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Deborah Starr Seibel is a multiple award-winning journalist and screenwriter.  For the past eight years, she has been an instructor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in the John Wells Division of Writing for Film & Television.  In addition, she serves as a mentor for Stephens College’s MFA in Screenwriting program. In prime time television, Deborah recently sold two pilots to CBS and is credited with four years on staff.  During those years, she wrote six episodes for the final season of NBC’s Sisters and spent three additional years on the staff of Promised Land, the spin-off to CBS’s Touched By An Angel.  She has also written episodes for Mysterious Ways and 21 Jump Street.

As a television reporter, Deborah won a George Foster Peabody award for investigative journalism, two Emmy Awards and First Place from the Associated Press for one of her documentaries.  As a print journalist, she has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Parade and USA Today. In addition, she is a long-time national correspondent for TV Guide.

In 2010, Deborah was awarded a USC Annenberg Fellowship to receive her Master’s Degree in Specialized Journalism/The Arts.

“If there isn’t a kernel of truth you shouldn’t be writing. You get to know the people in a writers’ room better than your family, because you have to bring yourself, your stories, your history, your family experience into that room or you have nothing to contribute because nobody on this planet has lived the life you’ve lived and if you don’t bring that into the writers’ room, what good are you?  What we are as artists are people who are trying to allow other people to feel that they are not alone.”” Deborah Starr Seibel

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Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Alumni, Sahar Jahani, Interviewed in Voyage LA Magazine

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting alum Sahar Jahani recently sat for an interview with Voyage LA magazine. Check it out and join our fall 2020 cohort to put yourself on the road to your screenwriting future.

Write. Reach. Represent.

Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting Alumni, Sahar Jahani, Interviewed in Voyage LA Magazine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sahar Jahani.

Sahar, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am first generation Iranian-American and come from a Muslim family, so it took me a while to realize that this career was even a possibility. If you can’t see it, it’s hard to believe you can also do it. By that, I mean that I didn’t know any other Muslims or Iranians who worked in Hollywood even though I grew up twenty minutes from all the studios. I remember driving by the Disney Animation building on the 134 freeway on my way to school every day and just think it was the coolest place in the world. But for me, it felt unattainable.

Ten years later, I’m having meetings there all the time. I was always interested in storytelling from a young age. My sister and I would put on plays for my family and I developed an interest in photography in high school, but I never considered film as a career until I was in college. I had planned to become a journalist because that was the closest thing to film that I could consider a tangible career. But when I started school at UC Irvine and began interning at different newspapers, I realized how much journalism was changing in an era of digital media.

Read the entire article – Meet Sahar Jahani


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#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Haña Lucero-Colin – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Every Monday we will be profiling a member of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting 2020 graduating class. This exciting, fresh crop of writers are the future of the industry and are going on to do BIG things, so get to know them now! 

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Haña Lucero-Colin - Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Haña Lucero-Colin is a writer, musician, and artist based out of Los Angeles, CA. As a storyteller, she strives to shed light on previously unseen spaces with empathy and a sense of humor. In 2014 she was awarded the Gene Amole Scholarship for Humor and Integrity in Journalism from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. A former ArtLab intern, Haña contributed to a play titled “I.Am.Here.” about a group of mixed-income high school students giving voice to their own unique stories. She also composed original music for the piece, which was performed at the University of Denver Colorado. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting through Stephens College. She is best known on screen as Shawn on The Fosters and MoCap Student #1 on ConMan. You may also recognize her concentrating face from a brief stint on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, but otherwise she was fairly blurry. Haña is mostly just happy to be here.


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#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: CJ Ehrlich- Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Every Monday we will be profiling a member of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting 2020 graduating class. This exciting, fresh crop of writers are the future of the industry and are going on to do BIG things, so get to know them now! 

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: CJ Ehrlich- Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

This week, Stephens College is proud to present: CJ Ehrlich #MeetTheGraduates

A Bostonian who resides in the wilds of NY, C.J. Ehrlich is an award-winning playwright, whose works have enjoyed over 200 productions around the world, and are published in numerous “Best of” anthologies (including The Best American Short Plays of 2015-16). Full-lengths include The Cupcake Conspiracy: Terrorism is Easy, Marriage is Complicated (with Philip J. Kaplan), the anti-romcom This Time We’ll Make It Work, and scifi comedy Zane to Gate 69. While in the MFA program, C.J. has written a full-length horror screenplay, Graduation, and is developing the comedy Stupid Voices from the Future, as well as pilots for a supernatural, teen-oriented thriller, and a comedy about a team of reality TV losers. She also spent a wonderful semester living amongst the female screenwriters of the silent era, and has mixed feelings about Al Jolson.


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#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Emma Jeszke – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Every Monday we will be profiling a member of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting 2020 graduating class. This exciting, fresh crop of writers are the future of the industry and are going on to do BIG things, so get to know them now! 

