Shruti Saran is a screenwriter and third-culture kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan (by way of India, England, and Missouri). She graduated with a degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and began writing a few years later while working in digital marketing. She loves writing comedies with science-based premises and industry satires about unique workplaces. Her original pilot, BEFORE MARS, a Mars One satire, was a Tracking Board Finalist, Finish Line semi-finalist, and AFF quarterfinalist. She also recently wrote, directed, and produced the series GYM BUDDIES, a lady-driven, partly-musical web comedy about two women tryna get in shape, which was inspired by musical comedies and her own efforts to stay reasonably fit for a desk-based person. Currently, Shruti lives in Austin, TX with her fiancé, a crypto entrepreneur and the inspiration behind her first one-hour, a cryptocurrency drama called FINDING SATOSHI.
"I write everyday. I write on a really regular schedule. I get up in the morning and I write. And I'm really grateful that I have the freedom to do that."
• Shruti's website
• Shruti on Twitter
Margot Ye is a South Florida native and first-generation Chinese-American. She spent her childhood dodging piano practice, daydreaming at the pool, and swimming against the current of her large extended family. Putting her best practical foot forward, Margot left her hometown to pursue a business degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. There she quickly realized that finance and accounting were not her calling, but the industry of film and television beckoned. After working at a talent agency, production company, and post house, Margot studied the craft of storytelling at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Margot’s short film OUT OF THE BLUE earned a DGA Student Film Award, LACMA’s Young Director Art of Film Award, and three UCLA Spotlight Awards for Best Narrative, Best Screenplay, and Best Visual Design.
Following grad school, Margot got a glimpse of the start-up life while producing content for media-tech companies such as Hulu, Google, Niantic, and Headspace. With enough stories to fill a fake Twitter feed, Margot left the tech sphere to focus on writing for television. Last year, Margot was selected for NBC’s Writers on the Verge fellowship, and she hasn’t looked back. She continues to daydream every chance she can get, but now she commits those dreams to script.
"I have thought to myself, 'Okay, tomorrow you're going to sit and write at your desk for three hours,' and if I plant that idea in my head, it helps. I think of it as an appointment with my desk."
• Margot on Facebook
• Margot on Instagram
Jonathan Hurwitz is a writer living in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was the Writer’s Assistant on Disney Channel’s “Andi Mack,” where he received a Writers Guild Award nomination for his episode, “For The Last Time.” He’d like to thank Beyoncé for her continued support.
"If I get stuck, I'll go and run my errands and go through my day as if I'm the main character. I remember being at the grocery store and I was shopping for myself, but I was mentally shopping for him."
• Jonathan on Instagram
• GLAAD's interview with Jonathan on his groundbreaking Andi Mack episode, "Once In A Minyan"
• A clip from Joanthan's Andi Mack episode
Gil Hizon is a half-hour writer who was born and raised in the Philippines. A serial monogamist and a child of divorce, Gil is drawn to stories about how people cope with relationship issues. For instance, he believes that people find out who they really are when trying to pick up the pieces after a breakup. The comedies Gil writes tend to be unapologetic, grounded and emotional. Gil has BA degrees in Psychology, Theater and TV Writing/Producing. He’s also a self-proclaimed astrology expert. He’s a graduate of Fairfield University and Columbia College Chicago, and is thrilled to be a part of the 2017-2018 CBS Writers Mentoring Program.
"You write what you wanna see on TV. That's it."
Morgan Dover-Pearl was born in Austin, Texas but thanks to her adventurous parents spent her early formative years in Spain and Argentina. Morgan’s love for storytelling was first ignited by Argentina’s abundant power outages. She wrote, or more accurately one should say dictated (because let’s be honest, at seven her writing skills were limited) plays for her and her little sister to perform while they waited out the hours of darkness. If only her time in Argentina had been solely plays and power outages, but unfortunately her father was targeted by the corrupt Argentinian government and falsely held captive for two and half years. Despite the severity of the situation, Morgan’s mother worked incredibly hard to make sure that her daughters had a normal childhood. Through her mother’s example, Morgan was fortunate to learn at a young age the power of resilience, that optimism is a courageous act and that there is humor to be found even in the darkest moments. That outlook on life informs who Morgan is as a person and who she is as a writer.
Morgan received a BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University and an MFA in Acting from Brown University. After years of perusing acting while also working as an interior decorator, because a girl’s gotta eat on a consistent basis, Morgan decided she was ready to return to her storytelling roots. Her debut as a writer came in the form of a short film that had its World Premiere at the Austin Film Festival. Leaving that experience encouraged and inspired she made the decision to fully shift her focus to writing. She is also an alumna of the Warner Bros. Writers' Workshop.
