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Podmass_In [Podmass](https://www.avclub.com/c/podmass),_ The A.V. Club _sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com)._
For four podcast seasons now, journalist, comedian, and LGBTQ activist Gaby Dunn has been offering listeners an approachable guide to personal finance. Bad With Money is a breeze to listen to at a time when, frankly, looking over your finances is not. This week, Dunn talks to two men who were successful in defeating the odds by paying off their debt and even making up for lost time: Marcus Garrett and Rich Jones. Jones kicks off the podcast recalling how he created about $20,000 of debt with his ex-partner by sharing a credit card at a young age and being unconcerned with paying it off. Garrett shares his experience of accumulating $26,000 of debt in a single incredibly baller weekend. In under an hour, the two share insight on how they recognized their core values and started to prioritize chipping away at the financial burden that followed them everywhere. Even if you’ve never thought about how your spending might contribute to your personal debt, this podcast will prompt you to assess your habits and relationship to your bank account. [Kevin Cortez]
Earth Break: A Few Suggestions For Survival, With Additional Hints And Tips About How To Make Yourself More Comfortable During The Alien Apocalypse Finally Dying
In this new scripted podcast from Skylark Media, Jenny Slate plays Lynn Gellert, a thirtysomething woman who has made it five weeks into the alien bioapocalypse without dying thanks to what she refers to as “sheer dumb luck.” Lynn’s only companion on her trek through the wastelands of her home is a tape recorder from her late mother’s attic. Her moment-to-moment survival is challenging enough, but when Lynn learns she’s pregnant, she also has to cope with the idea of building a future. Earth Break’s sound design is one of its standout qualities; Lynn’s audio diaries often begin and end abruptly, with appropriate grunts, alien screeches, crashes, and scuffling to make each one feel genuinely jarring (and sometimes gross: emetophobic listeners should be careful of audible vomiting toward the end of this episode). Slate is, as always, compelling to listen to, bringing charm and flow to a sometimes cliché script. While apocalypse narratives are hardly scarce, Earth Break succeeds in making post-apocalyptic living personal, illuminating the bargains we all make between the world’s future and our own. [Jade Matias Bell]
During the premiere episode of Eli Roth’s History of Horror: Uncut, Roth presents Stephen King with a Frank Zito action figure complete with bloody scalp. The sheer joy King expresses at now owning a pocket-sized version of one of the most disgusting killers in film history perfectly sums up this latest podcast from the horror streaming service Shudder. Each episode is an interview with a horror aficionado or icon, and it really doesn’t get more iconic than King. Roth and King do plenty of theorizing about why we like being scared and what makes horror work, but the real pleasure is in listening to two nerds geek out about their favorite subject. Most of the interview boils down to how cool the meat hook scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre was and how rad it is that a zombie once fought a shark. “The worst horror movie I ever saw was fucking great!” King says at one point, capturing the celebratory mood of the podcast and the AMC series, to which it serves as a companion. If you’ve ever wanted a Frank Zito of your very own, this is for you. [Anthony D Herrera]
This promising new podcast explores the intersection of mental health and media, unpacking the pop culture narratives that shape our understanding of mental illness. Host Sandy Allen and culture writer Hannah Giorgis kick off this debut episode with an in-depth conversation about BoJack Horseman, the Netflix animated series known for its disarmingly complex and compassionate explorations of depression, addiction, and intergenerational trauma. “There is something in here that we do not often see on TV, especially in animated television, and I would say in general,” Allen tells Giorgis, who recalls her initial reluctance to watch the “depressed horse show.” While experiencing a depressive episode of her own, Giorgis eventually decided to “lean in” to the popular series, ultimately developing an appreciation for the show and its refusal to romanticize depression or fall back on the “tortured artist” trope. Allen and Giorgis also discuss BoJack’s frequent alcohol-fueled flashbacks and listen back to a clip that offers a heartbreaking glimpse into his unhappy childhood with a distant novelist father and emotionally abusive mother, Beatrice. A subsequent flashback clip reveals Beatrice’s own fractured relationship with her involuntarily lobotomized mother, a surprisingly haunting moment for a show about a cartoon horse. [Sofia Barrett-Ibarria]
