Industry Insider: Writing Teams in TV & Film

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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024  6:00pm – 7:30pm (PDT)

Writing teams are an increasingly common feature in the landscape of our industry, but…we don’t hear much about how they work! We’ll jump into a conversation with two writer partnerships, focused on film and television respectively, where we’ll uncover insights into the power of collaborative storytelling, and finding the “write” teammate.

When: June 12th | 6:00pm-7:30pm PST

Place: Zoom

Cost: FREE!

Moderated by Instructor: Philip Van one half of the writing duo Goodwin & Van. He and his writing partner Chris Goodwin penned the screenplay TO THE EXTREME, which was featured on The Hit List, Young & Hungry List, and The Black List. It’s currently in development through Fifth Season, No Trace Camping, and Ramona Films. They’ve also written on an as-yet-unreleased Netflix crime-drama series for Brad Falchuk and developed feature projects with Seth MacFarlane, The Lucas Brothers, Topher Grace, and Jermaine Fowler. They are currently developing a series with Boat Rocker Studios based on the book YOU COULDN’T IGNORE ME IF YOU TRIED by Susannah Gora about The Brat Pack.

Meet our Panelists:

Feature Writing Team





Sebastian Shepard & Ross Lazar – San Francisco native Sebastian and Los Angeles native Ross have been passionate about writing and storytelling from a young age. After both graduating from UC Berkeley with degrees in English Literature, the duo moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting full-time.

Recently, Ross & Sebastian wrote WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a script that landed on The Black List, and sold in a bidding war to Amazon Studios. Brad Fuller is producing the film, with Justin Dyck directing. They have since been hired to develop a horror movie by Endeavor Content, and have developed projects with Sam Raimi, Kevin Williamson, and Skybound Entertainment. They are currently working on an Untitled Horror Movie for Sony Screen Gems and developing a horror film for Point Grey Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment.

They are currently represented by WME and Kaplan Perrone. Ross is currently an instructor at Script Anatomy. 


Television Writing Team

Leah Benavides Rodriguez – graduated high school in Houston, TX and left for New York to pursue a career in musical theater. After her conservatory program, she set her sights on directing and was accepted to the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She then launched her own theater company, where her production of Sam Shepard’s COWBOY MOUTH earned rave reviews. But while her theater career was taking off, she decided to pursue what had been her passion all along: writing for TV and film. She was accepted into NBC’s Writers on the Verge in 2014 and went on to write for several series, including THE ARRANGEMENT (E!), TALES (BET), EMPIRE (FOX), as well as feature film work for BAD BOYS FOR LIFE. 

Carlito Rodriguez’s journey started in the Bronx, as an A-student, an MC, a graffiti artist, and a lover of novels and comics. He pursued an English degree at Lehman College CUNY during which he was hired as a Staff Writer for The Source magazine. Within three years, he worked his way up to Editor-In-Chief. Before pivoting into scripted TV drama, Carlito co-created the MTV animated show STATION ZERO and produced award-winning documentaries for BET. In 2013, he won the Humanitas New Voices grant for Drama and was asked by Damon Lindelof to join the first season room of THE LEFTOVERS (HBO). He then wrote on four seasons of EMPIRE (FOX), plus feature film projects for Warner Bros, Sony and MGM.

When Leah and Carlito — aka BENADRIGUEZ— made the (crazy) decision to not only work together, but also get married, it quickly became the best decision they’d ever made. They launched their production banner, Custom Light Entertainment, and expanded across genres. They have developed projects with 20th Television, The Tannenbaum Company, MGM, Annapurna and Peacock. They were in the writers room on WASHINGTON BLACK (Hulu) and served as Number 2s on DUNE: PROPHECY (MAX). They also helped set up a feature development pod for Netflix Animation. Currently, they are partnered with Macro and HBO on THIRST, a series about a family of vampires in Hip-Hop.

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