MFA Screenwriting Graduates 2020 Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television A Letter from the Dean Writing for the Screen
MFA Screenwriting Graduates 2020 Brandon Autry 4 Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television Derek Lee Buss 6 William Connor Devlin 8 I’m pleased to present our 2020 MFA Screenwriting Directory, Kalvin Etienne 10 featuring the work of this year’s talented graduates from our Writing for the Screen and Writing and Producing for Television programs. Ian Charles Garner 12 Laura Germano 14 I’m particularly proud of these students because of the resilience Chaz Hawkins 16 they’ve shown during the unprecedented circumstances created by Jessica D. Johnson 18 Covid-19. Despite major disruptions to their classes and assignments Allison Kowalczyk 20 in their final semester, they adapted to new circumstances with Patrick J. Lehe 22 grace, completed their thesis projects, and supported each other as Malachi Moore 24 a community. Their can-do attitude inspires me and convinces me Shareef J. Phillips 26 even further that they’ve got the skills, talent, and tenacity they need to succeed in our fast-changing industry. Alex Randazzo 28 Megan Faye Raveneau 30 The directory includes loglines for the screenplays and pilots these graduates have written and polished in anticipation of our annual First Pitch event, which will be rescheduled at a later date. Also included are their bios and contact information. Our 2020 cohort is a Writing and Producing for Television diverse group from all over the world, and their projects encompass a wide variety of formats and genres—all informed by their unique Lucille Brillhart 34 perspectives and points of view. I hope you’ll use this directory to Katie Elizabeth Brown 36 learn more about an extraordinary group of new voices who are Cassandra Adele Burge 38 ready to embark on their careers. Laura McCampbell Copan 40 We look forward to seeing many of you at our First Pitch event Aminah Flowers 42 when we’re able to gather again in person. In the meantime, Seewai Hui 44 stay safe and be well! Erica Sinclair Lee 46 Flynn MacDonell 48 Warmest wishes, J. Thomas Mayfield 50 Gina K. Miller 52 Sydney Painter 54 Peggy Rajski Grace Albers Smith 56 Dean, LMU School of Film and Television Michael Tuxhorn 58 Allison Waxman 60 1 LMU Drive Corey Dashaun Wooten 62 Los Angeles, CA 90045 sftv.lmu.edu 310.338.5800 [email protected] sftv.lmu.edu 1 Writing for the Screen Graduates
2 sftv.lmu.edu 3 Like most latchkey kids, Brandon Pre-Mature (Feature, Romantic considered himself an adult early on in Comedy) After a drunken one- his life. Growing up, his babysitter was night stand, an aimless 19-year-old an overheated television and his parent’s and a recently divorced dentist find eclectic DVD collection. Tarantino, themselves connected by an unexpected Spike Lee, Kevin Smith... he would act pregnancy that shakes up their home out their greatest hits for anyone who lives and the trajectory of their futures. would humor him. That ultimately led him to his first job in the industry at Faking It (Half-Hour, Comedy) A 1 16, a recurring role on a sitcom, BET’s middle-aged, ex-child star turned Reed Between the Lines , then studying Hollywood failure struggles to hold Film and TV Production at NYU—a on to his second chance at success welcome change after his first real after he becomes the acting coach of job, bagging groceries the wrong way an overnight, teenage social media at the local Piggly Wiggly. Brought up sensation thrust into the leading role of mixed race, attention deficient, and the fall’s hottest pilot. on the broke end of middle class in the predominantly white suburbs of South Camp After Dark (Short-Form, Dark Carolina, Brandon gravitates to writing Comedy) In a Pee Wee’s Playhouse meets dysfunctional outsiders, struggling to Larry Sanders Show, a 40-year-old, overcome their deep-rooted insecurities. lifelong summer camper is inducted as the host of his camp’s weekly talk First to Last (Feature, Road Trip/ show after the campmaster/previous Comedy) An uptight, recent Yale host disappears under mysterious graduate gets a dose of life-changing circumstances. With increasingly health news that uproots his rigid plan strange guests and musical acts, this is a for his future and steers him towards a show within a show about the new host’s cross-country road trip to Burning Man uphill battle in proving that he’s the with his freewheeling grandmother. rightful heir to the Mess Hall/Studio, even if it costs him his sanity. Brandon Autry The Callaways (One-Hour, Drama) During the Great Depression, a black ranch-hand and his white adoptive 803.730. 2615 sister resort to robbing their small Texas [email protected] town’s bank to save their family’s land, @Brandon_Autry catapulting them to becoming outlaws on the run across the Dust Bowl.
4 sftv.lmu.edu 5 When Derek confessed to his father Lolo (Feature, Drama) In a rash 2 he intended to pursue a career in plan to provide for his daughter in screenwriting, Dad asked, “Could you the Philippines, a kindhearted father put me in one of your movies some enters the U.S. illegally and finds work day?” No protest. Not even a twitch as caregiver to an irascible old man. of apprehension in his bushy brows. But with each passing money wire The son of a Filipino immigrant school home, “providing” looks a whole lot janitor, Derek initially felt like his more like running away. dream was meant for someone else. And yet, with his father’s belief in him, Stolen Valor (Drama Pilot) With the he continued to dream of his name case of a missing teen girl haunting his wide across a screen, with car chases, small town, a booze-addled, divorced explosions and wild action to follow. former sailor sets pride aside to work But a month after Derek moved to for the town’s brazen young sheriff— L.A., his father passed away. Suddenly, his own son. writing grand shoot ‘em ups didn’t feel right. Derek knew that family—for all the joy, anger, or heartbreak they bring—was what he needed to write about. Now, just as he asked, Dad’s in everything he writes. Derek Lee Buss Lucky Boy (Feature, Drama) An overbearing Chinese mother discovers a troublesome boy lost among the 510.755.9780 slots and smoke of a local casino. Her [email protected] relationship with her own adult son broken, she goes all in to ensure this boy finds his mom again.
