WarnerMedia Access Writers Program
Your Story Begins Here
WarnerMedia is proud to announce the expanded entry-level Access Writers program that aims to amplify underrepresented voices and historically marginalized narrative writers to provide a pathway into the television industry. The WarnerMedia Access Writers program, formerly known as HBO Access, is one of several innovative initiatives being led by the company’s new Enterprise and Inclusion department and provides emerging writers access to mentors and opportunities across WarnerMedia’s cable, network and streaming properties. Recent alumni of the former HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, have worked on HBO series including Lovecraft Country and The Nevers (see HBOAccess Alumni below).
Melody Cooper is a genre writer/director and is currently a staff writer on a CW horror TV series. She won the 2018 Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the Urbanworld Film Festival with her thriller NORTHERN CROSS and is the recipient of fellowships from AMC Networks Shudder Labs, NY Stage & Film, and the Writer’s Lab, and won the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship from Stowe Story Labs. Her supernatural feature script THE SOUND OF DARKNESS was a 2018 Athena List Finalist, and the short she directed based on it was a Semi-Finalist at the 2019 Women in Horror Film Festival. Her short documentary, DETAINED, was winner of a 2018 IndieFest Award of Recognition. Melody has also been tapped to write the Humanoids comic book OMNI for Mark Waid, with issues starting in February 2020. Also an award-winning playwright, her short play STAGECOACH MARY (OR F*CK YOU ALL) will be produced by SLAMBoston in Spring 2020.
Lucy Luna is a Mexican writer and director living in Los Angeles. Her horror short film, WE’RE ALL HERE, found success in the festival circuit with garnering six awards to date. In 2019 Lucy won the ScreenCraft Fellowship and made the Young & Hungry List. She penned a horror feature script for Mexican producer Gerardo Gática, and landed her first TV gig in the CW’s series TWO SCENTENCE HORROR STORIES. Lucy also signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners and APA.
Danielle is a graduate of the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television MFA program at USC where she was a Grillo-Marxuach Family Fellow and hand selected participant in a one-time Development Master class with Brian Grazer. She’s a 2019 Universal Writers Program Finalist, a 2018 Fox Writers Lab Finalist, a 2018 Austin Film Festival Second Rounder, and has made the 2018 Young & Hungry List and Hit List. Danielle has worked as a Writers’ PA on ABC’s GREY’S ANATOMY and a WGA Writers’ Trainee on AppleTV+ series, SWAGGER. Currently, Danielle is a Staff Writer on MARVEL’s MOON KNIGHT.
Elaine is currently staffed on the new GOSSIP GIRL reboot for HBO Max, premiering in late 2020. She is humbled to be a fellow in the HBO Writers Program, chosen for the CBS Writers Program, and a Semi-Finalist for the Sundance Episodic Lab. Additionally, Elaine is grateful to have been named on the Young & Hungry List and as one of the Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019. She has had scripts place in the world-renowned PAGE Awards (Silver Prize), Austin Film Festival (3 times), Final Draft Big Break (Top Ten), Tracking Board Launch Pad (Top 50), and the ISA (Grand Prize). She wrote/directed the short form series DOXXED, which won Best Short Comedy at Catalyst (formerly itvfest) and Best Achievement at Raindance. www.doxxed-series.com On a personal note, Elaine was born in Singapore, grew up in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and then moved to Massachusetts. She does not speak any Chinese, loves Wendy's junior bacon cheeseburgers, and can solve a Rubik's cube in less than two minutes.
Eddie is a Cuban-American actor, writer and Emmy-winning producer from Miami, Florida. An alumnus of The Second City in Chicago, Eddie’s credits include the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase, the 2017 NBC Late Night Writers Workshop and the 2018 NBC Spotlight Showcase. He has produced content for Broadway Video’s MÁS MEJOR and curates HERALDO PRESENTA, a monthly all-Latinx variety show. His short films have received critical acclaim; DREAMER was named one of Vulture’s Best Comedy Videos of 2018 and UNO POR UNO: THE CUBAN MISSLE Crisis won Best Web Series at HBO’s NYLFF and Cine Sony’s “New Voices” competition.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Ivan Tsang is an MFA Graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Screen and TV Writing. Ivan originally moved to LA to work with the rising movement of Asian American influencers and subsequently wrote for Wong Fu Productions, KevJumba, Jubilee Media, Fung Bros. Comedy, Jeremy Lin, ISA TV (among others) where as a result, his work has been viewed over 100 million times. Ivan's feature script FINDING CUMBERBATCH won the 2019 Screencraft Comedy Competition and he also most recently closed a deal to develop his pilot STEALING STANFORD into a feature film. He is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment and is also the proud owner of a Pug named Russell.
The winner of the 2019 WarnerMedia/ABFF Writing Contest for his dramedy script “LYZ,” Darnell Brown began his storytelling career publishing a book of thought-provoking, socially-conscious poetry. A native son of Chester, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of The University of the Arts, Darnell writes both comedy and drama. In 2018, he was a finalist for Issa Rae and BET’s “Script to Screen” TV writing contest during The American Black Film Festival and was featured on the 2020 Bitch List with the top pilot. Darnell also worked as a WGA Writers’ Trainee on season two of the BET drama, “AMERICAN SOUL.”
Katherine is a Texas native with extensive experience as a playwright and theater-maker. She is the resident playwright for the Austin-based theater company The Exchange Artists, which has created award-winning, site-specific performances in parks, museums, bars, shopping malls and parked cars. Katherine has also worked for years in arts education—she founded Conspire Theatre, a nonprofit that works with women during and after incarceration. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Lilith Fund, a reproductive justice organization, and is finishing the MFA Screenwriting program at the University of Texas.