The season finale to this raucous and touching science-fiction comedy showcases the peak of both the creators’ humor and their understanding of balance between the funny and the serious. Oblivity tracks the story of Commander Falconer, a war hero who suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent to a scientific research station on Pluto. Research Station Persephone is staffed by oddballs, the people who don’t quite fit, and Falconer tries to keep the team from falling apart at the edges, as she feels she herself might be. “Falconer The Fearless” sees Falconer facing down the test that determines whether she can return to the field, and her team facing down the return of Profocter, the evil genius who created their cyborg engineer, Lowell. Nothing ever goes as planned on Persephone, however, and everyone is forced to make a decision: who deserves their loyalty? How can they escape? And what, exactly, is Burney doing in that lab of his? From Lowell’s cute Cybergerbil to Falconer’s complete ignorance as to what really happened here, the finale encompasses everything Oblivity has been about since the beginning: loyalty, friendship, and really stupid decisions. Lowell will always press the button. [Elena Fernández Collins]
A.I. has infiltrated our lives for better and worse without many of us even noticing. Sleepwalkers breaks down the invisible forces that define how we live online. In its first episode, hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss tackle the modern the side effects of living online that no one was prepared for, such as the painful experience of Gillian Brockell, who had a stillbirth and was haunted by infant-centric advertisements no matter how much she tried to beat the algorithm. They also discuss how terrorist groups began using common online platforms to radicalize individuals. The positive side of online dating and the negative effects of our growing screen addiction are examined as well. In the end, Sleepwalkers does not set out to demonize the internet. Instead, it encourages listeners to be aware of the internet’s complexity. As Woloshyn says, there is no way to know if the internet is bad for humanity; however, there is hope that it is neutral. Hope that we can hold onto, as long as users are willing to wake up and make more informed choices. [Nichole Williams]
This is a popular indie offering with a soft history focus and a philosophical bent. Rather than lionize the march of progress, Mark Chrisler picks apart the legacy of error in a meditative monument to human folly, analyzing big moments cursed by small thinking. Past episodes have focused on world-class boners like insurance fraud and inciting mass pandemonium, but the bad idea sussed out in this week’s show isn’t as obvious, Laszlo Toth’s deranged attack on Michelangelo’s Pietà statue notwithstanding. The aftermath of the attack, which horrified the world and nearly cost Toth his life, is what concerns Chrisler. Authorities elected to repair the fractured masterpiece, and though the restoration was flawless, it foisted Michelangelo with a co-creator 500 years after the fact and gauchely airbrushed the Pietà’s story. Chrisler’s hypnotic reasoning plays on the episode’s title—an ironic name given to Toth’s act by sympathetic artists—and places its muted destruction on the restoration effort. There’s also a great bonus discussion about virtually every art museum on Earth exhibiting undetected forgeries. [Zach Brooke]
Starting off as staffers at BuzzFeed, the hosts of The TryPod—Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld—stumbled upon lightning in a bottle when they began making humorous informational videos of themselves trying various things for the first time. From attempting drag to wearing skimpy Halloween costumes, the four friends have done it all; they’ve even broken away from BuzzFeed to start their own company. Now, as an independent venture, they’re publishing a book, going on tour, and as of this month, they’ve launched a podcast. Offering their die-hard fans (called Tryceratops) even more of what they want, The TryPod features Yang, Fulmer, Habersberger, and Kornfeld chatting about a wide array of things, including but not limited to the current cultural attitude toward sex tapes and how childhood pyromania can lead to getting into Yale. The podcast succeeds on the strengths of The Try Guys themselves, namely the amazing chemistry the four of them share. Since their BuzzFeed days, the guys have become best friends, and this is obvious from the way their conversation flows and builds, moving from shared anecdotes to discovered comedic bits. The TryPod is an entertaining new branch on the ever-expanding Try Guys media tree. [Jose Nateras]