6 sftv.lmu.edu 7 3 After being unceremoniously delivered The Neon Prince (Feature, Sci-Fi/ by the stork, William Connor Devlin— Action) An intergalactic prince finds an whom you can just call Connor—never unlikely set of allies from planet Earth felt like he belonged anywhere. He was as he embarks on a perilous journey born in Mississippi but doesn’t have throughout the most colorful corners of an accent. He’s an American but spent space to search for a way to stop a civil his formative years in Europe. He had war on his home planet. a conservative Christian upbringing but still became a bisexual liberal The Beyond (One-Hour, Horror/ who swears like a sailor. All these Mystery) A retired cop and a wannabe contradictions made it difficult for him journalist uncover the secrets of a quiet, to decide upon a path in life. There enigmatic town in Maine—where the was a summer in Costa Rica trying to zealous church members try to resurrect save the turtles, and another as a semi- their god, a monstrous sea beast. successful stage actor. But when Connor finally accepted that he was meant to be Northern Lights (Feature, Sci-Fi/ a writer, he discovered he could come Family Adventure) A family struggling up with his own worlds where he finally with the loss of a loved one must defend belonged, with plenty of space for others their home from an alien invasion on who felt the same way. Christmas Eve.
Exquisite Corpse (Feature, William Connor Horror) When a struggling painter is commissioned to create a mural for a Devlin mysterious collector, she unwittingly summons something inhuman with her art and must find a way to somehow 817.980.8380 return those vicious monsters to the [email protected] canvas and save her own life. @wconnordevlin2
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Social taboos and interracial dynamics High Octave (Feature, Drama/Action) are Kalvin Etienne’s wheelhouse. In a world where violence is executed With a background in Philosophy and through soundwaves and musical Psychology, he has often observed how instruments, an African-American many times people have not said the warrior seeks revenge on the white words that need to be said, especially woman who killed his brother and is in terms of racial issues. He also is an hell-bent on destroying New York City. actor, who has seen the power that spoken words have on an audience. La Mascheratura (Short Play, By combining all of these elements, Comedy) With magic realism, a couple he hopes to open dialogue to the must figure out if they should embody most uncomfortable subjects society a more “masculine” essence or a more chronically avoids but must face. “feminine” essence in order to save their relationship. A Boy Named Jane (Feature, Indie/ Drama) A masculine, but female- named African-American male is caught between his white lover and his stringent Kalvin Etienne Caribbean family legacy.
The Kiss of Truth (Feature, Drama) 347.359.7519 A high-class white woman presses her [email protected] luck when she pursues an interracial relationship outside her marriage to a high-ranking white police chief.
10 sftv.lmu.edu 11 5 Ian Charles Garner is profoundly Ruthless! (Feature, Sports/ complicated, and perhaps the Chuck Psychological Thriller) When an Palahniuk books he had no business overly ambitious gymnast is involved reading as a child are partly to blame. in the accidental death of her rival Being gay and biracial, he was the black teammate, she struggles to keep her sheep of his Irish-Catholic family, but secret from being unearthed and he was raised in New Jersey in a house her sanity intact—all while trying to filled with unbridled love, unwavering actualize her Olympic dream. acceptance, and “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morissette on repeat. For The Crimson Letter (Feature, far longer than he’d care to admit, Historical Drama) Inspired by true he believed that Bruce Lee was his events, an untimely suicide and an biological uncle... and if you’re one incriminating letter implicates a group of the many Ian has swindled into of gay Harvard students living in following him on Twitter, you’re already secrecy in 1920 as they fight to prevent familiar with all of his absurd stories. their lives from being upended by a Ian funnels his love of storytelling into school-sanctioned court determined screenwriting where he gets to “Fade to expose them. Out” with stories about characters just as complicated as he. Hercules (Play, Family Drama) A precocious teen escapes to an imaginary The Beatification of Miss August (One- world built on Greek mythology to Ian Charles Hour Limited Series, Biographical avoid his own harsh reality. But when he Drama) In the late ’70s, a naïve ingénue inadvertently reveals a traumatic secret Garner from suburban Canada is courted by a to his parents, his two worlds collide for charming hustler and seduced by the better... and for worse. lavish world of the Playboy Mansion. As 201.259.6997 her star quickly rises, hurt feelings lead to [email protected] her tragic demise. @sweatpantspapi
12 sftv.lmu.edu 13 Ever since Laura vied for the role of Superior Creatures (Feature, Coming- Miss Hannigan in her elementary school of-Age Drama) Three years after production of Annie, she’s had a passion her sister’s death, an eccentric young for unruly women. And while she didn’t woman believes she is still alive—living earn the iconic role (it was fixed!), her as a mermaid in the town lake. Now she fascination with morally ambiguous, must prove her sister’s existence before obsessively ambitious, and off-kilter lakeside construction destroys the female characters was born. Growing sacred habitat. up in a small, conservative town to a large, Italian-Catholic family, Laura’s Starlet (Feature, Drama/ attraction to the dark and absurd wasn’t Psychological Horror) Eileen, a always met with uproarious approbation; repressed church secretary, undergoes a 6 but Laura’s upbringing inspired her love dramatic awakening when a Hollywood of subcultures, the many ways they both production crew rolls into town, toting shape and hinder us, and the complex glamorous actress Lacey Dubois. women who are born from (and wreak As Eileen and Lacey’s lives toxically havoc upon) them. Laura is the recipient intertwine, Eileen becomes enraptured of the 2019 Henry Bromell Fellowship. with delusions of stardom.
Hissy Fit (One-Hour, Period Drama) In the early 1990s, an all-female punk band rises through the ranks of the misogynistic, Pacific Northwest music scene after the death of their bandmate spurs them to publicly take down the man they believe is responsible. Semi-Finalist for the WIF/Black List Episodic Lab
Orphans of Bucharest (Feature, Crime Thriller) When a self-interested Laura Germano American journalist discovers a community of tunnel people living beneath the streets of Bucharest, she 530.356.3497 muscles her way into their underground [email protected] world to get the story, despite the @chocodawnridge fearsome drug kingpin determined to thwart her.
