Faculty: Screenwriting

Faculty

WENDALL THOMAS (Fall Lecture Series and Q&A)

Since receiving her M.A. in English, Wendall has worked as a director’s assistant, story editor, development executive, entertainment reporter, and film and television writer for companies including Warner Brothers, Universal, Showtime, PBS, A&E, and NBC. Her mystery novels (Lost Luggage and Drowned Under, Poisoned Pen Press) have been nominated for Lefty, Macavity, and Anthony Awards and her short fiction appears in the crime anthologies Ladies Night, Last Resort, and Murder-A-Go-Gos.

She has lectured and mentored for international screen agencies including the British Film Commission, The Atelier du Cinéma Européen Producing Program, the Northern Ireland Film Commission, the New Zealand Film Commission, Script to Screen, Screen Australia, Screen Queensland, Film Victoria, and the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Wendall’s students and clients include winners of the Samuel Goldwyn Writers Award, the UCLA Professional Program Contest, and the UCLA Nate Wilson Joie de Vivre Award, as well as finalists in the Page Awards and Austin Film Festival Contest. They have written for The Chi, I’m Dying Up Here, Superstore, and MacGuyver and their produced features include The Water Diviner (Warner Bros.), Don’t Tell (Audience Award Newport Beach Film Festival), The Republic of Rick (Official Selection Slamdance Festival), Any Day Now (Winner Audience Award Tribeca Film Festival), The Space Between (Official Tribeca Selection), and The Truth Below (MTV Films).

KRIS YOUNG (Winter Lecture Series and Q&A)

Kris received his MFA in screenwriting from UCLA (’98) where he was a finalist in the Screenwriting Showcase and placed second in the Samuel Goldwyn Awards.  He has written six movies for Disney Channel including Teen Angel (Jason Priestley and Jennie Garth) and Teen Angel Returns. He has also written pilots for CBS and Nickelodeon, as well as features for Columbia, Trimark and producers Richard Pryor, Terence Chang and Bill Badalato. His micro-mini movie, Mosquito Cupid, was produced for ABC-Touchstone. Young was also a staff lyricist for five years for Grammy-winning R&B producer Freddie Perren (I Will Survive) where he wrote for Grammy Award winning and nominated artists such as Tavares, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Peaches & Herb, The Spinners and Johnny Gill.  (A music career highlight for Young was having a song performed on Soul Train.)  Young was a founding member of the WGA Asian-American Committee, co-chairing from 2006 to 2013.  He’s been with the Professional Program since 2001 and has taught the undergrad senior concentration in screenwriting for UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television since 2005. He’s also taught for L.A. Film Studies Center, UCLA’s Summer Arts Program for teens, Visual Communications, East-West Players and the L.A. Juvenile Probation Center in Watts.

WEIKO LIN (Spring Lecture Series and Q&A)

A finalist of AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship and recipient of a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Weiko earned his MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. He has written projects for The Mark Gordon Company, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Ivanhoe Pictures, Don Mischer Productions, Wanda Pictures (China), and The Unison Company (Taiwan). He produced and wrote the original story for the Chinese language romance film 100 Days 真爱100天which was released theatrically nationwide in Taiwan and was an official selection at the prestigious 2014 Golden Rooster Hundred Flowers Film Festival in Mainland China. As producer and original story writer, Weiko is following up his next Chinese language film with the action thriller Retroactive 追击日 set up at Chinese studio Wanda Pictures. His other China-related writing credits include 2016 Shanghai Disney Park Opening Ceremony and 2014 Huading Global Film Awards produced by Emmy winner Don Mischer. Recently, he adapted the U.S./China co-production feature based on the New York Times best-selling memoir River Town by Peter Hessler for Fugitive Films and acclaimed director Lu Chuan (City of Life and Death, Disney's Born in China) and has written a TV pilot for Super Deluxe (former digital studio of Turner/WarnerMedia). From publisher of Save the Cat! and The Writers Journey, Weiko's book CRAZY SCREENWRITING SECRETS: How to Capture a Global Audience is available on July 1, 2019.  A member of Writers Guild of America and Dramatist Guild, he is represented by Anonymous Content and United Talent Agency.

