BUZZ: April 2015  

The WGA does not endorse any particular method or approach to screenwriting. Classes listed below are not Guild-sponsored events. To see a list of all upcoming Guild-sponsored events, go to the GUILD CALENDAR.  

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For a list of special opportunities for members, go to our SPECIAL OFFERS page.

Mara Brock Akil (creator, Being Mary Jane, The Game, Girlfriends) and Salim Akil (The Game, Soul Food) join other WGAW writers at the sixth annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference (April 11-12), as they speak on their working partnership in episodic comedy television. David S. Goyer (Constantine, Man of Steel, Flash Forward, The Dark Knight [Story], Batman Begins) will deliver a master class on his past work, his creative process and personal insights on the industry. WGA Showrunner Training Program (SRTP) Chair, 2015 WGAW Morgan Cox Award recipient, and Emmy-winning Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives, Alias, Northern Exposure) imparts wisdom on the ins-and-outs of transitioning from a writer to an episodic showrunner, with separate overview from SRTP Director Carole Kirschner sharing information on how and why a project is greenlit, who the players are, and how to pitch for the U.S. market. Writers are welcome to visit TSC for more information and registration.

"Backbone" -- René Balcer's collaboration with Chinese artist Xu Bing -- will be on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from December 20, 2014, to July 26, 2015. The work, a multi-media installation featuring blues artists Captain Luke and Big Ron Hunter, is an epic poem in praise of the black women who worked the tobacco fields of Virginia. On view at the Hammer Building, level 2 as part of the retrospective "The Language of Xu Bing", the exhibition is included in general admission. LACMA: 5905 Wilshire Ave., Los Angeles 90036

Shem Bitterman (Whitney, Betty & Coretta) is running a workshop for playwrights called THE PLAY LA Workshop, in conjunction with HUMANITAS and Center Theatre Group. Accepted writers (up to five) will receive a $1,500 stipend for the year and meet monthly while developing their plays "from the ground up". Theatre professionals will visit throughout the year. At the end of sessions (May 2015 to March 2016), one play from the workshop will be selected for presentation in the PLAY LA Festival at The Kirk Douglas Theatre. For details, visit the Humanitas page. Submissions are due by Wednesday, April 15. Plays only!

Stanley Dyrector’s new one act play Ira and Max which starred Ed Asner as “Max” can be preordered for its June 23 arrival via link at OneActPlayDepot.

Deirdre Hanssen invites all WGAW members to Santa Barbara for monthly “First Fridays” networking lunches. Email Deirdre directly to check whether a gathering is scheduled in the upcoming month, time, location (usually Stella Mare’s French Country Cuisine in Montecito), and to be added to the email reminder list.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno veteran, 2015 Writers Guild Award winner (Comedy/Variety – Specials) and seven-time Emmy nominee Jon Macks will be in conversation with legendary political consultant/speechwriter/TV analyst Robert Shrum at Goethe Institut (LA), on Thursday, April 23, 7:30 p.m., followed by book signing. In his new release MONOLOGUE: What Makes America Laugh…Before Bed (Blue Rider Press, 4/21/15), Macks explores the world of late night monologues and comedy, as well as the surprisingly wide influence these comedy shows and their hosts wield over life in the United States. Aided and abetted by a generous sampling of truly funny jokes, Macks shines a fierce, flippant light on the quietly powerful post-prime-time world. A program of Writers Bloc Presents. Goethe Institut, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100, Los Angeles. $1 Parking in building with event validation (enter Courtyard Place off Wilshire) after 6 p.m.

David Misch hosts two exciting opportunities: on Sunday, May 3, 2:00 p.m., Misch talks about "Comedy and Morality: Satire, Censorship and Dirty Words" at the Skirball Cultural Center. Click HERE for Skirball tickets and information. Then on Friday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m., David teaches "The World of Musical Satire" through UCLA Extension, everything from Weird Al to Wagner, Bernstein to Python. Five weekly classes, ending June 19. For registration information, please visit UCLA Extension webpage HERE.

In the spirit of fostering creativity, building friendships, and maybe lowering BP by venting industry frustrations, Fred Shafferman invites all writers to join a weekly indoor full-court WGA basketball game. Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. in Hollywood and Sundays 9:30 a.m. in North Hollywood. Email Fred for details.


WGF: Do You Have Children’s Books?
To schedule a delivery or drop-off of your children’s books, contact the Foundation at (323) 782-4692. The Writers Guild Foundation is looking for children’s books to distribute to needy parents and children in the Los Angeles area through organizations such as Sojourn Services for Battered Women & Children, The Children's Bureau of Southern California, Prototypes (Domestic Violence Shelter), and School On Wheels. Pick-ups may be possible for large donations. Visit for more information about Writers Guild Foundation programs.

Diversity Attribute Directory Now Functional!
It is now possible to search for a WGA member according to self-identified diversity attributes. The information is available through the WGAW website using this link: This online directory of writers from diverse backgrounds can be used as a resource for producers, executives, directors and other industry professionals. To be included, members must grant permission for publication of their diversity attributes. Sign in or create your MyWGAW Account via: Go to the "change attributes" link on the left side of your myWGAW homepage, and click Yes under each “OK to publish”. For technical support with your My WGAW Account, call (323) 782-4885, M-F, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.