Whenever I plan one of the Writers Guild Foundation panels that I host during our MFA Workshop I look for things I’m interested in hearing more about. As I’ve enjoyed a few historical pieces recently it made sense to do a panel of writers in that genre.
Whether the show takes place in 18th century England or the American suburbs of the 1960s, we ask TV writers and producers about their process for researching various eras, the creative decisions behind stories about real-life people and events, their experiences adapting from novels and literary works, and other lessons learned while writing in the genre.
Amberia Allen – Writer and Story Editor, The Wonder Years
Danielle Berrow – Writer and Executive Story Editor, Outlander
Robbie Macdonald – Writer and Executive Producer, Dickinson
Stay tuned for more panelist announcements!
Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch, Director of Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.
Panel starts at 4:00pm Pacific time.
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During every Residency Workshop the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Executive Director, Dr. Rosanne Welch, joins with the Writers Guild Foundation to moderate a panel on a topic of interest to female writers. This year we planned one on Writing Diverse Families – but in the last day before our panel 2 panelists had to drop out due to… family duties. So we pivoted, realizing the panelists who were able to appear all had shows that involved 3 generational families lead by matriarchs.
Hence the title: It’s All Relative: Writing Matriarchs.
This gave us a chance to explore how these female TV writers have expanded depictions of the relationships between grandmothers, mothers and daughter over the years and how they’ve developed storylines that reflect the complexity and universality of these inescapable bonds. Panelists include Sheryl J. Anderson – Creator and Executive Producer, Sweet Magnolias; Lang Fisher – Co-creator and Executive Producer, Never Have I Ever; and Valerie Woods – Co-executive Producer, Queen Sugar. Everyone shared memories of their own family matriarchs and the inspiration they continue to provide each woman’s writing.
Due to Covid we recorded this panel live at the Jim Henson Studios where we host our Workshop in front of the live audience of MFA candidates.
Our most recent panel focused on “Transitioning to Television” and included panelists who came to television from previous careers. This allowed me to talk to women who came to TV whose first careers included being a doctor, lobbyist, college professor and, of especially pride for our MFA program, a former Senior Physical Security Analyst for federal agencies, U.S. Army Reserve veteran.
All of them are now writing on major television shows and their advice and honesty was greatly appreciated. — Rosanne
For this session, we teamed up with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for a discussion on transitioning to TV writing from other careers. Learn how our panel of TV writers and producers made the jump to television, how their previous experiences inform their writing, and how that lens impacts their approach in the writers room.
Panelists are Zoanne Clack, M.D., MPH (Executive Producer, Grey’s Anatomy), Rashaan Dozier-Escalante (Staff Writer, SEAL Team), Akilah Green (Co-producer, Black Monday), and Calaya Michelle Stallworth, Ph.D (Executive Story Editor, Fear of the Walking Dead). Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch, Director of Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.
The WGF may have hit a pause on our live events, but thanks to technology, we’re aiming to provide more access to advice and knowledge from film and TV writers while we’re all social distancing. Over the last few months, we’ve been hosting free Zoom panels about craft and all things relevant to writers.
For this session, we team up with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for a discussion on transitioning to TV writing from other careers. Learn how our panel of TV writers and producers made the jump to television, how their previous experiences inform their writing, and how that lens impacts their approach in the writers room.
Recently, I had the honor (and the fun) of moderating another panel for the Writers Guild Foundation with a conversation centered around how we write “Girls Coming of Age” stories for television.
Our panelists included Rheeqrheeq Chainey (The Baby Sitters Club), Sonia Kharkar (On My Block, Never Have I Ever), Ilana Peña (Creator, Diary of a Future President) and Christina Nieves (Generation), an alumna of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, which was the greatest pleasure of the whole event!
It’s the second year in a row we’ve been able to invite an MFA alumna to be a panelist because they have become a working writer. Last year it was Class of 2019’s Sahar Jahani (who has written for Ramy and 13 Reasons Why) and on this panel we’ll be welcoming Class of 2020’s Christina Nieves to discuss Writing Girls Coming of Age Stories thanks to her new position as a staff writer on Generation.
We at the WGF may have hit a pause on our live events, but thanks to technology, we’re aiming to provide more access to advice and knowledge from film and TV writers while we’re all social distancing. Over the last few months, we’ve been hosting free Zoom panels about craft and all things relevant to writers.
For this session, we team up with Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting for a discussion about crafting girls’ coming-of-age stories. The panel of writers will share how their shows address this formative period for its characters, how their own experiences informed their writing, and why coming-of-age stories are an endless source of stories.
Sonia Kharkar – Executive Story Editor, On My Block, Never Have I Ever Christina Nieves – Staff Writer, Generation Ilana Peña – Creator, Diary of a Future President Moderated by Dr. Rosanne Welch, Director of Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting.
What do you do when your series continues beyond the original book upon which the show is based? On this special evening, we join forces with Columbia College Chicago to welcome a panel of TV writers who’ll discuss how they navigate the uncharted territory of writing for a show that has diverged from the original novel.
Marissa Jo Cerar – Writer, Supervising Producer, The Handmaid’s Tale, 13 Reasons Why
I. Marlene King – Writer, Executive Producer, Pretty Little Liars
Stacy Osei-Kuffour – Writer, Watchmen
Anthony Sparks – Writer, Executive Producer, Queen Sugar
The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting program teamed up with the Writers Guild Foundation to pull the covers back on a topic that still makes viewers blush: sex. On this special evening, our panel of TV writers and producers share how they approach writing about sex, from intimate scenes to revealing dialogue, and the nuances they consider when crafting stories about sex and sexuality.
Michelle Ashford – Masters of Sex, The Pacific
Cindy Chupack – I’m Dying Up Here, Divorce, Sex and the City
Sahar Jahani – 13 Reasons Why, Ramy
Dayna Lynne North – Insecure, Single Ladies, Lincoln Heights