SARA ALIZE CROSS
As a director, Sara has completed short-form narrative and documentary films and is currently in post-production on Manhattan Lullaby, an NYSCA grant-funded feature documentary about the NYC cultural landmark Colony Records. Sara’s award-winning feature-documentary producing credits include Murderball, The Order of Myths, and 21Up America (executive produced by Michael Apted and a part of the American adaptation of the acclaimed British series 7Up). Sara has a BA in Film Studies from Columbia University, a Masters in Women’s Studies from Oxford, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Production at the USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
As a producer for Telemundo’s LA affiliate, Claudia has earned five local Emmys® and a GLAAD Media Award for her work covering the Latino community. She is an alumnus of both NALIP’s Latino Writers Lab and NBC's Writers on the Verge program. Inspired by her mixed background, she’s drawn to the dramedy genre, where she blends her passion for drama with her love of dark comedy. She is repped by Brant Rose.
Rehana Lew Mirza
Rehana is an award-winning playwright and a playwright-in-residence at Ma-Yi Theater Company through the National Playwright Residency Program (with Mike Lew). She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Brandi Nicole Payne
Brandi is a multi-hyphenate and "artivist" who loves to tell a good story. Muted, her short film starring Chandra Wilson and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, won the HBO Short Film Competition at the 2014 American Black Film Festival and is currently airing on HBO GO. An Athena List Finalist and Second Rounder for both the Austin Film Festival and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Brandi will be making her directorial debut later this year with a short film about new motherhood titled Aloha.
Bryce Ahart & Stephanie McFarlane (Writing Partners)
Bryce and Stephanie both graduated from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts where they each studied dramatic writing. Bryce works at the Weinstein Company as a Production & Development Intern. Stephanie recently returned from the UK where she was one of 12 writers studying in the NYU London Screenwriting Program.
Dana Donnelly & Audrey Kaufman (Writing Partners)
Dana and Audrey recently graduated from college in the Pacific Northwest with degrees in English and Political Theory, respectively. Their quirky sensibility and distinctly millennial take on the world make for edgy comedy with a strong social commentary. They both currently live in LA.
Zen Freese & Benjamin Ross Lyerly (Writing Partners)
Zen is a Philippine-American writer/director based in Portland, OR. Although he ought to settle for being a successful commercial producer, he and his writing partner have spent mornings, nights and weekends pursuing their first love—narrative storytelling. He's also married to an aesthetically pleasing human and is regularly informed that he's happy. Benjamin was born and raised in Montgomery, AL. He's been working for the last 8 years in Portland as a freelance writer/director/producer in film and advertising. He has taught a Low-Budget Filmmaking course at Portland State University and is currently producing a film called Going Dark.
Wesley was born and raised in Omaha, NE. He is a graduate of Omaha Benson High School and attained a BA in Psychology from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO. He is the middle of three brothers in age, height and likelihood of surviving an apocalyptic situation.
Sarah is a writer and improv actor living in Los Angeles. She is an alumni of The Groundlings and The Upright Citizens Brigade, and is a puppeteer/improvisor with The Jim Henson Company's "Puppet Up!" Sarah credits her dual UK/US upbringing for her unique point of view and absurd sense of humor.
Anslem is an actor, writer, artist and filmmaker. In 2014, he made The Tracking Board's The Young & Hungry List—The Top 100 Writers On The Verge! He is a Screenwriting Fellow at Film Independent with his screenplay Bardos, which earned him the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award in Screenwriting. He is currently a staff writer on the new TNT Network series Agent X.
Jude is a writer/producer/format designer specializing in social experiments such as Emmy® Award winners Survivor (CBS) and Black. White. (FX). She is a freelance creative-development executive for high-level talent and a recent Fellow of the ABC-DISNEYIDGA Directing Program. An unorthodox childhood taught her to be a passionate listener and storyteller, and she gravitates towards fascinating characters—gritty, determined and resourceful, and sparkling with individuality.
Dedi worked in publishing as an executive editor at Oxford University Press and a senior editor at Simon & Schuster, where she developed award-winning and bestselling book projects across a range of genres. Finally deciding to live her dream of writing for the screen, Dedi packed up her life, switched coasts and attended the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting. Now in Los Angeles, she has taught TV writing for Script Anatomy and volunteers for the Young Storytellers Foundation.
Yolanda is a Chicago-based writer and comedian. Her play, Thinking Sacks of Meat, was the winner of the First Laugh Festival (Piccolo Theater, 2015). Her previous plays include Eggplants and This Play Will Self Destruct, which were produced through DIY-theater collectives in Chicago. Yolanda is also an active performer in the Chicago improv community and has trained at Improv Olympic and The Second City. She completed a BA in Creative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania.
Iturri came to writing after a career in psychological research and anthropological fieldwork, graduating with a degree in Cultural Psychology from The University of Chicago. While in graduate school, she trained at Cook County/Stroger Hospital. After graduation, she conducted research in southern Mexico, focusing on improving access to mental health care for rural Yucatec Maya speakers.
Joshua Levy & Prathi Srinivasan (Writing Partners)
Joshua is a 20-something who writes about his unique family, friends and experiences. He credits his Chinese grandmother, a survivor of WWII, and his father, a street-kid from the projects in Brooklyn, for giving him his obsession with storytelling. Josh attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for Film and TV Production, worked abroad in London at the BBC and then followed his dreams to sunny Los Angeles, where he currently resides.
Prathi is an immigrant who grew up in the bustling city of Chennai, India. Her love of writing stems from the Hindu myths her grandmother told her throughout her childhood. Moving to America was a culture shock that resulted in her passion for characters who are stuck between where they come from and where they are going. Prathi has a BA in Literature from the University of Texas at Dallas, spent a semester in Rome, backpacked across Europe and is now onto her biggest adventure yet: Los Angeles.