14 sftv.lmu.edu 15 7 Growing up in an abusive household, Cheshire (One-Hour, Crime Thriller) with a manic father who dealt drugs for A recovering heroin addict returns home the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, drove Chaz and inherits her murdered father’s deep into his own nightmares to escape secret club, the Cheshire, a linchpin in reality. Now Chaz develops tortured Reno’s drug world. outsiders to inhabit the darkest corners Page Turner Screenplays Semi-Finalist of his mind and fight the chains that tether them to their isolation. Toughened Skyrim (One-Hour, Based on the in the process, his heroes harness their Video Game) After avoiding execution, pain to overcome harrowing obstacles renowned mass murderer Erik Vidar and rejoin worlds that have left them must clear his name. But with dragons behind. Because, as we all know, heroes returning to Skyrim, the Gods have get remembered, but monsters and called upon him to serve a higher demons never die. purpose: Dragon Slayer.
The Sauce (Feature, Horror/Dark Comedy) To save his family barbershop, a naïve, black man takes a job at a wildly popular white-owned beauty parlor and discovers that kidnapped black men are Chaz Hawkins the secret to its exploding wealth. Plimoth (Feature, Historical Horror) After vampire Pilgrims kidnap a 615.491.1317 Native-American princess, the rogue [email protected] Tisquantum must emerge from exile to @chazmohawkins save her and her people from the vicious Pilgrim horde invading the New World.
16 sftv.lmu.edu 17 A native of urban Los Angeles, raised Khiry (Feature, Coming of Age in a large Black, Catholic family Drama) A heartfelt exploration of with Southern roots, Jessica always toxic masculinity within the Black found writing as the best outlet to community. After the gang-related laugh and to cry. Her storytelling is murder of his brother, a timid teen 8 socially conscious, reflecting personal music prodigy seeks revenge only to development and the essence of find himself torn between his bright growing up in the struggle. She yearns potential and his street obligation. to see the flurry of personalities that influenced her upbringing projected on Sober Living (One Hour, Dramedy) the big screen in meaningful ways: The A recovering alcoholic heading a sober hardships of determined people of color, living home strives to be the man his of substance abusers, of the LGBTQ+ family needs. He and a houseful of community, and of urban youth—the spirited addicts cope through crazy people usually counted out, but who situations and the fight for sobriety by overcome adversity through uniquely building familial bonds with each other personal journeys of enlightenment, and fixing the ones they’ve broken. identity, and purpose. Jessica’s life has been heavily influenced by little people who make a big impact, and that truth drives her craft.
Grad Night (Feature, Coming of Age Jessica D. Johnson Dramedy) An urban dramedy in the vein of American Graffiti, Grad Night is about three graduating seniors in South 310.844.8150 Central Los Angeles trying to pull off the [email protected] most epic senior prank of all time, but it jaydomi.com backfires into lessons that go far beyond @jaydomi_nation high school.
18 sftv.lmu.edu 19 9 After being told at a young age that her By Way of Baraboo (Feature, Drama) mother’s love was conditional, Allison When their pious mother passes away, sought to understand the ways that the estranged Harris siblings must humans struggle to obtain love within return to their hometown of Baraboo, themselves, in their communities, Wisconsin to settle their mother’s will and through others. This exploration and to hoodwink the townspeople so created her hyper-realistic, dark, gritty, they can receive their inheritance. and unforgiving style that pulls no punches; it’s no holds barred. Now she Casual Violence (One-Hour Crime continues to explore all walks of life and Thriller) After his brother’s sudden worlds different from her own, through disappearance, criminal enforcer characters searching and often finding Normandy Pine sets out to find him, their long-desired unconditional love in only to discover the murder of a former places they’d least expect. employer’s wife in the small town of Carrabelle, Florida. False Idols (Feature, Sci-Fi/Drama) In post-apocalyptic Hong Kong where human teeth are currency, a benumbed doctor must track down a genetic miracle child to save humanity and free himself from a tyrannical government.
Allison Kowalczyk Phantom Pain (Feature, Crime Drama) When a newly released convicted gunrunner tries to fit back 860.462.7302 into the lives of his long-time girlfriend [email protected] and their daughter, he must face the @ofanivoryheart ghosts of his past in order to be worthy of his freedom.
20 sftv.lmu.edu 21 There are certain things in this world Shit Show (Feature, Black Comedy) 10 that just don’t mix; Boomers and When an overzealous Christian girl TikTok… Trump and Pelosi. If Gays attends a massive music festival, she and Catholics are at the top of your list, must stop the headlining girl band, then so is Patrick J. Lehe! As a writer, all secretly a coven of witches, from of Patrick’s stories are inspired by the opening a portal to Hell during their duality of his faith and his sexuality and final encore. the identity he discovered in between. Growing up, Patrick was insecure and Call of the Crosswatchers (One-Hour, actively remained voiceless. After a Drama) lifetime of identity crises, it was therapy, In present-day Chicago, a gay, sex- spiritual guidance and a gnarly breakup obsessed influencer discovers that he that helped Patrick shape his true is a Crosswatcher, a reincarnated saint identity as a writer. Now he uses his who must lead non-believers to God voice to inspire non-conformity. Patrick before the Dark Triad can possess their explores the dark side of the human souls. Now he must remain celibate to condition through adventurous and maintain his unique gifts. outlandish stories, all to let others know that they’re not alone in the fight against a culture that strives to define them.
