The WGA East’s second Showrunner Academy gets underway today, with the 31-member class taking part in a program designed to support television writer-producers, upper-level writers and new show creators in honing the skills necessary to become successful showrunners and TV industry leaders.
The Academy, which provides instruction from current showrunners and other industry professionals on a wide range of topics, is led by Diana Son (Genius: Aretha, Dirty John) and Frank Pugliese (House of Cards, Borgia).
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“Being a showrunner is so much more than being the creative voice of the show,” Son said in a statement. “It’s also managing a multimillion-dollar endeavor with over 100 employees. We’re bringing in accomplished and experienced showrunners who’re willing to share the breadth of their experience – the good, bad and the ugly – so new showrunners can have a head start on figuring out what kind of showrunner they’re going to be.”
This year’s class includes Nick Bernardone, Ashley Nicole Black, Elaine Del Valle, Anna Drezen, Mike Drucker, Brian Egeston, Trey Ellis, Halley Feiffer, Matt Fennell, Zayre Ferrer, James Flanagan, Kate Fodor, Graham Gordy, Sheri Holman, Branden Jacob-Jenkins, CA Johnson, Nick Jones. Wes Jones, Gwendolyn Parker, Jacqui Rivera, Celine Robinson, Madhuri Shekar, Jen Silverman, Brian Tucker, Siobhan Vivian, Donal Ward, Colleen Werthmann, Matthew Whitaker, Dave White, Tracey Scott Wilson, and Keisha Zollar. The guild says that while the Academy is specifically designed for “the unique landscape and needs of the East Coast,” instructors come from both coasts.
According to the guild, 42% of the participants are BIPOC, 55% are over the age 40, 15 identify as women, 15 identify as male and one person identifies as non-binary.
The 2022 Academy, which concludes in November, is scheduled to feature panels and workshops that include:
• “Things to Know Before Running Your First Series,” with Meredith Scardino, Laura Eason, Adam Wiesen and Patrick Coker.
• “Hiring Writers,” with Erica Saleh, Michelle King, RJ Fried and Derek Simonds.
• “The Executive and Showrunner Relationship,” with Alissa Bachner (Tomorrow Studio), Kira Innes (Bad Robot), Carina Sposato (Plan B), Odetta Watkins (Amazon Studios), and moderator Kelly Edwards (formerly HBO’s SVP of Talent Development).
• “Crisis and Risk Management for Showrunners,” with Glen Mazzara.
• “Managing a Comedy Writers Room,” with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch and Matt Williams.
• “Managing a Drama Writers Room,” with Beau Willimon and Jonathan Tropper.
• “Managing New Rooms – Zoom, Hybrid, Bicoastal, Mini, and More,” with Soo Hugh, Daniel Goldfarb and Antonio Campos.
• “Budgeting & Creativity,” with John Wells.
• “Greening Your Production,” with Earth Angels.
• “The Showrunner and 1st AD Relationship and On Set Safety,” with Kayse Goodell.
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