Shining a Spotlight on Emerging Talent

2018
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2022
Alan Jenkins, a law professor, screenwriter, and advocate who has devoted his career to the intersection of storytelling and social justice. Jenkins seeks to engage broad audiences with shared values and new ideas and believes diverse and inclusive storytelling is especially important at this critical time in our nation’s history. Descended from African-American migrants from the South and immigrants from the Caribbean, the Black and immigrant experiences are central to much of his storytelling. He is a Co-Founder and former President of The Opportunity Agenda, founding producer and editor of the social justice superhero series Helvetika Bold, and appears widely in print and broadcast media, including CBS, MSNBC, the Hollywood Reporter, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He is a Blacklist...
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. Her multilingual and multicultural upbringing allow her to bring an authentic perspective to characters from diverse backgrounds. 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 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...
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Carlos Gutierrez and his writing partner Michael Goldenberg specialize in television comedies that bring both depth and levity to colorful worlds parallel to our own. Their comedy Asians Can't Play Jazz was awarded best comedy pilot in the Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices Competition and a finalist in WeScreenplay's Diverse Voices. It’s currently listed in the top 2% on Coverfly. Together with Creative Screenwriter Productions, they are developing their children's animated series Elysian Ring, which follows a group of kids sent to summer camp on a planet in the midst of a climate disaster, where they must unite and fight to survive. After growing up in a midwest city boasting the highest number of churches per capita, Carlos studied Telecommunications, Music, Spanish, and Italian,...
Vandon Gibbs is an award-winning writer and director who enjoys telling intimate stories with big themes. His love for visual arts was apparent at an early age as he placed in numerous art competitions for drawing throughout high school. His passion for the arts was only matched by his love for movies. As a child, his favorite show on Saturday morning wasn’t a cartoon, it was Siskel and Ebert.  This, combined with Vandon’s affection for cinema, story telling, and drawing, lead him to the conclusion that he wanted to be either a comic book illustrator or Hollywood concept artist.   After years of trying to find his place in the world, Vandon found himself in middle management in Corporate America. And though this was a good living, he felt artistically unfulfilled. This caused him to take a...
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ISA Development Slate! Lacey is a writer focused on coming of age stories for women, living in NY. Her writing has been featured on Reductress and awarded at festivals like -- Page Turner, Atlanta, Cinequest, Chicago, Genre Screenplay, Nashville, Screencraft, Stowe and Austin. Four of her scripts have been showcased on The Black List as among the reader's favorites on the site, and her pilot GIMME DANGER ranks in the Top 7% of scripts hosted on Coverfly. Lacey is also an actor and comedian, her episode of "Ilana Glazer Presents: Tight Five" set to premiere this spring.
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Hi! I’m Qaseem and I come from a chubby family that loves to eat. Not surprisingly, I went to Culinary school. What drew me into the Culinary world was not only access to fried treats, but the fast-paced environment and the ability to creatively blend flavours from around the world to make unique dishes. Similarly, creating diverse characters with unique “flavour profiles” is what I love to do as a writer. I’m also really proud to be a current fellow of The Pacific Screenwriting Program’s Scripted Series Lab. I’m glad that I branched out and entered this new field. There is nothing in the world I would rather be doing than writing. Today, I can confidently say “I’m Qaseem Fazal and I’m a chubby screenwriter.”
Marcus writes both comedies and dramas across different genres. He primarily focuses on exploring the oddities of complex relationships between people in every day walks of life. He is a writer because the passion and desire to write didn’t kick in until his 30’s. He is an Army Brat who was born in Germany and raised around the globe. Marcus grew up in a small town in Alaska, where everyone knows everyone, where drinking, drugs, and snow mobiles are a way of life. He turned down the only football scholarship offered to him, because he didn’t want to go somewhere else where snow was in the forecast. His goal in life, was not to be like every one else from his hometown, and move back. Marcus spent ten years as a corporate bank auditor. He describes that time as “the most boring ten years one...
