The Team

TAWNYA BENAVIDES BHATTACHARYA, Founder & CEO

Tawnya Benavides BhattacharyaA screenwriting teacher for 15 years, Tawnya founded Script Anatomy in 2011 just as her writing career was starting. Her goal: To use her experience building a TV writing career to help others do the same. (See Tawnya’s full bio here).

Since then, her unique curriculum has helped hundreds of writers advance, not least herself and her writing partner, Ali Laventhol, also a Script Anatomy instructor. The writing duo are Co-Executive Producers currently working on Salsa (Apple), having come up through the studio fellowship programs (NBC and FOX) and written on several network and cable shows.

As a guest instructor, Tawnya has brought the Script Anatomy method to the Disney | ABC Writing Program,The WGA Foundations,WGFestival, the Austin Film Festival, the Producer’s Guild (PGA) Power of Diversity Workshop, Hugo House in Seattle, the Willamette Writers Conference, Stage 32, The International Screenwriters Association, TV Writers Fund and the CineStory TV Writers Retreat in Idyllwild. Her column “Your TV Guide“ can be read in Script Magazine. She’s also been a guest on several podcasts, including Scripts & Scribes, Sell Your Screenplay, The TV Writers Podcast, and On the Page.

Tawnya studied acting and playwriting at Cornish College of the Arts Conservatory, and interned with playwright, Marie Irene Fornes and New City Theater in Seattle. She has performed in Seattle, Chicago, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and LA.

Tawnya and Ali are repped by Industry Entertainment and Morris Yorn and UTA.

Kevin TownsleyKEVIN TOWNSLEY (Director of Development)


Kevin Townsley is an experienced writer in both comedy and drama, and a long time instructor at Script Anatomy.

He has worked on over a dozen television shows and pilots for some of TV’s most revered figures, including Ed Zuckerman and Josh Berman. He also worked with Shawn Ryan and Marney Hochman-Nash at Shawn’s production company MIDDKID PRODUCTIONS for what he calls his “Masters in showrunning”, having watched Shawn run multiple shows simultaneously all while developing new shows.

Originally from Detroit, Kevin graduated from The University of Arizona with a double major in Cultural Anthropology/Spanish. He has traveled and lived in 24 different countries, and recently he spent a year living on Airbnb all around Los Angeles.

He writes for POP TV‘s Let’s Get Physical, and he has sold a half hour comedy to Pivot Entertainment.

Mariyam MahbubMariyam Mahbub (Class Coordinator)


Mariyam developed an overactive imagination as a way to escape a tumultuous childhood in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. Informed by her early experiences, she creates work with a global perspective and her flair for fantasy lends itself to extensive world building and unique characters.

She has been shortlisted for Sundance’s New Voices lab, a semi-finalist for Screencraft’s Sci-fi & Fantasy competition, quarter-finalist for Final Draft’s Big Break and an official selection of Film Independent’s Project Involve. She was awarded the LMU Fellowship grant and her short film, Wednesday, was acquired by HBO where it is currently streaming. As an alumna of the Film Independent/LMU Incubator Lab Mariyam also wrote, directed, and produced an eight-episode web series, Contemporary Mating Rituals, currently in consideration for streaming on HBOMax. Her pilot Huseins’ Hut was an official selection of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau & Familiar Stranger Lab in 2020.

 Previously, Mariyam worked in international sales for feature films at Global Road Entertainment as well as TV development for YA and social impact stories at Anonymous Content. Most recently, she served as writers’ assistant on the upcoming superhero series, Dalit. Mariyam is passionate about the #PayUpHollywood movement and a proud member of YEA! (Young Entertainment Activists) and Muslim Women Who Brunch. Mariyam received her MFA from Loyola Marymount University and studied abroad at the University of Cambridge.

Carla CackowskiCarla Cackowski (Admin Coordinator)


Carla Cackowski was born in Kentucky and collected stories and apartment leases from Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago and Portland before becoming a comedy writer in Los Angeles.

Once labeled as “Too nice!” to land a job as an assistant for a famous talk show host, Carla now writes comedies about complicated women who break the rules and make no apologies. Carla was a staff writer on a sketch show for DreamWorksTV and was a semi-finalist for NBC’s Writers On the Verge in 2019. Her one-act satirical play HELL COUNTY, FLORIDA was produced by The Second City Hollywood as part of their premium show series and her comedic monologues have been published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books in five different anthologies.

