COMEDY WRITERS PANEL
A sure to be hysterical discussion amongst very funny people about how to be funny and write funny things.
Tami Sagher is a writer and performer whose work has appeared in film, television, radio and theater. She is currently the co-executive producer of HBO’s hit series Girls, as well as a producer on Inside Amy
Schumer. Tami was a writer and executive story editor for NBC’s 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. She won two Writer’s Guild awards for her work there, as well as a Peabody Award. Prior to that she wrote for Psych on USA, and HBO’s sitcom Lucky Louie. She was a writer and producer for FOX’s long running sketch show Mad TV, where she was nominated for two Writer’s Guild Awards. She’s also received a letter from an inmate at a state penitentiary for her work on This American Life. As an actress, Tami can be seen in Don’t Think Twice, Inside Amy Schumer, The Chris Gethard Show, Girls, The Kroll Show,
Knocked Up, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the independent featureNo Sleep Til Madison. She’s also appeared on NPR’s Weekend America as well as the critically acclaimed, prisoner-loved This American Life.
Opus Moreschi is Head Writer and Supervising Producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and a bipedal mammal. He was born in Boston but had sort of a nomadic childhood that guaranteed he’d end up a comedy writer. After graduating from Emerson College, he moved to Los Angeles where he performed sketch and improv at IOWest and UCB. He started his late night career selling jokes to The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in 2001, and went on to write for programs like “Alf’s Hit Talk Show” and “Lil’ Bush,” which he had to explain to people he met at parties were actual, real TV shows. Opus joined Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report in 2008 and became Head Writer in 2012. Opus has three Emmy awards, a Peabody award, and a small plastic trophy he won in a charity mustache-growing contest.
Ryan McKee is currently the digital writer/producer for “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” He and his team just won a 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Program. HIs writing has appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” MTV’s “Guy Code,” “Cracked,” “The Rotten Tomatoes Show,” the ABC game show “Duel,” and in “Broadway Book’s Look at My Striped Shirt!” He’s also written and produced comedy videos for HBO, AOL, MTV, Funny or Die, and UCB Comedy. As a performer, he is a StorySlam winner at The Moth, has appeared on Last Comic Standing, and appeared at Los Vegas Comedy Festival, SF Sketchfest, and Hell Yes Fest in New Orleans.
ASHLEY NICOLE BLACK
Ashley Nicole Black is a writer/performer currently working on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” as a writer and correspondent. She began her comedy career at The Second City in Chicago after earning her MA in performance studies at Northwestern University. Ashley dropped out of a PhD program to pursue comedy, so you probably shouldn’t take her advice.
Leila Strachan has worked as a writer and producer on such shows as “Happy Endings,” “Workaholics,” “Blackish,” “Last Man on Earth,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” and “Master of None.” She currently works as a Co-Executive producer on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Timothy Cooper is a writer, director, and script consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. He was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for writing and directing the digital sitcom “Concierge: The Series,” starring Kate McKinnon and others from “Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” and Upright Citizens Brigade. His feature, “Away From Here,” starring Nick Stahl, Alicia Witt, and Ray Wise, is available all over. And he’s written jokes and sketches for Michael Ian Black, Coli Quinn, and Larry Wilmore at the Writers Guild Awards. Timothy proudly teaches his screenwriting workshops around the world through his company, Blueprint Screenwriting Group.
DIRECTING FOR THE STAGE VS FILM PANEL
AFF will pair the director of the iconic films HOOSIERS and RUDY with Broadway director Ethan McSweeny to discuss the differences and similarities about directing at the highest level for both mediums.
David Anspaugh’s work as an associate producer on television movies led to his producing and directing Hill Street Blues, for which he won three Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes, and earned three DGA Award nominations and one win. Anspaugh then directed episodes of St. Elsewhere and Miami Vice before making his feature film debut with Hoosiers, starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, and Anspaugh won a Special Achievement Award from the Heartland Film Festival. Additional screen credits include Rudy, Fresh Horses, Moonlight and Valentino, Wise Girls, The Game of Their Lives, and Little Red Wagon. Hoosiers and Rudy were both included in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Cheers: America’s Most Inspiring Movies. ESPN voted Hoosiers the best sports film in its list of the 25 Best Sports Movies from 1979-2004. Hoosiers and Rudy were both featured in USA Today’s poll of the Top 10 Sports Movies of All Time. And, in 2001, Hoosiers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Mr. McSweeny made his breakout New York debut with the electrifying Off-Broadway premiere of John Logan’s Leopold and Loeb thriller Never the Sinner, winning Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards in 1998. Two years later, he made his Broadway debut with a revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, which was recognized with a Tony Award nomination, and the Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards for Best Revival. A regular on the New York stage, his work there includes the Broadway premiere of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, a landmark adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Persians for the National Actor’s Theatre, and the world premieres of Thomas Bradshaw’s Fulfillment (The Flea), Kate Fodor’s Rx (Primary Stages) and 100 Saints You Should Know (Playwrights Horizons) and Jason Grote’s 1001 (Page 73) – the latter two of which were simultaneously named “Top Ten of 2007” by TimeOut and Entertainment Weekly magazines.
His international work includes opening the 2016 Macau Arts Festival in China with a tour of his A Midsummer Night’s Dream, two seasons at the celebrated Stratford Festival in Canada (Liaisons Dangereuses, Pirates of Penzance), and a series of acclaimed productions at the Gate Theatre in Dublin including Florian Zeller’s The Father, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, Brian Friel’s A Month in the Country, and a revival A Streetcar Named Desire starring Lia Williams that was recognized with a brace of Irish Times Awards including Best Director. Within the United States he has directed more than seventy productions of premieres, classics, and musicals on most of the country’s preeminent stages including the Guthrie, the Goodman, the Old Globe, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, the Alley, Denver Center, Wilma, CenterStage, Westport Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, George Street Playhouse, and Pittsburgh Public among others.