Every year, FiLMLaB solicits film professionals to assist us in determining the Grand Prize winner of our short script writing contest. It changes from year to year, but usually we try to coordinate with the Willamette Writers Conference and pull from their list of Film Consultants: producers, managers, agents and creative executives brought up from Hollywood for a weekend of workshops and pitching. By doing so, we create an opportunity for the writers (who’ve advanced that far in the contest) to meet, take classes with and/or pitch their work to film pros who have already evaluated their short script and possibly even favored it in the voting.
It doesn’t always work exactly as planned. Production schedules have a way of interfering with Consultant schedules and occasionally they have to cancel their conference appearance, as Zach Cox of Circle of Confusion (Walking Dead) did in 2013. Or, we have an opportunity to bring in a non-conference judge with impeccable writing/producing credentials, like Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Erik Bork (Band of Brothers).
We always strive to bring judges to the event, however, that are interested in supporting emerging writers.
Here then are the FiLMLaB 2015 Celebrity Judges:
Kim Guidone is an Associate Producer for Milk Barn, an animation production company working on Goldie And Bear for the Disney Jr. Channel. Kim began her career in New York as a story editor for Stanley Jaffe, former CEO of Paramount and an Academy Award winning producer, at his company JAFFILMS. She’s worked with boutique film production companies both in New York and Los Angeles, and spent two years at VH1 in their series and movie department. You may recall Kim from her previous visits to the Willamette Writers Conference in 2013 & 2014 as an independent producer who has partnered with a variety of studios, including Paramount, Universal, Miramax, as well as cable television’s Showtime and MTV. She has long been interested in writers with viable books that could be pitched for film or television adaptations.
Virgina McCarthy has a lengthy career as a Script Supervisor in both feature films and television. She has worked with directors Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Philip Kaufman (Hemingway & Gellhorn), Todd Field (In The Bedroom, Little Children) among many others. Recently she has kept herself busy on Woody Allen’s set, acting as script supervisor on his latest film, Irrational Man (debuting at Cannes) and the Oscar winner, Blue Jasmine. Her work in television includes stints at ABC, Disney, HBO’s Looking, and the popular Neil deGrasse Tyson hit, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odessey. Virginia also has a diverse background in teaching and since 1997 has taught a screenwriting course at St. Mary’s College that culminates in a student trip to the Sundance Film Festival.
Luke Ryan is a long time friend of Willamette Writers, and former 2013 FiLMLaB Celebrity Judge. A screenwriter in his own right, he has spent fifteen years as a Hollywood studio executive with tenures at MGM, MTV Films and New Line Cinema. As The Alchemists CEO, he was involved in creating innovative content and entertainment strategies at Paramount, Warner Brothers, NBC and The CW; as well as Coca-Cola, Marvel, Microsoft and Mattel. In 2014 he optioned two writers at the Willamette Writers Conference, and will be back in 2015 teaching and inspiring more writers in his standing room only lectures.
Many thanks to our 2015 Celebrity Judges for helping with the hard work of narrowing our field of eight semifinalists down to the last few writers who will go on to the final round of judging: The Producers Circle.