John Wells, the writer, director & producer behind such TV classics as ER, The West Wing and Shameless, has endowed a “significant gift” to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Division of Writing for Screen & Television.
Reflecting the gift, the division will now be called the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television. Wells is a USC School of Cinematic Arts alumnus.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career, a career that would not have been possible without the USC School of Cinematic Arts,” Wells said. “It’s where I learned to write, where I learned to produce, where I learned how to direct. My career would not have been possible without my time at USC and without the many wonderful professors who gave unselfishly of their time and expertise.”
Wells currently is the Executive Producer on TNT’s drama Animal Kingdom and Showtime’s Shameless. He was Executive Producer on Southland, Mildred Pierce, and China Beach. For the big screen, Wells produced Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy and directed August: Osage County, among many others. He’s a a 1982 graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Peter Stark Producing Program.
The Division was dedicated last night, with a program that included a conversation between Wells and West Wing’s Bradley Whitford about “the power of story and writing in Hollywood.”
“We are so grateful to our alumnus John Wells for this support of the talented storytellers who make up the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television,” said SCA Dean Elizabeth Daley in announcing the gift today. “John has been one of our most consistent supporters, and a great role model to our Writing students. We are extremely proud of his role in transforming television and film, and thrilled that his name will now be publicly associated with the School of Cinematic Arts.”
Daley said the endowment will provide a lasting source of funding to enable the Division to grow, including “meaningful support” for students, faculty and staff.
The newly named John Wells Division teaches students “how to find and hone their authentic creative voices in producing exciting scripts,” according to the school. The curriculum covers screenwriting for feature-length movies, television episodes in comedy and drama, web series and scripts for games and immersive media.
Among the Writing Division’s alumni are Judd Apatow, Shonda Rhimes, Josh Schwartz and John Singleton.