In case you’ve missed it, 2018’s been a bit of a busy year for the Writers’ Program.

We moved offices. Twice. We’re now situated in a (semi)permanent home on Wilshire Blvd, near UCLA’s Wilshire Center. After being in our Gayley location for decades, it’s been a huge adjustment to move to two other very different spaces in the span of four months, but we are exceptionally grateful for our adaptable staff, the support of the institution in making these moves happen, and all our students and instructors for their patience and understanding!

The view from our new offices

Speaking of staff, we’ve had several big changes there as well. In 2017 we said goodbye to both our Creative Writing Program Assistants (Ani & Phoebe), as well as our longtime work studies (Amanda & Evette). We brought on another work study earlier this year, Morgan. She was amazing, but also a final-term senior so we had to go on the hunt again after spring term. Luckily we were able to get two great new work studies this fall, Julia and Deisy.

This year we were also incredibly fortunate to have a temporary assistant for Creative Writing, Cordell, who fit in the WP crew instantly and we were very sad to see him go. Fortunately, we were able to add Ashley as a Program Representative recently, shared with Entertainment Studies.

Program Managers, new and newly retired

Lastly in staff news, this summer our beloved Program Manager Cindy retired after nearly twenty years in the program. Though we are sad she’s no longer with us,we are thrilled she’s now able to spend time focusing on her own writing and life projects. We are also incredibly fortunate that our own Nutschell was promoted to Cindy’s position and has taken up the mantle of Program Manager with the same level of drive, commitment, and compassion that made her an outstanding program rep for almost five years.

Even with all the changes, we pulled off multiple events focused on the most important aspect of our work: students and writing. A few events of note include: Writers Studio, Publication Party, Writing Retreat, Allegra Johnson& Kirkwood award luncheons, LAMBDA LitFest, NFMLA Annual Gala and partnership, and networking events with the Entertainment Studies program.

AND we just launched a podcast! The Write Process, hosted by our Program Director Charles Jensen, explores the process of writing with instructors and alums. Our first episode with instructor and TV writer Zac Hug debuted last week. Our next episode with instructor and author Jennnifer Caloyeras will be available later this week (12/21). You can listen to The Write Process (and subscribe) on iTunes, our site, and wherever podcasts are found. Discuss your thoughts and ask questions on social media using #thewriteprocess

Here’s a few memories of this impactful year from staff members:

Nutschell: There were lots bitter, sweet, and bittersweet moments this year. Our Program Manager of 20 years retired, and I was lucky to have been tasked with continuing on her amazing legacy. This year, we also added a new staff member, Ashley. I’m very happy she’s joined the Creative Writing team.

On a personal level, there were a lot of good memories as well.  Kayla Wayman, Junior Time Traveler: Lost in the Stream won the Grand Prize of Story Monsters’ Royal Dragonfly Book Award.  This is the first collaborative novel produced and published by (Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles), and I’d written 8 chapters, drew some illustrations, and co-edited this book, so I’m particularly proud of this achievement. I also had a fun interview with VoyageLA magazine, who asked me about,the writing organization I founded 8 years ago.

Carla: I had the pleasure of attending the Lake Arrowhead Writing Retreat in September! It was wonderful to reconnect to my creative writing pursuits, immerse myself in nature, and meet fellow writers. 

Jeff: This year I sat in on a few insightful classes, met interesting writers, as well guest speakers, received helpful advice and guidance from several of our amazing film & TV writing instructors – all of which aided me in achieving my personal goal for 2018: to finish another screenplay! (Which I did, successfully.)

For 2019, my new goal is just to do it all over again, and keep going. Also, now that we have our office relocation behind us, and we’ve overcome some administrative obstacles, next year I’m looking forward to inventing new / innovate ways to promote, and grow, our screenwriting program.

Bree: The Writers’ Program is so supportive of one another whatever gets thrown our way, so I’m hoping 2019 brings us more opportunities to cheerlead for one another in aspects of life and work that are positive changes.
This year I made significant progress in the Feature Film Writing Certificate, completing a full draft of a screenplay as well as learning more about making connections (and researching them) in the industry. I’m looking forward to finishing the certificate in time for the summer 2019 graduation!

Chae: My good memory this year was snagging a Nintendo Switch at a very discounted price.  My goal for writing next year is to stop playing my Nintendo Switch cause it is distracting me from writing.

It’s been a whirlwind year, and we look forward to 2019 being a year of more changes– hopefully with a touch less whirl. Thank you to all our students, staff,supporters, and instructors for making the Writers’ Program a fantastic place to work and help people achieve their writing dreams!

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