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Emma Jeszke

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Emma Jeszke

Emma Jeszke is a dramedy writer, with a focus on coming-of-age stories that challenge and expand typical narratives about girlhood, young adulthood, and motherhood. She has a special talent for keeping you laughing till you’re crying.

Her television pilot Postpartum, about the joys and struggles of being a new mom, was a top-ten finalist in the Women Writing Competition at Series Fest. She is the author of the feature screenplays Wildflower, a forbidden love story about a soldier and an antiwar activist set in 2004, and Bobbi Malone, which follows a thirty-something as she reconnects with her estranged grandmother through a theater troupe. She’s also the author of several stage plays, and the creator of the forthcoming web series Holly & Gem, about two sisters who reconnect after one escapes a cult.

Her plays have been performed regionally in places such as the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and the Blank Theatre in Los Angeles. She is a book editor at Theatre Communications Group, the foremost publisher of theatrical literature, where she’s spent eight years working with world-renowned playwrights. She’s currently finishing her MFA in TV & Screenwriting at Stephens College.


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Listen to the latest “How I Wrote That” Podcast with Screenwriter Julie Hébert from ‘American Crime’ and ‘Man in the High Castle’

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Julie Hébert started her creative life as a theater director and playwright (Ruby’s Bucket of Blood).  She’s written and directed for the Magic Theater, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, LaMaMa, The Women’s Project, Cornerstone and many more.  Her plays were honored twice with the Pen Award for Drama. Moving into television, Julie has written and directed for some of the most respected shows in television including American Crime, The Good Wife, Boss, Numb3rs and The West Wing. Her films have been praised as “intriguingly complex” (Variety) and “pulsing with veracity” (LA Times), with “a raw power that is impossible to dismiss” (Roger Ebert).  She blogs occasionally at JulieHébert.com.

“I honor the depth inside and the stories that really want to be told because often in television you can get away with topline chatter, but to really hit on something that has meaning for you, that will have meaning for someone hearing the story, it has to come from a deeper place.” -Julie Hébert

Presented by Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting


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A Photographic February for Stephens MFA in TV and Screenwriting

February was a month of sharing the marvelous photos from all the guest lectures who graced the January Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting workshop with their talent and inspiration… (plus a quick shot of my upcoming book on Films of the Civil War).

February at Stephens MFA in TV and Screenwriting


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Write Your Family’s Stories! – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Sometimes the best scripts are hidden in our own families – call relatives, have dinners, write letters.

Then come to the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting to learn how to Write, Reach, and Represent all those hidden stories.Write Your Family's Stories! - Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Charles M. Schulz Museum

💪🍪 We honor the great women who have gone ahead of us and who walk beside us every day on this #InternationalWomensDay. This Peanuts strip was first published on November 11, 1976⁠.⁠⁠


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#FacultyFriday: Phillip LaZebnik – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

#FacultyFriday: Phil LaZebnik - Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting would like to celebrate one of our mentors Philip LaZebnik, whose musical THE PRINCE OF EGYPT just opened on the West End! Congratulations Philip! #FacultyFriday

Philip Lazebnik has written numerous television episodes and motion picture screenplays in Los Angeles and Europe. His screenwriting credits include Disney’s Pocahontas and Mulan, and DreamWorks’ Prince of Egypt and The Legend of El Dorado. For the past several years, LaZebnik has lived in Denmark, where he has written movies and television shows throughout Europe and the U.S. His produced movies include the three Treasure of the Templar Knights movies in Denmark and The Three Investigators: The Secret of Skeleton Island and The Three Investigators: The Mystery of Terror Castle for Studio Hamburg; the Danish film Emma and Santa Claus; the English screenplay for Asterix and the Vikings and Asterix and the Domain of the Gods. He also wrote the TV mini-series Hindenburg in Germany, the Christmas TV series Ludvig and Santa Claus for TV2 in Denmark, and the book for Fairytale, a theatrical musical about H.C. Andersen with songs by Stephen Schwartz. Most recently he wrote the book for the musical theatrical version of Prince of Egypt with Stephen Schwartz, which opens in London’s West End on February 25, 2020.


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#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Antonio Zarro – Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting

Every Monday we will be profiling a member of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting 2020 graduating class. This exciting, fresh crop of writers are the future of the industry and are going on to do BIG things, so get to know them now! 

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Antonio Zarro

#MeetTheGraduatesMonday: Antonio Zarro

Antonio Zarro is a director and actor for film and television. He created Aria Pictures, a media production company through which he produced and directed over 300 films, commercials and training dramas. His productions have played in Hollywood, Cannes and Europe, and have shown on Showtime, HBO, Cinemax and the Family Channel.

His work has screened at the NY Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival, the Virginia Festival of American Film, the Columbus Film Festival and Worldfest-Houston. A few of Zarro’s awards include: A Cine Golden Eagle, Telly, Addy, and Aurora Award. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, acting in movies, television and the theatre. Zarro received a B.A. from the University of Tulsa and an M.A. from Regent University.

At the graduate level, he wrote and directed Bird in a Cage, which won a Student Academy Award.


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