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Neer Musa Shelter has several signed shopping agreements and scripts in with companies such as Scott Free and Miramax. He was a semi-finalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, an Austin Film Festival finalist, a Page Award winner (3 x finalist), a Final Draft’s Big Break top 3 finalist (2 x top 5 finalist), and many more. Neer (of Egyptian-British descent) grew up on ships, traveling around the world. He’s ex-military, a 3rd Dan Black Belt, and a film school graduate with a bachelor's degree. He gained years of experience in the industry following his studies, reading for companies such as StudioCanal, Coverfly, and The Story Doctor. Neer also worked on set and in post on multiple films, including; Thor, The Great Gatsby, The Wolverine, Gods of Egypt, and many more.
After building a successful career in tech and marketing startups, Elena Perez decided it was more fun (and faster) to shape the future in stories than in real life. Taking inspiration from her multicultural heritage and her background in tech, Elena's work often explores how personal context (culture, gender, economic status, time, etc.) influences identity. Her dark-but-heartfelt portfolio is already attracting attention: In 2021, she scored representation by DialedIn Entertainment and, soon after, was staffed on a major broadcast TV show. Prior to that, her work was recognized by WeScreenplay, ScreenCraft, PAGE and Final Draft Big Break, among many others. She is a 2021 ISA Fast Track Fellow, a 2020 Stowe Story Labs Fellow, CineStory TV alum and also earned an M.A. poetry on a full fellowship. Elena recently moved...
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After meeting Robert, you realize he was raised right- right inside a movie theater.  His childhood happy-place was escaping to the cinema and the magic that came alive on screen.  After trying his hand on an independent film, he realized his greater passion was writing.  He’s inspired by visual storytellers, the art of the process, and movies with an emotional punch. At the core of his scripts is usually a loner, an outcast, who leads you on an emotional journey to an unexpected place.  His strength is found in character-driven dramas and thrillers, focusing on diversity, LGBTQIA+, and strong female roles. He’s had success on the contest market with several scripts, including THE BOAT (Final Draft Big Break Drama Winner), and more recently STRAYS (Emerging Screenwriter’s Grand...
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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 (THE LAST TWO JEWS IN AFGHANISTAN, 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). He enjoys writing absurdist social...
A screenwriter, producer and director born and raised in Bend, Oregon, Shayna Weber moved to Los Angeles after college and began casting music videos and working in talent management.  During the rise of unscripted television, she began a 15-year career as a producer where she developed, produced, and directed numerous projects.  Her roster of shows includes: So You Think You Can Dance, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Weakest Link, VH1’s Band’s Reunited, Brew Dogs, She’s Got the Look, Disney’s Code 9, and the Miss Universe Pageants.  She has worked for NBC, ABC, Fox, Disney, MTV, VH1, Travel Channel, Discovery, and Bravo, among others.  Shayna also produced the award-winning, horror/comedy, Lunch Ladies, and directed, A Very Important Film. Shayna is partners with Clarissa...
Hello! My name is Bruna and I am a Writer/Director based in LONDON, UK.   I have directed a few cool short films in the past but I am also an award winning screenwriter (Ew! I know it's pretentious but I have to!). Most recently I was a finalist in the CANNESERIES UNLIMITED Writer's Residency and I developed my TV series "Glitz" with a first look deal with STUDIOCANAL. I am also the Grand Prize Winner of the International Screenwriter's Association first Drama Genre Busting Screenplay Competition and a Screencraft Feature Script Competition Semifinalist with my script "The Engine". I'm trying to get back on the director's chair in 2022 with two short films * fingers crossed *. As a freelance screenwriter I am currently writing on TWO TV SERIES, one for UZONG FILMS and the second for...
