2017 Television Writers

  • Julia Lillis Cohen


    Julia Lillis Cohen, who comes from a long line of civilians with liberal arts degrees, went to the U.S. Naval Academy, has a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, and was an officer in the Navy for four years. She spent six months on a Guided Missile Destroyer in the Persian Gulf where she was responsible for two very fancy antennas and a Division of Sailors. She began doing stand-up comedy while in the Navy, and whenever her ship was in port, she could be found doing stand-up at night. When she eventually got out of the Navy, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her aspirations. She performed at the prestigious New Faces show at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, became a Paid Regular at The Comedy Store and went to Guantanamo Bay and Iraq to entertain the troops. On her pursuit of writing, she created a web series for E!, and was featured on the nationally syndicated radio show This American Life. But it was when she got the Writers’ Assistant job on FOX’s comedy Enlisted that Julia realized the writers’ room was where she really wanted to be. Her pilot We Peaked in Eighth Grade was chosen to be on the WeForShe 2016 WriteHer List, a list of the top unproduced television scripts by women.

  • Lloyd Gilyard Jr.


    Lloyd Gilyard Jr. was raised in a tight-knit rural community outside of Nashville, TN. With a father as a minister and both parents heavily involved in the church, he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. In pursuit of his passion for filmmaking, Lloyd decided to write and direct his first grassroots suspense feature project, To Vex A Ghost, which eventually led him to California. He started working as a P.A. on low-budget horror sets, getting a feel for the business from the ground up. Over time his experience grew from PA to Freelance Utility to Assistant Coordinator on music videos, films, and television productions, all the while taking the time to hone his skills as a writer. When his wife was accepted into medical school, he moved to San Diego to help support her, accepting a position in 2D to 3D conversion/VFX. During this time, he worked his way up from Coordinator to Production Supervisor on films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and The Amazing Spiderman 2. Now back in Los Angeles and with years of experience in television and production, Lloyd has continued to pursue opportunities, most recently working as the Writers’ PA for Seasons 4 & 5 of the A&E series Bates Motel.

  • Ali Hinds


    Born and raised in “Keep Portland Weird”, Oregon, Ali Hinds took a leap of faith by moving across the country to study screenwriting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Upon completing her B.A. in Film and Television production, Ali was recruited to work for Bob Costas on his critically acclaimed HBO sports show, On the Record with Bob Costas, as the Talent Coordinator for two successful, award-winning seasons. Ali continued a very fruitful tenure at HBO expanding her talents to HBO/Cinemax Documentaries under the America Undercover banner, and later with the Original Programming – Series Development division, contributing to such hit shows as Entourage, Rome and Big Love. After several years of freelancing for major networks and studios in production and media relations, Ali decided to devote her time and energy into the world of education teaching inner-city youth filmmaking and public speaking. Ali wrapped season one of her comedic web series Booked, about her rookie misadventures in commercial acting, and most recently was prepping the second run of her hit storytelling showcase Tits, Gigs and Kids.

  • Gisselle Legere


    Born into the political exile community of Cubans in Miami, Gisselle Legere’s childhood was shaped by the intense narratives of survivors of oppression and persecution. Just as strong an influence on her worldview was losing her hearing after a serious reaction to a childhood vaccine. Growing up deaf in a hearing world gave Gisselle many opportunities to hone her observation skills, which led to a successful career in science. After studying at Harvard, Gisselle set off to work as a field epidemiologist, focusing on the prevention of disease outbreaks. She chased epidemics around the world, one outbreak at a time. This hands-on knowledge of medicine and research shapes the scientific speculation that set her stories apart. She participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive in 2015, as well as being a three-time finalist for various 2016 Sundance labs, including the Sundance and Sloan Commission for Science in Films fellowship.

  • Sabir Pirzada


    Although born in London, Sabir Pirzada spent his early childhood in rural Ohio, then relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in California where he earned his B.A. from the Department of Psychology at U.C. Berkeley. There, he conducted psychological experiments in the basements of a sleep lab and, in his spare time, he tutored prisoners at San Quentin State Prison. Sabir soon realized that his interests in science and the criminal justice system were better channeled through writing science fiction and crime fiction. He quickly developed a passion for writing after creating and instructing a course at U.C. Berkeley analyzing the novel Fight Club and its film adaptation. After completing his degree with a minor in Creative Writing, Sabir wrote a short story for 20th Century Fox, then placed as a semifinalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. He worked his way up through several internships and production assistant jobs, landing in the mailroom of Creative Artists Agency where he eventually became an assistant in their TV literary department. After writing the comic book miniseries Affliction for Arcana Comics, Sabir worked as the Writers’ Assistant on Person of Interest where he wrote and produced two episodes.

  • Jess Poter


    Raised in the suburbs of Chicago by a “foulmouthed” Argentinian father and an internet-sex-talk-show-host mother, Jess Poter sought a career in making people laugh. Upon graduating from Yale University with a degree in Theater Studies, Jess moved to Los Angeles and pursued improv and sketch comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) and Groundlings as well as an unaccredited master’s degree in writers’ room assisting. She’s a huge musical theater nerd so you might catch her performing around town with indie musical improv team Musical! The Musical! She was a finalist in the Pitch Your Project competition for the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal competing with her half-hour musical comedy Mistakes We're Making, which follows four highly intelligent, driven, drunken messes pretending to have adulthood figured out, in an unapologetic world. Jess went on to win SyFy’s Viral Video Showdown with her comedy group Half Day Today and was a featured humor writer on Smosh.com and YA site Figment.com. Jess was most recently the script coordinator on ABC’s black-ish where she wrote and produced an episode.

  • Cailan Rose


    Cailan Rose was born in Rockville, Connecticut. Exposed to live theatre at a very young age, Cailan pursued a career in musical theatre acting and made her Broadway debut at four years old in Miss Saigon. Raised with an older brother who was diagnosed with Asperger’s, Cailan’s passion became making everyone’s voice heard and respected – including her own. She received a BFA in Musical Theatre as well as a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Pace University in Manhattan where she graduated summa cum laude. While attending college she returned to Broadway and later traveled the country with the 1st National Tour of Hair. Following the tour and graduation, she took a leap of faith moving to Los Angeles to pursue writing for film and television. She quickly met some incredible mentors including Kristin Hahn and Brad Falchuk; whom she has worked with in many capacities. Cailan was most recently performing as Princess Anna at Disneyland’s Frozen: Live at the Hyperion.

  • Carlos Tower


    Carlos Tower was born in Madrid, Spain to Taiwanese parents who later moved him to America at the age of four. With English as his third language, his mother allowed him to watch The Disney’s Afternoon block of Ducktales, Talespin and Darkwing Duck to improve his fluency and ultimately forge his love of television. With greater talent and support in science than writing, he went on to major in Biochemistry at U.C. Berkeley. Like most, he never considered a career in television let alone combining his study of science with his writing, but two passionless years at a pharmaceutical lab stirred his science fiction juices and made him unable to fully focus on his profession. He changed careers and accepted any production assistant position available from set PA to post PA to get his foot in the door. As the post PA on the CW’s Reaper, he met and worked with an amazing group of writers that took him under their wing. These relationships led to his hire as writers’ assistant for Chaos, Red Widow and most recently Marvel’s Agent Carter.