Our Father (Feature, Drama) After his Patrick J. Lehe lifelong acting mentor commits suicide, a young, closeted gay man returns to his Midwestern hometown where he must 765.490.2378 convince his strict, religious father to [email protected] let him take over their Catholic school’s patrickjlehe.com dying theatre program. Semifinalist – @pjlehe Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship 2019
22 sftv.lmu.edu 23 Raised in the synthetic suburbs of Escapement (Feature, Drama) Middle America, Malachi sought A passive introvert finds himself purpose. It terrified him that everywhere committed to a psychiatric ward after he searched, whether in pop culture a rescue mission is misconstrued as a or religion, there were no archetypes crime of passion. whose journeys reflected his own or interpreted the profound sadness that Guilt Trip (One-Hour, Psychological 11 conquered his mother. Circumstances Drama) Suppressed memories of a propelled him into the conventional struggling photographer’s past begin to world of football, where he quickly haunt him after a mysterious caller asks, learned the dangers of conforming “What is your confession?” to a culture of toxic masculinity. And although college as a Division One Out of the Box (4-Minute Animated athlete was arduous, Malachi learned Short) Manifested from the psyche of discipline and perseverance, built his a young man’s nightmare, an allegory artistic foundation on Renaissance of the black experience in America, literature, and found himself in the reflecting feelings of apprehension and process. Now Malachi explores the isolation in an all-white world. Winner African-American male psyche, focusing of the Changing Face International Film on themes of self-love, loss, isolation, Festival & Florence Film Awards transcendence, and mortality. Sauvage (15-Minute Short/Drama) Fellowship of the Misery (Feature, A violent, temperamental convict is Sports/Drama) A young football player given the opportunity to train a dog struggles with his own conscience in with similar issues, only to suffer the exposing a powerhouse football program consequences of bonding with a new- after discovering the cover-up of a found friend. Malachi Moore former player’s suicide. In the Name of… (Feature, Drama/ Supernatural) A Faust rendition; an 973.738.6013 aspiring photographer struggles with the [email protected] inspiration behind his work @prophet1121 after memories alluding to a haunting sacrifice begin to surface.
24 sftv.lmu.edu 25 A normal baby’s first words are usually, The King’s Yard (One-Hour Drama) “Ma-ma” or “Da-Da.” Shareef’s first A troubled transgender teen is falsely 12 words were “TV, Ba-Ba.” Since he first accused of murder and thrown into entered this world, all he could do is a male-only juvenile detention facility eat, breathe and sleep STORY. At the where she discovers a clique of those age of six, his grandmother had become fighting against the same injustices so fed up with him being glued to the as herself. TV every day, she bought him a video camera to create his own stories. To this I Choose US (One-Hour Drama) A day his narratives spotlight those niche local hero and LGBT activist assumes communities of silenced minorities the role of an assassin, after he and humanize them in such a way that becomes the center of a hate crime. these people feel they are seen and heard, too. As a person that has always Sweet Sorrow (Feature, Drama) felt unheard, Shareef uses his work to As he tries to avenge the death of his speak loud. He creates bold, innovative, brother, a closeted teen unwittingly dynamic storylines with unique falls in love with his brother’s killer. characters that each have something to say, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, through their actions, through their words, through their love.
The Day the Clouds Stood Still Shareef J. Phillips (Feature, Drama) After an insecure, small-town journalist is sent to write a profile of her childhood idol, a reclusive 912.320.2385 but renowned author, she learns that in [email protected] order to break the story she’ll have to @sir_eminent risk exposing him, unearthing her own family secrets in the process.
26 sftv.lmu.edu 27 13 The year was 1994. A bitter cold Programming Pains (Feature, Sci-Fi descended. The snow reached the Dramedy) A tech-obsessed woman, rooftops. A baby emerged in the dead one half of a married couple unable to of winter, a.k.a. May in Buffalo, New conceive, designs two android children York: Alex Randazzo, son of Stacey to create the perfect family, which is and Randy (yep, Randy) Randazzo. threatened when the oldest android— Like so many others, the cold took his in his teen angst—joins an Artificial father… to Florida. Alex spent most of Intelligence Rights activist group. his time with his mom, stepdad, and sister in Buffalo but would spend a few Bury Me When I’m Dead (Feature, weeks every year in sunny Sarasota. His Western/Thriller) In an 1890s railroad childhood was filled with “interesting” town, a deputy set on glory and earning holiday dinners—three for each side of the sheriff star, joins up with a young the family—along with a whole lot of girl to uncover the whereabouts of her airplane rides and a few close calls with missing mother, all while overcoming alligators. But because of this, he learned his own past misdeeds. that family is what you make of it, and it certainly gave him plenty to write about. Snaggletooth (Half-Hour, Animated Comedy) A misfit, teenaged half-yeti How to Raise Your Antichrist (Feature, and his human mother move to a town Alex Randazzo Fantasy Comedy) On the eve of inhabited solely by monsters. He must Armageddon, the Demon of Apathy must navigate high school and find his own deliver the Antichrist, 10-year old Becky, tribe as he faces the worst monsters of 716.359.3237 to Satan, while dealing with opportunistic all—teenaged vampires, werewolves, [email protected] Satanists, murderous archangels sent and mummies. by God, and, to her surprise, her own growing concern for the girl.
28 sftv.lmu.edu 29 At the ripe age of six, Megan declared to Delinquent Divinity (Half-Hour her mother that Joshua—her imaginary Comedy, Dark Fantasy) A poorly- 14 friend—was the ghost of a young adjusted young woman, barely able Canadian fisherman, drowned by his to handle her own life, finds herself brother. Her mom asked why she’d want forced into mediating the issues of to be friends with a ghost. And logically the Greek gods after she’s given the she answered, “Why not? He’s nicer than powers of a goddess. most living people.” That same spirit lives on in Megan’s writing. She explores The Penumbra (One-Hour Drama, what it means to be a monster, then asks Dark Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fantasy) When you to enjoy all the fun and terror along a portal to a shadow world suddenly the way—until we realize that, in truth, opens in his hometown, a struggling we are all monsters, and that’s just part music teacher is drafted into helping of being human. the crumbling dimension when his own inactions cause the death of one A Friend of Robyn (Feature, Horror) of their leaders. An arrogant, but brilliant pediatric psychiatrist accidentally exorcises a demon from a young girl during an experimental procedure—only to discover she wants her demon back.
The Lioness of Brittany (Limited Megan Faye Series, Historical Fiction) Amidst the Hundred Years War, a noblewoman Raveneau forsakes her country and takes to a life of piracy to avenge her wrongfully beheaded husband and protect their 718.594.0426 young children. Based on the real-life [email protected] endeavors of Jeanne de Clisson.
