Writers Program 2017-2018
When Evan Dodson was younger, his parents encouraged his passion to be an artist, despite it being against the norm in Baltimore, Maryland. His talent eventually got him accepted into specialized art schools and the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. It was while attending SVA, Evan discovered another form of expression: writing. It was then the published illustrator traded in his paintbrush for a pen and moved to Los Angeles to study screenwriting. As the youngest of six in a tight-knit household, Evan’s writing often explores the bonds of family and the actions that often define the people closest to you as they grow up and let go of the past. Since moving to LA, Evan became the youngest writer to have been featured on The Black List in 2016 and is a recent graduate of USC’s John Wells Writing for Screen and Television Program.
Hailing from just outside Atlanta, GA, Nancy Duff is a self-professed southern belle, world traveler, and savvy fact finder which all have come in handy when writing her specialty: the often underestimated yet strong and fearless female character. As a former VFX coordinator, Nancy’s writing incorporates action with a dose of sci-fi as she hopes to one day write the female “Bond” or “Bourne” feature. Nancy’s scripts have placed in screenwriting competitions such as the Austin Film Festival, Nicholl Fellowship, 2017 Page Awards and Final Draft Big Break. She is a recipient of the ScreenCraft Fellowship and was most recently a grand prize winner at the Napa Valley Film Festival where she participated in a weeklong Artist in Residency Program. She is a graduate of Emory University with a degree in Finance.
Before moving to Los Angeles for the Universal Writers Program, long-time Atlanta resident Anil Foreman worked as an attorney for the Georgia Department of Community Health. While practicing health care and administrative law, Anil discovered the power of storytelling and service in listening to the city’s citizens and using the law to assist them in resolving their issues. She began writing female-driven comedy screenplays in her spare time with focus on life in the South with its vibrant art, music, culture and rich history. Her characters often struggle with self-acceptance but learn to rely on others persevere. She received a degree in English Literature from Barnard College, where she graduated with honors. A passion for trivia, Anil appeared on America’s favorite quiz show, Jeopardy in 2013.
Born and raised in the melting pot that is New York, Omid Ghaffarian often writes about straddling two worlds, two cultures, or two different lives and using humor as the common language to connect them both. Inspired by his hardworking, immigrant parents, Omid’s varied experience include working as an ice cream truck driver, doing maintenance at an assisted living facility, and teaching screenwriting to undergraduate students all of which have informed the underdog characters in his writing. He is a graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Television and Film, and has a Master’s Degree in Screenwriting from UCLA.
As a former reality producer Joelle Luman (Top Chef, Shedding for the Wedding, Big Brother) is no stranger to the idea of ordinary people thrown into unique and interesting situations. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Joelle developed a love for science fiction thanks to her engineer dad while her mom exposed her to wealth, glamour and a semi-clandestine life due to her career as a licensed international arms dealer. As a way to subsidize her college tuition, Joelle joined the family business and found herself in the arms trade making deals for high-tech weaponry with the likes of steely generals, questionable politicians and power-hungry CEOs. The experience not only helped her get a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California, but fueled her imagination to become a storyteller with a passion for action thrillers and grounded sci-fi. Since her transition into screenwriting, Joelle has been a finalist in numerous writing competitions, including the 2017 Launch Pad Feature Competition where she placed in the top 25.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Kimberly Walker grew up as an only child with two obsessions: The Far Side comics and her mother’s lipstick collection. After graduating from Michigan State University with a B.A. in English, she fused her love for beauty and the written word by becoming a contributing beauty expert for publications such as EBONY.com and BET.com, writing about beauty politics in entertainment and celebrity editorials. As a finalist at the 2014 American Black Film Festival, her script Comeback Dad was purchased by Netflix, and starred Charles S. Dutton, Loretta Devine and Tatyana Ali. Having studied at The Groundlings and using her previous experiences as inspiration, Kimberly often writes about determined, unapologetic women striving to reach their goals with self-affirming yet often comedic results.