THE TV WRITERS STUDIO Presents: Director Amy Heckerling

Amy Heckerling has had a lifelong romance with the movies.  All she ever wanted to do was work in film.  But when she began her career, women were an endangered, almost non-existent, species in the movie business.  Above all, women were certainly not considered as potential directors in that era.  Flash forward to today when our guest, Amy Heckerling, is the seventh highest grossing female filmmaker of all time.  

This week, renowned director and writer Amy Heckerlingwill be joining us “live” at Steiner Studios to tell her amazing story on Monday, December 4th at 5:00pm.

Please join us in person at Steiner Studios or click into our “live stream” on Monday at 5pm. Amy Heckerling’s session will remain available on our YouTube channel after Monday as well.

Much like our TVWS students, Amy was a film student. She did her undergraduate work in Film and TV at NYU and then enrolled at the American Film Institute where she earned her Masters.  It was at AFI where she wrote and directed her attention-grabbing short, Getting It Over With. Amy will, no doubt talk about how that student film helped her forge a career at a time when barely a handful of women were “allowed” to direct.  Directing and writing opportunities for women are different today.  But are they that different?  In 2016, only 7% of the top grossing 250 films were directed by women. You will certainly hear Amy Heckerling’s take on that subject.

Amy directed her breakout hit Fast Times at Ridgemont High when she was only 27.  Fast Times… is considered the staple for high school films. And what about Clueless, which she wrote and directed in 1995?  Those Amy Heckerling films stand as the two, which define the genre.  National Lampoon’s European Vacation was Amy’s biggest box office hit, followed closely by the surprising mega-hits,Look Who’s Talking and its sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, both starring John Travolta.

And let’s not forget my personal favorite, Johnny Dangerously, starring Michael Keaton.  Both Amy and I have stories to tell about the making of that film.  Three of her films—Fast Times…, Clueless and Look Who’s Talking have been made into television series, a medium in which Amy also directs.  Her TV credits include Gossip Girl, The Office, The Carrie Diaries, The Muppets, Red Oaks and many others.

On Monday, December 4th we will have the extraordinary opportunity to hear and exchange ideas with this iconic figure in the cinema landscape. Amy Heckerling has had an amazing and ongoing career with the odds clearly stacked against her as a female artist.  All of our attendees, especially the women, will benefit from Amy’s experiences. 

The live stream of the lecture and Q&A will be available to watch on our YouTube channel starting at 5:00pm. To view this live stream, click (or copy and paste) the link below and the lecture will be available, along with many of our past lectures.

If you have any questions for Amy that you would like asked during the session please email them and we will do our best to incorporate them into the Q&A. If you have any issues with the live stream, please email alauzon12694@gmail.comand we will do our best to alleviate the issue.

The TV Writers Studio Presents: The Almost Legendary Jonathan Frakes

Who are we kidding? Jonathan Frakes is legendary.  After co-starring on seven seasons as Commander Riker, serving with Sir Patrick Stewart’s Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), Jonathan Frakes is a household name. But we know Jonathan as an honored friend of the TVWSwho has directed two of the program’s annual films.  And this Monday, November 27th, Jonathan Frakes will join us at 2:30PM EST.

Yes, he’s primarily known as an actor, but Jonathan’s career has exploded in many diverse ways.  He is also one of television’s busiest and most sought-after director/producers today.  Where do we start?  How about the beginning?

He was born in Bellefonte Pennsylvania, the son of Doris and Dr. James Frakes, the Fairchild Professor of American Studies at Lehigh University, and a New York Times Book Review critic. Jonathan studied theater and got his BFA from Penn State University, then followed up with a Masters from Harvard.  His acting career began in New York in 1978 with a role on Broadway in the musical “Shenandoah.”  Yes, he can sing and will do so without any prompting at any time of the day or night.

But his future was not to be in New York.  Jonathan moved to Los Angeles and quickly started winning guest starring appearances on some of the top TV programs of the time like Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy island, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues, The  Waltons, Falcon Crest and Dukes of Hazzard. Then, of course, came the break most actors dream of, an iconic role in a hit TV series.  1987 saw Jonathan breathe life into the Commander Riker character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which would last for seven years and 176  episodes

During his tenure on Star Trek: TNG Jonathan cut his teeth as a director, helming eight episodes of the series and two spin-offs Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager as well as the Star Trek film, First Impact.

