ATX and The Black List partnered with Bad Robot, Carlton Cuse Productions, FX, Sony and USA Network on a new writing program, designed to find TV writers for staffing consideration across participating networks, studios and production companies.
The contest, which was announced this January, drew over 1,000 applicants. 16 winning scribes have been selected.
To be considered, writers had to submit their original pilots to The Black List’s website. The strongest pieces — both half-hour and hourlong content — were shared with studios, networks and production companies that were tasked with choosing writers with whom they’d like to work.
This year marks the inaugural contest for the Austin-based television festival, which kicks off today.
“ATX Television Festival strives to support TV writers — both established and up-and-comers — not just through the festival itself, and our year-round programming, but through key partnerships such as this with The Black List, so we thought this was the perfect announcement to kick off year five,” said ATX Television Festival co-founders and exec directors Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson. “We view television as an important and impactful medium, which is stronger when it includes a variety of voices and perspectives, and we hope this partnership grows and thrives over the years as a resource to both writers and productions.”
Black List founder Franklin Leonard commented: “As the volume of episodic content explodes, so too does the need for great writers to write it. Suffice it to say that that talent exists in places for more varied than the industry assumes, and we’re overjoyed to bring it to the fore so it can receive the notice it deserves. We couldn’t be happier to be working with the ATX Television Festival to accomplish this goal.”
Here are the winners of The Black List and ATX writing program:
CHRIS BASLER, “THE GOVERNESS”
Chris Basler grew up in Hong Kong and Washington, D.C. His passion for TV dates back to high school, where he painted an oil portrait of Jack Bauer for an art class. While working as a copywriter for a marketing firm, he began attending the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with an MFA in Dramatic Writing and the top award for TV writing. Since moving to LA, he’s written for the Blumhouse-produced horror game show series Hellevator, and is currently the script coordinator on the A&E series Bates Motel. He’s developed scripts with Fox TV Studios and Intrigue Entertainment, and a short he wrote, GrO2w , was featured in the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. He has written twelve pilots across numerous genres, including a steampunk Western, a demonic possession procedural, a sci-fi reimagining of Dante’s Inferno, and a turn-of-the-century gothic thriller.
ANGELA BERLINER, “MATRYOSHKA”
Angela Berliner is a nationally produced playwright and co-founder of L’Enfant Terrible Theater Company. With L’Enfant Terrible, she co-produced several of her critically acclaimed Shakespeare adaptations — transforming the Bard’s darkest tragedies into half-hour comedies appropriate for children and adults alike. This resulted in Los Angeles’ first-ever Shakespeare festival for all ages — The Fun Family Festival of Tragedy which ran in repertory several of these adaptations. Angela started her playwriting career with the Actors’ Gang Theater. Angela’s original pilot “The Recovery” was chosen for the We For She Write Her list that features the top 15 scripts that “best represent top quality, industry-vetted, female-driven content.” Her spec for NBC’S “Hannibal” won 1st place in the TVWriter.com spec contest. Her original pilot “Matryoshka” was a finalist at the C21 International Drama Summit. Angela was born and raised in Petaluma, California but now lives in Los Angeles with her twin sister Jordana.
ALEX CHEVASCO & TONY DUNOYER, “TAINTED”
Alex Chevasco, screenwriter and creative director for IncuBeta Films, has completed six screenplays/teleplays, including the television series “Tainted.” His work has also placed at the top of The Black List and was selected by them in 2013 for the inaugural Sundance TV Writing Lab. Chevasco also has a play, “Adam,” currently in rehearsals in London and completed two episodes of the independent web series, My Secret Friend, which was filmed in 2012. Chevasco is a modern history graduate of England’s Oxford University and a former French and English literature teacher. A native of London, fluent in French and with Spanish heritage, Chevasco is a dual UK-US citizen and lives in New York City.
Tony Dunoyer is the founder and co-owner of IncuBeta Films. He is also an Executive Producer of the independent film “Premium,” a co-production between Griot Pictures, Double7Film and Palm-Star, starring Zoe Saldana. Dunoyer is co-writer of “Vanished,” a French/English psychological thriller feature optioned by an Australian producer in 2007. A U.S. permanent resident and French citizen, Dunoyer currently lives in New York City. A native of the island of Guadeloupe, his work on “Tainted” represents the fulfillment of a profound passion — that of bringing to colorful life the uniquely beautiful landscape and rich history of his little known island. As a formerly longtime resident of Paris, Dunoyer’s intimate familiarity with the city will be brought to bear on “Tainted’s” subsequent seasons, set there and in the gorgeous palaces of Versailles.