30 sftv.lmu.edu 31 Writing and Producing for Television Graduates
32 sftv.lmu.edu 33 Lucille Brillhart may be 5’1”, but Red Label (One-Act Play, Drama) internally she channels Jason Momoa— A sexual assault survivor is forced to 1 until she has to reach for something confront his past trauma when he and on the top shelf. She was raised in the a family friend seek refuge during a Silicon Valley, the product of three screening of the Brett Kavanaugh TV generations of engineers. As a scrappy hearings. Produced for the New Works kid, she secretly read adult comic Festival, an original student-run one-act books, fired off arrows in her backyard, festival at LMU. and patched up a 1965 Mustang. Defying expectations, she got her BFA Family Business (One-Hour, Period in Film at Tisch. She credits Kill Bill Drama) Two sisters use their political Vo. 1 for changing her perspective on and financial powers in an unholy alliance what a female protagonist could—and with a real estate mogul to transform should—be. Lucille’s driven to write Atlantic City into the gambling capital of unconventional female characters and the East Coast. weaves together dark dramas with comedic elements. Hometown Champs (One-Act Play, Comedy) A closeted lesbian returns to the Coping Mechanisms (One-Hour, boondocks for her best friend’s wedding Dramedy) In an economically unstable and discovers that the only person who world, a group of friends lean heavily doesn’t accept her sexuality is her mother. on substances and each other to make it The only student-written piece selected through the most tumultuous period of for Crosswords 2019, a one-act festival Lucille Brillhart life: their twenties. established by Gloria Calderon Kellett ’97.
Fearless (One-Hour, Sci-Fi) Close to 925.223.7163 finding a medical solution to negate fear, [email protected] a psychiatrist will do anything to get her drug on the market—even if it means putting her own family’s lives in jeopardy.
34 sftv.lmu.edu 35 2 Raised in a pilgrimage across Texas, Conquer (One-Hour, YA Fantasy) In Katie dreamed of little more than a world where the Americas were never coffee shops, quick-witted friends, and colonized, the teenage Queen Consort a constantly stimulated imagination. of Russia and a ballsy young warrior in Through sheer force of will, she obtained “the West” become the only two people all three on the East Side of Austin where in the world able to prevent a World War. her characters were invented in the image of artists and musicians, novelists Reverie (Half-Hour, Rom-Com) An and poets. It is in the “Live Music Capital early 20-something with pesky social of the World” where she learned to write anxiety and a 40-something barista with stories of comforting homes, well- “High Fidelity” syndrome crash into an earned romance, and the constant threat unending trap of falling in and out of of losing everything that makes you feel something close to love. safe. Backed by a soundtrack of LCD Soundsystem and R.E.M., Katie speaks Everything Now (One-Hour, YA) and writes at a dizzying WPM, as taught Freshly 18, a child star escapes to a to her by her heroes in Lorelai Gilmore charming small town in New England, and Joshua Lyman. With ambitious where she befriends the empathetic ensembles at the heart of her narratives, wannabes who see her as their way out. Katie’s stories focus on fallible people The nightmares of her past, however, trying their best. refuse to back down and her abuser Katie Elizabeth returns to her life, relentless. Smile at Me (One-Hour, Dramedy) In Brown the wake of a career-ending outburst at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a brilliant chef turns to the chintzy realm of food 512.743.2917 vlogging in order to regain her footing in [email protected] the competitive New York culinary scene. @katieb10193
36 sftv.lmu.edu 37 Cassandra has spent most of her life When Adventure Finds You (Feature, adapting to ever-changing, harsh Romantic Comedy) A very sheltered environments—whether it was the and cautious young magazine writer constant moves of her impoverished reluctantly travels to Hawaii to cover childhood or becoming the parent a fun-loving champion swimmer and to her addict-mother and younger becomes more adventurous than she 3 brothers. Now she creates strong, could have ever imagined. deeply complicated, and mostly, queer women who have turbulent relationships How to Get a Girlfriend (Half-Hour, with their mothers, as she did. Her Comedy) When a college volleyball scripts explore trauma, sexual identity, scholarship frees her from her addiction, and mental health issues, repressive small town, a young woman and Cassandra is eager to illuminate has the chance to live the L.A. life she’s how young women can emerge all the always wanted with the help of the stronger for confronting them. “Queer Queens.”
Wisdom to Know the Difference (One- Found Family (Produced Short, Hour Drama) She’s only 16 years old but Drama) A closeted young woman, who Charlie’s already spent most of her life has watched her mother fail to assert taking care of everyone else, especially herself with her domineering father, her addict mother. But then a kiss from falls in love with Alex, who gives her her childhood best friend forces her to the courage to finally accept herself face what she wants for the first time, and speak up. until her mother comes home from rehab early to ruin things.
A Better Life (One-Hour Drama) An L.A. Times journalist, still staving Cassandra Adele off abandonment and intimacy issues, despite her loving, adoptive family and Burge perfect-for-her girlfriend, covers a story at a border detention center and ends up fostering an abandoned 951.809.7269 Mexican boy, changing her perspective [email protected] on family forever. @cassadele
38 sftv.lmu.edu 39 4 Since moving to Los Angeles, Laura Tango of Imaginary Friends (Web McCampbell Copan has made it a point Series, Comedy) Can three 16-year-old to collect unique experiences. So she girls—one Christian, one Satanist, and marched with Greta Thunberg. And she one agnostic—befriend each other instead likes to think that the power of Rachel of solely relying on their own quirky Bloom’s boobs transferred to her when imaginary friends for companionship? they hugged. Perhaps most notably, a friendly extraterrestrial left a mark Sludge (Half-Hour, Animated Dark on her car in the desert, and she has Comedy) A nervous polar bear, a the photos to prove it. Also a poet and staunchly single penguin, a chain- lyricist, Laura uses her scripts to find smoking stingray, a sociopathic octopus, the humor in heavy contexts such as and an immortal jellyfish combat the global warming, the eventual inevitable daily tortures of ocean pollution. shrinking of the universe, and even high school. She is excited to attend Hey Angel (One-Act Play, Fantasy the Rocaberti Writers’ Retreat at the Comedy) An eccentric beach bum Marouatte Castle in France next year switches lives with her type-A guardian where she will develop Coexist with Kelly angel to escape the tedium of life, only to Edwards, Head of Talent Development find that empathy, not escapism, creates & Programming for HBO. a meaningful existence.
Coexist (Half-Hour Limited Series, Laura McCampbell Fantasy Dramedy) Two exes, a self- help guru demigod and the creator of all Copan world religions, must unite to prevent the universe from collapsing. Meanwhile, an irresponsible goddess, a lusty gnome, a 757.719.3984 shy ant, and a deadpan college student [email protected] prepare for Armageddon.