She has written for comedy podcasts on Wondery Media and Forever Dog Network and is a comedic improviser who tours the world, teaching and performing improvisation and sketch comedy. Carla has been a featured performer on multiple episodes of SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins and ALCHEMY THIS with Kevin Pollak. She has performed at UCB, toured with and taught for The Second City in Los Angeles, and is the former Artistic Director of Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California. Whew. www.carlacackowski.com

Lorelei IgnasLORELEI IGNAS (Creative)


Raised in Philly, Lorelei was a feminist from an early age, which did wonders for her social life as a teen. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, produced a number of off-off Broadway plays and then moved to LA to take the UCLA Professional Program for Television Writing. She also took classes at Script Anatomy.

Her work explores the darker side of human nature through a feminist lens. And lately, it’s been getting attention. In 2016/17, she became an NBC Writers on the Verge fellow. She’s also been a finalist for the PGA Diversity Workshop and the Disney/ABC Writing Program. Her 1-hour pilot Limerick made the 2017 WeForShe WriteHer List (top unproduced pilots written by women), and the 2018 Bitch List, (top unproduced scripts that pass the Bechdel Test). She currently has a pilot in development with AppleTree Pictures and A&E Studios. Lorelei is repped by UTA.

Jackie PennJACKIE PENN (Events)


Born and raised in the Midwest, Jackie graduated from The Ohio State University and attended the University of Cincinnati for graduate school.  After several years as a Spanish teacher, Jackie left teaching to pursue a career as a TV writer.

Now an LA based 1hr drama writer, Jackie’s writing focuses primarily on female-driven stories that explore the idea of being a fish out of water. Her Blackish TV spec “Downsizing” was a semifinalist for The Breakk Screenwriting Competition. Jackie has worked as a set production assistant, a line producer’s assistant and writers’ production assistant. She was a writers’ assistant for Netflix’s upcoming series Ginny & Georgia and recently finished her first staff writer gig on Disney +’s Turner & Hooch.

She’s repped by Authentic Talent and Lit Management and Verve.

Syeda LeeSYEDA LEE (Community Outreach)


A native New Yorker, Syeda has been a script supervisor on 15+ independent films, while working in outreach and engagement at Gotham Writers Workshop, one of NYC’s oldest online writing schools.

While she continues to enjoy encouraging others to craft their stories, she wrestles with her own. Following studies in both Psychology and Creative Writing at Brandeis University, Syeda writes emotionally rich, character driven TV comedies that explore the duality of our inner and outer lives, and the haphazard dynamics of the family you choose.

Now on the west coast, Syeda relishes any opportunity to get writers together to connect and network in fun, organic ways. In her spare time, she disappears into hours of animated television, indulges in DIY crafts and sewing, and tries, but doesn’t quite do enough yoga.

Greg PaytonGREG PAYTON (Creative)


The Kal-El of Crooklyn, Batman from Brooklyn, Greg Payton is a director, photographer and writer born out of New York City’s “School of Hard Knocks”. He went from drug riddled streets to NYU where he studied under Spike Lee, Sam Pollard, and Reed Morano.

He worked first in creative at the advertising giant, Havas, before joining the Mayor of New York’s office, creating content about the city’s tourism, cuisine and lifestyle. Upon moving to LA, he executed a digital series about fashion with reality series pioneer Bunim-Murray. He then teamed up with Sean “Diddy” Combs at Revolt T.V, working with Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige and Chadwick Boseman. He also won his first Key Art Award for his work with musician, Gary Clark, Jr.

Greg created Script Anatomy’s sizzle reel on the home page. And he continues to tell stories, build brands, direct short films and web series, and write T.V. pilots.

Most recently, he won an Emmy Award for his work on the L. A. Times/Spectrum show L. A. Times Today.

Samantha PenningtonSAMANTHA PENNINGTON (Social Media and Web Manager)


While studying for her BS in Innovation & Leadership from Southern Oregon University, Samantha discovered she had a serious knack for technology and communication. Being a Michigan native that moves 2-3 times each year, finding work that is mobile was very important so she began freelancing remotely after college.

She’s now the sci-fi & fantasy novel obsessed, radically inclined, and queer entrepreneur behind Oree Virtual. Feeling in her bones how badly the world needs more women, more people of color, more LGBTQIA+ folks, and other underrepresented people in positions of power, she decided to create and dedicate a business to that endeavor. Her full-service digital agency works to create change by helping others build powerful brands that serve meaningful missions.

After redesigning the Script Anatomy website, Samantha became a more permanent member of the Script Anatomy community as our social media and website manager.