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Laurie Weltz's debut film, WRESTLING WITH ALLIGATORS, premiered at Sundance, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, and went on to play many other festivals, winning awards at several.  Alligators starred Joely Richardson, Aleksa Palladino, Claire Bloom, Adrienne Shelly, Sam Trammel, and Jay O. Sanders and was released theatrically and on video and television. Laurie’s second feature film, ABOUT SCOUT aka SCOUT, based on her award winning script was released in 2016 both theatrically and on VOD and DVD after a successful festival run. The film stars India Ennenga, Ellen Burstyn, Danny Glover, Jane Seymour, Nikki Reed and James Frecheville. Laurie is currently in development on the feature film, THE NIGHT SWIMMER, and a television pilot, THE NARRATIVE.  She has written two other optioned...
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Kate Beacom is an award-winning writer, director, and producer based in Portland, Oregon.  Kate's first feature REHAB CABIN, which they wrote, co-directed, and produced, has been an Official Selection at a number of film festivals including Manhattan Film Festival, where it won Best Comedic Feature, as well as Mill Valley, Austin Film Festival, and Tallgrass Film Festival where it received the Outstanding Screenplay award. Kate's short film ALL MEN MUST DIE played at festivals internationally in 2018. Kate's writing has been recognized by BlueCat Screenplay Competition, Page Turner Screenplays, Script Pipeline, Emerging Screenwriters Genre Competition, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. Two of Kate's scripts have been featured on The Black List as among their reader's favorites.
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You want enthusiasm? Well, you've come to the right place. My name is Sam Thompson, and god damn, I love writing movies. Anything from short films, to features, if it can be filmed it can be written! SO, I guess you're reading this because you want to know more about me, right? Awesome! Well, strap in, and get ready for the unofficial weirdest Bio on this website. Originally hailing from  New Jersey (And to answer your question, no, I don't gym tan and laundry, bruh), I moved to West Virginia to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism, where I discovered the school's film club. After pitching a script idea in the first meeting I ever went to, the group loved it, and quickly produced it. After getting a taste of what it was like to see my words come to life, I was hooked. That was in 2015. Since then, I have...
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Jen Giacalone is a former rock star, a graphic artist, a parent, a baker, amateur plumber and a timelord. She toured much of the east coast of the U.S. as a musician in her 20s, spent her 30s in corporate boardrooms of fortune 500 companies as a graphic artist, and in her 40s, became a published author.  Her script Verity's Game, a queer take on the Mr. and Mrs. Smith trope, is the winner in the Action/Adventure genre in this year's Table Read My Screenplay contest.  She's the author of the novel "Loud Pipes Save Lives," published by Carnation Books, about a damaged detective pursuing a gang of vigilante lady bikers, and the forthcoming "Gin Fizz at the Outer Rim," a queer romcom about superheroes in rural Georgia. She writes whenever she can and when she can't, she's thinking about writing. Her...
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Brittany Suzanne Kelly (she/they) is a Caymanian writer and script doctor who strives to highlight the hilarity in their character's heartache. Brittany writes comedies that viciously yet accessibly challenge societal norms and dialogue driven hyper-realistic dramas. Brittany’s focus on introspective character driven storytelling aims to bring Caribbean, queer and neurodivergent female narratives to the forefront. Because Brittany’s heart lies in their homeland of Cayman, their ultimate goal is to tell stories that elevate positive depictions of Caribbean culture and eradicate harmful stereotypes.
I focus on meek men and women who cowardly wade through the absurdities of life. Beaten down by the world and holding their heads down devoid of any hope or confidence, my characters are real people, and my stories are real experiences.  Raised in rural Memphis, I came from an immigrant family. I always had the vision to write and make movies, but pursuing an artistic endeavor was deemed a fantasy. I knew no one in entertainment, and the world behind the silver screen seemed to be one entirely separate from the realm I inhabited. My parents worked extremely hard to send me, the first in my family, to college, and was I going to waste their toil on a seemingly fickle dream? Knowing I had to prove to my parents—and, more importantly, myself—that I wasn’t wasting my time, I spent every minute I...
