The Carsey-Wolf Center’s Storytelling for the Screen summer institute is a six-week, eight-credit intensive capstone TV writing workshop. The program will teach students how to develop and write a television pitch bible for an original scripted show, and how to plan and write a pilot script.
The program is divided into sequential two classes (FAMST 188SS and FAMST 188WS), each taught over three weeks. Classes will place a strong emphasis on story and will model the industry-standard TV development process, with pitches, simulated writers’ rooms, and weekly talks from distinguished industry guests. Sponsored by the Rick Rosen Storytelling for the Screen Fund.
Summer Session B:
August 2 – September 9, 2021
Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 11:50 AM
Wendy Jackson and
For summer 2021, the program will be conducted remotely.
Applications are due by Thursday, April 15, 2021 for primary consideration. Students will be notified of their admission status by Friday, April 30. After that date, any remaining spots in the program will be filled on a rolling basis.
Instructor Wendy Eley Jackson has over 25 years experience in film and television. She received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.F.A. from the University of Georgia. She began her professional career as the Executive Assistant reporting to the E.V.P. of Sony Pictures television. In this role, she developed her skillset for writing and producing scripted movies for television allowing her to work with Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple, and distinguished producers Diane Sokolow, Craig Baumgarten, Bernie Brillstein, and Brad Grey. Wanting to branch out and broaden her skills, she transitioned into producing commercials for networks TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network. Her entrepreneurial spirit later kicked in and she founded the Atlanta-based company Golden Street Entertainment, where she owned and operated one of the largest faith-based post-production facilities in the USA, overseeing editorial work for 20 shows each week. In 2015, she founded Auburn Avenue Films and began working with award-winning directors and producers such as Academy Award nominee and multiple Emmy winner Sam Pollard, Daphne McWilliams, and Henry Adebonojo. For her motion picture work, she has recently received the Producers Guild of America mark for the multi-award winning documentary Maynard for Netflix. She is producing a docu-series entitled The Election of Stacey Abrams with mega-producer Malcolm D. Lee and showrunner Holly Sorensen. Wendy, along with Holly Sorenson, Vicangelo Bulluck, and A.J. Morewitz, are developing the television series adapted from the New York Times best-seller Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn for DIGA Studios. She is currently a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the UCSB. Wendy is a board member for Women In Film Atlanta, Atlanta Film Society, BronzeLens Film Festival, and the National Association for Television Arts and Sciences.
James McNamara is a screenwriter and a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. McNamara is currently creating Detective Cooper, an international television drama series for Goalpost Pictures, Quizzical Pictures, and M-Net. He is also creating a television drama series for Sony Pictures / Playmaker. Other recent television work includes writers’ rooms for the Academy Award-winning See Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures / NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, and Endemol Shine. Additionally, McNamara is directing and writing an audio series for Audible, Estuary Films, and Princess Pictures, and is attached to write the feature film. McNamara has consulted on features for Porchlight Films, Icon Film Distribution, and Fox Searchlight Pictures, and has twice been named an “international rising star” by BAFTA LA. He graduated from Australia’s national film school, AFTRS, and holds a PhD in English from Oxford.
The Storytelling for the Screen Program is pleased to welcome distinguished industry guests on a weekly basis. In 2021, program guests will include:
Sal Calleros is a television writer and producer. He is best known for his work on The Good Doctor (2018-2020), Snowfall (2017-2018), Colony (2016), and Sneaky Pete (2015-2018). Sal is a Los Angeles native who started out as a graffiti artist in high school and college. He graduated from the ABC Writing Fellowship in 2006 but his first true writing job was for the Domestic Violence Clinic in the San Fernando Courthouse, drafting restraining orders to prevent harassment, molestation and abuse. He also worked three years as a Family Law paralegal, and as a court interpreter. Sal transitioned into entertainment, working at FX as a research analyst and then as a Media Planner at a Hispanic marketing agency. Sal’s young family, which includes his frugal German-¬Irish wife and three children, continually provides for an entertaining and challenging familial culture clash that fuels his creativity.
Cindy Caponera is a veteran comedy writer, performer and producer who began her career in theater at the famed Second City Mainstage as well as The National Touring Company. Other notable theater credits include Eugene O’Neil’s Before Breakfast/Hughie at the Royal George Theater, and Maria Irene Fornes’ Mud at the Chicago Actors’ Project. An accomplished monologist, her first solo show Against the Grain debuted in Chicago to rave reviews, followed by the critically-acclaimed, The Debutante Ball, which was produced for Oxygen Network’s Life Out Loud series. Cookies and Booze, her third solo show, has been seen at the HBO Workshop Stage and the Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles.
