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Industry 101: Writer → Screenwriter

PEN Humanitas 720x480 graphic for Intro to ScreenwritingThis event is part of You Are A WriterInspired by beloved components of PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship and Humanitas’s New Voices Fellowship, the series will introduce topics that are foundational to understanding and launching a television and film writing career as a literary writer.

As a literary writer, you’ve spent years navigating the publishing industry. You’ve done your time publishing in journals, working freelance, writing a book or two. You’re thinking you want to write a screenplay now or maybe work in a writer’s room (they buy you lunch), but there’s Hollywood jargon that you don’t quite understand yet and elements of the business that confuse you. What’s the difference between a manager and an agent? How do you land your first job? What do producers actually do all day? What the heck is a slugline, and why do people fight about bolding them? And pitching? Why are we talking about the script when you can just read the thing?! Find out all this and more in this panel discussion about industry fundamentals between writers, agents, and managers who have facilitated or made the leap to writing for film and television.

This virtual event will start at 5pm PT / 7pm CT / 8pm ET.

Recordings will not be available following the event. Please sign-up for the PEN America newsletter for information regarding future workshops and events.



Chris L. Terry photoChris L. Terry is the author of the novel Black Card, about a mixed-race punk bassist with a Black imaginary friend. NPR called Black Card, “hilariously searing” and listed it as one of the best books of 2019. He is currently adapting it for television. Terry was born in 1979 to a Black father and white mother. He lives in LA, where he teaches creative writing for UCLA Extension, and is currently editing the anthology Black Punk Now with Afro-Punk founder James Spooner. His recent writing has appeared in The Root, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Razorcake, Catapult, and theLAnd magazine.

photo of Deesha Philyaw

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; the collection was also a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Blackchurch, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, dead housekeeping, Apogee Journal, Catapult, Harvard Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Baltimore Review, TueNight, Ebony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Charles Yu is the author of four books, including Interior Chinatown, which won the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. He has written for shows on HBO, FX, AMC, Facebook Watch, and Adult Swim. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, and Harper’s Magazine, among other publications.

headshot of David Vang
Daniel Vang
was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. As the oldest of five boys, Daniel found his calling in entertainment when his younger brothers would all ask him to pick out the weekend rentals from Blockbuster. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in Film and TV. Daniel got his start as an assistant at William Morris Agency. He is currently a literary manager at 3 Arts and represents writers and directors working on numerous TV shows and studio movies. In his spare time, Daniel has a dracaena houseplant that he waters twice a month.

Jason Richman is the Co-Head of the Media Rights Group at United Talent Agency where he represents an expansive and diverse roster of clients including Celeste Ng, Erik Larson, Stacey Abrams, Anderson Cooper, Charles Yu, Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, Elin Hilderbrand, Jia Tolentino, Samantha Irby, Tuca & Bernie creator Lisa Hanawalt, Lodge 49 creator Jim Gavin, Shrill co-creator Lindy West, The New Yorker journalist & Pulitzer Prize winner Ben Taub, and more. Richman also represents The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and WNYC Studios in addition to the estates of Ray Bradbury and Norman Mailer. Prior to joining UTA, Richman graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English. 

This program is co-presented by Humanitas and the Writers Guild Foundation and made possible by the generous support of the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture and the

Pasadena Literary Alliance

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