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What’s a story editor? Who’s in a writer’s room? Should you write a pilot, a spec, or a web series? Where do you network? What does it mean to be a “diversity hire”? What do you need to know about this business if you’re a woman of color and/or queer?
We’ve gathered 5 women who have figured out how to write for television and are willing to share what they’ve learned about “breaking in” to the business. We’ll attempt to cover the steps to getting staffed, rookie mistakes, and best practices for pitching, networking, and writing treatments & pilots. The panel will be moderated by an “aspiring TV writer” and followed by a Q&A and a mixer. Come with questions and ready to mingle!
A majority of tickets will be prioritized for people of color.
Jenina Kibuka was most recently a story editor on the upcoming Starz series, P*SSY VALLEY. She previously worked on the Netflix series INSATIABLE. Born in Houston, Texas to Nigerian & Ugandan immigrants, Jenina grew up immersed in a culturally dynamic, trilingual household. This diverse upbringing provided unique experiences such as working as a features writer for the Oji-River Peoples Chronicle and conducting annual creative writing workshops at the Houston African Arts Festival. Jenina’s love for writing was cultivated at Syracuse Unviersity where she studied screenwriting and African-American studies. After graduating cum laude with a BS in Film and Television, Jenina moved to Los Angeles where she began her entertainment career at Creative Artists Agency in the television department. She went on to sharpen her storytelling skills in the television development at Jerry Bruckheimer Television and later worked as both a showrunner & writers’ assistant on TV shows including The Black List and Wicked City.
Charlotte Austin Johnson is currently a Script Coordinator on the CBS show Life in Pieces. Previously, she worked in development at the media company Refinery29. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with majors in Psychology and Film, and a concentration in Theater. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Studio North grant for filmmaking.
Nadiya Chettiar is currently working as an Executive Story Editor on the CBS half-hour comedy series, LIFE IN PIECES. Previous to this, Nadiya worked in her native country of Canada on sitcoms such as the Netflix hit, KIM’S CONVENIENCE. Growing up in rural Canada, Nadiya had a typical “non-white family in a small town” childhood: lots of “curiosity” from the townspeople, and parents who tried hard to normalize it all. These early outsider experiences led to her decision to study theatre in college. During her short-lived acting career, Nadiya realized her true passion lay behind the camera. She began her transition into writing by starting out as a Script Coordinator on the multi-cam comedy, PACKAGE DEAL (Hulu) and got her first big break as a writer on the kids’ comedy SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED (Netflix). Nadiya has also had the incredible honor of working in an all-female writers’ room on the CBC half-hour series WORKING MOMS.
Leann Bowen is a writer, director and comedian from Los Angeles, CA. She began sketch writing and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in 2009. She’s written for Funny or Die, UCB Digital, Netflix’s Dear White People, Hulu’s I Love You America, with Sarah Silverman and directed for Funny or Die and College Humor. She is an activist and organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles chapter.
Melanie Boysaw is technically a Valley Girl as she was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, but she swears she’s never touched a tartan skirt in her life. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in Fall 2012 with a degree in Media Studies. It was during her time there that she discovered a love for writing, college sports, and dodging petitioners. Upon graduating, Melanie was hired onto the Conan O’Brien-produced Pete Holmes Show as an Assistant to the Segment Producer. She was then hired as a Writers’ Coordinator at Conan in 2013 and selected to participate in NBC’s Writers on the Verge program in 2016. Earlier this year, Melanie wrapped on season two of Trial & Error and is currently staffed on the fifth season of ABC’s black-ish (yes, she is black).
Nicole Kelly (Moderator) — Nicole Kelly is WCCW’s Programming Director and also a writer who has written for many mediums and genres, most recently radio drama. She has a LOT of questions about how to break into TV next.
Accessibility information for this event: WCCW has a 36” wide ramp at our front entrance and a stairway with 8 steps and a rail. There are 2 gender neutral restrooms. One restroom is wheelchair accessible, with a handrail. We provide scent free soaps and encourage guests to attend our events scent free. If you require ASL interpretation, CART, interpretation for a language other than English, supervised childcare, or have any other access needs or questions, please contact [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. It is our practice to do everything we can to create a safe and accessible space.
*All members get 20% off paid programming. A limited number of free spots are also available for Warrior & Goddess level members. Email [email protected] to inquire about free tickets.
Our program costs go directly towards compensation of the instructors and staffers who work the event. We want to make programming as accessible as possible to anyone who is interested, however, so we offer volunteer opportunities in exchange for membership, as well as free community tickets to each program (number varies depending on capacity of the class). Email [email protected] for more info or to find out more about these opportunities for a specific event.