MARC ARNESON

Before coming to Los Angeles, Marc earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia. He is a graduate of both the UCLA MFA and Professional Screenwriting Programs, and has won numerous honors including: the UCLA Screenwriters Showcase, the Jack Nicholson Prize in Screenwriting, the Harmony Gold Screenwriting Award, the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting and the Showtime/Tony Cox Screenwriting Award, as well as being selected writer-in-residence at the prestigious Nantucket Screen Writers Colony. He has since developed and sold online, television and film projects including the independently produced feature Just Peck (written while a UCLA MFA student), starring Academy Award nominee Brie Larson. Marc has been a screenwriting instructor at UCLA since 2011, teaching Professional Program students as well as visiting filmmakers from the Accademia Nazionale Del Cinema, Bologna, Italy. Additionally, he was a Visiting Professor of Screenwriting at the Hollins University MFA Graduate Program and currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.


PHIL GUIDRY

Phil has won three Emmy Awards for his work as a producer and writer. He has written, produced and developed projects for NBC, Fox, NFL Network, ESPN, Time Warner, ABC, Tapestry Films, 42 Entertainment, and Walt Disney Imagineering. He co-wrote and co-produced the feature film Savageland, which premiered at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. His documentary projects include The Timeline: America’s Game and the Iran Hostage Crisis, produced with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures, and the Emmy-winning JFK: The NFL Story of That Day in Dallas. His published work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Outside and Conde Nast Traveler, as well as anthologies by Hyperion Press and Nelson Thornes Press.  A graduate of UCLA’s screenwriting M.F.A. program, he also has a B.A. from USC and has taught at UCLA, UC Irvine, Northwestern University, and the Himalayan Film School in India.

SIMON HERBERT

Simon is the co-writer/director/producer (with fellow UCLA screenwriting alums Phil Guidry and David Whelan) of the horror feature Savageland-- released by Terror Films, internationally. Savageland has screened at numerous festivals including: Comic-Con; Morbido Festival, Mexico; and FilmQuest Film Festival, Utah. It has won eight awards including: Best Director at the New Orleans Horror Film Festival; and Best Feature in: Nevermore, NC; Independent Filmmakers festival, CA; Eerie Horror Fest, PA; and the Atlanta Horror Film Festival, GA. Simon usually writes solo, and has won the Harmony Gold Award in Excellence. He has no fear of any genre; but knows that he is terrible at comedy (his one ‘comedy’ script – unfunny at a sub-atomic level - was buried in a lead container in the Mariana Trench; where rotations of freestyle aquatic pit bulls, 11,00 meters down, still guard it bravely from the gaze of innocents), which frees him up for darker stuff. Noir. Horror. Thriller. Simon hates people that get “your” and “you’re” mixed up (and will visit your house to explain the difference), but otherwise has a sunny disposition. He models his screenwriting classes on the fine example of R. Lee. Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, and you will give him twenty. He is repped by Management 360.

DAVE JOHNSON

Dave Johnson is a produced television and feature film writer with over a dozen years of professional experience.  He has developed and sold feature films for Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, New Regency, Dreamworks, Universal Studios, Fox Animation, Sony Animation, and many more.  Dave has worked closely with acclaimed actors such as Robert Deniro and Christopher Walken, but has also co-written a farting dog movie for Paramount Studios.   Johnson is a proud member of the UCLA family, having graduated in both the MFA and Professional Program in Screenwriting.  While a student, he was the recipient of the Jack Nicholson Award in Screenwriting, the Harmony Gold Award of Excellence, and a winner of the Screenwriter Showcase.  Dave has been a screenwriting instructor at UCLA since 2006, and has watched many of his students achieve great success in both television and film.

