DEVELOPMENT

SLATE

Presenting Our Selection of 165 Emerging Writers

The ISA is proud to announce our current Development Slate. Writers are considered for the Slate by invitation only.

I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2014 with a degree in Film and New Media. During my time in school, I earned the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences internship in the comedy writing department where I got to work in the writers' room of the Nickelodeon show "Instant Mom." After that, my short film, "Applesauce," won The Audience Choice Last Laugh award at Seattle's NFFTY Film Festival, the largest youth festival in the world. After graduation, I was an adjunct professor in the screenwriting department at the University and eventually made the move out to LA where I've been working on various television, sketch and short film scripts. In January I was selected to have a live table read at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival through the Table Read My Screenplay...
I find my greatest passion in writing stories that reveal moments of whimsy and untapped courage even in the midst of formidable circumstances. I strive to see characters join together to pool their individual skills and talents for a common goal, and witness children becoming the heroes of their own stories. My consistent goal is to produce quality films all ages can enjoy. I have authored over twenty picture books from major publishers including HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Little Brown, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Dial Penguin, and Candlewick Press. My books have received many awards and recognitions from School Library Journal, American Booksellers Pick of the List, Publisher's Weekly, the New York Times Book Review, The Horne Book, Kirkus, Parenting Magazine's Award of Excellence, and Junior Library Guild...
Desa Larkin-Boutté is a television and feature screenplay writer based in Los Angeles, California.  Her body of work is varied, though united through highlighting under-serviced themes or communities.  Whether it be race and identity (Zora & Zizi), the love and heartache of a senior living facility (The Old & the Restless), or depression in the black community (How to Be), Desa’s mission is to start a conversation through the stories she tells. In addition, Desa also specializes in adaptation.  From a feminist twist on 1001 Nights (Arabian Days), a little known gothic thriller from Louisa May Alcott (A Long Fatal Love Chase), to a Creole twist on a favored fairy tale (The Red Shoes), the stories she chooses to adapt all feature women fighting against insurmountable odds. Born in...
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Jeremy writes about big ideas, and about how those big ideas impact individuals when they come crashing down to earth. That usually means creature features or sci-fi pieces that allow Jeremy to indulge his sense of drama or childlike wonder, while still keeping the stories grounded in something familiar. As The Black List said, “Like all good speculative fiction, [Jeremy’s writing] uses its heightened framework to present relatable, human themes. There is a smart, often biting sense of humor.”  Prior to his career in film, Jeremy studied Chinese and worked as a journalist in Asia, before eventually returning to the US to earn an MFA in film production at The University of Texas at Austin. He is an award-winning writer, director, & editor, a New York Times published writer, a former...
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Alex Sarrigeorgiou is an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in New York City. She's half Greek, half Romanian, and grew up in Athens, Greece. She studied drama at Vassar College, and her poems have appeared in *82 Review, Cactus Heart Press, Hypertrophic Literary, Fugue, and The Tishman Review. In 2018, Alex wrote, produced and performed in CON SPIRITO, a short film inspired by the college years of poet Elizabeth Bishop. Alex's directorial debut short film GRIP premiered at the 2020 Lighthouse International Film Festival. Alex brings her love of poetry to her work as a filmmaker, telling lyrical stories about personal transformation and existential despair, with female and queer experiences at the center. She admires the works of Kelly Reichardt, Céline Sciamma, and Todd Haynes, among others.
Shayna Weber is a screenwriter, producer and director who came on board ISA after starting a family and making the transition out of reality television and into film, recently producing Lunch Ladies, an award-winning short film and directing her first short film, VIF. Previously, Shayna worked as a producer of reality programming for network, cable and online channels for the hit shows, So You Think You Can Dance, RuPaul's Drag Race, Weakest Link and VH1’s Bands Reunited, among others. She is part of TwinBridges Screenwriting Salon.   
Marni is a screenwriter and technical advisor who specializes in features and television series with academic and ethical themes.  Her genres include grounded sci-fi, dark fantasy and thrillers.  She holds degrees in neuroscience and anthropology with graduate studies in cognitive neurobiology.  This year, a short film she co-wrote, "Sang del Drac," won Best Short Film at the 2020 Cannes-Short Film Festival and she was invited to the Stowe Story Labs for one of her features.  She also won the Grand Prize in the ISA Table Read My Screenplay competition in 2017 for her feature, SYVERTSEN’S COMPLEX.  The same script was a Nicholl semifinalist and ranked #14 on the Hot 100 List of the Capital Fund Screenplay Competition.
