Sundance Institute Announces 2018 Episodic Lab Fellows

The Sundance Institute’s Episodic Lab – yep, the place where they support TV writers, especially new ones – announced its latest fellows yesterday, and Deadline.Com has the story:

by Erik Pedersen

Sundance Institute has selected nine original TV pilots for its fifth annual Episodic Lab, which runs from September 27-October 2 at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah. Topics and formats range from half-hour comedies about friendships put to the test to historical dramas about the struggle for Native American land sovereignty. Read about the projects and their creators below.

Beginning with the Lab, the 12 new fellows will receive customized, ongoing creative and tactical support from episodic program staff, creative advisers and industry mentors, led by Michelle Satter, founding director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, and Jennifer Goyne Blake, director of the Episodic Program, and including Peter Friedlander, Marti Noxon, Graham Yost, Sarah Timberman and Ali LeRoi. As the Lab convenes, the selected fellows will develop their series and pilot scripts with a slate of individual and group creative meetings, writers rooms, case-study screenings and pitch sessions, with guidance from accomplished showrunners, producers, and industry executives.

Sundance Institute the broad scope of this year’s projects and the diverse backgrounds of their creators, speak to its long-term support of the episodic format.

“Identifying and championing emerging independent voices has always been the Institute’s focus, and we are thrilled to continue the expansion of our support for artists working in this space,” Satter said. “The episodic format lends itself to telling richly creative and multifaceted stories, and this Lab enables these visionary writers to continue developing their craft and connect to the industry.”

The 2018 Episodic Lab projects and fellows are:

Read it all at Deadline.Com

Motion Picture Academy Names Nicholl Fellowship Winners

by TVWriter™ Press Service

Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. The fellows will each receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read on Thursday, November 8, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. For the sixth consecutive year, an ensemble of actors will read selected scenes from the winning scripts.

The 2018 winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Allison Buckmelter and Nicolas Buckmelter, “American Refugee”
  • Joey Clarke, Jr., “Miles”
  • Grace Sherman, “Numbers and Words”
  • Wenonah Wilms, “Horsehead Girls”

A total of 6,895 scripts were submitted for this year’s competition. Nine individual screenwriters and one writing team were selected as finalists. Their scripts were then read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, who ultimately voted the winners.

The 2018 finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Avi Glick, “A Yacht in the Apache Junction”
  • Ernestina Juárez, “Labyrinth of Destiny”
  • Neal McLaughlin, “The Sunshine Ward”
  • Daniel Miska, “The Soldier That Wagged Her Tail”
  • Gabriel Mizrahi, “Beside Ourselves”
  • Jordan Trippeer, “Air”

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is chaired by Academy Writers Branch Governor Robin Swicord. The members of the committee are Eva Marie Saint (Actors Branch); Steven Poster (Cinematographers Branch); Marcus Hu and William Mechanic (Executives Branch); James Plannette and Stephen Ujlaki (Members-at-Large); Stephanie Allain, Albert Berger, Julia Chasman, Julie Lynn, Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro (Producers Branch); Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch); Bobbi Banks (Sound Branch); and Tina Gordon Chism, Eric Heisserer, Larry Karaszewski, Dan Petrie Jr., Misan Sagay, Kirsten Smith, Dana Stevens and Tyger Williams (Writers Branch).

The global competition, which aims to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters, has awarded 156 fellowships since it began in 1986.

2018 WGAW Board of Directors Election Results

Yesterday, LB received the following announcement sent by the Writers Guild of America West to all its members:

The Writers Guild of America West has announced the results of its 2018 Board of Directors election.

The following eight members were elected to the WGAW’s Board of Directors for two-year terms, effective immediately: Patti Carr (inc.), Ashley Gable, Betsy Thomas, Deric A. Hughes, David Slack, Jonathan Fernandez (inc.), Patric A. Verrone (inc.), Travis Donnelly. *Note: (inc) denotes incumbent.


Board of Directors: Patti Carr (1,667), Ashley Gable (1,587), Betsy Thomas (1,487), Deric A. Hughes (1,426), David Slack (1,360), Jonathan Fernandez (1,342), Patric A. Verrone (1,161), Travis Donnelly (972), Eric Heisserer (927), Dante W. Harper (916), Spiro Skentzos (856), Deborah Amelon (751), VJ Boyd (661).

A total of 2,475 valid ballots were cast. The ballot count was supervised by Votenet Solutions.

“This vote represents the largest turnout in Guild Board election history, due in no small part to an outstanding group of candidates,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman. “I’m thrilled to welcome the new Board members, and I’m very gratified to see, more than ever, writers engaging to strengthen our union.”

Larry Brody and all of us here at TVWriter™ send our congratulations to all the board members and wish them the best during their tenure on what can be a very difficult as well as essential job

Writers Guild of America West Still Working for Net Neutrality

by TVWriter™ Press Service

From the WGAW’s lips to the FCC’s ears. The image is difficult to read, we know, so here’s the statement again:

Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4651

Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America West has issued the following statement on joining advocacy organizations to file an intervenor brief to reinstate net neutrality:

“Last year, the Federal Communications Commission’s Chairman Pai repealed open Internet protections, leaving powerful Internet providers free to decide what content reaches viewers and how, harming content creators and consumers alike. The decision to abandon those protections, which had been overwhelmingly supported by the public and upheld in court, was factually and legally unsound. The Writers Guild of America West has joined fellow intervenors in filing a brief in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the FCC’s abdication of its responsibilities to protect competition and ensure a free and open Internet.”

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit:

Yours in solidarity!


Peter Lefcourt, or as LB puts it, “a name to conjure with!” Yeah, baby.

by TVWriter™ Press Service

Last weekend, The Death and Life of Mary Jo Kopechne, a new play by Peter Lefcourt, opened at the Odyssey Theater in L.A., where it will play weekends until August 12th.

You may know Mr. Lefcourt from his television writing and production work for various series including Cagney & Lacey, Remington Steele, and Desperate Housewives. If so, you’ll understand why TVWriter™ is unreservedly recommending you hie thyselves to the theater and enjoy this fine new example of Peter’s work.

In Mr. Lefcourt’s own words:

Mary Jo Kopechne is remembered – if she is remembered at all – as “the girl in the car with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick.”  She is a victim not only of the car accident that killed her but of the anonymity bestowed on a bit player in a major historical event.

Over the years I have found myself wondering just who this young woman was and what she would have done with her life had she not taken a ride with a United States senator who’d had too much to drink.

I have always felt that she deserves more dimension than a few paragraphs in Wikipedia and a faded black-and-white graduation photo can provide.

This play is an attempt to give her a voice and to restore to her, if only posthumously, the life that was so abruptly taken from her.

Get all the deets HERE

This has been a very pleasurable public service brought to you by TVWriter™!