Talton Wingate

Program Creator

Lead Teacher

Talton Wingate is an award-winning writer and professional screenwriter. He was honored for his first script Norman, named one of the “Top 10 Scripts of 2005,” alongside other screenwriting luminaries that year such as Aaron Sorkin (with Charlie Wilson’s War), Diablo Cody (with Juno), and David Benioff (with The Kite-Runner). Norman was released in 2011 as a feature film starring Richard Jenkins, Dan Byrd, Emily Van Camp and Adam Goldberg.

Talton has experience with all aspects of the business from selling specs, adapting original properties, rewriting and pitching. He has also been featured in scr(i)pt magazine. Talton is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Film Program and Creative Writing Program, where he was awarded Best Fiction Writer of 2003. He hails from Atlanta and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Lauren Ludwig


Lauren Ludwig is a writer, director and teacher whose work focuses on comedy and interactive storytelling. As a writer/director, Lauren’s work has appeared on truTv and Sony Crackle. She is currently developing an animated series at FX. Lauren is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Capital W, an award-winning immersive theater company. As an educator, Lauren has taught at the Corey Mandell Screenwriting Workshops and was the Director of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women.

Danny Reckart


Danny Reckart is a LA-based screenwriter and playwright. A graduate of NYU Tisch, Danny wrote numerous plays and musicals that were performed throughout New York City, including writing for Broken Box Mime Theater for which he won a New York Innovative Theater award. His screenplays have been recognized by the Nicholl Fellowship, the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, and the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition. He is currently in development at Dreamworks working on an animated TV show he co-created with his brother based on their childhood road trips.

Garfield Miller


Garfield Lindsay Miller, president of Storyfield Productions, is an award-winning filmmaker who’s worked as a fiction and non-fiction producer and writer for over fifteen years. 

He is a producer and writer of the feature film, Percy vs. Goliath (Saban Films), a true-story scripted drama starring Academy Award winner, Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci, and Zach Braff. Upon its release, the film reached #2 on iTunes (#1 in Canada) and received “Certified Fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes.com.

Previously, Garfield co-wrote and produced the documentary, The Fires That Burn, nominated for a Gemini and recipient of the Silver Chris and the Wilber awards. His feature film directorial debut, The Last New Year, was selected as the Canadian Gala film for the Victoria Film Festival, and aired nationally in Canada.

Garfield was a staff writer on the werewolf drama, Bitten (Netflix). He has since worked as a producer and writer on a number of non-fiction series including Cyberwar, Dark Side of the 90s (Vice), The Devil Next Door seasons 1 & 2 (Hulu), Fight or Flight (Discovery+), and Sampled (Paramount+), a six-part docuseries premiering in the fall of 2022.

Kate Gray


Kate Gray is a professional screenwriter and script consultant. Originally from Tucson, AZ, she has since lived around the world, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Charleston, Chile, and the UK.

In 2021, Kate sold her project Thinkies, an animated dark comedy based on her time in the tech industry, to YLE Finland. In 2022, she was brought on to co-write the adaptation of a young-adult animated web series for YLE. 

Before jumping into the world of screenwriting, Kate worked in animation production for Sony Pictures and Warner Bros Animation. She also served as marketing director with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Microsoft. 

A lifelong fan of both film and television, Kate is particularly drawn to drama and dark comedy series. Some of her favorites include Fleabag, Succession, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, the Americans, and 30 Rock. She is an alumnus of the Corey Mandell Professional Screenwriting Program, and could not be more grateful for everything she has learned as both a student and an instructor of the courses.

Sean Martin


Sean Anthony Martin was originally born in Ann Arbor, MI, and now resides in San Diego, CA. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, and is actually a chemical engineer by degree. He worked in the engineering world for most of his professional career, which allowed him to travel the globe and experience many different countries, cultures & perspectives. After a decade of climbing the corporate ladder, his creative side came calling and wouldn’t stop… so he started writing. Once he exhausted all the screenwriting resources he could find, he caught wind of a workshop being run by Corey and Talton. When he sat down for his first class, he immediately knew that this program was something special. It helped him gain a new level of awareness and intentionality in his work. A few years later, he looks back and truly does believe this program was the perfect place for him to learn the craft. Sean is currently working on a collection of spec projects for both TV and feature films.

Erika Schmidt


Erika is a writer based in Los Angeles. She previously lived in Oakland, where she worked in Creative Development at Pixar Animation Studios on films such as SOUL, TURNING RED, and the upcoming ELEMENTAL. Prior to that, she resided in Chicago, where she studied theatre at Northwestern University and the School at Steppenwolf and worked at the Michelin-starred Spiaggia Restaurant, plus various survival jobs (ask her about her time as a Standardized Patient).

In addition to holding a degree in Fiction Writing from Northwestern, Erika has studied at StoryStudio Chicago and with Tom Jenks of the San Francisco-based Narrative Magazine, where she is currently an Assistant Editor. Erika is a past contributor to the film magazine Bright Wall/Dark Room and a recipient of the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Short Story Award. She most recently worked as a Writers' Assistant on THE WILDS.

Tillery Johnson


Born and raised in rural North Carolina, Tillery is an award-winning writer with experience developing and selling original material as well as adapting from pre-existing IP. From 2016 to 2017, he worked as a writer in the Nickelodeon Writing Program, and in 2019 his script "Good Lord" won Best Comedy Pilot at the Austin Film Festival, where he has subsequently spoken as a panelist and was named one of AFF's Screenwriters To Watch. He has written for AwesomenessTV and was a staff writer on Nickelodeon's GLITCH TECHS, which was released on Netflix in 2020. When he's not immersed in writing, he enjoys traveling, playing music and performing improv comedy.

Simona Kessler

Program Coordinator

Simona Kessler is an LA native with a background in producing for film & video. A graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts, she has produced works that have screened nationally and internationally at festivals including Cannes, SXSW, Slamdance, Fantasia Int. Film Festival, and more. Simona is now pursuing her career as a writer, specifically in the screenwriting, podcasting, and creative nonfiction fields. Her most recent project is a multimedia exploration into the creation of community in the post-pandemic world.