For over twenty years Cindy has been writing and producing television. Some of her credits include: Saturday Night Live, Nurse Jackie, Shameless, and I’m Dying Up Here. She recently served as an Executive Producer and writer on At Home with Amy Sedaris for truTV. Cindy enjoys a diverse career in comedy and drama and has developed shows for almost all networks including; HBO, FOX, Showtime, ABC and CBS. Some of her television acting credits include; Curb Your Enthusiasm, That 70’s Show, SNL, Sherri, Burning Love, Exit 57 and At Home with Amy Sedaris. Cindy recently published her first collection of essays entitled I Triggered Her Bully… tiny memoirs.
Jane Espenson is a television writer and producer. She began her TV adventure by selling story ideas to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Next, the ABC|Disney Writers Fellowship helped her move into the world of sitcoms, where she wrote for Dinosaurs and Ellen, among other series. A transition to the hour drama format led to the work for which she is best known, writing for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, The O.C., Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time, among other series. She also writes comic books, short stories, and has edited several books of essays. She currently writing for two series: Joss Whedon’s The Nevers, for HBO, and Foundation, based on the Asimov books, for Apple. She has the best jobs in the universe.
Holly Sorensen is a highly regarded television creator, showrunner, writer and producer. Sorensen is the creator and showrunner of the YouTube original scripted series Step Up: High Water, which was the subscription video service’s first ever big budget original scripted drama. Previously, Sorensen was the creator and showrunner of ABC Family’s hit series Make It or Break It. The show, which focused on the lives of teen gymnast who strived to make it to the Olympic Games,garnered three Teen Choice Award nominations, including Choice TV Drama, and a Gracie Award nomination. The show ran for three seasons, after which Sorensen went on to create and showrun Freeform’s Recovery Road, about recovering teen addicts at a rehab facility. She has also developed projects for CBS Studios, Warner Brother Studios, ABC Studios, ABC and CW networks as well as Amazon. Prior to working in the television industry, Sorensen was a journalist for over ten years, both writing and editing for national magazines such as Premiere Magazine, InStyle, and O Magazine, among other publications. Additionally, she was the President of Production for the Indie film studio The Shooting Gallery, whose movies received several Sundance awards.
Cheri Steinkellner has earned four Emmy awards, two Golden Globes, a Writers Guild, People’s Choice, World Animation, and British Academy Award for writing and producing TV’s Cheers and creating Disney’s Teacher’s Pet; as well as receiving a Tony nomination for writing Broadway’s Sister Act the Musical with husband Bill. Cheri lectures worldwide and teaches writing for screens and stage at Stanford and at UCSB, where she and Bill were honored to receive the 2017 Inspiration Award.
John Strauss has been writing and producing television series and feature films, both live action and computer-animated, for over thirty years. John’s credits as a screenwriter include There’s Something About Mary, Santa Clause II, Santa Clause III, starring Tim Allen and Free Birds, a computer-animated feature, starring Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. Box office receipts of the aforementioned films total in excess of a billion dollars internationally.
On the television side, John has been an executive producer/showrunner on over ten different television series. His most recent credits include the Golden Globe winning series Mozart in the Jungle. He is currently serving as executive producer for Peabody Award nominee David Makes Man with Academy Award winner Tarell McCraney (Moonlight), for Warner Brothers Television and the OWN Network. He is currently writing two one-hour drama pilots for Warner Brothers Television, and a third one for Netflix. John is also adapting There’s Something About Mary as a Broadway musical.
Students who have completed 188A Basic Screenwriting or an equivalent film or television writing course are eligible to apply. The program is open to graduates of UCSB as well as currently-enrolled students.
Admission is by permission of the instructors. All materials should be submitted as a single document via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to email@example.com by Thursday, April 15, 2021 for primary consideration. Students will be notified of their admission status by Friday, April 30, 2021. After that date, any remaining spots in the program will be filled on a rolling basis.
Application materials should include:
- your name, graduation year and major
- a list of screenwriting or television writing courses that you have previously taken
- a 3-4 sentence summary of the TV series idea that you plan to work on
- a 5-page sample of an original screenplay or television script
Admitted students with unmet financial need as determined by the Financial Aid office will be eligible to apply for scholarships for their participation in the program. For information about Summer Sessions fees, please visit this page.
The Carsey-Wolf Center sincerely thanks Rick Rosen for supporting the Storytelling for the Screen Program. Rick Rosen is a co-founder of Endeavor, now WME Agency. Rosen oversees the agency’s television division, in addition to his role in broadcast, sports broadcast, and golf divisions. He played a critical role in orchestrating Endeavor’s 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency, the largest talent agency merger in history.
Rosen works with comedic icon Conan O’Brien and represents the creators of many top television series such as Dick Wolf (Law & Order, Chicago, FBI Franchises), Howard Gordon (24, Homeland), Alex Gansa (Homeland), Linwood Boomer (Malcolm in the Middle), Hagai Levi (Scenes from a Marriage, Our Boys, In Treatment), and Sarah Treem (The Affair).
Rosen serves on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Leadership Academy and is Co-Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Children’s Rights. He also serves on the Peabody Awards Board of Advisors and is the Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is the former president of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Rick Rosen Storytelling for the Screen Fund.