Maisie Williams knows you are probably wondering why she started a podcast, but Game Of Thrones is over for her, and she wants to try something else—something wildly different, like exploring people’s childhood dreams. If you only know her as Arya Stark, you are in for a fantastic treat; Thinking Big With Maisie Williams is full of self-effacing humor, delicate sarcasm, and contagious joy. This inaugural episode features British MC and actor Loyle Carner, who confesses his childhood dream was to become a famous footballer or actor. Clearly, some dreams stick more than others, though he says he still plays football every week with the guys from his local barbershop. His grandfather was a poet, his mother a musician, and as he and Williams unravel the ways his dreams were supported and fortified by the creative vibes and secret poetry notebooks in his home, the journey of three generations of artists becomes apparent. You might have come for Maisie Williams, which is correct, but you will stay for the effortless way she reveals the nature of dreams. [Morgan McNaught]
Maybe because it’s by the same producers of Criminal, but This Is Love is very good at finding unpredictable ways to tell stories about our deepest motivations. “We’re not doing pretty love or easy love,” explains host Phoebe Judge. Past episodes feature more than just the love between two people, but also between a man and his home, a woman and the TV show Outlander, and a woman and a baby whale. In their new season, Judge invites us to ponder the Greek concept of philautia, or self-love, by letting us tag along with her to the idyllic Italian village of Piobbico, where there’s an exclusive club with only one membership requirement: being ugly as sin. The club is sort of an ugly-person version of Under The Tuscan Sun. Members drink wine, eat truffles (a notoriously ugly, but rare and valuable, town specialty), and people are generally happy with who they are. Because they realize, like Umberto Eco says, that beauty, with all its trappings of perfection, symmetry, and order, is actually pretty boring. The aberrations, the interruptions, the messiness of unpredictability—that’s what makes things interesting. [Amber Cortes]
Living in America, surrounded by the American entertainment industry, it can be easy to forget the massive impact of the Chinese market. Big studio releases make a significant portion of their box-office return from Chinese audiences, and there are a ton of homegrown Chinese blockbusters topping worldwide gross lists that we never even hear about. The new biweekly podcast Uproar In The Studio is attempting to remedy that cultural blind spot one film at a time. Each episode focuses on a different movie from the ever-changing list of highest-grossing Chinese films, like the martial-arts-centric body-switching comedy Never Say Die and, on the most recent episode, the genre-defying, semi-animated Monster Hunt series. Additionally, the hosts invite journalists, professors, and fellow podcasters onto the show to provide further context. This episode’s guest, Carl Zha (Silk And Steel), is a fountain of information about Chinese cinema and tells a great story about how Stephen Chow’s 2015 romantic comedy The Mermaid became a surprise box-office hit after everyone felt guilty about torrenting his previous films. Some Westerners might never fully understand or appreciate Chinese blockbusters, but this podcast can paint them a clearer picture. [Dan Neilan]
LAS VEGAS, May 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — As country music icons Reba McEntire, Kix Brooks, and Ronnie Dunnprepare to kick off the fourth year of their hit residency “Together in Vegas“ at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, eight more show dates in December have been added to wrap up 2019. The additional shows scheduled Dec. 4 through 14 will go on sale to the public beginning Friday, May 17 at noon PST. The shows are presented by AEG Presents and Caesars Entertainment.
“REBA, BROOKS & DUNN: Together in Vegas” is a culmination of the friendship and musical admiration the trio has shared since first touring together in 1993 and features more than 30 action-packed hits backed by a band of 10 players from both of their touring crews. Since opening in June 2015, the residency has played 82 shows to more than 300,000 fans and continues to receive rave reviews.