Along with his frantic directing career, still does guest appearances as an actor on a variety of TV series and lends his voice to shows like Guardians of the Galaxy, Futurama, Family Guy and Adventure Time. He’s taken his directing talents to new levels, having directed episodes of the new Seth MacFarlane entry The Orville, as well as CastleThe Arrangement, and season four of The Librarian, which he also produced. He has also directed an episode of the latest Star Trek entry, Star Trek: Discovery

I think we’ve said just enough about this guy, haven’t we?  Jonathan is a consummate professional and, to borrow a baseball term, a “five-tool” player.  He has done and continues to do it all in his long and storied career and his relationship with the TVWS is deep and affectionate. He is a joyful person and you will not want to miss the live stream and Q&A  of his lecture tomorrow, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH AT 2:30PM EST.

The live stream will be available to watch on our YouTube channel, starting at 2:30pm. To view the live stream click (or copy and paste) the link below and the lecture will be available, as well as our past lectures.

If you have any questions for Jonathan that you would like asked during the session you can email them in advance and we will do our best to incorporate them into the Q&A. If you have any issues with the live stream, please also and we will do our best to alleviate the issue.

Legendary Writer/Producer Alan Zweibel Visits TVWS

Alan Zweibel. Can we call him a household name? Certainly; but only if you have any interest in comedy in the last forty years. Allan Zweibel was one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live when the show first aired in 1975. He created John Belushi’s famous “Samurai” sketch. The New York Times said “Alan Zweibel has earned a place in the pantheon of American pop culture.”  That ain’t all.  Read on.

BUT FIRST, mark this down: Alan Zweibel will be joining us “live” at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard this Monday, October 30th at 2:30 pm.

Zweibel has had a varied and storied career as a screenwriter, book author, actor, producer, playwright but, first and foremost, as a comedy writer.  He’s won five Emmy Awards, two WGA Awards, another from the Television Critics of America, the Thurber Prize for American Humor, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the WGA East and a Tony for co-writing Billy Crystal’s one-man Broadway show, 700 Sundays. If that weren’t enough, he also co-created and produced It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and has been a contributing producer on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

To make it even easier for you, do yourself a favor and download and read this article about Alan Zweibel’s career that is appearing in today’s (Sunday, October 29thBuffalo News. It will tell you exactly who will be joining us on Monday.

Paste the link below into your browser and click:

We’re thrilled to have Alan share the insight and experience he’s gained over a four-decade career with our students who are poised and eager to begin theirs. Please join us either “live and in person” or virtually on your laptops.

The live stream of the lecture and Q&A will be available to watch on our YouTube channel. starting at 2:15 PM on Monday, October 30th. To view the live stream click (or copy and paste) the link below and the Zweibel session will be available.

Academy Award-Winning Director David Frankel Visits TVWS

David Frankel, director of The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me, last year’s Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith as well as many others, will be joining us this Monday, October 23rd at 5:30 PM EST. 

A New York native, exiled to Miami Beach years ago, Frankel has had an extraordinary and varied directing and writing career that anyone would kill for, spanning thirty years thus far. Mr. Frankel began in television with The Ellen Burstyn Show on ABC, Doctor, Doctor on CBS, and the innovative Grapevine, also on CBS, but quickly moved to the big screen with Miami Rhapsody, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Antonio Banderas.

Mr. Frankel has had an extraordinary career, alternating between the big and small screens.  Along the way, he directed Meryl Streep’s Oscar winning performance in The Devil Wears Prada. Following thathe directed the box office smash Marley & Me and The Big Year, both starring Owen Wilson. While working in film Frankel has also done acclaimed work in television on two legendary miniseries,Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon, and the long-running HBO series, Sex & The City and Entourage. His direction of the Entourage pilot was nominated for an Emmy. And let’s not leave out his writing and direction of the short film, Dear Diary, which won Frankel an Academy Award in 1997.

During his storied career, Mr. Frankel has worked with every Hollywood movie studio and major television and cable entities. The list of A-list actors that Frankel has directed goes on and on.  It includes Meryl Streep of couse, Will Smith, Steve Martin, Jack Black, Jennifer Anniston, Tommy Lee Jones, James Cordon, Steve Carrell, Keira Knightly, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt, Helen Mirren…  There are many more, but I’ll stop there.  Monday’s talk will be a rare treat to hear first-hand about David Frankel’s artistic journey, now at its mid-point. This is a can’t-miss session.

The live stream of the lecture and Q&A will be available to watch on our youtube channel starting at 5:15pm. To view the live-stream click (or copy and paste) the link below and the lecture will be available on your computer.

If you have any questions for David that you would like asked during the session, we urge you to email them in advance of the session to alauzon12694@gmail.comso that we might incorporate them into the “live” Q&A.

If you have any issues with the live stream, please email and we will do our best to alleviate the issue.