Welcome Fall 2019 Cohort: Student Bios

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Lynn Grant Beck was born in Montclair, New Jersey. Her latest project, a sci-fi TV series, Fuzion, is currently out to market. Her last project, Hashers, is a TV series she was hired to create by Google VP, Jim Kolotouros. Her TV movie thriller, My Mom is a Bank Robber, aired on Lifetime in 2016 and her TV movie rom-com, 12 Gifts of Christmas aired on the Hallmark Channel in 2015. She was also hired by Tim Johnson Productions to write two other MOW thrillers, Trapped and Cult of Lies. She also wrote an action/disaster feature spec called BlackOut and has completed an animated feature spec called Sandra Claus.

Her feature screenplay, Dead Wrong, won an award in the WIF/MORE Screenplay contest and was optioned by the director, John Rhode. Her one hour pilot, The House that Jackie Built, reached the second round of the Austin Film Festival and was optioned by the director, Allen Martinez. Her half hour pilot, Life in 2D, won her a fellowship at the Writers Boot Camp and she was hired to co-write a sci-fi web series, The Annex, by director Hank Isaac. She was also hired to write the feature comedy, Hollywood Hit, for Miracle Mile Entertainment. This project has attached the director, Jonathan Kesselman, whose film Jimmy Vestvood, Amerikan Hero won the Audience Award for Best Comedy at the Austin Film Festival.

Other feature scripts include two comedies, James Borkowsky 000 and Trophy Husband, two romantic comedies, The Death of Art and Trouble, and a sci-fi adventure story, Jonny Was. Lynn has also written a spec TV script of Mad Men and another half hour original pilot, Twindroids. She is a Professor of Screenwriting in the graduate program at Pepperdine and has also taught Writing the Television Pilot at Santa Monica College. Lynn also has significant industry experience as Vice President of Production at Kopelson Productions and Creative Executive at Interscope Communications. At Interscope she traveled to Australia where she was an assistant producer on Pitch Black with Vin Diesel. Before that she worked as an assistant in the television movie department of Kushner-Locke.

Lynn arrived in Los Angeles from New York where she was a playwright. She founded the independent theater company, The Chelsea Players, and wrote and produced many successful Off-off Broadway plays, including Restaurant A, Magic Soup, Platform 8, The Game and The Case of the Stolen Identity. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with an MA in Russian Studies she traveled to Russia where she worked as an assistant director at the Nikitsky Vorot Theater. In 1990 and 1991, she spent six months working in Moscow and five months traveling across the former Soviet Union as it broke up and dissolved. She wrote a non-fiction account of that year entitled Adventure in the Soviet Union. Other works include an anthology of poetry and numerous manuscripts for children’s books. Her love of writing and the arts in general was first fostered at her time spent at Choate Rosemary Hall. She currently lives in Malibu, California with her husband and two children.