The eight new 2019 dates going on sale Friday, May 17 are: Dec. 4, 6 – 8 , 10 – 11, 13 – 14
Previously announced summer dates on sale now are: June 26, 28 – 29 – Limited Availability! July 3, 5 – 6
Tickets start at $59.95 (includes nine percent entertainment tax) and may be purchased at ticketmaster.com, in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office or by calling 866-320-9763. Orders are subject to additional service charges and fees. For groups of 10 or more, call 866-574-3851. Shows are at 7:30 p.m.
Multi-media entertainment mogul Reba McEntire has become a household name through a successful career that spans across music, television, film, theater and retail. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Bowl member has won 16 ACM Awards, 15 American Music Awards, 9 People’s Choice Awards, 6 CMA Awards, 3 GRAMMY® Awards and a GMA Dove Award. The Grand Ole Opry member has also received philanthropic and leadership honors and joined an elite group of creators as one of the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors recipients for her lifetime artistic achievements alongside Cher, Philip Glass, Wayne Shorter and the creators of Hamilton – writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and music director Alex Lacamoire. Reba’s legacy is bolstered with thirteen summits atop the Billboard Country chart, 35 No. 1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide. She released a new album, STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH, April 5 on Big Machine Records and co-produced the 12-track project with Buddy Cannon in Nashville. The Oklahoma native is an acclaimed actress with 11 movie credits to her name, a lead role on Broadway in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun and has starred in the six-season television sitcom Reba. In 2005, she partnered with Dillard’s to launch her own lifestyle brand, and most recently launched the REBA by Justin™ western footwear collection at select retailers nationwide. She was named the first female and musician to portray KFC’s iconic founder Colonel Harland Sanders in the brand’s celebrity colonel campaign. Visit www.reba.com for tour dates and more.
With 20 No. 1 hits stretching back to 1991, two GRAMMY awards, dozens of ACM and CMA honors and a discography counting more album sales than any duo in history – regardless of genre – Brooks & Dunn’s influence on today’s country has never been in question. Hits like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “My Maria” and “Believe” have propelled the duo to more than 30 million albums sold, with the New York Times heralding “together they helped drive the power-country era of the early-to-mid 1990s and continued to benefit from the sea change in the genre they helped initiate right through their most recent albums.” Their original “Merle Haggard meets The Rolling Stones” vibe made them progressive stars in their own right. The duo’s recently released collaboration project REBOOT debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums. The impressive feat marks the first time the duo has topped the album charts since 2009 while simultaneously earning the duo their 10th Billboard 200 Top 10 album, the most of any country duo or group in the chart’s history. This year the duo will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the “Modern Era Artist” category. A Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit on Brooks & Dunn will also open Aug. 9. For more information, visit www.brooks-dunn.com.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren may have changed her mind about Daenerys Targaryen. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones aired last night—maybe you heard? The crazy hour and a half of television was a deeply entertaining grab bag of high-fantasy tropes and cinematically rendered brutality, even for plot and plausibility sticklers like myself.
While Daenerys Targaryen’s last remaining dragon wreaked fiery havoc on King’s Landing, killing thousands of its citizens, my boyfriend and two other friends were forced to listen as I punctured the atmosphere with comments such as “Wait, didn’t all the Dothraki die in the Battle of Winterfell?” and “Oh, sure, Euron Tight Pants could take out a dragon with his giant bow and arrow in the last episode, but now those same machines are totally useless? That makes sense.”
However, there’s probably no one in America who’s more shocked about the Dragon Queen’s descent into inherited madness than Democratic presidential candidate (and huge Game of Thrones fan) Elizabeth Warren, who only a couple of weeks ago penned an essay for New York magazine’s The Cut about how amazing Dany is as a leader. Whoops!
