Industry Insider: So You Placed in a Contest – Now What?

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Wednesday, August 14th, 2024  6:00pm – 7:30pm (PDT)

Entering screenwriting competitions is common advice for writers just starting out, but how exactly do they impact your career? Join us for an insightful discussion with writers sharing their firsthand experiences navigating the highs and lows of prestigious screenwriting contests. Whether you’re  on the fence about applying, or trying your luck at another round, this panel will offer valuable insights into the realities behind placing in contests like Final Draft’s Big Break, the Austin Film Festival, and the Humanitas Awards. You won’t want to miss it! 

When: August 14th | 6:00pm-7:30pm PST

Place: Zoom

Cost: FREE!

Moderated by Instructor: Brandy Finmark 

Meet our Panelists:

Natasha M. Hall – is a bicultural drama writer with a passion for otherworldly tales and romance stories. A first-generation American, her family immigrated from Barbados to Brooklyn, New York, where she grew up in “Do or Die” Bed-Stuy. Most recently, she wrote for a drama podcast to debut on iHeartRadio and is currently co-developing a graphic novel with AfterShock Comics. For TV, she wrote on HULU’s SAINT X and Netflix’s VIRGIN RIVER. She is AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL’s 2020 AMC ONE-HOUR PILOT WINNER, is an alum of the 2020-2021 PARAMOUNT WRITERS MENTORING PROGRAM, and her work has been recommended by many Showrunners. Repped by Brandy Rivers at Amplified, Natasha is a graduate of Syracuse University and Teachers College at Columbia.

Darren Moran – is what happens if Aaron Sorkin and Tina Fey had a baby using Adam McKay’s sperm. He writes high concept, delayed-coming-of-age comedies about redemption, reinvention, and dysfunctional families. He’s a winner of the FINAL DRAFT BIG BREAK CONTEST (among others) and is creator of the YouTube series, CAMP HALOHEAD (22MM views). As a multi Cannes-winning adman he’s written, produced, or directed over a thousand commercials.


Rowan Wheeler – is an Emmy award-winning producer and TV writer. Most recently was staffed as a Co-Producer on Rio In Love, a half-hour comedy for Amazon due to premier in 2025. Prior to that, she was staffed on While You Were Breeding, an hour-long dramedy for Freeform, Obliterated, an hour-long action comedy for Netflix, Harlem on Amazon, and Birdgirl on Adult Swim.

Her half-hour dark comedy Murder Ever After with Ryan Seacrest Productions that she co-created with Scott King and was sold to Peacock in 2021. Previously, she had an hour-long drama in development with The Gist Of It Productions, Merman and 20th Television, and two half-hour projects in development in the UK with Zeppotron Productions; 3D Pete and Socio-Pam. In 2018, Rowan was named a NEW VOICES WINNER AT THE prestigious HUMANITAS AWARDS. In 2019 Rowan served as Showrunner/Executive Producer on Funny or Die’s acclaimed short form comedy series Under A Rock with Tig Notaro and produced the Chris Evans and Mariah Carey episodes of Billy On The Street. Rowan is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment.

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