Season 2 CBS’s The Inspectors – The episode I wrote

Here is a link to the episode from season 2 of CBS’s The Inspectors that I wrote:

http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/the-inspectors/episode-14-season-2/bribe-and-prejudice/834251/?video=26959408&source=264

 

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Screw you, 2016 was my best year yet!

For many people 2016 was a year to be forgotten. For me, it was my best year yet. As an ambitious person I often find myself so focused on my goals (what I don’t have yet) that sometimes I create depression in my own mind. So in an attempt to be more grateful for all of the amazing things in my life I went back through 2016, month by month, and documented all of the things I am grateful for. A lot of them are career achievements like: having my first network TV acting and writing debut and having our digital series The Post Post Apocalypse featured on FunnyOrDie, but there are also a number of personal milestones that fostered the relationships of both friends and family that really stuck out to me the most. If you’re reading this I hope you see the power of being grateful. I really helps me stay on track.

2016 in review:

JANUARY

I traveled to the Caribbean and got to perform stand-up comedy on my first cruise ship.

The Vikings were the NFC champs.

I started playing ping pong.

I booked my trip to Israel and Europe

I took a screenwriting class at UCLA.

Greg Berman moved out to LOS ANGELES.

FEBRUARY

I made my network TV writing and acting debut.

Greg and I drove to Mexico for my birthday and I went to a rub and tug and got no tug.

Bowers came to LA and I saw O-town perform.

Ethan came to visit and I really stepped up my ping pong game.

MARCH

3 year anniversary of The Secret Show at The Blind Barber

My Mom came to visit me in LA

Finished beat sheet for Disorder

Got my movie poster game on fleek.

Went to Israel

The Inspectors was nominated for 6 Emmys.

Went to Jerusalem and floated in the dead sea.

APRIL

Back was hurting started using yoga balls

Went to Amsterdam, Brussels and Prague.

Took mushrooms in Prague

Ate at my first at my first Michelin Star restaurant in Prague

Mom and Dad came to visit. Dad gave me my chess board

Started writing on Season 2 of The Inspectors

I was on LAUGHS on Fox

The Inspectors WINS 1 Emmy

Shot the first POST POST Apocalypse episodes.

MAY

Did the Gundo Comedy Festival w/ The Secret Show at The Blind Barber.

Started volunteering with the WGA

Got to see a Twins game in Mpls.

Prince died.

JUNE

We ended the stale mate with our land lord

My Always Sunny spec became a finalist in the UCLA writing contest.

Started boogie boarding

Cleveland won the NBA playoffs

Got to go to Minnesota and be on Lake Minnetonka

Mohammed Ali died

JULY

Spent July 4th at Manhattan beach

Grandparents came to visit

I was on LAUGHS on FOX again.

Finished first draft of Disorder script.

Saw Louie CK and the Forum

Shot a video for MGFAD for Sundance

Shot more episodes of POST POST

Saw PHISH at The Forum

Larry from Eagle Magic came out, went to Magic Castle

Went to Rain room at LACMA

AUGUST

Met Steven Knight writer/creator of Peaky Blinders at WGA in LA

Did a table read for DISORDER, 4 people cried

Became friends with Phyllis

Ellen Rock came from MN to live at our house.

Read Inside the Room

Did Laugh’s on FOX for a 3rd time in 1 year.

Booked my trip to S.E. ASIA

Re-connected with Mercies May

SEPTEMBER

Took my first Improv class at UCB

Started Golfing again

Spent lots of time at the beach

Did a bunch of re-writes on Disorder

Re-met up with Dylan Mandolson

OCTOBER

Released the POST POST and was featured on FUNNYorDie

Performed at The Laugh Factory

Went to a cubs / dodgers playoff game

Finished DISORDER and sent it to agents.

Went to the Tourbadour with Brian G. for the first time

NOVEMBER

Cubs won the world series.

Trump won the election

Watched the results at the official Hilary Clinton campaign party in LA. with Ken and Nogen and Mike

Went to the Magic Castle with Ted and his girl.

