Monday, October 19th, 2015

Artists in Hollywood - Actors - Writers - Performers - Directors – Producers

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM Marina Vista Room – Live Webcast

The Creative Master Class: TV, Film and Video

Sandy Smolan, Film & Television Director

Rick Najera, Writer and Actor, Hulu, East Los High, MAD TV & In Living Color

Amy Taylor, screenwriter and producer, CHILDLESS BY CHOICE, DESERT BLOOM, THE SURROGATE

Sam Milman and Peter Vass, Bad Weather Films

Kacey Arnold, Writer, Robot & Monster, Doc McStuffins, Tumbleleaf

Catherine Clinch, TV Writer, TV veteran, Hunter, Jake & The Fat Man, Knight Rider, Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Moderator



and content advisor for companies through her consultancy Clinch Digital Media. Catherine has also been awarded two US Patents for inventing a new form of mobile entertainment.


Sandy Smolan, Film & Television Director:  Mr. Smolan is an award-winning director whose work spans features, documentaries, television, and commercials.  His critically acclaimed debut feature film “Rachel river", was nominated for the grand jury prize at the Sundance film festival and took awards for best cinematography and a special jury prize for actress viveca lindfors.  His most recent film, “The Human Face of Big Data” just won the Jury prize for Best Cinematography at the Boston International Film Festival and is being released in the fall of 2014.  his television movies include "the last soldier" for hbo, the mini-series “beach girls” with rob lowe and julia ormond for lifetime, "a place to be" for cbs and "taking a stand", an emmy award-winning film with Betty Buckely for abc, for which he was also nominated for best director. as a television director his credits include the acclaimed pilot for the series "middle ages", as well as over 50 network series including “brothers & sisters” , “ally mcbeal”, "everwood", “ED”, “the o.c.”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Greek”, “LA LAW”, “Dangerous Minds”, “"chicago hope” and "northern exposure".  In original programming for the internet, He recently directed the ten-part web series “in gayle we trust” for and the web series “First Dance” and “first day” for Alloy Entertainment, winner of an 2010 Advertising Age Media Vanguard Award.  His production company, Luminous Content, works with corporations, NGO’s and Foundations to explore the role technology can play in transforming lives around the planet.   The work includes a series films underwritten by HP about safe syringes and an innovative text messaging system being used in the developing world to help stop the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases. He also recently produced and directed three short films for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation documenting an extraordinary $40 million pilot program attempting bring a million people of poverty in East Africa, four short films about a sustainable development in India, Georgia, Rwanda and Peru for Heifer International and a series of films for the Tech Museum sponsored by Intel, Microsoft, Applied Materials, BD Biosciences and Nokia.  smolan's documentary “12 stones”, about the transformation of a group of illiterate women in southern Nepal won the jury prize for best short documentary at the Tallahassee and Newport beach film festival.  Mr, Smolan was also the associate producer of two network documentaries for cbs news; "the cowboy the craftsman and the ballerina" with Morley safer and "juilliard: a life in music", narrated by Charles karat and winner of the Peabody award.  Mr. Smolan has been an Associate Professor at The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and a featured speaker at the  EG Conference in Monterey, California and the INK Conference in Association with TED, in Lavasa, India.  His work can be viewed at


Kacey Arnold is an Annie Award-nominated writer of many children’s shows including Robot & Monster, Doc McStuffins, Tumbleleaf, Astroblast, Edison’s Secret Lab and Paw Patrol.  She helped rebrand Barbie and Lalaloopsy toy properties by way of Lala Girls; Welcome to Lala Prep as well as Barbie’s 2016 spring and fall features.  Kacey has developed content for The Jim Henson Company, Sprout, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. She also Produced and Directed a feature documentary about mental illness called A Guy Called Dad which has been used as a teaching tool by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, produced an (almost) weekly podcast, Narcissistic News, with fellow comedian, David Conolly and continues to do standup as well as develop her own shows for the big and small screen.


