EXCLUSIVE: For its first content acceleration program, Imagine Impact has set a diverse roster of established talent to mentor the first round of aspirants. The mentors will be the Oscar-winning Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black, sitcom vet and black-ish exec producer Stacy Traub, Burn Notice exec producer Ben Watkins, The Last O.G. showrunner Saladin K. Patterson, Gaz Alazraki, whose Nosotros los Nobles was a monster hit in Mexico, and Kate Purdy, co-creator of the upcoming Amazon series Undone. They will be the six “Shapers” who will mentor the first group of “Creators,” meeting with their charges twice per week to create a saleable script, teleplay or presentation. After opening the admissions applications process online recently, Imagine Impact received over 37,000 website views from 102 countries, with over 4,000 Creator applications submitted during the two-week window.
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Said Tyler Mitchell, the vet exec recently named head of the Imagine Impact initiative: “We are extremely fortunate to have attracted a group of the most talented, experienced and diverse writers in the industry to Imagine Impact, who are passionate about collaborating with other artists and creating a new development process.”
Black won an Oscar and two WGA awards for Milk and he wrote, produced and directed the celebrated ABC mini When We Rise, about the modern history of the LGBTQ+ movement. Black has been a frequent collaborator with Imagine since writing the Clint Eastwood Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer J. Edgar and exec produced the Imagine docu Prophet’s Prey and is adapting Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven as an FX series with Ron Howard directing. He’s also working on biopics of Bayard Rustin and Charles Lindbergh, and he has taught MFA screenwriting at UCLA.
Traub came out of AFI with ambitions to be a cinematographer, but moved into writing as an assistant on Mad About You which led to writing stints on Suddenly Susan, Spin City, and What I Like About You, before moving up to creator and exec producer of such series and pilot as Kitchen Confidential, Notes from the Underbelly, Middle Age Rage, Other People’s Kids and Dirty Blondes, while writing on Glee and Trophy Wife. That led to EP stints on The Real O’Neals and black-ish.
Watkins started as an actor before transitioning to writing with his award- winning short film Quest to Ref, which got him writing on Burn Notice, where he rose to EP before creating the Amazon Originals series Head To God. He’s developing projects all over town.
Purdy is co-creator and showrunner of Undone for Amazon and her writing and producing credits include Cold Case, MadTV, Cougar Town, Enlisted, The McCarthys, and Bojack Horseman, the latter of which won her a WGA Award. She also taught TV writing for the David Lynch MFA program at Maharishi University.
Patterson got his break through the Walt Disney Writer’s Fellowship Program and currently showrunner on The Last O.G. and his other credits include the animated series The Cops, serving as co-EP on The Big Bang Theory and consulting producer on Two a Half Men and co-exec producing Psych and The Bernie Mac Show, this after producing Frasier and getting his start on Teen Angel and The PJs. On the big screen he wrote The Fighting Temptations and wrote on and/or produced Undercover Brother, Scary Movie 4, Scary Movie 5, The Honeymooners, Beauty Shop, Shrek Goes Fourth, and Alvin and the Chipmunks – Chipwrecked.
Alazraki wrote, produced and directed Nosotros los Nobles, which in 2013 doubled the record for all time highest grossing Mexican film with 7.2 million viewers and $340 million pesos in ticket sales. He then co-created Club de Cuervos, Netflix’s first Spanish speaking original series produced in Mexico. That led to the spinoff The Ballad of Hugo Sanchez, on which Alazraki is co-creator and exec producer.
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