40 sftv.lmu.edu 41 5 Growing up with a southern, Christian Notorious B.U.G. (Half-Hour, mother, a Muslim-Caribbean immigrant Animated Comedy) Zeke, a common father, and five siblings, things were housefly, pursues his dream to be a interesting at home. Being a part of such rap superstar with the help of his best a big family, it’s easy to get lost in the friends, Rollo and Moose. However, the mix. Aminah actually preferred it that trio must quickly learn to deal with all way. She found peace in writing short of the leeches and shit storms that come stories, even if her mother was the only along with fame. one reading them. As she got older, Aminah’s writing evolved into bodies 6ix (One-Hour, Sci-Fi) In a dystopian of work that echoed her tumultuous future, a striated class system limits home life. Needless to say, Aminah lower classes to GMO foods; however, used this to her advantage. Her stories a young farmer rebels against the reflect her pain, her curiosity, and her government by growing and selling need to be heard. Her stories are bold, organic produce on the black market. her characters are unapologetic, and her When her illegal activities put her on themes have purpose. the radar, she uncovers a government conspiracy for population control. The Plug (Half-Hour, Dramedy) Poppy is the local Plug on campus. Aminah Flowers Sold out tickets to the Lakers game? Adderall for those long nights? You name it, she can get it. However, when she 415.527.8474 ventures into the underbelly of the L.A. [email protected] designer drug scene, she realizes that the riches of her new career come with unforeseen consequences.
42 sftv.lmu.edu 43 6 Growing up half-Chinese and half-white, The Goddesses (One-Hour, Fantasy) Seewai could never find where she When three Chinese-American sisters belonged. She was never Asian enough. discover that their mother is a goddess Never white enough. Never enough. To and their father ran a secret order of escape the painful confusion of growing Chinese scholars, they decide to take up, she lost herself in TV’s sci-fi and up their parents’ mission of saving fantasy worlds—where anyone could the world from the prophecy of an belong. They lifted her up and saved her. impending flood. Now she creates her own exciting multi- cultural worlds and populates them with Listen Closely (One-Hour, Drama) diverse characters who fight issues in our Recently jobless and fleeing from an society that often go unaddressed. She abusive relationship, a tormented may not be able to save the world like her young woman returns home and teams characters do, but she hopes her shows up with a local private investigator to can inspire at least one or two lost teens. launch a podcast in an effort to solve the case of a missing black girl no one Identified (One-Hour, Sci-Fi seems to care about. Seewai Hui Dramedy) A single mother returns home to eastern Oregon to search for her missing mother and to save the 505.264.8131 family UFO center and ranch, only to [email protected] find herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic crisis when aliens, George and Ringo, crash land on the property.
44 sftv.lmu.edu 45 7 For every 12 white students, there was Candescent (One-Hour, Fantasy) one black student; meaning in a school Spanning decades and dimensions, of 300, there were 25 black students. twin brothers discover they belong to a In the country town of Bakersfield, you magical Ethiopian family and must fight can imagine the treatment they faced. to save humanity from the horrors of an Erica Sinclair was one of them. She immortal, fascist queen and her army. had dark skin and a gap in her teeth, and puberty hit way too early. Abuse Naileem (One-Hour, Psychological and depression distorted her young Thriller) When an African-American perspective. Somewhere along the college co-ed partners with an unhinged way, she became comfortable in the FBI agent to catch the world’s worst uncomfortable. Erica Sinclair is a writer- criminals, they soon find out that the director dedicated to portraying honest most sadistic killer lives inside her. characters with intricate back stories and visceral emotions, usually highlighting The Bus (Feature, Drama) After the female, minority, and disabled leads. An death of her wife, an Afro-Latina woman unusually visual writer, she implants you abandons her home to take shelter in in the world, whether it be a psychiatric a VW bus parked in a storage unit as facility or a magical dimension. she desperately hunts down the man who raped her. A Safe Space (One-Hour, Erica Sinclair Lee Psychological Drama) After a failed suicide attempt, a young adult navigates her new norm as an involuntary patient 661.437.9612 at a Los Angeles psychiatric facility; with [email protected] her trauma boiling over, she leans on ericasinclairlee.com staff and fellow patients in a desperate @merbae_1 attempt to escape.
46 sftv.lmu.edu 47 Flynn’s first sentence was, “Get me Oak Ridge (One-Hour, Conspiracy out of here.” She had trapped herself Thriller) In 1968, patients at a 8 in a closet and was worried big things maximum-security mental health facility were happening without her. This is are subjected to a doctor’s extreme LSD also how she felt when it came time for trials striving to build model citizens out college. Her dad was sick, victim of a of what he deems society’s “throwaway tainted blood transfusion, so it would people.” Based on the true testimony of made sense to stay home. However, cut Oak Ridge patients. from the same cloth, her dad urged her to move to Toronto to study bioethics. The Juniors (One-Hour, Sports There she thought she’d learn the Drama) When Finley, a fifteen-year-old answers to life’s big questions. But after hockey prodigy, is drafted early into the years of studying medical ethics, she was Canadian pre-professional league, he unconvinced she had chosen the right must carry his family on his back while medium. Instead, she found freedom navigating high school, hockey and, in writing without a policy agenda, able newfound celebrity. to focus on how people feel, even if it doesn’t draw a clean conclusion. Though Keanu Reeves is Dead (Half-Hour, L.A. is now home, Flynn remains Ensemble Comedy) When Keanu tethered to character-driven stories of Reeves is presumed dead in small-town Flynn MacDonnell Canada, medicine, and family. Canada, Skye is plucked from New York and sent to Antigonish to cover the Manners (One-Hour, YA) When April is investigation. There he must earn the 310.433.3889 inducted into Episkopon, an all-female trust of an eclectic group of locals and [email protected] secret society, she finds herself complicit uncover the mystery, or lack thereof. in an act of violence, and tethered to the society’s revolutionary agenda.