"It's not lost on me for one second that writing is an art form, that it's a craft, and there are things to be learned."
• Morgan's AFF short film Lunch Break
Rachel Avery is an award-winning actor/writer/director who recently won the Producers Encore Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival for her work developing and directing the one woman show The Pleasure Project, which just completed a run in Adelaide, Australia.
She recently directed, wrote, and starred in the TV comedy Wake Up America! which is now available on Amazon Prime. Rachel’s short film Jet Lag, premiered at the California Women’s Film Festival. She was nominated for Best Director of a Musical by the Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards for Blanche, which premiered at the New York Musical Festival and Huffington Post put it on the list of top 20 shows for 2011. Rachel has been actively shadowing TV Directors on Criminal Minds and the upcoming Roseanne reboot.
As an actress, she performed Off-Broadway and around the world in Re-Animator the Musical, (Original Cast Recording) directed by Stuart Gordon and co-starring George Wendt. Film/TV appearances include Tropic Thunder, The Giant Mechanical Man, Big Love, Reno 911, State of Georgia, Movie of the Week for the Hallmark Channel, and the horror flick Big Game. She is a proud member of Rogue Machine Theater and Pacific Resident Theater in Los Angeles winning Ovation, LADCC and LA Weekly Awards. Rachel graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
"I write with a director's mind... And I think that's why I get hung up on action, because I think that is the place where I ask, "How do you succinctly express in the written word what is ultimately going to be a visual experience for the audience."
• Rachel Avery on Twitter
• Rachel's pilot, Wake Up America!
Kara Lee Burk began writing while working with The Second City-Detroit and various sketch comedy troupes in New York City. An alumni of the Warner Bros Television Writers Workshop, she has been staffed as a writer on Romantically Challenged (ABC), Melissa & Joey (ABC Family) and The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (Dreamworks / Netflix). She has developed multiple series, wrote on Hanazuki, a bunch digital shorts for The Littlest Pet Shop (both on YouTube) and is currently a writer for the upcoming Costume Quest (Amazon).
"[For writer's block], I switch gears and work on something else for a day. It's like a game of Jenga. You gotta poke at different blocks and work on the ones that move. And if something is stuck, you don't know how moving to another project, something may shift and you'll see the answer."
• Kara Lee Burk on Twitter
Nadia Madden is a former 911 dispatcher turned screenwriter. She’s found success as a Humanitas: New Voices Finalist and Sundance Episodic Storylab Semifinalist. Her law enforcement background finds its way into every script. Nadia often writes about underdog characters, particularly women, who persevere despite their circumstances. And although her San Francisco, Chinatown one-hour pilot is intentionally not laden with martial arts, Nadia happens to hold a first degree black belt in Kenpo Karate.
"They say, 'Write what you know.' I think it's writing what you know emotionally, whether you want to or not that's gonna come out."
• Nadia Madden on Twitter
Marc Warzecha is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Writers Guild of America Associate Member, and was a writer for Season 2 of Comedy Central's Detroiters. Marc recently wrote for Disney Digital's Babble brand and was a recent finalist in NBC Writers on the Verge and Final Draft Big Break. With The Second City comedy theatre, he is multiple-time Jeff Award nominated head writer/director. His work as a satirist has been featured on ABC's "Nightline," Newsweek magazine, and the Washington Post, he has guested on CNN's "Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and NPR's "All Things Considered."
"Sometimes when I first sit down to write, I'll take out a spiral notebook and write anything that might be churning in my mind, especially if I'm in the middle of a really busy day. Writing out my emotions, writing out how I'm feeling right now, getting that on the page to kind of release it."
• Marc Warzecha on Twitter
• Marc's website
• Marc's pilot The Trumpmaid's Tale
• Lee Jessup, career coach
• The TV Writer's Workbook by Ellen Sandler
Jimmy Mosqueda is a comedy writer born and raised in the deserts of Southern California, more specifically the Imperial and Coachella Valleys. Yup, he was at Coachella before it was cool. Growing up the youngest son of a large and eccentric Mexican-American family, Jimmy often finds humor in the awkward and embarrassing experiences of adolescence. He pulls from his own life to create characters and situations that are heightened and satirical but remain grounded in real emotion. In 2016, Jimmy was a participant in the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive, where he workshopped his high school dark comedy, Valedictorian. He was a 2016-17 Film Independent Writing Fellow and a 2017 TV Writing Fellow with the National Hispanic Media Coalition. He has developed, optioned and written projects for several production companies, and his short film, The Station, premiered at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival.
"I think [being flexible with your story] is an important asset to have as a writer. Things can change and if you're closed off to it, and if you're not open to that change, your story might not go to that next level."
• Jimmy Mosqueda on Twitter