Truly, what a difference a couple of weeks can make. “As much as Dany wants to take on her family’s enemies and take back the Iron Throne, she knows that she must first fight the army of the dead that threatens all mankind,” Warren rhapsodized in her piece published on April 21. “This is a revolutionary idea, in Westeros or anywhere else. A queen who declares that she doesn’t serve the interests of the rich and powerful? A ruler who doesn’t want to control the political system but to break the system as it is known? It’s no wonder that the people she meets in Westeros are skeptical.”
Of course, it’s now evident that everyone in Westeros who was skeptical of Dany had a damn good reason for feeling that way.
It’s well known in Game of Thrones lore that the Targaryen clan to which Dany belongs is notorious for its insanity and lust for carnage—it runs through the bloodline. In the end, Dany forgot about her passion for liberating the enslaved and innocent and let her worst instincts take over: She incinerated an entire city, even after bells signifying surrender were rung, just because she could. It was horrifying (and thrilling) to watch.
But to give Senator Warren some credit, she’s hardly the only person to have spent many seasons of the show believing that Dany was destined to be a just and beatific ruler.
We want to trust in the idea that people who are abused and mistreated grow up to end the cycle of violence, not perpetuate it. But what Game of Thrones seems to be telling us instead is that history is bound to repeat itself—and that anyone with dragons in her employ should never be trusted.
Ahead of Sunday’s Season 2 finale, ABC made it official, announcing it has renewed hit singing competitionAmerican Idol for a third season (its 18th season overall). The network did not reveal details, as to whether judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie would return for the third go-round as negotiations are still in flux.
The series is doing well ratings-wise. Idol’s two-hour Sunday installment is averaging a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers in Live+ 7, ranking it as the second-highest rated unscripted series on ABC behind The Bachelor. The Monday episodes are notching a 1.5 rating and 8.3 million viewers.
The singing competition, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, is down to three finalists, Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg, with the three-hour finale set for this Sunday, May 19. American Idol is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group. Executive producers include FremantleMedia North America’s Trish Kinane and Jennifer Mullin along with co-executive producer, Megan Wolflick. FremantleMedia International distributes the series worldwide.
Scott Foley Shares Emotional Video About ‘Whiskey Cavalier’ Cancellation
Cord cutters are still waiting on Apple TV+, the consumer video subscription service announced by Tim Cook & Co. in March. When it debuts in the fall, Apple’s new service promises original content from entertainment A-listers such as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
In the meantime, the newly-designed Apple TV app for your iPhone, iPad and the Apple TV set-top box that was also announced in March shows up today.
It brings a fresh look that’s meant to better surface TV shows and movies you may want to watch, but otherwise not a ton of new features.
The highlight is that you can subscribe to individual Apple TV channels within the app –and consume content on demand from a lineup of launch channels that includes HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX and Tastemade, with CBS All-Access and MTV Hits coming later.
Think of these as Apple’s answer to the Roku Channel Premium Subscriptions and Amazon Prime Video Channels offered by rivals.
HBO subscribers on Apple TV can download shows and movies for offline viewing, including “Game of Thrones” in time for the series finale. The monthly HBO subscription cost is $14.99, on par with other direct-to-consumer services.
If you separately subscribe to cable or satellite, you can still watch authorized content from premium providers inside Apple TV via third-party apps, which involves going through a few more hoops.
Up to six people can share Apple TV channel subscriptions through Apple’s Family Sharing by entering their Apple IDs and passwords.
As part of the app experience, Apple is promising a combination of curated and personalized recommendations of shows and movies from more than 150 video apps and streaming services, as well as the 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including what it says is the largest collection of 4K HDR titles available to browse, buy or rent.
You’ll also find a dedicated kids’ section with handpicked content broken down by age.
Starting today, Apple TV channels and iTunes fare will be available on 2019 Samsung Smart TVs, and on some of last year’s models as well.
This will be the singing competition show’s 18th season overall, including the 15 seasons that aired on Fox before the show moved to ABC in 2018.