Finished outline for HEIST IS RIGHT

My buddy Robert Stevens came to town.

Read the book the Psychopath Test.

Saw Arthur Miller’s A View From a Bridge. Inspired me to want to write a play

Started writing Unlikey Assassins

Adam Quesnell stayed at the house

Did my first VR comedy show

DECEMBER

Donated blood, felt great to give back

Both Ethan and Bowers came out to LA.

Opened for Dave Chappelle at the Blind Barber

Told a girl I actually cared about her

Found Yin style yoga

Performed at The Icehouse

Met Ron Jermey

Got my recording equipment for Jokology

The punter for the Indianapolis colts (Pat McAfee) flew me to indy to do charity event

Performed at the new Morty’s in Indy

Met Ms. Pat in Indy at Morty’s

Got to go home to MN for Christmas.

Went to the Sun Shine Depot in Elk River with Tim Gabrielson

 

Looking forward to 2017!!!!

Meet more friends

Finish Heist Is Right

Figure out my relationship to stand-up in Los Angeles

Find lit manager/agent/lawyer

Travel to more places

Do more classes

Read more books

See more plays

Watch more live music

Finish projects

Shoot Unlikely Assassins

Relax more

Meditate more

Be more grateful, more often

Eat less shitty food

Be better to my body

Write a Play

Take UCB 201

Take a non-screenwriting writing class

Be of service to others

Find ways to give back

Get more family to visit Los Angeles

More blog posts

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The Post-Post Apocalypse: A FunnyOrDie Series

After the cure to the walkers virus was found people slowly started to assimilate back into normal life in the Post-Post Apocalypse… but for Rick Grimes this was a real struggle. Watch the entire Walking Dead parody below:

Episode #1: Rick Grimes Vs. Dominos Pizza

Episode #2: Daryl’s Confession to Rick Grimes

Episode #3: Rick Grimes on a first date

Episode #4: Rick Grimes Vs. Millennial

Episode #5: Parking Jerk Infuriates Rick Grimes

Episode #6: The Dog Walking Dead

Episode #7: Judith all grown up

Episode #8: Rick Grimes totally has PTSD

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Last night I opened for Dave Chappelle

When I was a kid I would listen to George Carlin and Eddie Murphy and as much as I loved their material I also loved listening to the audience. That wall of animated sound is so intoxicating. The power of being able to orchestrate a crowd that size in such a beautiful, pure manner still to this day makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I’ve chased that wall of sound around this country, hell around this planet, for years now and it lead me to open for a legend. Last night was the culmination of years of hard work and I’m so appreciative for the experience. Now, the rub…

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I should be the most happy boy in the history of happy boys but I must admit I feel like a fraud this morning. The comedian who wrote my act is not the same person who writes this blog post. I’ve been doing the act of a younger man for a while now. I’ve been stealing bits from a version of myself who no longer exists, a 25-year-old Nicholas Anthony. Now I can’t be too hard on my 34-year-old self because in the last few years I have kicked out many screenplays that do represent my voice. I’m very proud of those scripts and screenwriting is an integral part of my life but when it comes to stand-up comedy I still have a lot of work to do.

The plan:

I’m headlining Morty’s Comedy Club in Indianapolis Dec. 21st through 23rd and that will be the last time I do any of my old material. After that I’m going on vacation in Southeast Asia for most of January and then I perform on a cruise ship for 2 weeks over my birthday in February. During those 2 weeks at sea I will officially start the process. I need to start fresh. I need to be in this moment of my life. I need to reinvent and figure something out that’s 100% mine… at this point in my life. Sorry in advance for watching any complete nonsense. The process can be messy but I need to stop being afraid of it.

Many thanks to Dave Chappelle, Grant Lyon, Dave Waite, Andy Peters and to all of the good people at The Blind Barber. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a very tall hill, time to find that boulder and start pushing.

