BTFC Rising Writers Lab



The Winter 2019 BTFC Rising Writer Participants

This month, the Black TV & Film Collective (BTFC) selected six writers to usher through the daunting process of preparing for and applying to the industry’s most competitive and prestigious writing fellowships including the WB Writers’ Workshop, Disney/ABC Writing Program and CBS Writing Fellowship, to name a few. Writers will be aided in development of their original concept scripts, sharpening spec scripts, and polishing the important personal and professional statements. These writers will also have the opportunity to network with industry experts, who will share information on how to make their applications stand out.

It is widely known that these competitive fellowships are a springboard into the industry. Applying can feel like a shot in the dark and can be a very isolating experience. This lab is here to change that,said Huriyyah Muhammad, Executive Director of The Black TV & Film Collective.

This year’s program participants include:

Lauren Vernea:

Lauren is a writer, actor, singer, and producer. Her work as a TV/Film producer and researcher includes “Explained” (Vox/Netflix), “The Year” (ABC News), and the hip-hop docu-series “The Field” (Mass Appeal/Starz). As a writer, her work consists of her upcoming bible-study comedy Connect Group. She created the #TheResistance, an “In Living Color” style sketch comedy show that fights the power in the age of Trump. #TheResistance currently has a monthly residency at the People’s Improv Theater in NYC. She is a proud Chicago native and graduate of the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program at Northwestern University.

Letitia Guillory:

Letitia is a writer/performance artist/producer/theatre director. Her work has been presented at PS 122, Dixon Place, Lincoln Center, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and BRIC Media Arts among others. Her writing credits include theatre: The Further Adventures of Gussie Mae in America, MAE and THE (beginning of the End), Free at Last, CrawfishTales, RED,8:42;and screenplays:Baby Love, Hound Dog,Grace,The Last Time and Lights Out.Letitia is a member of NYWIFT, BTFC, Harlem Writers Workshop and Dramatists Guild. She is a proud alum of the University of Texas (BFA, Drama) and New York University (MA, Performance Studies). 

Laura Fielder:

Laura is a writer/director who initially created stories for her three daughters, given the dearth of quality stories for young Black girls. Her debut film Milan’s First Day (2015), was based on her youngest daughter’s school experience. After discovering the soul scorching and brain melting stories of Japanese anime and manga, Laura moved away from “parental respectability politics” in her storytelling. Thus began her journey deep into her shadow mind where she sculpts stories about human foibles and failings.   Presently, Laura is in post-production for The Company You Keep, a psychological thriller short she wrote and directed.

Latasha Mercer:

Latasha (or JustLatasha on the internet) has developed multiple platforms since 2010. She is a Personality, Video Producer & Screenwriter. This includes conducting celebrity interviews, 2 Seasons of an awarded Amazon Prime series, and starring in a weekly digital show. She is a cum laude grad from The College of New Rochelle, with a degree in Communication Arts. Her latest venture is AURORE TV: the streaming platform for Black indie FILM.

April Guscott:

April Guscott is a TV/screenwriter whose work spotlights young QWOC as they try to navigate the exhaustive trials of adulting as millennials. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of the professional associations including NYWIFT and the BTFC. April is a native New Yorker hailing from the Caribbean immigrant rich Brooklyn neighborhood of East Flatbush, and is currently working on a high concept whodunnit pilot loosely inspired by her online dating adventures. 

Alysia Powell:

Alysia is a writer, director and actor whose career spans over 20 years in film, TV, and stage with recent credits including guest starring roles on Bull, Billions, Random Acts of Flyness, Pose, and recurring roles on Mysteries of Laura and Orange Is The New Black. She is currently pursuing her talents behind the camera, as a writer and director of the digital series For EBC, St. James Pl and as a co-director/actress for the TV pilot, Boys and Girls. She is also refining her one-woman show, Different Shades of Love, which was recently featured in the Emerging Artist Festival.

It was tough selecting the six participants for our inaugural Rising Writers Lab. It’s an intensive preparatory and we wish the best of success to our participants: Lauren Vernea, April Guscott, Latasha MercerLetitia Guillory, Laura Fielder and Alysia Joy Powell!

Following participation in the lab, these amazing writers will be armed with an original pilot, spec script, personal essays, polished resumes and letters of recommendations. All of which will be used to apply to upcoming writing fellowships like the Warner Brothers Writers Room!



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