements of Screenwriting, Story Generation, Writing the Feature Film

MFA in Film & Television, USC. Developed, sold and written projects with Gore Verbinski, Davis Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Fox, including an adaptation of Doctor Doom.

Dan Kay Dan Kay
Writing The Feature Film, Great Screenplays, Business Of Screenwriting

BAS in English, University of Pennsylvania. Wrote several feature films including I.T. (starring Pierce Brosnan), Pay the Ghost (starring Nicolas Cage) and Timber Falls. Wrote and directed Way Off Broadway (starring Morena Baccarin). On the TV side, is collaborating with 50 Cent on Tomorrow/Today for STARZ. Wrote the pilot The Haunting of Sunshine Girl based on the hit web series for The Weinstein Company.

Stephen Langford Stephen Langford
Elements of Screenwriting, Writing The TV Spec

MFA in Screenwriting, Antioch University. Wrote and directed Big Baby, Dude Where’s My Dog, She’s With Me, and Warm Blooded Killers. Writer on Silver Spoons, Sugar and Spice, Family Matters, Malcolm and Eddie, Nanny Express, Club Dead, Skincrawlers, and Creepshow. Wrote episodes for Saved by the Bell, Romeo, Tiny Toon Adventures, Ewoks, and What’s Happening Now.

Stephen Langford Carolyn McDonald
Business of Screenwriting

Carolyn McDonald has worked in the publicity division of Warner Bros Television, served as a Creative Executive at Cinecom Entertainment, and served as Exective Vice President of Danny Glover's Carrie Productions. She was the executive producer on TNT's Emmy & Image Award-nominated Freedom Song (written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson) and HBO's American Dream, which featured Wesley Snipes and won 4 Cable Ace Awards and an NAACP Image Award for Best Made-For-TV Movie. McDonald also produced, co-wrote, and directed P.N.O.K., featuring Elle Fanning and co-wrote Return Of The Sweetbirds for 20th Century Fox. She also adapted the book The Color Of Hope for her directing debut.

George McGrath George McGrath
Comedy Writing, Writing The Television Spec, Writing The Television Pilot, Script To Screen

Actor, writer, producer, composer. Began his career doing musical theatre in New York at such venues as Cafe La Mama, The Provincetown Playhouse, and Lincoln Center. Performed with the Groundlings in Los Angeles from 1983 - 1992, where he also taught, directed the Sunday show, and created the long-running show Your Very Own TV Show. One of the original writers of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and was a series regular on the show. Was inducted into the TV Theme Song Hall of Fame for co-writing the series theme song. Co-wrote the Paramount film Big Top Pee-Wee and created and starred in Nick-at-Nite’s first original series, On the Television, which he also co-executive produced. Co-starred with Tom Hanks and Sally Field in the feature film Punchline. Wrote and co-starred in Based on an Untrue Story, a FOX TV movie, and wrote, produced and had a recurring role on HBO’s Tracey Takes On... Other TV appearances include Whose Line Is It Anyway (both London and NY productions), Bob, The Martin Short Show, Growing Pains, The Jeffersons, and Comic Relief. Currently performs in Instaplay! and with the Groundlings in the Gas Show. Has been nominated for an Emmy Award four times – twice as a writer on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and twice as writer-producer on Tracey Takes On.. a series for which he also won a GLAAD Award.

Chris Modoono Chris Modoono
Script To Screen, New Media, Transmedia

BS, Babson College. Co-Writer/Director of the feature Tenured for Fox Digital Studio. Premiered at the 2015 Tribeca film festival, and won the Audience Award at the Maui Film Festival. Co-Writer/Director and Co-Creator of It’s a Hit! (Abby Elliott, Tim Matheson) for The Orchard. Premiered at SeriesFest Season 2 and won the Virgin Produced Award. Commercial director for Hungry Man Productions.

Eric Nelson Eric Nelson
Master’s Thesis Workshop, Writing The Feature Film, Writing The Television Pilot

MFA in Screenwriting, American Film Institute. Developed film and television projects with Nickelodeon Original Movies, ABC/Disney Channel, 20th Century Fox, Smart Entertainment, and Underground Entertainment. Has written, developed, and produced for numerous branded content campaigns and video games.

Paul Salamoff Paul Salamoff
Genre Studies, Sequential Art, Feature Film Workshop

Has been working for 30 years in film, TV, video games, and commercials as a writer, producer, director, executive, comic creator, storyboard artist and make-Up FX artist. Was recently named one of The Tracking Board’s Top 100 up-and-coming screenwriters and has developed projects with Mosaic Media Group, Hollywood Gang, Blumhouse, Wigram Productions, Silver Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Vertigo, Unstoppable Entertainment (UK), and Eclectic Pictures. Author of On the Set: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette (now in its 4th Edition) and the graphic novels Discord, Tales of Discord, Logan’s Run, and issues of Vincent Price Presents. His short stories and essays have been included in acclaimed anthologies including Midian Unmade: Tales from Clive Barker’s Nightbreed and The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring the Blade Runner Universe and he is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Nominee. Recently made his feature film directorial debut with Encounter, an award-winning sci-Fi/drama based on his original screenplay that stars Luke Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Cheryl Texiera, and Tom Atkins.