GABRIEL DURÁN, “WARDENCLYFFE”
Gabe grew up on the mean streets of St. Paul’s School – an elite boarding academy in New Hampshire where his mother worked as a therapist. Gabe has developed sitcom pilots with several production companies, including Latin World Entertainment and Rampante Inc. He developed his pilot “Gamers” with Amazon Studios. He attended the CBS Diversity Showcase Workshop and was invited to the NHMC TV Writers Program. He was a finalist for the NBC Late Night Writers’ Workshop, the Fox Comedy Script Competition and the WB Writers Workshop. He formerly worked as a humor columnist for MysecretBoston.com and his work can be found in numerous literary magazines. He’s written promotional videos for features from Universal and Paramount and digital shorts for AwesomenessTV and Dreamworks Animation. Gabe studied film and history at Boston College and Improv at UCB. He currently resides in Los Angeles and works as a copywriter for Edelman.
JONATHAN FLICKER, “DOUBLE EFFECT”
Born and raised in New York City, Flicker initially planned on a career in the financial world, but that all changed when he went to work for an executive who promised to make him rich, but instead had him engaging in work that would have put them both in hot water with the SEC. Flicker realized this wasn’t for him, and relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for writing. He took a number of odd jobs in the entertainment industry and directed some regional commercials to support himself while he continued to write. Flicker recently sold his first screenplay, “Unraveled,” inspired by his experience on Wall Street.
SERGIO GUERRA, “CREATURE COMFORT”
Sergio Guerra’s fondness for suspense and the unsettling formed at an early age, the end result of too many impressionable Twilight Zone marathons. Believing his native San Franciscans to be insufficiently odd, he ventured eastward to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied writing, directing, and insomnia. After being exiled from New York for being younger, taller, and wittier than his older brother, he found his way back to California. Apparently you just keep traveling west. Setting up shop in his current residence of Los Angeles, he enjoys reading, writing, and being scared of strangers.
KATE HECKMAN & ERIN WELLER, “FALSE FLAG”
Kate Heckman was born in the mid-80’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An introverted only child, she learned to use her imagination as a form of entertainment. Eventually she made friends and in 1994 she wrote and directed her first film Little Trekkies, starring most of Mrs. McGovern’s third grade class. Ten years later she studied Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Her web series The Story of Evan and Kate was a finalist in the National Student Production Awards, sponsored by College Broadcasters, Inc. In 2008, she followed her dream to Los Angeles where she met her writing partner Erin Weller, and together they wrote the web series Social Animals. She currently works as the assistant to showrunner Dean Lorey and co-wrote an episode of truTV’s new scripted comedy series Those Who Can’t. Kate is still a Trekkie.
Erin Weller grew up in Spokane, Washington, to a big Irish-Catholic family whose favorite thing was talking. From them, Erin learned the art of storytelling. While studying film at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Erin’s thesis, The Cannibal Ad won Best of the Fest and Best Narrative Short in the Northwest Projections Film Festival, and screened at the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. Over the past decade, Erin has worked in almost every department comprising a film crew. From the camera department, to indie movie gaffer, to traveling the country as a reality tv coordinator, Erin brings an extensive knowledge of filmmaking with her when she writes. She co-wrote and directed the web series Social Animals, and more recently, Erin shadowed director Russell Fine on the set of USA’s Graceland. She lives with her wife in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
JACOB ISSER, “DONNY AND NOAH GET A CLUE” & “HOSERS”
Growing up in Ashland, Oregon, Jacob got his start in the entertainment business at an early age, as a young actor with the world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in Cognitive Psychology, he has sold, optioned, and written projects on assignment, including original feature “Danny Graves’ Man Cave,” sold to Joe Roth and Sony Pictures, graphic novel “The Expendable One,” adapted for Intrepid Pictures, and “How the French Do It,” a short story for Nikki Finke’s HollywoodDementia.com. His pilot “Hosers” was recently presented as a live reading at the Skirball Center in New York, in association with Fast Company and Black List Live. Currently residing in Los Angeles, he is a Tracking Board Top Ten Finalist, Script Pipeline Top Six Finalist, and was named to the 2015 Young & Hungry List.
