Bettina Moss (program originator and lead faculty) is an associate professor in the School of Professional Studies at National University. She has extensive experience in the entertainment business, having worked on independent and big budget films in casting and as a production coordinator. For over eight years she was Managing Story Editor and served as a development executive for HBO Films in Los Angeles. In addition to being a nationally published journalist Bettina sold her first co-written screenplay to producer Anant Singh of Distant Horizons Productions,. She received her MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University film school in New York City. She also recently completed an NEH funded COIL Fellowship to develop an internationally collaborative course entitled ‘Cinematic Storytelling Across Cultures.’ Taught in partnership with Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, she is now working on creating a specialization in international screenwriting for the MFA program.
Erik Bork is a professional screenwriter and producer best known for his work on the HBO miniseries BAND OF BROTHERS and FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, for which he wrote multiple episodes, and won two Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards for co-producing.
He has also sold original drama series pitches (to NBC and Fox), and worked on the writing staff of two primetime drama series. Erik has written feature screenplays on assignment for Universal, HBO, TNT, and Playtone (Tom Hanks), and has been employed as a writer by Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, 20th Century-Fox, Imagine Entertainment, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jersey Films, Original Film (Neil Moritz) and Dutch Oven (Doug Liman). Erik got his start as an assistant to Tom Hanks. Erik is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Elaine M. Chin is currently the president of production for film director Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious 4). They are based at Universal Studios in an exclusive producing deal. Previously, she served as an executive at 20th Century Fox and HBO Films. While at Fox, she supervised development and production on What Happens In Vegas and at HBO, she worked on Emmy Award winning cable films (The Gathering Storm, Live From Baghdad, Mrs. Harris) as well as, theatrically released films (Elephant, The Last Days, The Notorious Bettie Pageand Mongol). Prior to working at HBO, Elaine supervised development and production for British producers Damian Jones and Graham Broadbent (Welcome To Sarajevo, Millions). She began her career in the entertainment industry working in the motion picture department at the William Morris Agency. She received her B.A. at Wellesley College in Art History and Chinese Studies.
Asher Garfinkel has presented his workshop, The Art and Business of Story Analysis from Harvard to Hollywood. He is the author of the book Screenplay Story Analysis: The Art and Business (Allworth Press: 2007). Over the past twenty years, he has worked in production and development for studios such as New Line Cinema and Paramount, for independent companies such as Alliance Atlantis and Sun Moon & Stars Entertainment, for feature directors including Peter Medak and Brett Ratner, and for producer Paul Webster. As a story analyst, Asher has evaluated thousands of scripts for a multitude of producers, directors, actors, agents, managers, and writers. He is the founder of Readers Unlimited (www.readersunlimited.com), a Los Angeles-based screenplay coverage and consulting service, and regularly serves as a content analyst for Netflix. Asher graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in TV/Film Production and holds an MFA in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Aaron Iverson has written for CBS’s The District and HBO’s Deadwood. He is a native Chicagoan and a graduate of Columbia College and the University of Chicago. An award winning playwright Aaron’ s plays have been produced in Chicago, London and Los Angeles. He is a current member of the Actor’s Studio and emeritus member of Chicago Dramatists. He has had screenplays optioned by Forty Acres and A Mule and Bill Duke Productions and developed a television project with Tony To.
Janet Jeffries began her development career working at Mirage Enterprises for director/producer Sydney Pollack. Upon leaving Mirage, she joined Lawrence Bender Productions running development for film producer Lawrence Bender. Mr. Bender has produced Quentin Tarantino’s films, as well as independent features like Innocent Voices, The Chumscrubber, and the Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Along with film, Janet also works with Bender/Brown, the television department of the company, working on both network and cable projects.
Ken Kristensen distinguished himself at Columbia University Film School by being the only student to win all three screenplay awards with three different scripts. He was selected to both the Sundance and IFP labs, and worked as an associate producer under Gary Winick (Charlotte’s Web) and Mark Waters (Mean Girls).After graduating, he won the prestigious Academy Award Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. On the heels of that he was hired by Pulitzer-prize winner Michael Chabon to write a graphic novel spinoff of The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which will be published by Dark Horse Comics. Inspired by Chabon’s transmedia approach to developing content, Ken co-created Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth which will be published as a graphic novel by Image Comics, and is simultaneously being developed as an animated series. A former journalist (National Geographic, Hearst, Conde Nast), Ken’s cinematic storytelling abilities extend easily to documentary television. He produced four seasons of JAIL (Spike), and the one-hour off-road racing special Road Warriors (Spike). Past TV credits include COPS (Fox) and Inside American Jail (TruTV). Currently Ken is producing the sci fi series Futurestates (PBS) and a docu-drama The Collectors (TruTV) under EPs Claude Brooks and Morgan Langley, which will go into production later this year. For 2012, he is developing several transmedia properties with actor/producer Sam Worthington (Avatar), and writer/producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
Christopher Lockhart is a creative executive and filmmaker. A former New York City high school English teacher, Chris received his MFA in dramatic writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he was awarded the school’s Public Service Prize for his commitment to public education. His writing workshop The Inside Pitch was produced for TV and earned him an L.A. Area Emmy nomination. He is currently the Story Editor at WME (William Morris Endeavor) in Beverly Hills, the world’s largest talent agency. He started his career at ICM (International Creative Management), where he worked alongside legendary talent agent Ed Limato, looking for potential film projects for A list actors including Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Steve Martin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Downey, Jr. and Liam Neeson.
During his tenure at ICM, he ran the Story Department and supervised the Agent Trainee Program. He has consulted on hundreds of screenplays with studio executives, producers, actors and writers from around the world.