48 sftv.lmu.edu 49 9 J. Thomas Mayfield is a writer, comedian, Dead Club (Half-Hour, Animated/ and actor. With undergraduate degrees Comedy) Rolland and his friends are in theatre and modern dance, his journey outcasts. Scene Kids. Goth Heads. to becoming a TV writer took many Losers. Who now have to protect odd turns that included musical theatre the living realm from continuous in Dallas, modern dance in Prague, existential threats (because they children’s theatre in Charlotte, a magic kinda-sorta opened a portal to the show in Baltimore, a dance education Underworld). And they still have to residency in Nagaoka, Japan, and a small make it home for curfew. nation-wide tour with his hilarious and heartwarming one-man show Everybody Smooth Sailing (Half-Hour, Comedy) Lied to Me. He is a certified nerd and would It’s Party Down on a boat with the heart gladly show you his comic book collection of Parks and Rec, complete with a jaded and Star Wars Legos. In high school he divorcee, an over-sexed grandma, a had a Pez dispenser collection and was posh AF gay bartender, a bright-eyed vice president of his high school thespian and innocent new hire, and more. For troupe, and for whatever reason he thinks them, working on an event/party boat is it’s important you know that, too. anything but smooth sailing.
The Legend of Elumndor (One-Hour, Douglas and His Friends Witness a J. Thomas Mayfield Fantasy/Adventure) As a kid, Aiden was Murder (Feature, Crime Comedy) supposed to be the Chosen One and save Douglas is an idiot. So are his friends. a magical world called Elumndor. But to And they witness a murder. Well, 817.874.2259 a 10-year-old, wizards are scary. Now 20 maybe; it was dark and across the street. [email protected] years later, Aiden lives in New York City, But now they’re caught up in something jthomasmayfield.com and the evil he was supposed to defeat in bigger and far more dangerous than they Elumndor has found him here. could ever imagine (well, maybe).
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As a Floridian, Gina K. Miller spent Battle of the Books (Web Series, her early years riding alligators to Comedy) A high school student school, fist-fighting hurricanes, and assembles a ragtag team of misfits to eating Publix subs for every meal. She’s compete in the regional competitive lived in a haunted hotel, got stuck in book club, Battle of the Books. several elevators, and grew up in the Scientology capital of the world, which Famous Players (One-Hour Drama, explains her fascination with cults. She True Crime) In the midst of the writes screenplays, novels, and plays of corruption and scandals of 1922 most every genre and enjoys tackling Hollywood, director William Desmond themes such as learning to let go, Taylor’s murder points fingers to the coming to terms with the uncontrollable, three closest women to him—two and how to shoulder all of the things we renowned starlets and his only daughter. Gina K. Miller carry with us. Baggage Claim (One-Act Play) At The Multiplex (Half-Hour, Comedy) the peak of a tropical vacation, two 727.667.2678 After burning all her bridges, a college best friends are forced to reconcile the [email protected] drop-out returns to her old workplace—a toxicity of their relationship after the four-screen arthouse movie theater in loss of their luggage. Hamilton, New Jersey.
52 sftv.lmu.edu 53 11 Sydney Painter thought it was bullshit Baby Queens (Half-Hour, YA) Three when her theater professors would odd-kids-out start some gender trouble at say, “If you can imagine yourself doing their suburban middle school when they anything else, there’s the door.” But persuade their favorite teacher to help three cities, two heartbreaks, and a them start a drag club. dripping fistful of ridiculous hustles later, she’s accepted that she truly is Untitled Housewives Slasher Project unfit for any lifestyle other than Artiste. (One-Hour, Horror/Satire) These six After college and a charming interlude driven, eccentric women have what in a foreign country, she apprenticed it takes to survive the cutthroat world at legendary new play incubator of lifestyle programming, but on this Magic Theatre in San Francisco, season’s undermotivated girls’ trip, dramaturging for some of this century’s throats actually start getting cut—and most innovative writers. A humorist nobody dressed for that. by birth and a storyteller by training, Sydney will dredge human behavior Whores (One-Hour Drama) An aspiring without judgment and bring humor and comedian pursues gig-economy sex work compassion to dark, absurd corners. to bankroll her dreams and discovers that Also, there’s usually always some gender these two skills have more crossover than politics and queer theory. she anticipated, but probably not more than she can handle… right? Sydney Painter Cavalier (One-Hour, Historical Drama) When a law-breaking, gender- Robot for President (Half-Hour, Animated) bending swordswoman in 17th-century What if a robot ran for President? 510.495.9988 France learns her father is dead, she and [email protected] her friends must return home to Paris, @sydneypainter where she’s forced to spar with the past she’s spent her life running from.
54 sftv.lmu.edu 55 Grace grew up five miles from the Step (Half-Hour, Animated Dark middle of nowhere. Her best memories Comedy) In Grosbeck, the armpit are of holidays, after huge meals sitting of the bustling metropolis, Urbania, around with her big, loud, Irish-Catholic an 11-year-old orphan investigates family, telling stories. The time Uncle the murder of a local barman, which Karl kept an opossum as a pet; when introduces her to a world of corruption 12 Grandpa Glenn punched the horse; and crime no one could be prepared for. when Dad crashed three cars in one day. Because of these hilarious tales, Oriana(s) (One-Hour, Sci-Fi/ Grace was inspired to write her own. She Dramedy) After the mysterious packed up her (station) wagon and drove disappearance of her mother, 12-year- through the desert with a dog named old Ori accidentally opens up a portal Bernie to the wild west of California. to parallel dimensions and meets She writes comedies with mostly queer, several adult versions of herself. usually midwestern women, dealing Together, they have to figure out how to with mental health, self-love, and grief. get them back to their worlds without You know, funny stuff. tearing apart Ori’s own.
Austen Girls (Half-Hour, Comedy/ Adaptation) Based on the novels of Jane Austen, when naïve Catherine Morland is accepted into the prestigious Austen Academy for Girls, she finds herself completely unprepared for the high class world of loyalty, backstabbing, and goose-related theft.
Grace Albers Smith For the Rest of My Life (Feature, Dramedy) When an elderly woman learns she has only weeks to live, she and 573.619.7535 her two best friends break out of their [email protected] nursing home and go on a cross-country @grace_sofa crime spree so she can see the ocean before she dies.
