The Episodic Lab provides mentorship and career opportunities to six rising women television writers over the course of a year. The Lab runs twice weekly for four weeks beginning on October 6 and will consist of script development, peer workshopping sessions, and Master Classes with established writers and industry executives. Lab participants will have their final pilots read by agencies and networks. Participants will work with advisors and Master Class teachers Monica Beletsky (Parenthood), Carly Wray (Westworld), Sono Patel (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Glen Mazzara (The Dark Tower), among others.
Feature Lab participants were selected from over 1,000 submissions via the Black List website. Eight writers will participate in a virtual workshop in Los Angeles throughout the month of September. Each writer will workshop one screenplay through peer groups and one-on-one sessions with working professional screenwriting mentors, including Phyllis Nagy (Carol), Scott Neustader (The Disaster Artist), Stephany Folsom (Toy Story 4), Andrew Ahn (Driveways), Chris Weitz (Rogue One), Mattson Tomlin (Project Power), Victoria Strouse (Finding Dory), and Kiwi Smith (Legally Blonde).
Participants selected will join previously announced 2020 Black List x WIF Women Feature Writers Residency participants, rounding out the class of 2020 writers. The Residency has been in progress since June of this year and will continue into spring 2021.
Black List Lab alums include a notable list including Minhal Baig (writer/director of Hala, 2016 Black List), Tom Dean (Time Travelers La Ronde, 2016 Black List), Noga Pnueli (Meet Cute, 2018 Black List) and Jimmy Keyrouz (Broken Keys, Official Selection, 2020 Cannes Film Festival). Read this year’s participants below.
EPISODIC PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR PROJECTS
AFTERLOVE by Kryzz Gautier
Kryzz Gautier is a queer, Afro-Latina writer/director born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Since transitioning from undocumented to documented, she’s been a fellow in prestigious programs like Ryan Murphy’s “Half Initiative” for emerging episodic directors, Joey Soloway’s “Disruptors” for the best ten emerging television writers of color, a Sundance Institute Fiction Fellowship, NALIP’s “WOC TV Pilot Incubator,” WIF’s “INSIGHT” fellowship, and the DGA’s “Commercial Director’s Diversity Program.” Kryzz has also been invited to take part in WIF’s Mentorship program where she is mentored by writer/director and “Queen Sugar” showrunner Kat Candler. She’s also been named an “Emerging Content Creator” by NALIP and recognized with Superlounge’s “Diversity Award for Directors.”
EDITH by Hunter Toro
Hunter Toro is a writer and comedian of Puerto Rican descent from south Florida. She writes comedies for live action and animation, focusing on complicated female protagonists, blended families, and Latinx pride. Hunter studied English literature and creative writing in college, only to realize she was not A Serious Person, and therefore probably not The Next Great American Novelist. Instead, she found herself blending her lifelong love of performing and writing to pursue a career in TV. While taking improv classes and teaching herself screenwriting, she worked as an assistant on multiple shows. She currently works at Bento Box Animation Studios.
OOKU by Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen
Marie Hanhnhon Nguyen is a Vietnamese artist, playwright, and filmmaker. She was born in Saigon and moved to California with her family when she was six. Marie began her creative career as a film and television producer. She worked alongside director Yann Demange on WHITE BOY RICK and the “Lovecraft Country” pilot. Her play Ten and a Half was selected for the inaugural Sundance Institute and Center Theatre Group Playwriting Intensive in 2019 and was a winner of the 2020 Hollywood Fringe Scholarship.
TENTH by Kenyetta Raelyn
Kenyetta Raelyn is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter and filmmaker and a 2019 alumna of Meryl Streep’s The Writers Lab NYC. In her formative years, she was plucked out of a Midwestern, working-class environment and shipped off to live in a New England boarding school to live with America’s wealthiest 1%. That inspired her interest in finance and led to a stint on Wall Street as a banking slave after graduating from Columbia University. Obsessed with the Gilded Age, early American 20th-century industrial tycoons, she writes vividly about capitalism, social mobility, the pursuit of the American dream, and their intersection with race, class, and immigration status.
THOSE QADDAM ARABS by Ayser Salman
Born in Iraq and raised in Kentucky and Saudi Arabia, Ayser Salman’s nomadic childhood may have left her constantly feeling like a fish out of water, but it also shaped her desire to be a storyteller. After a brief stint as a news producer in Kentucky, Ayser came to Los Angeles where she works as a writer/producer/editor on docu-series and original content for studios including Miramax, FX, and Netflix. Her comic memoir The Wrong End of the Table about growing up Iraqi Muslim in Kentucky was published in 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Ayser is currently developing her memoir as a TV series.
