UCLA Extension

Story Expo


The Writers’ Program hosted three panels (see below) at Story Expo 2015, which took place at the Westin LAX from September 11 – 13, 2015.  Check back with us soon for information about our 2016 participation.

Tackling the Beast:  Writing Your First Novel   

Friday, Sept 11 from 2pm – 3:30pm

Do fragments of scenes and plots flash in your mind?  Are story lines and possible characters haunting your imagination, waiting to be born? Or have you already started to write your first novel, but got overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the process?  Published novelists share their experiences and proven tips for transforming ideas and fragments of stories into artistic, compelling pieces of writing, with an emphasis on structure, character, and of course, story.  To turn frustration into inspiration, start here.

Panelists:  Mark Sarvas (Chair); Francesca Lia Block, Tony DuShane, Melanie Thorne


Writing the TV Pilot:  Your “Must Have” Calling Card

Friday, Sept 11 from 6pm -7:30pm

Whether you’re a new or seasoned TV writer, you need at least one original pilot in your portfolio that shows your voice, your passion and brand of humor, and your sensibility.  A panel of widely-produced one-hour drama and sitcom writers lays out how you can tap into your own “TV taste” to develop a Big Idea that’s a solid franchise capable of generating 80 to 100 episodes; create fresh, original characters;  and pitch your show to networks and studios with style.

Panelists:  Charlie Craig (Chair); Richard Hatem, Margaret Oberman, Joel Thompson


Deepening Your Characters: A Screenwriter’s Guide

Saturday, Sept 12 from 2pm-3:30pm

The best Hollywood movies deliver big, juicy main characters who take their audience on an emotionally involving journey.  Join UCLA Extension Writers’ Program screenwriters as they explore how to create multi-dimensional, stylish, credible, and empathetic characters (aka “actor bait”!) whose wants and needs deepen over the course of the screenplay and within each individual scene, and that add up to the kind of compelling read that can get a project sold.

Panelists:   Billy Mernit (Chair); Cindy Davis, Philip Eisner, Steve Mazur


In addition, the Writers’ Program had a table in the exhibit hall where attendees can meet staff and learn more about the Writers’ Program’s screenwriting and creative writing courses, certificate programs, competitions, consultations, mentorships, scholarships and more.