Industry Guest Lecturers

Ellen Lewis

Ellen Lewis’s recent credits include: Extremely Loud & Incredibly CloseHugoMorning GloryLetters to Juliet and Away We Go.  She is a frequent collaborator with Martin Scorcese, and has cast most of his films since New York Stories.

Pancho Mansfield

Senior Vice President of Programming for Fox Television Programming. Previously held Senior Executive Positions at Showtime and Spike TV, overseeing the creation of The Tudors, Queer As Folk, and Stargate SG-1.

Sang Kyu Kim

Writer and producer on Walking Dead. Other credits include Hawthorne and Crash. Currently resides in Los Angeles. He’s also on Twitter.

Keith David

Keith is a veteran actor of stage and screen, having appeared in such films as CrashThere’s Something About MaryBarbershop and Men at WorkHis stage work includes a Tony-nominated appearances in Jelly’s Last Jam on Broadway and several critically-acclaimed performances in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Bill Persky

Emmy Award-winning director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. Producer on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and, with his long-time collaborator Sam Denoff, he wrote and created the hit television show “That Girl” starring Marlo Thomas. Bill was also a producer on “Kate & Allie” and is the author of the best-selling autobiography, My Life is a Situation Comedy See more at his website.

Phil Rosenthal

Creator, writer and executive producer of the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” with Ray Romano. He is also the writer and director of Exporting Raymond, the true story about the attempt to turn Everybody Loves Raymond into a successful Russian sitcom.

Bob Ellison

Bob Ellison is the writer’s writer. His credits as a writer, developer, producer and creative consultant include  Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dear John, Rhoda and Caroline in the City – to name just a few. As the executive script consultant on Cheers he oversaw 166 episodes from 1986 to 1993.

Tom Leopold

Tom Leopold is a sought-after comedy writer, performer and novelist. He wrote for Cheers and Seinfeld as well as on projects with Harry Shearer, Chevy Chase and Paul Schaffer. His career began with National Lampoon and then into television sketch comedy, writing for The Chevy Chase Show that began in 1977. He has been a producer, story editor and writer on most of the top American situation comedies, including Caroline in the City, Cheers, Ellen, Hope & Faith, Seinfeld and Will & Grace. His most recent project is writing and performing in a one man show, directed by Bill Persky.

Tom Purcell

Tom Purcell is an Executive Producer of The Colbert Report. He began his career as a writer Cosby, and he soon became producer. Afterwards he went on to write and produce  Grounded For Life. He landed on The Colbert Report in 2008, where he quickly rose to EP and head writer.

Jim Serpico

Jim Serpico is President of Motion Pictures and Television at Apostle. Presently, Serpico and Apostle reside at Fox Television Studios and are working with some of Hollywood’s top dramatic writers as well as comedic talent for new series programming. Serpico currently serves as Executive Producer for MARON on IFC as well as the new series SIRENS for the USA Network created by Denis Leary and Bob Fisher (Wedding Crashers). On the feature side, Serpico is an EP for the documentary BURN which won the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award. In the past, Jim served as Executive Producer of Rescue Me, the critically acclaimed one-hour drama airing on FX. Serpico, along with Executive Producers Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, was recognized by the Producer’s Guild of America when Rescue Me was honored with the 2005 Visionary Award, which Acknowledges producers whose work demonstrates a unique or uplifting quality. In 2003, Comedy Central hired Serpico to reinvigorate their Roast franchise, which was becoming tired and stale. Apostle leapt out of the gate with The Roast of Denis Leary, followed by The Roast of Jeff Foxworthy. The arrangement proved to be a success, as both specials became the highest rated programs in the network’s history. The format that Apostle created is still in use by the Comedy Central Roast franchise today. From 2003 to 2010, Serpico developed series television for Sony Pictures Television at NBC, CBS, FOX and ABC. A native New Yorker, Serpico co-founded the production company Apostle in 1994 with producing partner Denis Leary. Before segueing into television, the company produced the feature film Blow forNew Line Cinema, as well as the Sundance Film Festival entries, Monument Ave. directed by Ted Demme and Double Whammy directed by Tom DiCillo.   Apostle

Stuart Cornfeld

After attending the American Film Institute Mr.Cornfeld got his first job as a producer for Mel Brooks. Quickly earning his trust, Stuart began rising through the ranks. During his tenure with Brooks, he discovered David Lynch, and launched the director’s career by producing Elephant Man. Cornfeld’s journey crossed paths with Ben Stiller and the pair founded Red Hour Films, the production company behind the hits Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball, Zoolander and many more.

Joe Lewis

Head of half hour TV at Amazon Studios. Previously created Tosh.O for Comedy Central. Lewis stresses the importance of subverting expectations, he urges writers to do what everyone else isn’t doing. Write the things people are scared to write and come up with new ways of telling story. His advice is best translated through his work for the Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning series, Transparent.

Vinnie Favale

Vice President of CBS Late Night Programming. Oversaw The Late Show with David Letterman for 19 years. Currently overseeing the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Created, wrote, and produced the Hereafter Musical.


Warren Littlefield

Former senior and executive vice president of NBC entertainment under Brandon Tartikoff. President of NBC in the 1990’s oversaw creation of many memorable shows on the Network. In 2012 wrote the book Top of the Rock. Today he runs the Littlefield Company, which is currently producing the Golden Globe and Emmy award winning series, Fargo, for FX.


Mike Reiss

Served as showrunner, writer, and producer for the animated series, The Simpsons. Formerly worked for the humor magazine, The National Lampoon. You can see him in the documentary, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon. His advice is to take the first writing job that you’re offered because you never know what will come of it.

Joel Zwick

Film, television and theatre director from Brooklyn, New York.  He’s made his mark on more than 20 television series’ including the classics Happy DaysLaverne & Shirley, and Full House. Well known in Film industry for directing the hit comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Currently he’s finding an unexpected fulfillment directing multiple series’ for the Disney channel.


Jonathan Frakes

An actor, author, and director. Best known for his portrayal of Commander William T. Riker in the television series Star Trek: Next Generation and subsequent films. He is currently working with Cohort V as the director on their class’ sizzle reel production, Rainbow City.


Tom Purcell

Tom Purcell is an alumni of the famed Second City comedy theater in Chicago, and currently is the executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  Before that, he was with Colbert at Comedy Central as a writer and producer on The Colbert Report.

David Steinberg

David Steinberg is a legend in the comedy industry, getting his start at the famed Second City Chicago.  He appeared over 130 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, guest-hosted the show 12 times, and was the youngest to ever guest-host.  David has directed episodes of some of TV’s most iconic shows including Friends, Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Currently David hosts a comedy talk show called Inside Comedy who’s guests have included Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, and many more!

Writer Spotlight
Yemi Feature

Yemi Oyefuwa: lover of linguine, laughs and literature (and alliteration, if you couldn’t tell). Back in London the young Yemi Oyefuwa (don’t worry no one knows how to pronounce her name on the first...