NICK KEETCH, “BORDERLAND”
Nick Keetch is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter from London. In 2014 he was invited to attend the inaugural Sundance Episodic Story Lab where he developed his pilot, “Borderland,” under the supervision of award-winning showrunners and producers. Nick has worked as a writers’ assistant on “Rogue” for DirecTV and “The Assets” for ABC.
JOHN LAMBERT, “CARNE”
John Lambert is quickly coming into his own as a fresh voice with a unique perspective and keen insight into humanity, with an often dark twist. He’s a southeastern boy. He was born in Gainesville, FL, and after some formative years spent in Mobile, AL and Satellite Beach, FL, he returned to Gainesville to study economics at The University of Florida. While he sometimes wishes he would have chosen an academic path more befitting of a career in the creative industry, he has since realized that his alternative path, selling surgical implants in Tampa, FL for the past eight years, has beget him valuable life experience that lends itself to his true passion and that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. Regardless of past career choices, John has always had various creative outlets for as long as he can remember. His parents, a cardiologist and a folk artist, instilled a unique combination of intelligence and creativity that is evident in his writing.
TONY NICHOLS, “QUARTERS”
Tony is descended from a long line of compulsive storytellers. His own story started in Thompson, Manitoba, a small town in northern Canada where tourists stop for lunch on their way to take pictures of polar bears. Since then, he’s lived in a fishing village on the coast of Japan, contracted malaria in an African jungle, and enjoyed a glamorous and exciting career writing commercials for garbage bags, yoga pants and cat litter. When he’s not busy writing and telling stories, Tony plays the trumpet in rock and roll bands. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
JONNI REMMLER, “EVE”
Jonni Remmler is a German-Brazilian TV and screenwriter born in Switzerland and raised in the Spanish Canary Islands. In 2008, he moved to London to complete a BFA in Film and Television Production, which led to a few years of working in the advertising industry and the broadcast department for the 2012 London Olympics. He subsequently relocated to New York, where he received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts in 2015. He currently lives in Los Angeles and is working on several projects in film and television.
PAULA SABBAGA, “PROS AND CONS”
Paula Sabbaga was raised catholic by atheist parents because they believed that would help her get into a good school. A Brazilian native, she got a degree in film, and a few months before graduation, joined the writing staff of “Plantão do Tas”, Cartoon Network’s first live-action series in Latin America. After realizing she had used all of the Portuguese words she knew, Paula decided it was time to challenge herself and join the Screenwriting MFA program at USC. During her time there she lived in an old victorian house with ten people she met on Craigslist. The ad said they had free WiFi, so that seemed reasonable. After finishing USC, Paula worked as an assistant at WME, as a writer’s PA on ABC’s “Nashville” and the CW’s “The Messengers” (CW), and as showrunner’s assistant on Freeform’s “Guilt.” In the future, she hopes to turn soccer into the most popular sport in America. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
RONIEL TESSLER, “HUSKY”
Roniel was born and raised in Potomac, MD, where he grew up with a misconstrued opinion of himself as “cool” because his dad was the local rabbi and knew the code to the back office. He graduated with a theatre degree and concentration in pre-med from the University of Maryland, and it’s here he wrote his first television pilot. His quirkier facts include being photographed with his doppleganger for an exhibit on lookalikes and being his own first cousin (you think it’s impossible, but just wait ‘til you hear the story). He currently lives in New York City, and spends his time going to the theatre, creating monthly music playlists, tutoring Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, learning violin, and unabashedly sporting white Vans.
TRISTAN THAI, “GOLDEN GATE”
Tristan Thai is a genre feature film and television writer from Los Angeles and the Bay Area whose first job in Hollywood was writing a horror screenplay for legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman. Since then, he’s written and produced content for companies like G4TV, Disney, and AOL, including episodes of the video game and comic book documentary series “Icons.” Tristan was selected as a CAPE New Writers Screenwriting Fellow for his feature “Shadows of Hiroshima.” In 2014, his pilot “Blood Ties” received Top Drama honors by the Tracking Board’s Launch Pad. He was also named onto 2014’s Young and Hungry List for emerging film and television writers on the verge. His pilot script for “Golden Gate” came from his time working in digital forensics for the Stanford University Archives where he found inspiration to write about the rich and violent history of the early days of San Francisco.