Writing Fellowship Panel
Event Date: Saturday, March 9, 2013 || Speakers: Chris Bythewood, Tiffany N. Smith-Anoa’i, Frank Bennett Gonzalez & Ollie Ashtari-Larki || Check-in: 12:30 pm ||
Writers fellowships are one of the few avenues emerging writers have to access the industry. It is a real chance for writers to get read by industry professionals and develop their craft via intensive instruction and mentoring.
**The deadline has passed and RSVPs are now CLOSED for this event. Please view our calendar for upcoming events.
Check-in begins at 12:30 pm.
Event starts at 1:00 pm.
No Refunds. No Credits.
Chris Bythewood is currently Manager of Audience Strategy at Fox Group. The Audience Strategy department develops and implements transformative strategies to catalyze a cultural shift in the industry. As Manager, Chris works very closely with the Fox Development and Current departments in finding talent to staff and/ or develop. In addition, Chris also helped to create and manage the Fox Writers Intensive (FWI) and continues to craft and develop creative initiatives.
After graduating from the American Film Institute (AFI) in 2004, Chris wrote and produced a short film which traveled the country in numerous film festivals. He eventually landed at Fox Broadcasting Company working as Coordinator in the Alternative Programming department, but that was short lived as two weeks later he was offered a job as behind the scenes and EPK Videographer on the Fox Searchlight film “Secret Life of Bees”. Due to the writer’s strike, Chris took a position as Coordinator in Broadcast Standards and Practices returning to Fox Broadcasting Company. A year and a half later, Chris moved back into production as Writer’s Assistant on the Shawn Ryan show “The Chicago Code”. After the shows cancelling, Chris was asked back to Fox by Nicole Bernard, SVP of Audience Strategy to help create, form and find initiatives and talent which will assist the creative departments in finding new and/ or diverse voices for the Fox.
A native of Los Angeles, Tiffany N. Smith-Anoa’i has over 20 years of experience as a creative and dedicated communications professional.
Smith-Anoa’i joined CBS Entertainment as a Senior Publicist for primetime series in 2000. Currently Smith-Anoa’i serves as Vice President, Entertainment Diversity & Communications. In this position, she is directly responsible for the development and execution of communications strategies for diversity initiatives and programs across the entire company. Smith-Anoa’i works as a liaison with the writers/producers/directors and casting directors of the CBS Network and Studio to ensure diverse talent is being represented both in front of and behind the camera. Smith-Anoa’i maintains relationships with organizations that represent diverse talent within the entertainment industry with heavy interaction with agencies, coalitions, guilds and other workshop/fellowship programs to develop innovative methods of cultivating diverse TV talent and relationships. In this role she is widely respected among Diversity Coalitions and journalists throughout the industry for her assiduous work ethic and winning personality. Smith-Anoa’i is also considered a “go-to” executive for speaking engagements, mentoring and workshops on all issues that address the state of Diversity within the industry. Smith-Anoa’i oversees the annual CBS Diversity Symposium and is the force behind the CBS On Tour Mentoring Program, which sends executives into classrooms to educate students about potential careers in the entertainment industry.
Smith-Anoa’i also manages the internship and mentorship programs for CBS’ West Coast Communications office. Additionally, she still keeps part of her publicity roots, serving as a publicist for the annual Grammy Awards and other projects.
Frank Bennett Gonzalez currently serves as Director, Talent Development & Diversity, for Disney | ABC Television Group (DATG). Among his key responsibilities is overseeing the Disney | ABC Writing Program. Established as one of the premier writing programs in the television industry, Gonzalez leads the selection and development of Program writers for staffing across DATG. Program writers have staffed on series including ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, ABC Family’s GREEK and Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm. In addition to leading the writers program, Gonzalez is responsible for staffing non-program writers on DATG shows.
Prior to joining Disney | ABC, Gonzalez worked extensively in motion picture, video, and television production, as well as a stint in syndicated television marketing. His breadth of experience also spans independent short film and documentary production.
As one of the original team members of the Talent Development & Diversity department, Gonzalez helped create and launch various groundbreaking programs, including the Disney| ABC Writing Program, the DATG-DGA Directing Program, the ABC Casting Project, The IAIA Summer TV & Film Workshop, and The IMPACT Summit, The Native American IMPACT Workshops, podcasts, and speaker series.
In addition to the writing program, Gonzalez leads the department’s community outreach strategy to recruit for the Disney | ABC talent development programs. Some of the community organizations Gonzalez works with are East West Players, The Imagen Foundation, and The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). Gonzalez has also collaborated with the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, and Columbia University School of Arts.
A native of Southern California, Gonzalez earned a Master of Fine Arts from the UCLA Producer’s Program and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from UC Irvine. He is Vice Chair for the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), served as Co-Chair of the NALIP 2012 National Conference, and currently serves as Chair of NALIP’s programs committee. Additionally, he is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) Diversity Committee.
Ollie Ashtari-Larki began her career at Fox Studio in the Television Syndication department. Quickly she became passionate for the creative process, and quickly discovered being in the creative space was where she wanted to be. She began working on a number of television productions; Politically Incorrect, The Jamie Foxx Show, Candice Bergen syndicated talk show for the Oxygen Network, a documentary for Inside TVLand entitled “African Americans in Television. She also produced Scott Carter (EP, Politically Incorrect and Real Time with Bill Maher’s) one man show in Los Angeles, Aspen, London and Scotland.
She moved to the Talent Management side of the business and worked for King Artist Management, a Talent Management Company whose clientele at that time included Jamie Foxx, Lorenze Tate and Queen Latifah. Through the Management company she involved in several of his movie projects; Ray, Stealth, Collateral and Miami Vice.
She landed at Disney ABC 6 years ago and enjoys working with up and coming literary talent.
Join us on the Second Saturday of March at:
10815 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
As this is a professional event, we ask that you please arrive prior to the event start time.
Meeting Timeframe: 1:00 pm to approximately 3:00 pm
Plenty of free street parking!
Please remember to bring a picture ID and your SWN Membership Card!
Any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.