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LaDarrion Williams is a playwright by heart, a filmmaker, television writer, and now novelist hailing from a small town of Helena, Alabama. His first play, Katrina, won first place at the Alabama State Thespian Conference and was performed internationally in 2013. After buying a one-way ticket and packing up three suitcases and a dream, he headed out to Los Angeles in May 2015 to pursue his dreams of becoming of a Hollywood writer. There, he began to self-produce his own work, including his play Katrina at the Moments Playhouse Theatre in Los Angeles. It was also produced at A Noise Within Theatre as a part of their Noise Now Reading Series. Currently, it is now an award-winning short film.  His adaptation of the best-selling memoir, Feeding A Monster, was helmed by the award-winning actor and director Art Evans...
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Alan R. Baxter is a Chinese-American writer whose grandparents entered the country illegally by boat. He grew up in a mixed-race family in the desert town of Valencia, California. Inspired by his grandparents’ stories, he discovered a love for writing and attended Chapman University earning a BFA in Film/TV Production. His work at a local bank provided great fodder for his scripts such as catching a drug dealer laundering money and uncovering a financial advisor sending illicit wires. Eventually, he left banking to be a stay-at-home dad and care for his young daughter with special needs. Despite its challenges, they absolutely love their time together. Alan was selected as a TV fellow in Variety's High Scribe Writing Lab, Middlebury Script Lab and Screenwriters Colony Episodic Lab. His mentors include...
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Chris Pittas writes the dark-edgy-funny: shows and movies that make you laugh harder than you should at a particularly awful moment and make you doubt your own moral compass. Chris’ thriller feature SCORPIONS earned Second Rounder placement in Austin Film Festival 2021 and won Honorable Mention in ISA's Fast-Track and earned him a spot on ISA's Development Slate. His drama pilot, HARDCORE '86 earned him a place among the Top 50 Screenwriters in ISA's Fast-Track Competition. His horror-comedy 1 hour pilot, CITY OF SOULS is one of Coverfly's Top 20 scripts in its Genre/Format, made Top 100 in Launch Pad's Pilot Competition, and was a Semifinalist in ScreenCraft's Screenwriting Fellowship. Also a film-maker, Chris wrote, produced and directed an award-winning horror short, ART KILLS, in March 2020 (finishing...
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Nicole Landau is a Tajik-Afghan screenwriter, born in Dushanbe, and living in London.  In 2018 She received the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting from The Writer’s Guild Initiative (WGAE) with her screenplay Wolf Girl. In 2021 she was selected for ISA’s Development Slate.   She uses her life experience to write diverse female driven, complex, family centred stories. Written from a perspective of compassion, understanding and humour.  After dropping out of school at 14, she joined the work force doing a wide variety of odd jobs from dry cleaning to publishing production to running multi-million dollar antique violins for [REDACTED] before earning a degree through part-time evening study. She graduated from Birkbeck, University of London with a...
Rachel McClard is a lesbian TV writer who tells drama stories about female protagonists challenging the status quo with themes centered around flawed relationships, independence, and identity. She grew up in the deep South in a strict Christian household. So strict, in fact, her mother was convinced Rachel was destined to marry a Baptist preacher. As a tomboy and the child of adoption, Rachel struggled to fit in the traditional confines of this world. Her journey of self-discovery started at age 20 after she graduated from Baylor University. She set her sights on Hollywood and writing for TV and film. This journey also led her to the most honest version of herself when she finally came out as a lesbian. This fact informs the diverse and inclusive TV dramas she writes As a reformed comedy writer, Rachel found...
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Katie Crone writes about the important things in life: cults, hot teachers, signs from god, sexual neuroses, uncomfortable car rides, half-assed disguises, and screaming women. She firmly believes that every female character should get to scream. At least once. Otherwise, what are we even doing here? She grew up in rural Minnesota, where she attended thirteen years of Catholic school and was a massive theater kid. (But she’s a lot more fun and chill now. Promise.) She recently moved to LA, but she still has the accent, the suspicion that god is mad at her, and a deep love for all things both sweet and silly.   Most of her stories are female-driven comedies with hard truths at the core. As a storyteller, she likes to place believable characters within an absurd premise, finding the sincerity in the...