Sam Milman and Peter Vass, Bad Weather Films: Bad Weather Films is a sketch comedy duo consisting of Sam Milman and Peter Vass. The Chicago high school friends write and direct comedy on their Bad Weather Films YouTube channel and recently just finished their first feature film titled Laid In America. Peter eats Chipotle about 3 times a week and Sam's favorite food is Popeye's Chicken.


Rick Najera, Writer and Actor, Hulu, East Los High, MAD TV and In Living Color: Rick Najera is an award-winning writer-performer and author with credits in film, television, theatre and Broadway. Rick Najera is a key media expert with and expansive portfolio of talent. He has spoken at the most prestigious corporations, universities and organizations in America. Currently he is writing and guest staring in the popular hit show on Hulu, East Los High and directing the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for the 11th consecutive year. Najera recently filmed a television pilot, Color Correct News addressing current news and issues. Najera also developed and hosts the new Latino Thought Maker Series for Oxnard College, interviewing top entertainment professionals in the business such as Edward James Olmos, Esai Morales, the cast of Hulu’s East Los High among many others.  Najera, a thought-maker himself, is a highly sought-after speaker addressing topics such as diversity, entertainment, media, politics, comedy and more and has spoken at Google, Harvard, Stanford, The World Bank, CNN, Al Jazeera, CBS, UCLA, NAHREP and more.  Najera’s fourth book, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood has garnered national attention and critical acclaim. In his memoir, Najera explores what it means to be Latino within the ever-changing backdrop of life as a Hollywood creative and offers an insider’s view through an ironic yet comedic lens, from in front of the camera to behind, from the page to the stage. Almost White the book was also awarded Most Inspirational Non-Fiction Book. Rick Najera has directed the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for the last eleven consecutive years. Najera directs the show, mentors the actors, teaches writing and performance and presents the most important showcases of talent in the industry. A screenwriter by trade, he co-wrote the feature film Nothing Like the Holidays starring Debra Messing, Alfred Molina and John Leguizamo, which won him a prestigious ALMA Award. His writing/acting credits also include the nationally acclaimed stage play, LATINOLOGUES™ on Broadway, and was only one of three Latinos to ever write and star in their own play on Broadway.  He has also written for groundbreaking television comedies such as MAD TV and In Living Color, and currently the Emmy-nominated show on Hulu, East Los High. Najera has been nominated for two WGA awards for Best Writing for a Comedy/Variety Television Series for his writing on Fox’s MAD TV.


Amy Taylor is a screenwriter and producer who got her start on the set of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and went on to work for the Motion Picture Literary Department at Creative Artists Agency.  She served as Director of Development for filmmaker Kevin Donovan who helmed THE TUXEDO starring Jackie Chan, and she produced advertising and branded content projects for Viagra, Martini and Rossi, Cox Communications, Netzero, Virgin Mobile, X-Box, and Media Markt (Germany).  She produced the award-winning documentary CHILDLESS BY CHOICE and raised funds for the upcoming feature documentary DESERT BLOOM, currently in production. She currently has film and TV projects set up at Cinema Revival, Poke Productions and Ineffable Entertainment. Her script THE SURROGATE took first place in both the Lake Arrowhead and Phoenix International film festivals and her teleplay PARADISE LOST landed her on the 2011 Top Hollywood Screenwriters to Watch List. Amy is a partner at Reelbooks Inc. and serves as lead writer for Hallmark’s subscription video on demand channel FEELN where her short film POLAROID will be released in August of 2015. Ms. Taylor is represented by Matt Leipzig at Original





Catherine Clinch’s produced writing credits include: HUNTER, JAKE & THE FATMAN, KNIGHT RIDER, LOVE BOAT, HART TO HART, FOUL PLAY, TRUE CONFESSIONS and, most recently, RESCUE BOTS. She has served for nearly two decades as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, teaching advanced video production, screenwriting, convergence media and communication theory at California State University Dominguez Hills. She was Associate Publisher of Creative Screenwriting Magazine and was a key organizer of the first five years of Screenwriting Expo. She currently writes for Cultural Weekly and Studio System News and blogs for The Huffington Post. Catherine serves as a media strategy