BRIAN KING

Brian is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program. A screenplay he wrote at UCLA, Breakdown In Evandale, was optioned to Warner Bros Studios and launched his writing career. His first produced screenplay, Cypher, debuted at the Toronto International Film festival and starred Lucy Liu and Jeremy Northam. Brian wrote and directed his next screenplay, Night Train, which starred Danny Glover, Leelee Sobieski, and Steve Zahn. His next produced screenplay was Haunter, which starred Abigail Breslin and Stephen McHattie. It debuted at the South By Southwest Film Festival and was nominated for Best Screenplay by Fangoria Magazine. Brian’s most recent screenplay, Contraction, is scheduled to go into production in 2021. Brian has also optioned multiple television pilots and screenplays that are currently in development.

CHRIS KYLE

Chris is a film and TV writer who lives in Santa Monica with his wife and two girls. He’s written for Disney, Universal, Sony and ESPN. He’s developed film and TV projects with Playtone (Tom Hanks) and Four By Two (Sacha Baron Cohen). He’s the co-writer of JODY, which appears on the Black List Table Reads and stars Constance Zimmer and Ed Quinn. Chris graduated from Duke University and UCLA, where he received the Jack Nicholson, Abraham Polonsky, and Samuel Goldwyn screenwriting awards. He’s been teaching at UCLA since 2011.

JENNA MCGRATH

Jenna has spent the last several years writing for Disney, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Disney XD, and Strike Entertainment. Past shows include Best Friends Whenever, Bella and the Bulldogs, Kickin It!, Packages from Planet X, and Avengers Assemble. She and her writing partner sold a pilot to Nickelodeon. Jenna earned her M.F.A. at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, where she was awarded a Streisand/Sony Fellowship. She is also a two-time national record holder in the extreme sport of freediving. She believes that writing, like diving, rewards the brave.

STEPHANIE MOORE

Stephanie received her MFA in Screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. She won the Harve Bennett "Written By" Prize in Screenwriting and the Harmony Gold Screenwriting Award. She has taught screenwriting at UC Irvine, UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting, and Hollins University's MFA Program, and was a guest lecturer at Pixar University. Moore's students have been winners of several screenwriting awards, including the Nicholl Fellowship and the UCLA Professional Program Screenwriting Competition. Her students have also had their scripts optioned and sold, such as Marc Maurino's sale of Inside the Machine to CBS Films, a script written in Moore's Professional Program in Screenwriting Online class. Moore co-wrote Life-Size, starring Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan, an original movie for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney. She was hired by Disney to co-write Life Size 2.

BRIAN PRICE

Brian received his BA in Theatre and Film from Yale University and his MFA in Screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where he won the Harve Bennett "Written By" Prize, the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Screenwrtiting Prize, and the Screenwriter's Showcase. While still in school, Price was featured in Script magazine when The Many Lives of Bobby Ivers, his first spec, was optioned by Universal Pictures. Since then, he's written numerous feature and television scripts for both studios and indies, including Blaspheme Pictures, Warner Bros., Scanbox Entertainment, Big Paw Productions, and Hudson River Films. As a director, Price has lensed award-winning commercials, as well as the feature comedy Bottomfeeders, which won numerous festival awards including the Indie Spirit at Toronto's Planet Indie and the Audience Award at the DC Independent Film Festival. Brian has taught in the UCLA MFA program, at UCSB, the Brooks Institute of Photography, and at Yale University. He is particularly proud that his students’ scripts have begun appearing on the silver screen, one even receiving a Golden Globe nomination this year.