Tyler Brouwer grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from the University of Minnesota, and now lives in Los Angeles. He works as a product marketing manager for a tech company in the 3D printing space.
Nelson Cole grew up in Texas and to his mother’s dismay moved to California to play college football and never came back. Nelson still lives in Los Angeles works in the entertainment industry as a literary manager to help develop new screenwriters and authors. Because of rent Nelson coaches on the weekends youth basketball and soccer for the City of Los Angeles. If not eating, working or with friends Nelson’s probably asleep in a movie theater. Nelson is a creative non fiction major.
Daniel J Collins, a southern California native, has a B.A. in English from UCR and a Masters of Education from CSUSB. He has spent the past fifteen years as a high school English teacher, the other job you can do with an English degree. In addition to English, he also teaches Yearbook, Journalism, and Theater. In between grading papers, he writes stories about people who have found themselves slightly out of phase with the normal world, stumbling into a universe hidden just around the corner. Additionally, he has spent time as a photographer, experimented with video, and hopes to get his Twilight Zone Podcast, The Signpost Up Ahead, off the ground. He has joined the MFA program to make teaching the back-up plan he always intended it be in the first place. He lives with his wife and four children in Riverside County.
Raised in Ridgecrest, California by a family of engineers and mathematicians, Jeremy “J. T.” Denson went down a different path.  From an early age he entertained his friends and family by telling jokes and stories.  In high school and college he discovered a love of writing and pursued a degree in English with an emphasis in creative composition at Cal State San Bernardino.  After graduating, he began teaching English to middle school students in Moreno Valley, California, all the while using summer breaks to write.  About eleven years ago, he earned his Masters in Educational Counseling at the University of Redlands, and switched careers to become a middle school counselor.  He resides in Beaumont, California with his wife, and is looking to shift professionally into writing and editing.
Anjelica Escalante is a recent graduate of Syracuse University’s English department. A Los Angeles native and fiction lover. Loves speculative fiction in any form of media. Favorite book is A Storm of Swords. Favorite manga is Trigun. Favorite video game is Final Fantasy 13.
Sean Hetherington is a TV casting director whose credits include Real World, Undercover Boss, Celebrity Wife Swap, Battle Of The Ex-Besties, Dr. Pimple Popper, This Is Life Live, Beat Shazam and the upcoming Ultimate Tag among others. He co-founded the international LGBTQ volunteer movement, Day Without A Gay. Over the last two years, he completed UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting and UCLA Extension’s certificates in both Feature Writing and TV Writing. His undergraduate degree is from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He lives in Los Angeles but was born and raised in the Sacramento area.
Becky Lauer, a Portland based Oregonian, is a strong supporter of a teenager’s right to read terrible vampire stories. So now she is working towards writing guilt-free Supernatural Fiction. When she’s not writing, she’s practicing her home baking for the inevitable American recreation of The Great British Bake-off, playing hyper-violent video games, or performing Stand-Up comedy. She spends an excessive amount of time on Instagram and you can find her there @theooroo.
Hoda Mallone is a writer based in Los Angeles. Born in Egypt, Cairo, and having lived her whole life in Southern California certainly gives her a unique outlook on the world. After attending California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in Criminal Justice, life sent her a different way. She began a career in the fashion industry. She successfully merged the creative with the commercial in her nearly 20 years in the fashion industry. She now has her sights set on her first love, writing. Her devotion to the macabre and dark and twisty characters guides her fiction writing. She hopes to emerge from this MFA program with a better understanding of the craft of writing and the business of publishing.
Mary Fensholt Perera is a business presentation consultant, coach, and award-winning author. She works with business and non-profit executives and professionals in sales, marketing, science, and technology, to improve their ability to present information in a confident, trustworthy, clear, and memorable way. And have fun doing it! She has trained speakers for many nationally and internationally known companies, including Apple, AT&T, BAE Systems, Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Cisco Systems, Coca Cola, Dell Computer, Edward D. Jones, Fluor, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Incyte Genomics, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Martin Guitars, Merrill Lynch, Oracle, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Qualcomm, Silicon Genetics, and State Farm Insurance. Educated at the University of Kansas, she earned a B.A. and M.A. in Communication Studies, graduated with distinction, and was selected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Her book The Polished Presentation won a Benjamin Franklin Award as one of the best Psychology/Self-help books of the year. She is a member of the faculty of the Executive Perspectives for Scientists and Engineers at UCSD and a speaker for Vistage, an international organization of CEOs. She accepts additional training and speaking engagements on request. She is a nature interpreter and member of the board of trustees of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and an active supporter of Sharp Hospital Hospice, The Children’s Fund of San Bernardino County, and Shoes That Fit. Her husband, Hank Perera, Jr., is President and CEO of Perera Construction and Design, a firm specializing in health care, higher education, telecommunications, and energy projects in the western United States, and her daughter is a law student at U.C.L.A. She and her family enjoy traveling, hiking, snow skiing, gardening, music, and the theater.

Originally from Chino, California, Michelle Poveda earned her B.A. in Communication from San Diego State University in 2005. In addition to her full-time position as an Executive Assistant, she is an accomplished freelance writer, with work published in San Diego Magazine, Modern Luxury, Time Out, Thrillist and more. The daughter of immigrant parents from Quito, Ecuador, she’s a fluent Spanish speaker, a proud Southern Californian, a lover of travel, and a strong advocate of mental health care.
Sam Reilly is a screenwriter residing in Franklin, TN. Sam graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a Concentration in Writing and a minor in Film Study. Since graduating, he has worked with numerous production companies in the Nashville area serving as head screenwriter on several short films and web-series. In addition, Sam has completed three feature spec scripts along with two television pilots. He sites Tarantino, Scorsese, and the Coen Brothers as being the main influences on his writing style though he is a fan of all genres. Sam holds animation dear to his heart as his favorite memories are centered around Disney movie nights and numerous trips to Disney World with his wife and two daughters.
Scott Stockhamer is originally from Los Angeles.  He moved to the desert in 2012 to be closer with his grandfather. He studied filmmaking for his entire life, having a dozen short films on both digital and 16mm format, where he worked as a writer/director. He has run a small business off-and-on (more of a hobby now) that markets movie memorabilia to private collectors, as well as through public auction since the age of 13. He earned a BA in Psychology from CSU San Bernardino in 2017. After being offered acceptance in the UC Riverside MFA degree program, he plans to pursue screenwriting with a minor in poetry, which he has been hopefully, but earnestly working on for the past 9 years, albeit without structured guidance. He looks forward to learning that structure through mentored guidance and collaboration while honing his craft as a writer. His ultimate goal is to bring a voice to those who may be unwilling to speak out against social stigma and intolerance. He currently lives in La Quinta, California.
P. J. Waters graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. He had one short story published in the Brooklyn Review (CUNY-Brooklyn). For almost 30 years, he made a living in corporate and organizational communication consulting and dreamed of working as a screenwriter. He is the father of two beautiful daughters: a freshman at UC Davis and a senior in high school in San Diego. He lives in Palm Desert, California with his girlfriend and her two kids, twins age 7.
Briana Weeger is a native of Southern California and has studied English Literature at UCLA and English Education at Brooklyn College. She has worked with underserved and immigrant youth using story crafting and storytelling as a means of self-discovery and empowerment. In her own writing practice, she is exploring the impact of often overlooked social customs with a mix of both fiction and non-fiction.
By | 2019-10-04T16:35:41-07:00 October 1st, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Welcome Fall 2019 Cohort: Student Bios

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