Derek Santos Olson Derek Santos Olson
Writing The Television Spec, Writing The Television Pilot, Story Generation

BA in Political Science, Yale University. Writer on the television series Friday Night Lights, Hawaii Five-O, and The Unusuals. Developed a pilot at Nickelodeon and another directed by Michael Lange (The OC).

Doc Pedrolie Doc Pedrolie
Elements Of Screenwriting, The Great Screenplays, Writing The Feature Film, Story Generation, Genre Studies, Writing For Television, Master’s Thesis Workshop

MFA in Screenwriting, UCLA. Written the features Come Simi (Winner, Best Screenplay, Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and Best Writing, Los Angeles Film Review 2015) and Pali Road (sold to Arclight Films at Cannes), and has written and directed The Last Cigarette. Has developed projects at Gerber Pictures, Crimson Forest, HWY 61, Unified Pictures, Royal Standard, IPG, Nala/RightBrain, and Circle of Confusion. Works as a story analyst for Amazon Studios.

Jenni Powell Jenni Powell
Transmedia, New Media, Business Of Screenwriting, Screenwriting Discipline & Methodology

BA in Psychology, San Diego State. The Emmy Award-winning producer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon, lonelygirl15, Emma Approved, and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. For two years, was Director of Content and Social Media for VidCon and was a producer at Felicia Day’s YouTube Premium Channel Geek & Sundry, where she produced the Geekie Award-Winning Talkin' Comics Weekly. Most recently, was Head of Production for NewMediaRockstars before founding her own production company Discourse Productions.

Alan Trezza Alan Trezza
Script To Screen, Feature Film Workshop

BA, Film & Television, Fordham University. Wrote and produced the zombie comedy Burying the Ex, which was directed by Joe Dante and starred Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. Wrote and executive produced the thriller We Summon the Darkness starring Alexandra Daddario and Keean Johnson. Has sold screenplays to Miramax Films, Paramount Pictures, and has developed projects for such Hollywood legends as Drew Barrymore, Tony Scott, and Ridley Scott. Is currently casting his next script Sanctuary, a supernatural horror film that will be directed by John Leonetti and produced by Joel Silver.

Christina Weir Christina Weir
Writing The Television Pilot, Sequential Art, Transmedia, Interactive Narrative, Character Development, Story Generation

MA in Mass Communications/TV Production, Emerson College. Writer/producer on HBO's Arliss and wrote for the Disney Channel series Kim Possible. Had features optioned at Hollywood Pictures, Process Media, and Humble Journey Films. Developed a video game at Sony, and a TV movie (Two Step) at Oxygen. With her writing partner, she wrote for the comics New X-Men, Adventures of Superman, Batman Confidential, and Dragon Age, among many others. They created the comic franchises Bad Medicine (in development at Closed On Mondays with NBC), The Amy Devlin Mysteries (in development as a TV series at E!), and Frenemy of the State (co-created with Rashida Jones, optioned as a feature film by Imagine Entertainment/Universal Pictures.)

Liz Fania Werner Liz Fania Werner
Master’s Thesis Workshop, Story Generation, Writing The Feature Film, Advanced Character Development, Adaptation

MFA in TV and Screenwriting, USC. Founded Órbita, a bilingual literary magazine, while living in Chile. Has translated two books of poetry: The Collected Poems of Jimmy Santiago Baca and Nicanor Parra’s Antipoems: How to Look Better and Feel Great, both published by New Directions. Earned an Annenberg Fellowship from USC and wrote Assassination of a Mathematician. Wrote on RPM Miami for Mun2, a Latinx-driven member of the NBC/Universal family. Developed the feature adaptation of the novel Babylon Sisters by Oprah Book Club author Pearl Cleage. Currently developing an action-horror feature for DMG Entertainment.

Liz Fania Werner Danielle Wolff
Writing The TV Pilot, Playwriting

MFA in Screenwriting, UCLA. Danielle Wolff has an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA. She is a writer of fiction, stage, and screen. Her credits include animated work (Kyle XY Continuum, Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, Marvel Rising, Tarzan and Jane) and live action work (Wicked Wicked Games with Tatum O'Neal, and American Heiress). Her stage credits include Weightless, and she wrote the radio play Huntsville (broadcast on NPR). Wolff's short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as the Chiron Review and Popcorn Fiction, and she recently published her debut Her Story collection, Mass Ave.

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