Click HERE for TMZ (video) on night 1 with Dave Chappelle at The Blind Barber

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Why “This Is Working” is not working for me

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Once a week professional screenwriters John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Craig Mazin (Identity Thief, RocketMan, The Hangover Part II & III) produce a podcast worthy of any screenwriters attention called, Scriptnotes. It’s a podcast about screenwriting and things that may be interesting to screenwriters. I highly recommend it. It’s one of the top podcast on iTunes and it can also be found at JohnAugust.com. As a fledgling professional screenwriter myself, I find this podcast to be a great resource for unique industry insights and perspectives outside of my own purview. Even though there are times when I disagree with their specific tastes, I find both John and Craig to be sharp, intelligent people who deeply care about their craft and earnestly want to help other writers.

One thing I specifically enjoy is a segment on their show called, The 3 Page Challenge. This is where they give writers a chance to send in the first 3 pages of their script and for John and Craig to give their critiques. It’s such a popular segment they decided to do a special 3 Page Challenge with an entire screenplay. They picked, “This Is Working” by K.C. Scott, a script that had already been featured during a recent 3 Page Challenge and they made it available for download so that you could read it before you listened to the critique. Now this is interesting to me because of the subjective nature of even professional level screenwriting. It’s hard for me to listen to any writer’s opinion (professional or not) on a screenplay before I’ve either read their scripts, or heard their specific take on scripts that I’ve read. Although I have not read any of John and Craig’s scripts they both have films that I’ve seen, some I really like and unfortunately some a don’t like as much but I’ve never had a specific opportunity to understand their objective tastes as they relate to a piece of unproduced screenwriting. So, for me this is where rubber meets the road with John and Craig. I could finally decide if their general tastes match up with mine. Why is this important to me? Listening to a podcast takes a lot of time and if I’m going to continue to be a loyal listener I want to know, at least on some level, that we’re in the same ballpark when it’s come to what we think is quality writing.

So I read “This Is Working” and simply didn’t enjoy it. With all respect to K.C., it just wasn’t my taste. I believe he has a firm grasp on the medium but the story didn’t grab me. The characters are not people I would want to spend time with for two hours in a dark movie theater and the plotting/structure left me feeling bored. I personally don’t find spoiled rich kids to be interesting unless they or someone around them grows. One exception, but only because the story goes way over the top, is “The Jerk.” In “This Is Working” no one changes and Byron is so sad he even sucks the people around him into his orbit. That, and the clever hipster references didn’t come across as comedy genius to me, they just came across as clever hipster references.

So I didn’t care for the script (Sorry K.C.) and I was looking forward to John and Craig agreeing with me. The podcast starts and to my surprise they both rave about the script. At one point a claim was made that K.C. is such a strong writer he should immediately be on staff for an existing television show. I have to admit my head started spinning. Was I just wrong? Did I not read it properly? This was a real, The King Has No Clothing moment for me. So I continued to listen to the podcast and they proceeded to explain everything they felt could be improved with the script. They cited a number of flaws that I also didn’t like about script. At this point I’m incredibly confused. How could a writer of a screenplay that clearly needs as much work as this script needs still be ready to start working on a television show today?

I don’t bring all of this up to be critical of K.C. and I don’t bring all of this up to even be critical of John and Craig. I shine light on this because I’m trying to stay sane and go through the process of becoming a professional screenwriter. The more I go down the rabbit hole the more I realize this entire career I’ve picked is potentially ONLY based on peoples opinions and relationships. I want to think that there’s such a thing as objective quality and I want to think that the cream rises to the top but the more and more I watch success, the more and more I become confused. Lately the Krishna quote has been bouncing around in my head, “You have a right to your labor but not the fruits of your labor.” I write this blog because I want to get through through the fog. Do any of their other listeners agree with me about this script? Am I simply way off? When Craig said, “This Is Working” is a 2015 script, not a 1990’s script that doesn’t mean that it’s a story that should be professionally concidered. To me the script doesn’t feel current, it feels trendy and I’m more interested in finding deeper truths without so many ‘arch’ references.