VALTESSE by Claire Downs
Born and raised in downtown Chicago, Claire Downs attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School and Classical Shakespeare Studio. Claire has written on sketch comedy teams at The Upright Citizens Brigade theatre, written viral articles for ELLE, and worked as an associate story producer and researcher on nonfiction works such as “Visible: Out On Television” (Apple TV+) and ASK DR. RUTH (Hulu). Her original scripts have been developed with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Technicolor, and Nickelodeon. She is repped by Jermaine Johnson at Zero Gravity Management.
FEATURE LAB PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR PROJECTS
BLACK WALL STREET by Terence Carter
Born in Chicago and raised on the West Side, Terence Carter is a screenwriter with an immense passion for the craft of filmmaking.
HOTLINE by Joe Kirchhoff
Joe Kirchhoff is an LA-based screenwriter from Kansas City specializing in cosmic and psychological horror. In addition to writing, Joe has worked as a script reader, a craft bartender, a neuroscience lab assistant, and a crisis hotline counselor.
OSTRO by Dan Maskin and Birdie Corl
Originally from Long Island, Dan currently lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend / writing partner / life coach. Originally from rural Pennsylvania, Birdie resides in Los Angeles with Dan, her boyfriend / writing partner / personal chef.
READ by Nicole Feste
Nicole Feste hails from Austin, Texas and is an alumna of Chapman University’s screenwriting program. She is a former maritime history educator and current writers’ assistant on ALL RISE.
WHITTIER by Ben Mehlman and Filipe F. Coutinho
Ben and Filipe are up-and-coming writer/directors with an affinity for character-driven, inclusive and commercial stories that bring neglected social issues to the fore. They’ve made the Nicholl’s Fellowship quarter-finals, held the top place on the Black List for several weeks, and are currently working on a YA book adaptation and their follow-up to WHITTIER.
YEAR OF THE HORSE by Brandon Carbaugh
Brandon Carbaugh is a writer and narrative designer in the game industry, seeking representation for film.
Proclivities include action/adventure, comedy, and gettin’ all ornery about history.
THE RESIDENCY PARTICIPANTS
DANNY CORPSE WALKER by Zoe Cooper
Zoe Cooper is a screenwriter with a passion for dark comedy and all things horror. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
FINDING PHOEBE by Krenée Tolson
Krenée A. Tolson is a writer/producer/actor born and raised in Baltimore, MD, currently residing in Los Angeles. Her authentic, gut-led approach to filmmaking uses a universal approach to exposing the unheard stories of the underrepresented.
THE GIRL by Laci Dent
Laci Dent is a writer, filmmaker and production designer from New Orleans, LA — receiving an MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. At UCLA, she received the Gina Prince Bythewood/Mara Brock Akil Four Sisters Screenwriting Award and founded the genre-driven production company, Nite Cloud Films.
MAD by Michelle Steffes
Originally from North Carolina and now sheltering in place in Los Angeles, Michelle Steffes is an award-winning writer-director whose whimsical takes on reality earned her a spot in the short film and feature animation branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Michelle has worked as a development executive for Gary Ross, has participated in AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, and is a current fellow in Disney’s 2018-2020 television directing program.
POPCORN by Katy Berry
Katy Berry is a New York based comedian, writer, and musical improviser who has traveled the world performing at venues including The Kennedy Center and multiple sold out Edinburgh Fringe Fest runs, and was recently featured in The New York Times for her improvised cabaret show, Electric Bitch. In addition to live performances, Katy’s original writing and videos have been featured in Vulture, Studio360, Bustle, Reductress, the Magnet Comedy Film Festival, NYC Web Fest, Chain Film Festival, and more.
SUNDOGS by Elizabeth Chatelain
Elizabeth Chatelain is an award-winning writer and director from North Dakota. Her feature screenplay SUNDOGS participated in the Berlinale Script Station, the Hedgebrook Screenwriter’s Lab, and was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist, Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition Winner and Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition Winner.
YEAR OF THE SHEEP by Caroline Guo
Hailing from Atlanta, Caroline Guo is a Chinese-American writer and director. A graduate of Northwestern University, Caroline has published in film journals, co-wrote a Chinese-French feature film in development, placed as semifinalist for the Universal Writers Program, and wrote and directed the award-winning short film THE TEST in Beijing, China. Currently based in Los Angeles and working at MACRO, Caroline is most interested in telling personal stories, especially of Asian and Asian-American women, to shed light on larger societal issues.