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Michael Goldenberg is a writer from the great city of Munster, Indiana (no, not like the cheese) who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.  He began his writing career with his partner, Carlos Gutierrez, scripting televison pilots which have been described as "cute" and "fun stuff" by his own mother. On his own, Michael graduated from the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program, and has in additon to his television output written the odd feature length screenplay here and there (BLACK STAR).  He has also spent two years writing and performing his own monthly live sketch comedy shows (which is a deeply embarrassing sentence to write) and was even a contestant on the 2020 season of America's Got Talent (Spoiler: he didn't win). One fateful day, Michael received a profound, heartfelt,...
  Yolanda T. Ross is an award winning multi-hyphenate, and socially driven storytelling Actress, Writer, Producer, and Filmmaker. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, and has won several awards for her shorts THE LAST DAY and VICTUS. Her short DROWNING recently placed in the top 10 of the Pan African Film Festival's John Singleton Short Screenplay Contest. In addition, her feature screenplay HER FAVORITE COLOR placed in the top 25 for the Ermantourage Industry Next II Diversity Competition, and was a quarter finalist for the 1st Annual Stage 32 Drama Screenplay contest, and a semi-finalist for the Filmmatics Drama Screenplay contest. She is currently developing a TV pilot titled WE ARE HERE that focuses on the subject of Human Trafficking from Slavery through today. As a writer, she...
I'm a born and raised Floridian turned writer-comedian, of course. I get a kick out of telling oddball, hard-to-believe, and sometimes hard-to-hear stories. At the core of all of my scripts are nuanced, imperfect female-identifying protagonists.  A little bit about me: I grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida thinking it was the best place on Earth only to realize later in life, Earth is pretty big. My childhood was shaped by my literally fresh-off-the-boat Vietnamese mother who arrived as a war refugee, and my shopaholic Canadian step(but-as-real-as-they-get)father who hated the cold so much that he up and left Montreal one day and drove south until it was hot. He met my mother at their mutual place of employment, Burger King. Yes, this is all true. ​ More true stories: From ages 16-19, I worked as a bank...
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Carlos Gutierrez is a screenwriter of colorful, emphatic comedies that bring depth and levity to both wild and everyday settings. His comedy Asians Can't Play Jazz was the genre winner of the Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices Competition and a finalist in WeScreenplay's Diverse Voices. He and his writing partner Michael Goldenberg are both members of ISA's Development Slate, currently developing their children's animated TV pilot Elysian Ring, which follows a group of kids sent to summer camp on an inhospitable planet, where they must unite and fight to survive. Hailing from a midwest city boasting the highest number of churches per capita, Carlos is heavily infulenced by both the understated sophistication of Joe Pera Talks with You and grounded suburban humanism of Richard Linklater,...
Writing thrillers and action-adventure, David Keith Miller's 17 produced screenplays include WRITTEN IN BLOOD with Peter Coyote, TIME LAPSE with Roy Scheider and THE GLASS CAGE with Eric Roberts. He presently has a script under option and just finished two writing assignments for Living Stone Productions (BE).His comic thriller DOUBLE INDIANA won the Texas Film Institute screenplay competition, quarterfinaled in the Launch Pad and Fresh Voices competitions with a Spotlight Award nomination for Best Dialogue, and won him a mentorship with a-list scribe Andrew Baldwin. His historical action-adventure THE BOOK OF REVENGE was a quarter-finalist in the Austin Film Festival, won Best in Genre in Table Read My Screenplay's L.A. competition, and received Honorable Mention in the Screenplay Festival competition.His comic...
Born in Malaysia but raised in the U.S., Michelle is a prolific writer, composer, and musician who has worked on a wide range of film projects. Her screenplays have garnered numerous film festival and competition awards, including Script Pipeline (Top 20 Finalist), StoryPros Awards (Grand Prize Winner), CineStory Foundation, Barcelona International Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize), Austin Film Festival, PAGE Awards, Beverly Hills Screenplay Competition, and more. She currently works as a creative exec for an L.A.-based production company but resides with her family in Austin, TX.