56 sftv.lmu.edu 57 13 Born and raised in conservative Trigger Happy (One-Hour, Action) Colorado Springs, Michael Tuxhorn When her father is paralyzed stopping developed his progressive worldview an assassination, Casey Smith seeks amidst culture clashes with a religious justice with the help of an eccentric fundamentalist family. From walking hitman who guides her into the world away from car crashes, to fist-fighting of contract killing. Swastika-tattooed Nazis, or communing with wild bears, he has always found Obsolete (Feature, Sci-Fi Action) In a himself exploring the edges of human corporatized future, a scientist and her experience. Through working with an father, a decommissioned cyborg, fight illegal German immigrant at a heroin- to keep a frightening new discovery out infested hotel, becoming a regular at a of the clutches of a psychopathic CEO. burrito shop that was a front for a cartel, and being an intern at an under-staffed We Were Johnsons (One-Hour, public defender’s office, Michael is Family Drama) After reuniting for their driven to explore the human condition father’s funeral, four estranged siblings and what builds human connection. discover that their mother harbored Across all genres and settings, he is a shocking secret about their family intent on writing exciting and authentic history—they each have different dads. Michael Tuxhorn stories that illuminate real life. Re-Viled (Half-Hour, Children’s Animation) When a nefarious scheme 719.338.1919 backfires and turns his teammates [email protected] into children, the diabolical Doctor Decimator must decide if he is better as a super villain or a super dad.
58 sftv.lmu.edu 59 14 Allison was born with a particular set of Game On (One-Hour, Sports Drama) qualities that only a New York Mets fan After not receiving the respect she can have. The ability to process shocking deserves, an overambitious female amounts of heartbreak, to bleed blue sports agent quits to start her own and orange, and more importantly, to agency and deals with the repercussions comprehend how amazing a second of having her old company, including chance can really be. Allison was finally her charismatic husband, be her able to see the light—the bright, shining, greatest competition. fluorescent lights of countless doctor’s offices and emergency rooms, searching The Big One (One-Hour, Supernatural for her second chance, her answer to Drama) A broken man returns home to her illness. Fast forward to a gap year, a solve the mystery of a strange blue fog love/hate relationship with the judges on that killed his wife during a catastrophic Chopped and, praise Moses, a diagnosis! earthquake, only to find his town has Allison knew she had to pursue the one been converted into a tourist attraction, thing that kept her sane throughout this with a string of disappearances swept schlep. In everything she writes, Allison under the rubble. offers her characters second chances, even the ones who might not deserve it. It’s her version of Mets fan fiction.
Allison Waxman Full Count (Half-Hour, Sports Comedy) A flakey psychologist becomes the therapist for a Triple-A baseball 516.660.1098 club, an emotionally compromised [email protected] team she must whip into shape all while @awaxman22 trying to earn back her reputation, professionally and personally.
60 sftv.lmu.edu 61 15 Corey Wooten was raised in Rochester, The AAU Murders (Podcast/Horror) New York and, at a young age, he Virginia meets Liam Cambridge, a discovered a love of storytelling through handsome young coach who promises film. He studied journalism and media to take her son’s basketball skills to the at Ohio State University where he next level. But as Virginia falls deeper in continued to gain hands-on experience love with him, her family disapproves, in all aspects of media and content and they get entangled in a complex creation. In the fall of 2016, Corey raised web of love, denial, abduction, and, over $350,000 in funding and released ultimately, death. his own mobile application called Livid Mobile. In addition to exploring the tech Charter (One-Hour, Sci-Fi/Horror) space, Corey has also been committed to Following a family tragedy, Julie is urban education. After a stint teaching determined to start over with a teaching in both Atlanta and New York City, position in rural Louisiana, but her new Corey aims to create shows that explore life quickly descends into a nightmarish Black masculinity. His writing attempts and violent, ritualistic exercise at the to challenge the comforts of the reader hands of a demonic cult hell-bent on while highlighting creepy patterns of righting the wrongs of the South. modern life that can have unforeseen consequences in the future.
Corey Dashaun Something ’Bout Uptown (One-Hour, Sci-Fi/Horror) When all signs in a Wooten gruesome serial killer case in Harlem point to the urban legend Blacksaw, a group of teen horror-movie fanatics take 585.490.5164 it upon themselves to solve the case. [email protected] Finalist: Sundance Episodic Lab 2017 aaumurders.com
62 sftv.lmu.edu 63 Loyola Marymount University Notable LMU Screenwriting Alumni
School of Film and Television Melissa Blake (One Mississippi, Sleepy Hollow, Ghost Whisperer, Heroes, Criminal Minds) Founded in 1911, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time, How I Met Your Mother) premier Catholic university in Los Angeles rooted in the Jesuit and Shay Hatten (John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum) Marymount traditions. Movie-industry moguls helped establish Brian Helgeland (Legend, 42, Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) LMU’s Westchester campus, on the bluffs above West L.A., in the Sarah Nicole Jones (Legends of Tomorrow, Longmire, Waco) 1920s. By 1964 LMU was formally teaching a film and television Emily Spivey (Modern Family, Masterminds, Saturday Night Live) curriculum, and in 2001 the School of Film and Television (SFTV) James Wong (The X-Files, Scream Queens, American Horror Story) was established as a standalone school within LMU.
SFTV offers two intensive, three-year graduate screenwriting programs, conferring Master of Fine Arts degrees in Writing for the Screen (for aspiring screenwriters) and Writing and Producing for LMU Screenwriting Faculty Television (for aspiring showrunners). Admission to these programs is highly selective. Both of them develop each student’s artistry Karol Ann Hoeffner (Chair) and unique voice, while also providing professional mentoring and Patricia K. Meyer (Graduate Director) networking opportunities that prepare students to successfully Michelle Amor Gillie navigate the rapidly changing media and entertainment industry. Marilyn Beker Paul Chitlik David Clawson Michael F.X. Daley Jeffrey Davis Stephen V. Duncan Aurorae Khoo Mary Kuryla Catlan McClelland Marc Pitre Mark Evan Schwartz Beth Serlin John J. Strauss Tom Szollosi Stephen Ujlaki
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