This week, the Writers’ Program formally congratulates the top 3 winners of each category of the UCLA Extension competition for Feature Film Writing, Television Spec Writing, and Television Pilot Writing. An ad featuring all nine writers was just published in the December 11th issue of The Hollywood Reporter (on shelves now!). In early January, the Writers’ Program staff will publish and mail their contact and project information to over a thousand entertainment industry executives (producers, agents, managers, etc.) via newsletter. In addition, each finalist from 1st place to 3rd has been awarded a cash prize of $1000, $500, $250 (respectively). Read on to meet our finalists and learn about their winning stories!

2015 UCLA Extension Feature Film Writing Competition Winners

1st Place: Tim Drain, author of East of Western (a crime drama).

The pitch: After a stroke puts his boss/mentor in a coma, a Hispanic enforcer for a Los Angeles Korean criminal organization fights to defend the man’s family from dangerous challengers to the throne.

2nd Place: Roma K. Simons, author of Waiting at Hemmler’s Cafe (a drama).

The pitch: Set in the 1940s, a dutiful and underappreciated housewife embarks on an unrelenting search for her missing teenage daughter; what she finds changes her world forever.

3rd Place: Lucas Johnson-Yahraus, author of Dusty Road (a road movie).

The Pitch: A hitchhiking musician gets picked up by a West Virginia wildcard who gives him a calamitous crash-course in the magic of life.

2015 UCLA Extension Television Spec Writing Competition Winners

1st Place: Judy Bernardino, author of Veep: Mabel (a half-hour comedy).
The pitch: Realizing that her reputation for being an angry woman is holding her back from true success, Selina struggles with the delicate art of campaigning during a presidential visit to the site of a natural disaster.

2nd Place: Lesley Marshall, author Supernatural: Kill Bill & Ted (a one-hour drama).

The pitch: When legendary hunter Bill Brody is murdered, Sam & Dean Winchester track down the mysterious biker who killed him. But when they discover the biker is another hunter, who claims Bill was in league with the monsters, the Winchesters must decide who to trust.

3rd Place: Catherine Kelleher, author of Orange Is the New Black: Like A Drug (a one-hour drama).

The pitch: A devastated Alex returns to a Litchfield with a new world order and Piper can’t hide her delight. When Alex discovers the truth behind her re-incarceration, Piper learns that her desperate attempt to have family again may have cost her everything.

2015 UCLA Extension Television Pilot Writing Competition Winners

1st Place: Christina Strain, author of The Fox Sister (a one-hour drama).

The pitch: Ten years after her entire family is slaughtered by a shape-shifting Fox Demon, an audacious young Korean woman tracks the Fox Demon down to the small town of Chasse, Louisiana. There she must team up with a cynical American supernatural hunter to figure out which of the townswomen is actually the Fox Demon in disguise and kill it before it kills again to assume a new identity.

2nd Place: Moisés Zamora, author of Second Coming (a one-hour drama).

The pitch: Brother Eli, a Jesuit who has lost his faith in God and the church, teams up with Gracie, a former FBI agent, to investigate an angel apparition, only to uncover a heinous crime and possible evidence of Christ’s return.

3rd Place: Mike Anderson, author of Flawless Execution (a half-hour comedy).

The pitch: Two clowns / executioners do whatever it takes to make it big in a fantasy kingdom of goblins, trolls, knights and wizards, where everyone is kind of a dick.

Special thanks to our mentor-judges for feature film writers (Steve Mazur, Pat Verducci, and Michael Weiss) and for television spec & pilot writers (Erica Byrne, Phil Kellard, and Barry Vigon).

Also, special thanks to our final round judges for feature film writing: Rick Berg (Code Entertainment), Robert Mitas (Furthur Films), and Chris Sablan (Original Artists Agency); and to our final round judges for television spec & pilot writing: Chelsea Benson (Echo Lake Entertainment), Rick Berg (Code Entertainment), and Mikhail Nayfeld (Heroes and Villains Entertainment).

Tune in next week to hear what the finalists have to say about winning the competition!

If you’re an entertainment industry professional interested in reaching any of the above winners, please contact the Writers’ Program at or (310) 825-9415.

Jeff Bonnett is the Program Assistant for Screenwriting (Onsite & Online). Contact him at or (310) 206-1542.

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