I feel like writing this at all will potentially put me in the lions den with John and Craig but the fear of that isn’t worth allowing the confusion to win. I make a lot of mistakes in my life and in my work but I’ve continued to keep moving forward. This idea of subjectivity being a cloud that confounds me and keeps me from producing more work is something I’m going to fight through. I come to you not as someone who thinks they have the answers, but as a student of the craft and a curious human who just wants to understand. Any perspective on this would be appreciated.

Nicholas Anthony
The MF Citrus Farm
Los Angeles, CA

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MY L.A. DIET: How Stress & Failure Helped Shed the Pounds

MY L.A. DIET: How Stress & Failure Helped Shed the Pounds!

We could all use to loose a few pounds. Well have I got the plan for you. First, quit your successful career path and put your entire efforts into becoming a STAND-UP COMEDIAN! This will involve confusing and disappointing most of your loved-ones, writing horse-shit material for at least 5 to 10 years and then setting up a travel schedule that will smother any chance of having a healthy relationship with a woman. Next, move up from emcee, to feature, to headliner, in clubs that actually talented people wouldn’t play if they had guns to their heads. After you have some experience, submit for a comedy festival or even better a comedy contest (those are even more fair). Keep working the road, dodging STD’s and DUI’s until you develop deep seated separation anxiety and minor drug addictions. “But Nick, I’ve done what you said and I’m still a fat fuck. Am I on the right path?” (smug laughter) Of course you are! As a stand-up comedian, questioning one’s life choices is the fruitless, lonely, meal that will consume your mind every single day. Then, and this is important: don’t kill yourself… years of entertaining mindless strangers and your drug addiction spiraling out of control will make you want to, but don’t. Now, gather your bullshit half-credits from a reality show, cable, and/or NACA showcases and MOVE TO L.A.

“Whoa Nick, I like where I live and think I can have a real career in show business from a secondary market.” Listen here you rube, unless your name is Chad Daniels, you’re lying to yourself. Stop being an asshole and pack your shit. Once you’re in Los Angeles contact all the people you met while working on the road and then realize that they have less of an idea of what they’re doing then you do. Now, go to the worst open mics you could imagine, surrounded by the shallowest people you’ve ever met, and try to develop material that you really care about. Lastly, set up meetings and showcases that all go amazingly well but you still don’t get called back and the pounds will start to shed off at once.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be a shell of yourself in no time! And remember DON’T KILL YOURSELF. As shitty as L.A. seems at first, the whole thing is just a test to see if you REALLY want it.* And hey, when you can clearly see you’re own rib cage poking through your gaunt, emaciated body, then and only then do you truly know that you are living your dreams.

Nicholas Anthony
Written from the comedy
condo in San Antonio, TX

*Not hyperbole

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How CBS had me write a Christmas rap

As an entertainer I have been asked to do many unusual things in my career. One time I got paid to perform card tricks in a park WHILE senior citizens played bingo. Another time I was in Iowa and as I walked on stage to do stand-up comedy, in front of a room full of employees whose job it was to make the pseudo-egg for the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, they said, “You speak Spanish, right?” But recently I was asked to do a most formidable task, I was put to the challenge of creating a Christmas themed rap for a network television show.

I’m currently writing for a Saturday morning, family based, CSI type show on CBS called “The Inspectors.” Basically it’s a college kid in a wheelchair who helps his postal inspector mom solve crimes. Riveting stuff. Surprising enough, our first season was nominated for 6 Daytime Emmy’s (including best writing) and won for Best Lead Actress (kudos to Jessica Lundy). Now last year the show runners were nice enough to let me act in the episode that I got my first “Written By” credit on. During that time I met the cast and crew and had an amazing experience in Charleston, SC shooting my first S.A.G. TV role. I bring that up because I got to know all of the actors, that will come into play in a minute.