TAWNYA BENAVIDES BHATTACHARYA, Founder & CEO

Tawnya Benavides Bhattacharya

A screenwriting teacher for 15 years, Tawnya founded Script Anatomy in 2011 just as her writing career was starting. Her goal: To use her experience building a TV writing career to help others do the same. (See Tawnya’s full bio here).

Since then, her unique curriculum has helped hundreds of writers advance, not least herself and her writing partner, Ali Laventhol, also a Script Anatomy instructor. The writing duo are Co-Executive Producers currently working on Salsa (Apple), having come up through the studio fellowship programs (NBC and FOX) and written on several network and cable shows.

As a guest instructor, Tawnya has brought the Script Anatomy method to the Disney | ABC Writing Program,The WGA Foundations,WGFestival, the Austin Film Festival, the Producer’s Guild (PGA) Power of Diversity Workshop, Hugo House in Seattle, the Willamette Writers Conference, Stage 32, The International Screenwriters Association, TV Writers Fund and the CineStory TV Writers Retreat in Idyllwild. Her column “Your TV Guide“ can be read in Script Magazine. She’s also been a guest on several podcasts, including Scripts & Scribes, Sell Your Screenplay, The TV Writers Podcast, and On the Page.

Tawnya studied acting and playwriting at Cornish College of the Arts Conservatory, and interned with playwright, Marie Irene Fornes and New City Theater in Seattle. She has performed in Seattle, Chicago, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic and LA.

Tawnya and Ali are repped by Industry Entertainment and Morris Yorn and UTA.

KEVIN TOWNSLEY (Director of Development)

Kevin Townsley

Kevin Townsley is an experienced writer in both comedy and drama, and a long time instructor at Script Anatomy.

He has worked on over a dozen television shows and pilots for some of TV’s most revered figures, including Ed Zuckerman and Josh Berman. He also worked with Shawn Ryan and Marney Hochman-Nash at Shawn’s production company MIDDKID PRODUCTIONS for what he calls his “Masters in showrunning”, having watched Shawn run multiple shows simultaneously all while developing new shows.

Originally from Detroit, Kevin graduated from The University of Arizona with a double major in Cultural Anthropology/Spanish. He has traveled and lived in 24 different countries, and recently he spent a year living on Airbnb all around Los Angeles.

He writes for POP TV‘s Let’s Get Physical, and he has sold a half hour comedy to Pivot Entertainment.

MARIYAM MAHBUB (Class Coordinator)

Mariyam Mahbub

Mariyam developed an overactive imagination as a way to escape a tumultuous childhood in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. Informed by her early experiences, she creates work with a global perspective and her flair for fantasy lends itself to extensive world building and unique characters.

She has been shortlisted for Sundance’s New Voices lab, a semi-finalist for Screencraft’s Sci-fi & Fantasy competition, quarter-finalist for Final Draft’s Big Break and an official selection of Film Independent’s Project Involve. She was awarded the LMU Fellowship grant and her short film, Wednesday, was acquired by HBO where it is currently streaming. As an alumna of the Film Independent/LMU Incubator Lab Mariyam also wrote, directed, and produced an eight-episode web series, Contemporary Mating Rituals, currently in consideration for streaming on HBOMax. Her pilot Huseins’ Hut was an official selection of the MPAC Hollywood Bureau & Familiar Stranger Lab in 2020.

 Previously, Mariyam worked in international sales for feature films at Global Road Entertainment as well as TV development for YA and social impact stories at Anonymous Content. Most recently, she served as writers’ assistant on the upcoming superhero series, Dalit. Mariyam is passionate about the #PayUpHollywood movement and a proud member of YEA! (Young Entertainment Activists) and Muslim Women Who Brunch. Mariyam received her MFA from Loyola Marymount University and studied abroad at the University of Cambridge.

Carla Cackowski (Admin Coordinator)

Carla Cackowski

Carla Cackowski was born in Kentucky and collected stories and apartment leases from Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago and Portland before becoming a comedy writer in Los Angeles.

Once labeled as “Too nice!” to land a job as an assistant for a famous talk show host, Carla now writes comedies about complicated women who break the rules and make no apologies. Carla was a staff writer on a sketch show for DreamWorksTV and was a semi-finalist for NBC’s Writers On the Verge in 2019. Her one-act satirical play HELL COUNTY, FLORIDA was produced by The Second City Hollywood as part of their premium show series and her comedic monologues have been published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books in five different anthologies.

