Gil Hizon is a half-hour writer who was born and raised in the Philippines. A serial monogamist and a child of divorce, Gil is drawn to stories about how people cope with relationship issues. For instance, he believes that people find out who they really are when trying to pick up the pieces after a breakup. The comedies Gil writes tend to be unapologetic, grounded and emotional. Gil has BA degrees in Psychology, Theater and TV Writing/Producing. He’s also a self-proclaimed astrology expert. He’s a graduate of Fairfield University and Columbia College Chicago, and is thrilled to be a part of the 2017-2018 CBS Writers Mentoring Program.
"You write what you wanna see on TV. That's it."
Morgan Dover-Pearl was born in Austin, Texas but thanks to her adventurous parents spent her early formative years in Spain and Argentina. Morgan’s love for storytelling was first ignited by Argentina’s abundant power outages. She wrote, or more accurately one should say dictated (because let’s be honest, at seven her writing skills were limited) plays for her and her little sister to perform while they waited out the hours of darkness. If only her time in Argentina had been solely plays and power outages, but unfortunately her father was targeted by the corrupt Argentinian government and falsely held captive for two and half years. Despite the severity of the situation, Morgan’s mother worked incredibly hard to make sure that her daughters had a normal childhood. Through her mother’s example, Morgan was fortunate to learn at a young age the power of resilience, that optimism is a courageous act and that there is humor to be found even in the darkest moments. That outlook on life informs who Morgan is as a person and who she is as a writer.
Morgan received a BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University and an MFA in Acting from Brown University. After years of perusing acting while also working as an interior decorator, because a girl’s gotta eat on a consistent basis, Morgan decided she was ready to return to her storytelling roots. Her debut as a writer came in the form of a short film that had its World Premiere at the Austin Film Festival. Leaving that experience encouraged and inspired she made the decision to fully shift her focus to writing. She is also an alumna of the Warner Bros. Writers' Workshop.
"It's not lost on me for one second that writing is an art form, that it's a craft, and there are things to be learned."
• Morgan's AFF short film Lunch Break
Rachel Avery is an award-winning actor/writer/director who recently won the Producers Encore Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival for her work developing and directing the one woman show The Pleasure Project, which just completed a run in Adelaide, Australia.
She recently directed, wrote, and starred in the TV comedy Wake Up America! which is now available on Amazon Prime. Rachel’s short film Jet Lag, premiered at the California Women’s Film Festival. She was nominated for Best Director of a Musical by the Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards for Blanche, which premiered at the New York Musical Festival and Huffington Post put it on the list of top 20 shows for 2011. Rachel has been actively shadowing TV Directors on Criminal Minds and the upcoming Roseanne reboot.
As an actress, she performed Off-Broadway and around the world in Re-Animator the Musical, (Original Cast Recording) directed by Stuart Gordon and co-starring George Wendt. Film/TV appearances include Tropic Thunder, The Giant Mechanical Man, Big Love, Reno 911, State of Georgia, Movie of the Week for the Hallmark Channel, and the horror flick Big Game. She is a proud member of Rogue Machine Theater and Pacific Resident Theater in Los Angeles winning Ovation, LADCC and LA Weekly Awards. Rachel graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
"I write with a director's mind... And I think that's why I get hung up on action, because I think that is the place where I ask, "How do you succinctly express in the written word what is ultimately going to be a visual experience for the audience."
• Rachel Avery on Twitter
• Rachel's pilot, Wake Up America!
Kara Lee Burk began writing while working with The Second City-Detroit and various sketch comedy troupes in New York City. An alumni of the Warner Bros Television Writers Workshop, she has been staffed as a writer on Romantically Challenged (ABC), Melissa & Joey (ABC Family) and The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (Dreamworks / Netflix). She has developed multiple series, wrote on Hanazuki, a bunch digital shorts for The Littlest Pet Shop (both on YouTube) and is currently a writer for the upcoming Costume Quest (Amazon).
"[For writer's block], I switch gears and work on something else for a day. It's like a game of Jenga. You gotta poke at different blocks and work on the ones that move. And if something is stuck, you don't know how moving to another project, something may shift and you'll see the answer."
• Kara Lee Burk on Twitter
Nadia Madden is a former 911 dispatcher turned screenwriter. She’s found success as a Humanitas: New Voices Finalist and Sundance Episodic Storylab Semifinalist. Her law enforcement background finds its way into every script. Nadia often writes about underdog characters, particularly women, who persevere despite their circumstances. And although her San Francisco, Chinatown one-hour pilot is intentionally not laden with martial arts, Nadia happens to hold a first degree black belt in Kenpo Karate.
"They say, 'Write what you know.' I think it's writing what you know emotionally, whether you want to or not that's gonna come out."
• Nadia Madden on Twitter
Marc Warzecha is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Writers Guild of America Associate Member, and was a writer for Season 2 of Comedy Central's Detroiters. Marc recently wrote for Disney Digital's Babble brand and was a recent finalist in NBC Writers on the Verge and Final Draft Big Break. With The Second City comedy theatre, he is multiple-time Jeff Award nominated head writer/director. His work as a satirist has been featured on ABC's "Nightline," Newsweek magazine, and the Washington Post, he has guested on CNN's "Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and NPR's "All Things Considered."
"Sometimes when I first sit down to write, I'll take out a spiral notebook and write anything that might be churning in my mind, especially if I'm in the middle of a really busy day. Writing out my emotions, writing out how I'm feeling right now, getting that on the page to kind of release it."
• Marc Warzecha on Twitter
• Marc's website
• Marc's pilot The Trumpmaid's Tale
• Lee Jessup, career coach
• The TV Writer's Workbook by Ellen Sandler