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.

Summer Session B:

August 2 – September 9, 2021

Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 11:50 AM


Wendy Jackson and 

James McNamara

 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.

Wendy's Headshot

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.


Instructor James McNamara is a writer / creator for television and a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. McNamara is currently creating Detective Cooper, a television series for Goalpost Pictures based on Malla Nunn’s award-winning novels. He is also creating a series for Sony Pictures/Playmaker Media. Other recent industry work includes writers’ rooms for the Academy Award-winning See Saw Films, Matchbox Pictures/NBC Universal, Foxtel, ABC, and Endemol Shine. McNamara has also consulted on feature films for Porchlight Films, Icon Film Distribution, and Fox Searchlight Pictures. For the theater, McNamara co-wrote Radio With Pictures, which played at the Sydney Opera House, and he trained with the Bell Shakespeare Company, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and the Second City. As a screenwriter, he was recently named a BAFTA LA Newcomer. McNamara’s creative practice, teaching, and research focus on literary adaptations, with a particular interest in Shakespeare. His essays and literary criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and Australian Book Review, where he is a past member of the editorial advisory board. In 2018, he was guest editor of ABR’s film and television special issue, and he received the Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship, one of Australia’s major awards for cultural criticism, for his work on early 21st-century US cable drama. Prior to moving into the film industry, McNamara was a trial lawyer at an international law firm.

The Storytelling for the Screen Program is pleased to welcome distinguished industry guests on a weekly basis.  In 2020, program guests included: 


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.


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 SlayerAngelFireflyThe O.C., Gilmore GirlsBattlestar 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.


Lindsey Liberatore is Executive Vice President of Television for Rideback. Prior to joining the Rideback family, she spent two years as Vice President for Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar label where she worked in Development and Current Programming.  While at SPT’s boutique division she oversaw the Hulu series Shut Eye and worked on multiple projects for Amazon including Good Girls Revolt, The Last Tycoon and The Interestings (pilot). Prior to her role as a studio executive, Lindsey worked at talent-based production companies including Krysten Ritter’s Silent Machine Entertainment and Ryan Reynolds’ and Allan Loeb’s DarkFire TV.  Her first job in television was at Film 44 where she produced the HBO docuseries On Freddie Roach about the world-class boxing trainer and helped with the reboot of Prime Suspect at NBC.  She began her career in features at The Mark Gordon Company where she was based for six years.


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.

Admission process:

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 with a copy to 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

Financial aid:

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

Brad Silberling is a film and television director, producer, and writer. He is currently the Director and Executive Producer of the CW’s series Charmed and Dynasty. As a director, Silberling’s first feature film credit, for producer Steven Spielberg, was the family classic Casper(1995). His other directing credits include the box-office hit City of Angels (1998), starring Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage; and the Academy Award-winning box-office hit Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep.  He served as Director, Producer, and Writer for the critically acclaimed Moonlight Mile (2002), starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Jake Gyllenhall and Holly Hunter; the critically acclaimed independent feature 10 Items or Less (2006), starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega; Land of the Lost (2009) starring Will Ferrell and Danny McBride; and An Ordinary Man (2017), starring Ben Kingsley.

His extensive television directing credits include work on numerous Steven Bochco series including NYPD Blue and L.A. Law, among others. More recently, he has been the Director and Executive Producer of The CW’s Reign, Jane the Virgin, Dynasty, and Charmed, as well as NBC’s Heartbreaker.

Silberling is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where he earned his master’s degree in production. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from UC Santa Barbara. He and his wife, actress Amy Brenneman, live in Los Angeles with their two children.

Sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Brad Silberling Storytelling for the Screen Fund.