She has written for comedy podcasts on Wondery Media and Forever Dog Network and is a comedic improviser who tours the world, teaching and performing improvisation and sketch comedy. Carla has been a featured performer on multiple episodes of SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins and ALCHEMY THIS with Kevin Pollak. She has performed at UCB, toured with and taught for The Second City in Los Angeles, and is the former Artistic Director of Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California. Whew. www.carlacackowski.com

Lorelei Ignas (Creative)

Lorelei Ignas

Raised in Philly, Lorelei was a feminist from an early age, which did wonders for her social life as a teen. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, produced a number of off-off Broadway plays and then moved to LA to take the UCLA Professional Program for Television Writing. She also took classes at Script Anatomy.

Her work explores the darker side of human nature through a feminist lens. And lately, it’s been getting attention. In 2016/17, she became an NBC Writers on the Verge fellow. She’s also been a finalist for the PGA Diversity Workshop and the Disney/ABC Writing Program. Her 1-hour pilot Limerick made the 2017 WeForShe WriteHer List (top unproduced pilots written by women), and the 2018 Bitch List, (top unproduced scripts that pass the Bechdel Test). She currently has a pilot in development with AppleTree Pictures and A&E Studios. Lorelei is repped by UTA.

Jackie Penn (Events)

Jackie Penn

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jackie graduated from The Ohio State University and attended the University of Cincinnati for graduate school.  After several years as a Spanish teacher, Jackie left teaching to pursue a career as a TV writer.

Now an LA based 1hr drama writer, Jackie’s writing focuses primarily on female-driven stories that explore the idea of being a fish out of water. Her Blackish TV spec “Downsizing” was a semifinalist for The Breakk Screenwriting Competition. Jackie has worked as a set production assistant, a line producer’s assistant and writers’ production assistant. She was a writers’ assistant for Netflix’s upcoming series Ginny & Georgia and recently finished her first staff writer gig on Disney +’s Turner & Hooch.

She’s repped by Authentic Talent and Lit Management and Verve.

Syeda Lee (Community Outreach)

Syeda Lee

A native New Yorker, Syeda has been a script supervisor on 15+ independent films, while working in outreach and engagement at Gotham Writers Workshop, one of NYC’s oldest online writing schools.

While she continues to enjoy encouraging others to craft their stories, she wrestles with her own. Following studies in both Psychology and Creative Writing at Brandeis University, Syeda writes emotionally rich, character driven TV comedies that explore the duality of our inner and outer lives, and the haphazard dynamics of the family you choose.

Now on the west coast, Syeda relishes any opportunity to get writers together to connect and network in fun, organic ways. In her spare time, she disappears into hours of animated television, indulges in DIY crafts and sewing, and tries, but doesn’t quite do enough yoga.

Greg Payton (Creative)

Greg Payton

The Kal-El of Crooklyn, Batman from Brooklyn, Greg Payton is a director, photographer and writer born out of New York City’s “School of Hard Knocks”. He went from drug riddled streets to NYU where he studied under Spike Lee, Sam Pollard, and Reed Morano.

He worked first in creative at the advertising giant, Havas, before joining the Mayor of New York’s office, creating content about the city’s tourism, cuisine and lifestyle. Upon moving to LA, he executed a digital series about fashion with reality series pioneer Bunim-Murray. He then teamed up with Sean “Diddy” Combs at Revolt T.V, working with Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige and Chadwick Boseman. He also won his first Key Art Award for his work with musician, Gary Clark, Jr.

Greg created Script Anatomy’s sizzle reel on the home page. And he continues to tell stories, build brands, direct short films and web series, and write T.V. pilots.

Most recently, he won an Emmy Award for his work on the L. A. Times/Spectrum show L. A. Times Today.

Samantha Pennington (Social Media & Website Manager)

Samantha Pennington

While studying for her BS in Innovation & Leadership from Southern Oregon University, Samantha discovered she had a serious knack for technology and communication. Being a Michigan native that moves 2-3 times each year, finding work that is mobile was very important so she began freelancing remotely after college.

She’s now the sci-fi & fantasy novel obsessed, radically inclined, and queer entrepreneur behind Oree Virtual. Feeling in her bones how badly the world needs more women, more people of color, more LGBTQIA+ folks, and other underrepresented people in positions of power, she decided to create and dedicate a business to that endeavor. Her full-service digital agency works to create change by helping others build powerful brands that serve meaningful missions.

After redesigning the Script Anatomy website, Samantha became a more permanent member of the Script Anatomy community as our social media and website manager.

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