Cut to season 2 in the writers’ room and the show runners inform me that Bret Green (actor who plays the kid in the wheelchair) would like to do more ‘rap’ in the show. “Is there ANY rap in the show now?” I asked. “No, he just really wants to rap on the show and we want you to write it.” I must have looked confused, “But I’ve never written a rap in my life.” They hadn’t either so somehow I got saddled with the task. As research we watched a music video of Bret rapping to the casting directors of Los Angeles.

As we discussed the volume of ideas we had in response to Bret’s music video I decided to Tweet Bret. Now although I had been on set with him I was pleasantly surprise he Tweeted right back.

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So the writers’ all come back from lunch (at the historic Tally Rand) and they pitch me the outline and say, “Can you write the script in 2 days?” Again I must have looked confused but for some reason I said, “Okay.” How the hell was I going to write this episode in 2 days AND somehow come up with a ‘Christmas Themed’ rap that wasn’t complete shit? I really had no idea so like any good writer I procrastinated. I went to see the Jungle Book with my buddy Cory Jasin. As we were carrying on about how much we loved the movie I told him about my predicament and he reminded me that he was a song writer and that he had even written Christmas themed music:

Yes, Cory could totally help me. So he came over gave me 12 lines of a rap. I changed a few words here and there and added a bridge. I finished this at 2:30 in the morning. Rapped it into my phone and texted it to the show runners. The next morning I got a text back saying they really liked it. Cory was a life saver. All and all I feel like we came up with something that is pretty okay. You be the judge.

Stay tuned on CBS in the Fall of 2016 to see if they even keep the rap in the show.

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Internet Movie Database – Nicholas Anthony

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TV and Film credits are documented on IMDB.com. Below is a link to my first TV writing and acting credits.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3256060/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

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Project Greenlight – The Leisure Class

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Almost 15 years ago Project Greenlight was the only reality show I really watched. They put out 3 seasons but unfortunately all of the films produced as a result of the show never amounted to anything of next level quality. The 4th season recaptured my imagination and damn it if they didn’t do it again… another dud. Moving forward: Do I still watch the show? Yes. The show itself is great and I’ve always enjoyed it. The problem (maybe it’s not a problem) is that the films they make as a result of the show simply suck. But why?

Is it the director(s) they picked? Is it the scripts? Or is it the producers of the ‘reality show’ that have consistently come up with duds? I’m still on the fence about how I feel about Effie Brown but maybe that’s what Project Greenlight (as a show) wanted? The big question I have is, How much did the producers of Project Greenlight manipulate the ‘show’ for the sake of conflict? And did that actually affect the quality of the final film they created? The lack of quality falls not only on Jason Mann but on Matt and Ben and the Farrelly Brothers… not to mention HBO.

The biggest irony is that Project Greenlight is designed to help launch the careers of young filmmakers and they may have just killed Jason Mann’s.

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Laughing Derby in Louisville

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Last weekend Sept. 24-26th I returned to Louisville, KY to preform at the Laughing Derby Comedy Club. This is significant to me because I lived there for over a year (from 2009 to 2010) and I haven’t been back in over 3 years. It’s like a second hometown. When I lived there I was new to headlining and my a lot of my writing was informed by the their specific audiences. Going back this last weekend was an eye opener. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles I’ve really tried to focus on the ‘next level’ of joke writing. Being back in Louisville made me feel like I was regressing. The audiences seemed to really enjoy my least creative material and any time I would try to challenge them with a new idea they really clammed up. In fairness, maybe these new ideas are also new jokes and I need to just keep working on them so I can learn how to get these more complicated ideas across to even the least interested crowds. It’s weird to feel like you are going backwards but that’s exactly how I felt. Hopefully I can go back some day soon and draw the types of crowds that will enjoy more challenging/creative humor.

Here is a nice article my good buddy Brent Owen wrote up: LEO Article

Thanks again for having me Louisville. Part of me will always love that town.

