BUZZ: May 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.  

To list your member-related event or announcement on Buzz, contact the CALENDAR EDITOR.  

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

"Backbone" -- René Balcer's collaboration with Chinese artist Xu Bing -- will be on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through 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

Bobette Buster, veteran studio story strategist who has consulted at Pixar, Disney, Sony and Fox will make her storytelling secrets available in an exclusive engagement hosted by entertainment business trade at Fox Studios on Tuesday, June 2,
7 p.m. Buster’s seminar "Deconstructing Master Filmmakers" examines classic, world renowned filmmakers from Hitchcock to Spielberg to the Coen Bros. and Kurasawa, delving into reasons/analysis as to why films such as Argo, The King's Speech, E.T., The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, the Toy Story franchise and many other iconic movies still connect with audiences today. Get special discount now while space is available! Tickets: click SSN Storytellers Series Presents Bobette Buster "Hollywood's Best Kept Secret”. Visit for more information.

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.

Showrunner Brent Forrester (Love) invites members and writers to a free lecture at United Talent Agency (UTA) on TV writing and showrunning on Monday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. Forrester has written for The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Late Night with Conan, and HBO’s Mr. Show. A longtime writer and director for The Office on NBC, he co-ran that show in its final season. Forrester currently showruns Love, a Netflix show produced by Judd Apatow. Come hear his latest industry insights at the UTA Theater, 9336 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills. Street parking available on Civic Center Dr. He'd love to see you there!

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.

Weiko Lin (100 Days) brings us a new theater offering (75-minute one act) with Mommy’s Special, a special staged reading taking place Thursday, May 21, 7:30 p.m. in Little Tokyo. Set in the back lot of a downtown LA dive bar, a flamboyant barmaid tries to talk her last customer out of committing suicide. As dark pasts unveil, they discover the twisted ties between them. Featuring Elizabeth Sung, Stacy Fan and Weiko Lin; directed by Henry Chan (100 Days, Scrubs). Post-reading talk-back moderated by U.C. Riverside professor/playwright Robin Russin. Free admission, but must RSVP. Tateuchi Democracy Forum (next to Japanese American National Museum), 100 N. Central Ave., LA 90012. Meter street parking or area parking lots (varies $4-$7).

With Friends Like These, written and directed by Philip F. Messina, just opened on Amazon Prime with a 5-star rating! Messina is thrilled to see this comedy about the plight of second banana Hollywood actors being so well received and benefitting from new forms of distribution. The cast includes Adam Arkin, Robert Costanzo, Beverly D’Angelo, Elle MacPherson, Amy Madigan, Laura San Giacomo, David Strathairn, Jon Tenney, and Lauren Tom, with special appearances by Bill Murray and Martin Scorsese. The New York Times praised the film, “It plays like a triple episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Log on now with Amazon to watch!

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.

This summer, Deborah Pearl makes her directorial debut with her penned short film, “Getting Ed Laid,” starring Ed Asner, a funny "coming of OLD age" story written for Ed. Deborah's last short "In Confidence" directed by Mitch Levine, starring Beege Barkette will be in the upcoming 2015 Cannes Film Festival “Short Film Corner”. Her first short, "Waiting For Yvette," directed by Justin Ross, starring Wendie Malick aired on the Logo network. In addition to the short film’s webpage, please also visit which links to introductory video with Ed and Deborah.

Ken Pisani's original sci-fi graphic novel, COLONUS, is being published by Dark Horse Comics. COLONUS will be serialized across eight issues of the award-winning anthology Dark Horse Presents beginning with issue #10 on sale May 20 and available on Amazon. You can read the first chapter of COLONUS online here.

Former WGAW Board member Michael Russnow proudly announces two screening opportunities for Speedwriting, a short film which he wrote, directed, co-produced, and in which he has a lead role. A satire on casting and development workshops, Speedwriting appears as a Comedy Short official selection for the 2015 Temecula Independent Film Festival, screening Thursday, June 11, 9 a.m. Temecula venue information available upon ticket purchase, as no tickets are sold onsite. Catch Speedwriting a second time on Sunday, June 14, 5:45 p.m. with the WMM Fest (We Make Movies) division of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, at Three Clubs, 1123 Vine Street, Hollywood. Tickets available online and at door: WMMFest

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.

Bernie Su, who developed The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (with Hank Green), Emma Approved, and Frankenstein, M.D. series for the web has partnered with Versatility Media president and television producer David Tochterman to create Canvas Media Studios, whose goal is to “develop original, scripted, and multi-platform entertainment properties for brands, publisher, and traditional media companies”. Su and Tochterman will continue tapping the power of social media integration and promoting content across platforms in their storytelling methods, which have made existing web shows hits among fans. Within days of its launch, Canvas announced its first scripted series, Vanity.

Advisory Board Member Adam Westbrook encourages WGAW members to take a look at SeriesFest: Season One, a brand new festival for TV pilots, with support from Denver Film Society. Beyond providing excellent screening and panel opportunities with professionals from all aspects of the television industry, SeriesFest proudly introduces a competition for half-hour comedy scripts, in partnership with Parallel Entertainment and production company YayBig. Next submission deadline is Friday, May 15! Winner receives a development deal and opportunity to have a pilot presentation produced ($60,000 value). Finalists announced June 1 and will be flown to Denver (airfare, accommodations, and VIP badge included) during the festival (6/18-6/21) to participate in a two-day Storytellers lab that includes creative workshops with industry professionals and a reading of their pilot by professional actors in front of live audience. Submission details can be found here. Writers, we hope you will join us at Mile High!


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.

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.