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Xavier Burgin is an Emmy-nominated writer/director from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He’s the director of Shudder’s first original documentary, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. He’s a Sundance Lab Fellow, HBO Alumni, Ryan Murphy Half Fest Mentee, Top 50 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Alumni, and Screencraft Feature Winner.  Xavier’s feature documentary, Horror Noire expounds on the history of Black Americans in horror cinema. It is the first original documentary produced by AMC Networks’ Shudder streaming service. The film currently holds a “100% Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. Horror Noire has been listed as one of the “Best Horror Movies of 2019” from USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Shondaland, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. It had...
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Jay Cipriani recently wrote the television films SHARING CHRISTMAS for Hallmark and A CHRISTMAS CRUISE for ION television and currently teaches screenwriting at New York Film Academy in Burbank, CA. In 2015 he won Chicago's Pride Films and Plays Screenwriting Competition where his screenplay SOMEBODY TO LOVE was performed live.Jay received his BA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from West Virginia University, studied film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and received his MFA in Film Production from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.  Jay began his career in story development and production working with writer/director Barry Levinson, producers Paula Weinstein, Len Amato, and Palak Patel, and later with writer/director Ted Griffin.  ...
Chris Courtney Martin hails from Philadelphia, where she was introduced to her craft. In high school, she placed in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights competition three years out of four. After receiving the prestigious Liberty scholarship, Martin started Drexel University's Screenwriting & Playwriting program, where she switched gears to focus on screenwriting. Martin graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from Drexel's SCRP program, as well as minors in Film & Video and Art History. She has since won/placed in several screenwriting competitions (including Urbanworld and Emerging Screenwriters) and received promotion via the 2018 Young & Hungry List, 2018 Bitch List and ISA's Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019. Though she is known for her work in Horror/Thriller, Martin's body of work explores an...
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Bonnie Gross is an award winning comedy television and sketch comedy writer/producer, who likes to tell the stories of strong and dynamic females. Her work is inspired from personal experiences, which she writes about in depth on her blog. Bonnie hopes to change the conversation revolving around female health care and sexuality with her most recent script, “Lady Parts,” but also wants to push the boundaries of how we view young women in today’s society. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, she decided to journey to the University of Alabama for her undergrad. Roll Tide! In June 2017, she bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a television comedy writer. A week after buying the flight, she was accepted into the UCLA Professional Program for Comedy Television Writing, which she...
Jeff York was named one of the International Screenwriters Association's Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2018. He has written 12 movie screenplays, two TV show treatments/pilots and two plays. His works have figured in the finals of 71 screenwriting contests and counting. He's been a Screencraft Fellowship finalist twice.  After 20 years in advertising, running a couple of creative departments, and winning almost every industry award, Jeff took his lifelong love of going to the movies and decided to take a crack at writing a screenplay. It was a character-driven horror movie (INCURABLE), and when he was finished with it, he sent it to Script magazine for their review. After taking their notes to heart, he rewrote INCURABLE, and it ultimately became Script's only recommended spec screenplay of 2009 (from over...
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David Wappel is a Jersey-born, North Carolina-raised feature writer. Wappel's work will be featured in this year's HBO New York Latino Film Festival in the film Long Gone By for which he wrote the shooting script. He has also story consulted on a number of documentary projects, including Quest of the Muscle Nerd. Wappel's latest screenplay, The Last Farm, was a Semifinalist at the Austin Film Festival in the HUMANITAS Originals Category, and was also accepted to the Fall 2019 Stowe Story Lab as an Honorable Mention for the ISA Fellowship. Wappel's work often includes themes of sibling relationships, reluctant leadership, and private courage.  Non-screenwriting projects include the twitter handle @ScriptByShakes where Wappel translates famous movie lines into the Elizabethan tongue, as well as Lightning...
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Elaine is humbled to be a fellow in the HBO Writers Program, chosen for the CBS Writers Program, and a Semi-Finalist for the Sundance Episodic Lab. She is currently staffed on the new Gossip Girl reboot for HBO Max, premiering in late 2020. She is grateful to have been named as one of the Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019 by the International Screenwriters Association. She has had scripts place in the world-renowned PAGE Awards (Top Ten), Austin Film Festival (3 times), Final Draft Big Break (Top Ten), and the ISA (Grand Prize for Table Read My ScreenPlay and Top 50 for Fast Track). Other notable writing competition placements include Scriptapalooza (1st Runner Up), Blue Cat, and Script Pipeline. Elaine wrote/directed an indie episodic series, “DOXXED”, about a woman who must deal with the...
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