The question remains, however, if the show’s current judging panel of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan will return for the new season. As Variety reported on Sunday, ABC and series producer Fremantle are in discussions about ways to bring down costs on the show. Among those is Perry’s salary at an astounding $25 million a year. An individual with knowledge of the negotiations said that offers have been made to all three to return but it remains to be seen if they will sign on again. Host Ryan Seacrest is believed to be under a long-term deal.
In Live+7 through April 21, “Idol’s” two hour Sunday installment is averaging a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers, ranking it as the second-highest rated unscripted series on ABC behind “The Bachelor.” The Monday episodes are close behind with a 1.5 rating and 8.3 million viewers. However, the series has hit multiple new lows during its most recent run.
“American Idol” is produced by Fremantle and Industrial Media’s 19 Entertainment. Executive producers include Fremantle’s Trish Kinane, also serving as showrunner, Jennifer Mullin, Megan Wolflick and Industrial Media’s Chris Anokute. Fremantle distributes the series worldwide.
IT, o filme de terror norte-americano chegou hoje (13) à plataforma de streaming de filmes e séries, Netflix. É o mais recente título a integrar o seu leque de ofertas, tendo estreado em 2017 e baseando-se no conto escrito por Stephen King em 1986. É, portanto, para os fãs de terror e thriller, um filme a não perder.
Ao mesmo tempo, esta semana trará várias estreias de séries da Netflix, listadas neste artigo.
O filme de 2017 foi produzido pela New Line Cinema, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, bem como pela KatzSmith Productions, Lin Pictures e pela Vertigo Entertainment. Já, por outro lado, a distribuição ficou a cargo da Warner Bros, não obstante, o título tem atualmente uma avaliação de 7,4 estrelas no IMDb.
IT, o capítulo 1 chegou à Netflix
Para os entusiastas da sétima arte, esta é a segunda vez que o romance de King chega ao grande ecrã e traz-nos, novamente, a história de um grupo de crianças. A ação tem lugar na cidade fictícia de Derry, situada no estado norte-americano do Maine. Para todos os efeitos, uma comunidade perfeitamente pacata.
A pacatez é arruinada pela criatura – IT – o principal antagonista no filme. Com efeito, somos convidados ao longo do filme a acompanhar os esforços de um grupo de amigos para tentar localizar e resgatar o elemento omisso do seu grupo. Entretanto, a tensão vai-se acumulando de forma consistente ao longo da metragem.
Pennywise, protagonizado por Bill Skasgard é um ser sobrenatural que representa o corolário do medo causado por palhaços. A coulrofobia ganhou um novo significado com este mestre do suspense e terror norte-americano, a pedra de toque do mais recente dos filmes a chegar à plataforma de streaming da Netflix.
Em suma, a partir de hoje pode assim usufruir deste título. Uma produção que arrecadou mais de 700 milhões de dólares em todo o mundo. É, da mesma forma, aclamada como uma das melhores adaptações cinematográficas da obra da King.
Outros filmes acabados de chegar à Netflix
Além de It, muitos foram os filmes que chegaram à Netflix este mês. Dos clássicos do cinema às produções Netflix, pode também assistir já a:
E.T – O Extraterrestre
Gatao 2: The New King
Dry Martina – Original Netflix
Gente que viene y bah – Original Netflix
Entre Vinho e Vinagre – Original Netflix
Planeia desfrutar deste título na plataforma de streaming de filmes e séries?
Emma Frost, whose credit include “Shameless” and “The Spanish Princess,” will adapt the book, which will be published in the U.S. by Scholastic on Tuesday. The upcoming young adult book is an alternative fairy tale told from the point-of-view of one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, who examines the path she’s been pushed toward, tries to make amends and redefines strength and beauty on her own terms.
Endeavor Content acquired the film rights to “Stepsister” in 2017. Howell Taylor and Samantha Housman will produce for 51 Entertainment and Papandrea and Steve Hutensky will produce for Made Up Stories with the company’s Jeanne Snow serving as executive producer.