LISANNE SARTOR

Lisanne Sartor received her BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of both the Professional Program in Screenwriting and the MFA Screenwriting Program at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. While at UCLA, she won the Samuel Goldwyn Award one year, placed third another, won the Jack Nicholson Prize in Screenwriting and the Harmony Gold Screenwriting Award. Her original screenplay, Cleaverville, was produced by Alexander/Enright Productions and aired on Lifetime Television. She’s developed projects with Hearst TV, the DeAngelis Group, Roth/Arnold Productions and more. Before becoming a screenwriter, she was a DGA assistant director via the DGA Assistant Director Training Program. She wrote and directed the award-winning short film Six Letter Word via the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Six Letter Word has screened at over fifty film festivals around the world, including the Telluride Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes. She wrote the feature version of Six Letter Word and will direct it with producer Tani Cohen producing.  She is board president of The CineStory Foundation, a screenwriting nonprofit dedicated to nurturing new screenwriting talent through writers retreats and fellowships.

JIM STRAIN

A veteran screenwriter (Jumanji, Bingo, Summer of the Monkeys, Space Warriors), Jim is a native of Denver, Colorado. He’s written for virtually every major studio in Hollywood, dabbled in theater, contributed to magazines and newspapers, and published a few books. He wears many other hats including that of a lecturer, consultant, and sometimes artist. He most recently wrote three episodes for the Netflix series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, including These Old Bones, nominated for the Outstanding Television Movie Emmy in 2020. Netflix is also producing the stop-motion animated television special “Alien Xmas,” based on the award-winning children’s book Jim co-wrote with Stephen Chiodo. Jim holds an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA and an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri.

HUGH STERBAKOV

Hugh has sold television and feature scripts to cool places including Disney, Paramount, Fox, SyFy and Freeform, and developed projects with awesome people like Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Donald De Line, Gale Anne Hurd, Ben Stiller and the team at Midnight Radio. He created, wrote and executive produced Transylvania, a pilot for CBS Television Studios and the CW, which was produced but didn’t go to series. His therapist says he’ll get over that someday (but she’s lying). He also co-created and wrote the critically acclaimed comic book Freshmen, authored the novel City Under the Moon, and has two Emmy nominations and an Annie Award for Robot Chicken. He’s currently writing Lucid, a tech thriller for Warner Bros. and Blumhouse, with Ashton Kutcher slated to direct. Just like the Fresh Prince, he was born and raised in West Philadelphia. But that guy is a huge movie star, and Hugh has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. So… call it a draw?

LINDA VOORHEES

Linda Voorhees is an award-winning writer who has worked for ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, Lifetime, USA and Disney Channel. She has been or is currently in development with Columbia, Universal, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures. As a student at UCLA TFT, she was the recipient of the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award and a four-time finalist for the Diane Thomas Award. Her 1997 movie of the week, Two Mothers for Zachary, received the GLAAD Award for positive portrayals of gay and lesbians in the media. Her 1991 made-for-cable movie, Crazy From the Heart, was the winner of the Imagen Award for positive portrayals of Latinos and Hispanics in the media and was the winner of the Columbus Award. The screenplay was nominated for an ACE Award.

DAVID WAGNER

David began his career in the entertainment industry at 10 years of age performing in numerous musicals, including "The King & I" with Yul Brynner. Wagner went on to become the 1984 vocal champion on Jr. Star Search with Ed McMahon. He also voiced the character of Linus Van Pelt in the CBS Special "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown", and recorded the Peanuts album "Flashbeagle." Wagner graduated with a BA in Film with an emphasis in screenwriting from CSUN, and completed two years of UCLA's Professional Program in Screenwriting where he won the "Best Screenplay" competition. Wagner went on to write several movies including "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" with Ryan Reynolds, and "The Girl Next Door" with Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert.

IRIS YAMASHITA

Iris was nominated for an Academy Award® for her first produced screenplay, Letters from Iwo Jima. Directed by Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima received a Golden Globe award as Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Currently, Yamashita is in development on an original script to be directed by Shekhar Kapur, who previously directed Elizabeth and The Four Feathers.

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102 E. Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622
310.825.6124
professionalprograms@tft.ucla.edu