As a producer, he has developed and set-up several studio projects such as A Rhinestone Alibi at Paramount. He co-produced The Collector. (2009) and its sequel The Collection. (2012). He wrote and produced the documentary Most Valuable Players. (2010), which played at film festivals around the world and won the Documentary Channel Audience Award. at the Nashville Film Festival. It premieres on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in September 2011. Chris is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Writers Guild of America, West and the Producer Guild of America.
James Napoli is an award-winning filmmaker whose short subjects have been shown in the U.S. and internationally. As the Head Writer of New Frequency, he created well over a hundred new plays in every genre for the LA-based live radio show that is still broadcast nationally on XM/Sirius. Several of his own original screenplays have been optioned by independent producers and he has ten years experience as a story analyst for distribution and production companies, as well as for directors and actors in the industry. James completed his graduate studies in the UK, at the London Film School. He has also written and directed original material for the stage, and contributed to such diverse mediums as television animation and the world of books, having just completed his fourth humor title for a major publisher.
Robert Potter - As a longtime reader for HBO Films in Los Angeles, Robert has written script notes on Emmy-winning projects including Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Truman, assisted award-winning writers such as Danny Strong, and evaluated thousands of screenplays. He has also been a story analyst for Castle Rock, Disney and many others. Robert’s screenplays have reached the semifinals or finals of fifteen competitions and he received the Geri Ashur Award for Screenwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts for The Iron Hand. Most recently, Robert won PianoFight ProductionsShortLived 3.0, the nation’s largest audience-judged playwriting competition, for his one-act Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Three Minutes.’ PianoFight premiered Robert’s full-length play ‘Slumpbuster’ in Los Angeles and San Francisco in February 2011. Robert graduated with Honors with a BFA in Film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and later studied sit-com writing at the Warner Brothers Workshop.
Stephanie K. Smith is a graduate of both NYU and USC Film Schools (with a BFA in Creative Writing/Dramatic and an MFA in Screenwriting, respectively), and has an active career writing for Television, Film and New Media. She has penned pilots for CBS-Paramount, Fox TV Studios and The CW (one of which IRIS EXPANDING, was made into a network presentation in 2008) and recently finished a feature length adaptation of the YA novel series CHALET GIRLS for Occupant Films (The Wackness, Peep Show, Better Living Through Chemistry) and Michael Eisner’s Vuguru. In addition to writing a remake of Disney’s FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR, her script PROMISES was made into the film SEX AND THE USA which premiered at the 2008 Festival du Cinea Americain in Deauville, France. She has two television series in active development: an original drama called THE VIRTUES OF PATIENCE (also with Occupant Entertainment for Hulu) and a supernatural drama called WRECKED with producers Ray Ricord and Emmy Award Winner Erik Jendresen (Band of Brothers) of PilotHouse Pictures. In addition, she ghost wrote on a popular YA novel series and has created and produced two transmedia pilot presentations with FTVS (in 2007 and 2008), as well as writing for sites as diverse as National Lampoon, Suicide Girls, California Psychics and The Cradle, where she chronicled her pregnancy. She is represented by manager Jay Sanders, attorney Karl Austen and Paradigm.
Sebastian Twardosz has been very fortunate to work with leading companies in both film and television for the past sixteen years. He is currently a partner in Circus Road Films which advises and represents emerging filmmakers. Previously, he was a senior acquisitions executive for Allumination FilmWorks (a division of ContentFilm) which specialized in the domestic distribution and foreign sales of independently produced feature films. While there he managed one of the company’s main accounts - a licensing agreement with the Slamdance Film Festival. Before that, Sebastian was the head of development for a Paramount-based production company called Craftsman Films which developed numerous studio projects, including the feature film reinvention of the Star Trek franchise. For three years, he worked in comedy and drama development at Touchstone Television, the TV production division of the Walt Disney Company and ABC, where he staffed on six produced pilots.
He also spent four years with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s production company as an assistant and development executive from 1995 through 1999, participating in the making of Mission Impossible 1-2 and Without Limits. Sebastian started in the business as an agent’s assistant in the motion picture department at ICM. He graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His short film, Silent Rain, received a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Student Emmy. Sebastian recently co-produced the upcoming independent feature Small Town Saturday Night starring Chris Pine, and he has been an adjunct professor at both UCLA and USC teaching about the art and business of film since 2006.
Evette Vargas was heralded by the New York Times as an Artist To Watch, and is an award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Digital-Reign, a transmedia production company. The company’s “creativity guru,” Evette oversees the development of original content in the areas of film, television, mobile apps, games, comics, animation, interactive and more. Evette writes in two areas: action and comedy. Evette’s writing is both commercial and substantive, presenting character-driven, high-concept plots with heart and intelligence. Evette’s resume contains notable writing and directing works, such as mobile apps for Sherlock Holmes 2; web games for The Fast And The Furious; trailers, teasers and interactive media for Madonna.com; and web games for the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. Evette’s recent success includes the writing, directing and producing of her award-winning sci-fi action thriller web and TV series, DARK PROPHET, starring Henry Rollins (Sons Of Anarchy), Josh Meyers (That ‘70s Show), and rising-star, Chase Fein (Suburgatory). KINGNAPPED, Evette’s comedy script, won a Top 30 spot in The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting and has attracted A-list talent. Evette’s award-winning one-hour action adventure pilot, UNDONE, has been sought for option. Evette’s action thriller feature, WITHER, was a Sundance Film Festival Screenwriting Lab Finalist. Evette was born in New York, where she graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School Of The Arts with a degree in filmmaking. Evette earned her MFA in Screenwriting and Showrunning from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, Television & Digital Media. Evette learned to tell stories around the dinner table, where the imagination ruled. With a repertoire spanning film, TV, digital content, mobile, games, comics, music and more, Evette is by no means a prototype cookie-cutter writer and creator - she is Hollywood’s new breed of multimedia talent.