“Stepsister” has already sold in more than 15 languages, including Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian, Portuguese and Russian. It will be published by Hot Key, an imprint of Bonnier Books, in the U.K. on May 15.
Howell Taylor was nominated this year along with Bill Gerber and Bradley Cooper for an Academy Award for Best Picture for “A Star Is Born.” 51 Entertainment and Endeavor Content developed the feature “Lady Business” with Brie Larson, which is set up at Netflix.
Made Up Stories is partnering with Endeavor Content alongside Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films to adapt Liane Moriarty’s “Nine Perfect Strangers,” for which Hulu gave a straight-to-series order and is expected for release in late 2020.
Frost recently completed the screenplay for Focus Features’ “Switched On.” Her next project will be “All These Beautiful Strangers for Made Up Stories. She also recently wrote the screenplay for Ron Howard’s “Zelda,” which will star Jennifer Lawrence. Donnelly’s previous work includes “Lost in a Book,” which was on the New York Times best-seller list and was set in the world of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Frost is repped by Curtis Brown Group and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner and Gellman. Donnelly is repped by Writers House and WME. Papandrea is represented by WME.
Now in its fifth cycle, the one-year program gives writers the opportunity to develop two feature scripts under the guidance of Universal Pictures and Focus Features production executives and term deal producers. The feature film program is the only one of its kind sanctioned by the Writers Guild of America West. The program provides professional development as well as an overview of the studio’s production process through workshops, seminars and executive roundtable discussions. In addition, it was announced that 2018 alum Omid Ghaffarian will become the first person ever in the history of the program to get an extension to continue to develop his script with our studio.
Netflix’s ‘Good Sam’ To Make World Premiere At Bentonville Film Festival; ‘Blinded By The Light’ Added To Lineup
Janine Jones-Clark, Senior Vice President of Global Talent Development & Inclusion, said that this year, her highest priority for the program was to readjust the structure of who was eligible to apply. Previously if you had a produced credit, you could not apply to the program. She decided to change that. “I just felt like that creates a void for some great talent that have had success maybe in other media, but want to make the transition to features,” she told Deadline. “It really broadened the pool of talent that we could consider for the program.”
In addition to giving an opportunity for writers to hone their craft, Jones-Clark hopes that this program creates access and new relationships in the industry for people who would be far from getting that opporunity. “This whole town’s built on who you know and a lot of the times the people from underrepresented groups are not in the circles to be among the ones to know,” she said. “We’ve had that feedback from our execs who felt like they were looking all in one area for their talent, and I’m just saying whatever the traditional methods were, we just opened their eyes to giving them a new pool of talent to consider.”
The program encourages members of underrepresented communities to apply, but Jones-Clark said that it is open to everyone and it’s not necessarily a “diversity program. “It’s looking for people who have that unique and diverse — or if you want to say — multi-cultural perspective that they can bring into the storytelling,” she said. “So that can come from so many different sources. It doesn’t necessarily mean it comes from someone who fits in a box. It’s just looking for the best storytelling with a multi-cultural perspective.”
For Sarah Cho, one of the six writers, she feels programs like this gives underrepresented voices a chance to tell their stories and narratives themselves. “This industry is hard for anyone, but for marginalized communities, it’s near impossible,” she said. “We don’t have the traditional networks that are so important in a relationship-based field like entertainment. And we don’t have the financial tools to battle the economic hardships this industry also inherently carries. Programs like this allow for individuals who have neither of those advantages to thrive and become leaders in the industry – enabling them to lift up their communities with them.”
“Every organization offers soaring rhetoric on diversity and unique viewpoints,” said Harsha Rao. “It’s much rarer to see a company move beyond words to actually making a significant financial investment to broaden the talent pool.”
“One’s early years as a writer are spent putting together an arsenal of tools to go out there and start doing this work professionally,” adds Nandita Seshadri. “It can take a long time to get those tools together, and I think the Universal Writers Program will help speed along that process by providing training and access.”
Read the bios of the six writers below.