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That time I met Judd Apatow…

I have an unsettled relationship with the idea of celebrity. I hate when people give celebrities more attention than they deserve. I think it’s because I’m such a fan of people and if on a human level the “quote-unquote” celebrity isn’t able to connect with you on that basic level then their status as a famous person is totally moot for me. That being said, living in Los Angeles has provided me with interactions with certain celebrities that are not only famous but are also dynamic human beings that I actually admire. Recently I was performing at The Hollywood Improv and right when I walked in, sitting in a booth with his notes, was Judd Apatow (director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and most recently Trainwreck, among many other producing credits). At first I didn’t recognize him. I walked from the bar into the packed showroom, checked in with the host and was informed that Apatow was going to do a set. I got excited. It’s a rare feeling for me, I’m usually pretty dead to the idea of famous people. But for me Apatow isn’t just a famous person. His career is specifically the template for how I’ve been constructing my own career: Start as a stand-up comedian, go into TV writing, then become a highly successful producer and director…

So I go back into the bar area and confirm that the normal looking guy with a touch of grey in his beard was Apatow. I was one of the producers of the show that night so I took the opportunity to introduce myself and thank him for doing our show. Super nice guy, down to earth, incredibly approachable. I told Apatow that my roommate Jason was the actor who played the bully in Freaks and Geeks and that Jason was in the audience that night. Apatow got excited and regaled me with old memories from the show. At one point I built up the courage to ask for a photo and he humbly obliged.

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Here’s where it gets interesting…

Then Apatow goes on stage, has a good set and about half way through goes into a bit about why celebrities don’t like taking photos. In his words it’s because the person who asks for the photo always ends up putting their arm around the celebrity thus inevitably putting their armpit on the shoulder of said celebrity (see photo above) and by the end of the day if they have done 50 photos their shoulder smells like ass. I’m in the back of the audience realizing I just did the precise faux pas that he is talking about just 10 minutes prior. It’s clearly a bit he’s been working on for a while and not about me specifically but still it was a momentarily uncomfortable coincidence. So I go on stage after Judd and open my set referring to the stink shoulder bit and admitting that I was guitly of doing the exact shoulder stinking he was joking about (again view photo above). It gets a laugh and that should be the end of the story.

Until, we are in the bar after the show, it’s packed. Doing my best to make sure I say hello to everyone who came for the show. It’s a bit of a whirl wind. Suddenly, my roommate Jason comes up to me and points at me with an attitude of ‘gotcha’, Jason then exclaims, “Apatow just took a photo with me! And he put his armpit on my shoulder giving me the stink shoulder.” We laughed our asses off. What a random, crazy story and a blast of a night.

So, what does this all mean? I don’t know. Maybe I’m just guilty of perpetuating the very celebrity culture that I have been so critical of, or maybe this is an objectively interesting story? Either could be true, but when I really think about it… working with someone who has accomplishments that I actually admire was inspiring and if a celebrity is first and fore most a good person than maybe I need to be honest with the fact that that’s what I’m aiming for.

…but I seriously have no desire to be famous, I just want to be really fucking good!

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UCLA Success Story

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The good people over at UCLA Extension wrote up a nice piece about me getting my first writing job. I’m a big fan of their programs. If you are thinking about taking one of their classes I highly recommend it. Below is the article and a link to their blog.

From UCLA Extension:

Nicholas Anthony, who we’ve written about before, has landed his first television writing job on the new fall CBS show The Inspectors, which focuses on a family working for the Postal Inspection Service, one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the US.

Nicholas honed his craft in Writers’ Program screenwriting courses before winning Best Original Half-Hour TV Pilot in the 2013 Final Draft, Inc. Big Break Contest for his script Never Famous. Now, he is a paid television writer.

“The Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension was the final training I needed to be ready for the professional TV writing market place,” says Nicholas. “The classes I took and the people I met prepared me for exactly what I would need to know once I was on the job. If you are trying to become a professional screenwriter or are looking for the beginning of your education, I can’t recommend their programs enough.”

UCLA Extension Success Story Article

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