After over 1,200 submissions, The Black List and WIF have chosen the participants of the sixth annual Black List x WIF Episodic Lab. Six pilots from eight writers have been chosen to participate in the professional development-focused lab which includes master classes, pitch coaching, mentoring, and introductions to television industry representatives to help build writing careers.
Since its launching six year’s ago, the Lab’s alumni have gone on to work successfully in television and the industry, with over 80% having representation during or following the Lab, 44% staffed on television shows, and the majority continuing to work in entertainment.
“We’re so proud of our participants, past and present, who continue to persevere in an incredibly competitive landscape,” said WIF Director of Programs and Lab co-manager Maikiko James. “And we’re privileged to have supported them, not only during their time in the Lab, but throughout the years, as the one predictable component to success in this industry is sticking with it.”
The Black List’s Megan Halpern, who runs the Lab alongside James added, “We’re thrilled to have built a community, not just of writers, but of mentors and advisors that return year after year to support these up-and-coming writers, and cannot thank them enough for making the Lab what it is, particularly during the past year as the program morphed due to the pandemic. We could not have done it without them.”
Advisors and instructors of the Lab over the years have included Monica Beletsky (Parenthood), Carly Wray (Watchmen), Sono Patel (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Glen Mazzara (The Dark Tower), Kira Snyder (The Handmaid’s Tale), Erika L. Johnson (The Good Lord Bird), and Lauren LeFranc (Impulse).
The Lab kicked off this week, and will run a hybrid format of both virtual and in-person sessions through November 2021.
Read bios about this year’s Episodic Lab participants and details about their projects.
Lydia Caradine is a writer and actress from Cleveland, OH. She has a background in development and was previously staffed in a comedy mini-room. She writes TV and features: dramedy, historical drama, comedy, and adult animation. Caradine has a B.S, in Mass Communications, is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., performed with Monkey Butler Improv, and studied at Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre. Her obsession with corsets and alternate historical POVs inspired the creation of “Polite Society,” which placed in the 2021 ScreenCraft Pilot Competition. She’s repped by Sydney Blanke/Colleen Washington at Fourth Wall Management.
Project: Polite Society
An ambitious, wealthy young woman balances being young, gifted, and black at the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance with the unfortunate realities of racism, colorism, and gender inequality in the early twentieth century. Collette is going to roar, ‘20s or no ‘20s.
Christan Leonard and Mads Gauger
Christan Leonard and Mads Gauger are bleeding-heart liberals and recovering stand up comedians from Seattle, WA. They met six years ago at a hate-free comedy show and started writing together four years later (which is about average for how long it takes to make friends in the PNW). Together they write socially relevant, queer-centered comedies inspired by their nonprofit backgrounds and northwest roots. They are the first writing team to take both first and second at the Austin Film Festival Pitch Competition and are thrilled to be bringing their brand of screwball comedy to the Black List x WIF Episodic Lab.
Project: That Woman
Ten years after an affair with a married congressman ruined her life, Zoe Bauer decides to get back at him the only way she knows how, by running against him for office.
Marisa Hardwicke was born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley, where she spent her after-school hours doodling on whiteboards at her parents’ startup and summers with her family in Mexico. Wrestling between the two cultures, Hardwicke expressed herself in writing, crafting relationship-driven dramas and grounded science fiction. She attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing. In 2019 her script ¿Seguro? was a quarterfinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship. In 2020, Hardwicke was a finalist for Universal Studios’ Writing Program. She is repped by Greg Shephard and Nadya Panfilov at Writ Large.
After a top VC firm announces they’ve set aside money to fully fund one lucky female-founded tech venture, two ex-Stanford roommates and former business partners find themselves once again at odds as they compete to get their products fully funded.
Alex Rubin writes about broken families trying to put themselves back together. She was a resident of SPACE on Ryder Farm and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, a Big Vision Empty Wallet Playwriting Fellow and Annenberg Fellow, and the winner of The Writers Digest Award in Playwriting. Her work has placed in the Austin Film Festival, Final Draft Big Break Competition, ScreenCraft Competition, and more. Rubin has written for iHeartRadio’s “Solve” and “The Jackie Cox Variety Show” on PEG. She holds an MFA from University of Southern California’s John Wells Division of Writing for Film and Television.
Project: Lost Hope Hotel
The most haunted hotel in the world is in Lost Hope, Pennsylvania, plagued with spirits since Crazy Lainey died there ten years ago. But the secret Katie, manager of the hotel and daughter of the legendary Lainey, has kept for a decade is… it’s all fake.
Nalini Sharma spent her childhood on naval bases in India, grew up in small towns across the U.S. and is currently in Los Angeles. She is a writer and performer across all mediums. She was selected for the legendary Steve Martin’s comedy writing Masterclass and as a performer for the CBS comedy showcase in 2018. She co-wrote A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way To India, a hit sketch show with sold-out runs at the Second City Theater. Her short film Garbage was an official selection at HBO’s Women In Comedy Festival 2019. Her dark comedy pilot, Crooked, was a semifinalist at the 2019 Screencraft Writing Fellowship Award.
A successful Indian American diplomat returns home to Atlanta only to discover her uber-dysfunctional family in ruins, forcing her to stay and fix their lives while possibly getting a life of her own…all before she has to freeze her eggs and shit.
Hannah Stoddard and Jenny Ulmer
Hannah Stoddard & Jenny Ulmer are an L.A.-based writing duo defined by their female-led dark comedies and unshakeable love of Judy Greer. Stoddard hails from Las Vegas and possesses a knack for magical period pieces. Ulmer grew up in South Dakota and has a flair for the dark and twisted. Together, they form a unique partnership with an appetite for transgressive women, impassioned second winds, and reliably unpredictable plots. Their genre-blending scripts have become finalists at Austin Film Festival, the AFF Pitch Competition, and the Josephson Entertainment Fellowship. (Also, Judy, if you’re reading this, please call us.)
Project: Dark Horse
Life in the ‘80s goes from glam to gore when a washed-up circus star accidentally kills the ringmaster. Packing up her family—and the corpse—she flees to her estranged mother’s lavish estate, only to discover that when it comes to disposing of bodies, mother knows best.