DEREK ASAFF: With a degree in Creative Writing & Literature from Harvard University and a Masters Degree in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute Conservatory, Asaff found success at AFI’s Screenwriter’s Showcase optioning his award-winning action/comedy scriptThe Wheelman to Original Film and Sony. Asaff was named in Tracking Board’s Young and Hungry List 2015 shortly after his one-hour dramaAfter The Merge won Final Draft Big Break’s Drama Pilot Category and was optioned by Dark Horse Entertainment. His pilot The End placed in the Top 10 of Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Pilot Competition in 2017 and led to representation with Lee Stobby Entertainment.
SARAH CHO: After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English Literature and Asian-American Studies, Sarah Cho got her start producing, shooting, and editing interviews and music videos with Hip-Hop and electronic artists including Omarion and Jhené Aiko. Other projects she produced include PowerForward, a series of masterclass-like classes taught by industry leaders such as talent manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande), and the docu-series Control Freak with former Loveline co-host and radio personality Mike Catherwood. She also served as an Associate Producer for Lebron James’ media company Uninterrupted and as a Segment Producer-Writer for Showtime’s Below the Belt. Most recently, Cho’s short Color-Blind, which she wrote and directed will premiere at the 2019 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. She also won a directing fellowship through Visual Communications, one of the oldest Asian-interest media groups in Los Angeles and works closely with Kollaboration and Identity LA.
NICOLAS DELGADO DE LA CAMARA: Nicolas “Nick” Delgado De La Camara is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Spain. During his time at the University of Madrid, Nick studied English Literature with the goal of making him a better writer. After graduating he attended USC where he met and was mentored by one of his heroes, director Robert Zemeckis. At USC, his thesis film, The Macabre World of Lavender Williams, a fantasy short starring Christopher Lloyd and John Lithgow, was screened in over forty film festivals worldwide. Prior to his selection to the Program, Nick split his time directing branded content and being a storyboard artist while also developing various screenplays.
HARSHA RAO: Harsha Rao’s career began in the US Army, enlisting as a Private shortly after the 9/11 attacks and quickly rose to the rank of Captain. Outside of the military, Rao built a multifaceted career, advising clients as a corporate lawyer in a global law firm, conducting strategic analyses at McKinsey, owning consumer-facing products for YouTube and the Amazon Kindle team, and developing content strategy models for Turner Broadcasting. He has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois, a JD from Georgetown University, and an MBA from Wharton. His writing work has earned a fellowship in the Writers Guild Foundation’s Veterans Writing Project, placed in the Austin Film Festival and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
ANDREW RUIZ: After attending Montclair State University with a BA in English, Andrew Ruiz spent several years in the theater, working as a designer, director, and playwright, alternating summers in NYC and winters touring the country. After years on the road, he earned a spot in Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film program, graduating with an MFA in screenwriting. With a passion for storytelling and service, Ruiz co-created Project FOCUS, a six-week film “boot camp” for inner-city high school students, giving them access to advanced instruction as well as university equipment. He’s also taught at Ghetto Film School, The Cinema School of the Bronx, and at renown author/educator Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. Ruiz’s short films have screened at festivals, including TIFF Kids, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha, Qatar. His adaptation of journalist turned radio pirate Sue Carpenter’s 40 Watts From Nowhere was optioned by TrustFall Films, alongside his adaptation of Kristen Hubbard’s Wanderlove, currently in development.
NANDITA SESHADRI: Nandita Seshadri started writing because she felt her most natural self with a pen in her hand, scribbling stories of fantasy and horror. In her own stories, she could craft characters in her own image instead of wondering why there weren’t any heroes or villains who looked like her. Seshadri’s obsession with genre–where anyone can be anything–led her to a deep love of movies and television. She pursued that love in film school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Since graduating, she has worked at CAA and Lionsgate in feature film development/production, animated television, and mobile games. Seshadri continues to write stories about robots, werewolves, undead beings and lizard-creatures.