Women in Film, LA and The Black List have officially announced their eight finalists and instructors who will be part of their inaugural television lab for female writers. The Episodic Lab will run for eight weeks beginning in August and will “emphasize both craft and professional development, in order to equip participants with the knowledge on how to build and sustain their careers, through programs on script development, workshopping sessions and Master Classes with established writers and industry executives.”
“The participants and instructors for this inaugural WIF/Black List Episodic Lab exemplify an incredible wealth and range of talent,” said WIF Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer. “This group of instructors, on top of their extraordinary qualifications, are passionately dedicated to helping women writers succeed in television and to raising the number of women working in writers rooms and running shows.”
The instructors include TV’s most experienced, talented and lauded writers, show creators, executive producers and supervising producers. They are: Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”), Mara Brock Akil (“Being Mary Jane”), Melissa Rosenberg (“Jessica Jones”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead), Stacy Rukeyser (“UnReal”), Monica Beletsky (“Fargo”), Lauren LeFranc (“Agents of Shield”) and Jenn Kaytin Robinson (“Sweet/Vicious”).
The Lab is sponsored by HBO and the participants will be hosted by The Black List website for free and have their final pilots read by a variety of agencies and networks.
“It was exceedingly difficult to narrow the hundreds of worthy scripts and writers to our final eight,” said The Black List’s Director of Events Megan Halpern of the selection process. “The bright side of such a difficult process is that it further proves the point that there are many talented women currently going unhired in this industry for reasons unrelated to their talent and writing. It’s unconscionable, and the Black List is proud to be part of changing it.”
The finalists include:
Name: Erica Bardin & Susan Graham
Series Title: “Shepherds”
Logline: When dedicated pharmaceutical researcher Madison Shepherds gets fired for questionable reasons, she decides to start an underground psychedelic therapy clinic with her terminally ill father and hippie best friend. They run the Shepherds Clinic from the attached garage in her parents’ Tucson home, unbeknownst to her mother, a Republican senator in the middle of a reelection campaign largely financed by big pharma.
Name: Gesha-Marie Bland
Series Title: “Legend of a Queen”
Logline: After the ultimate betrayal by her husband, an ambitious Queen challenges her misogynist peers and the Roman Empire to gain political power and avenge the rape of her daughters, until a final battle forces a choice between life, family and legacy.
Name: Denise Jaxon
Series Title: “Ten Miles to Sunset”
Logline: During 1960’s Los Angeles, in the twilight of the Black Panther party and the dawn of the CRIPS, three LAPD officers with troubled lives and conflicting backgrounds battle to patrol the streets of South Central LA from their own self-righteous viewpoint while fueling the historically divisive precinct and compromising their safety on the streets.
Name: Jean Lee
Series Title: “Stranger Pilgrim” Season 1 Title: “Robot Courtesan”
Logline: A sci fi anthology series about unlikely heroes who encounter the horrors and delights of both humanity and technology as they deal with innovations that blur the line between man and machine. Season 1 follows a subversive Pinocchio story about a man who creates the world’s most human-like robot for prostitution; only, the more he succeeds in making her human, the less control he has over her, until eventually she begins to wonder if she is capable of more…
Name: Jamie Mayer
Series Title: “Tomorrowland”
Logline: The staff of a high-end Malibu rehab center try to keep their own lives together while dealing with the needs of their wealthy, often celebrity, clients.
Name: Colleen McAllister
Series Title: “Pussies”
Logline: An animated comedy about a bunch of cats living in a cul-de-sac, confirming what we all know to be true, cats are assholes.
Names: Erin Weller & Kate Heckman
Series Title: “False Flag”
Logline: When a plane full of passengers disappears, Hester Scott, CIA, tracks down her former partner to help stop the terrorists responsible. The trouble is, her partner now works for them.
Name: Jeane Wong
Series Title: “The Thin Line”
Logline: A revisionist history series set in present-day America where segregation still exists.