Conference | Behind the Screen

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 10:30am

Spent hours binge-watching on HOUSE OF CARDS? Excited for the last season of MAD MEN? Can't get enough NEW GIRL?

Check out the Third Annual Dick Wolf Cinema Studies Screenwriting Symposium on Saturday, April 11th, and learn from writers, producers and filmmakers of your favorite TV shows and movies!

Alex Cuthbertson
Eliza Hittman
Jack Lechner
Scott Macaulay
Mike O'Malley

Frank Pugliese

Saturday, April 11 | Kislak Center, 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

10:30am-12pm | ACT I : THE SET-UP
Eliza Hittman | Jack Lechner | Scott Macaulay

Learn how to get started working in the business and getting your ideas onto paper and then onto screen. How do you decide which ideas to pick up, pitch, and produce? Hear from industry greats how they got to where they are now.

12-1:30pm | LUNCH

1:30-3pm | ACT II : THE CONFLICT
Alex Cuthbertson | Frank Pugliese | Lew Schneider

Ask about the challenges of writing and producing in the Digital Age and the current landscape. How to use new platforms to tell stories.

3:15pm-4:30pm | ACT III : THE RESOLUTION
Listen to a conversation between Mike O'Malley and Kathy De Marco Van Cleve about the industry: past, present and future.

4:30-5:30pm | WRAP PARTY (read: RECEPTION)

Alex Cuthbertson is currently a writer and Co-Executive Producer on Fox's New Girl. Prior to that he was a writer and producer on Ben and Kate and Community, and a writer for several seasons on American Dad. Prior to that he served as a producer on America's Next Top Model, an audience warm-up guy for The Montel Williams Show, a professional clapper / smiler at The Late Show with David Letterman, and as a barista for people who routinely sent back their lattes for lack of appropriate balance between wet milk and foam. He lives in Los Angeles and is getting pretty into up-tempo exercise walking.

Eliza Hittman is an award-winning filmmaker, born and based in New York City. Her critically acclaimed debut feature film It Felt Like Love premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in NEXT <=> and the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Tiger Competition in 2013. It also screened at MoMA, Viennale, London Film Festival BFI, Melbourne and more. It was a NYTimes, Village Voice, and LA Times Critics' Pick. Her short films have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, and more. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Indie Film. She was also nominated for a Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Gotham Award and two Independent Spirit Awards for It Felt Like Love. Her screenplay Beach Rats was selected for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.

There is pretty much nothing that Jack Lechner has not done in entertainment. Currently, he is an independent producer of film and television, a professor at NYU and Columbia, and a writer and lyricist, notably for the off-Broadway musical, The Kid. Jack’s credits include executive producing the film and television shows like Blue Valentine, The Fog of War, Left of the Dial, The New Public, Naked on the Inside, and Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. Jack was also a producer on the pilot for Mad Men, the Emmy-winning AMC drama series. Throughout his tenure as a film executive at Miramax, HBO and the BBC, Jack worked on Good Will Hunting, Chocolate, Velvet Goldmine, Four Weddings and A Funeral, The Affair, The Full Monty, and The Cider House Rules. He writes non-fiction books (Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You: One Man, Seven Days, Twelve Televisions), picture books for children (Mary Had A Little Lamp), and wrote the lyrics for the musical The Kid, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award, and was nominated for about a million others. Besides producing, Jack is active as a consultant, specializing in script developments for clients including HBO, the Canadian Film Centre, Capitol Films and Harp Films. You could probably also get him to talk about his experience as a game show contestant on Jeopardy and How to Be A Millionaire. For an industry that likes to pigeonhole its participants, Jack assuredly defies categorization – except that he can, and does, do everything.

Scott Macaulay is a film producer, who, with his partner Robin O’Hara, has produced or executive produced award-winning features including Raising Victor Vargas, Gummo, julien donkey-boy, Saving Face, What Happened Was (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance), The Chateau, Undefeated, Idlewild and most recently, Mark Jackson’s War Story. His company, Forensic Films, has also co-produced many European productions, including Olivier Assayas’s Demonlover and Clean. Macaulay is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Filmmaker Magazine, a quarterly print publication and website devoted to independent film and published by IFP (the Independent Filmmaker Project). He teaches at the IFP narrative Labs (still the only filmmaker mentorship program specifically focused on post-production, festival strategy and distribution), and has lectured on independent film at CPH:DOX Lab in Copenhagen, the Dubai International Film Festival and the Venice Biennale College Cinema. He and O’Hara are also recipients of an Independent Spirit Award for their work producing independent films.

Truly a multi-hyphenate, Mike O’Malley got his start in front of the camera hosting Nickelodeon’s Get the Picture and the iconic game show Guts. His success continued in television with standout roles in Yes Dear, My Name Is Earl, My Own Worst Enemy, Justified, and his Emmy®-nominated, groundbreaking performance as 'Burt Hummel' on the hit show Glee. Mike’s feature work includes roles in Eat Pray Love, Cedar Rapids, Leatherheads, Meet Dave, 28 Days, and the upcoming Untitled Concussion Project starring Will Smith which will be released Christmas 2015. Also an accomplished writer, Mike wrote and produced the independent feature Certainty which he adapted from his own play. In television, Mike has served as a Consulting Producer on "Shameless" and is in his second season as creator and Executive Producer of Survivor’s Remorse for Starz.

Frank Pugliese, an award-winning screenwriter, director and playwright, is currently a writer and supervising producer for the smash Netflix series House of Cards. Frank has too many credits to list as both a screenwriter and a television writer, but some of them include Shot in the Heart, Dion, Infamous, Law and Order, Borgias, Copper, and Homicide, for which he received a Writer’s Guild Award. As a playwright, Frank won an Obie for his play Aven’U Boys, was a Playwright-in-Residence at the Royal Court in London, and has had his many plays produced around the country. He is a former artistic director of the NY-based theater company, Naked Angels, and is a co-founder of both The Writer’s Group and The Screenwriter’s Collective in NYC. Frank is also the former chair of the Playwriting Program at The New School for Drama, has taught screenwriting and television writing for playwrights at the Yale School of Drama, and is currently a professor of television writing at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Department.

Lew Schneider currently serves as  a writer, producer, and occasionally director of the ABC comedy, The Goldbergs. His past credits include his own HBO stand-up special, and the primetime shows American Dad, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Men of a Certain Age (which won a Peabody Award but which very few people watched), and Everybody Loves Raymond (which won Emmy Awards and more people watched).


This conference, free and open to the public, has been made possible thanks to the Dick Wolf Cinema Studies Fund. No registration is required.
Organized by Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve with the assistance of Nicola M. Gentili.

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782