Annual programs

Hartman Screenwriting Series

April 18, 2022: A Conversation with Dana Stevens

The legendary silent film comedian Buster Keaton was born in 1895, the same year the Lumière brothers first publicly projected moving pictures. In her new book, Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema and the Invention of the Twentieth Century, Dana Stevens, the longtime film critic at Slate, spins the implications of this convergence into a unique work of literary nonfiction about how one great filmmaker’s life intertwined with the birth of a medium and of modern American life. Camera Man is a meditation on modernity that weaves together the story of one of the most enigmatic and beloved artists of the last century with the events and cultural forces that made his life and work possible. Propelled by Stevens’ wide-ranging insight and pellucid prose, this is the first book to take Buster Keaton’s fascinating life and timelessly funny work as a prism for understanding the dawn of the age of technologically reproduced images, which is now the place we all live.

Dana Stevens is one of the country’s best-known film critics and culture podcasters, with a loyal social media following. She is the film critic at Slate and a co-host of two Slate podcasts, the Culture Gabfest and the Spoiler Special. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Bookforum and Aperture magazine. She lives in New York City with her family and can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @thehighsign. This is her first book.

November 16, 2020: A Conversation with Aline Brosh McKenna

Aline Brosh McKenna is best known for her adaptation of the popular novel, The Devil Wears Prada. For that screenplay, McKenna garnered Writers Guild, BAFTA, and Scripter award nominations. McKenna’s other feature film credits include 27 Dresses, starring Katherine Heigl; Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford and the Cameron Crowe-directed, Matt Damon-starrer, We Bought a Zoo. In 2014, McKenna added television to her resume when she and Rachel Bloom co-created the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning comedy series, Crazy Ex- Girlfriend, on which McKenna was showrunner and executive producer. McKenna also directed the finale episodes of all four seasons of the series. McKenna currently has multiple film and television projects in development through her company, Lean Machine. Next year she will write/direct and produce the Netflix film Your Place Or Mine, starring Reese Witherspoon. Recently, McKenna and Eisner Award-winning artist Ramon Perez created the graphic novel Jane, a contemporary version of the Jane Eyre story. The novel received two Eisner Award nominations, including Best Publication for Teens.


Danny Strong is a screenwriter, director, actor and producer. He wrote the screenplays for Recount, Game Change, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I and II (co-written), The Butler, and Rebel in the Rye, which he also directed. Strong is also the co-creator and executive producer of the hit FOX drama Empire and the executive producer of the TV show Proven Innocent. As an actor, Strong has been featured in a number of film, theater, and television projects, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men, Gilmore Girls, Justified, Girls and, most recently as Todd Krakow in the last three seasons of Billions. For his writing and producing Strong has won two Emmys, a Golden Globe, two Writers Guild Awards, an NAACP Image Award, the Producers Guild Award, a Peabody, and the Pen Award.


Tamara Jenkins is the writer/director of The Savages, Slums of Beverly Hills and several award-winning short films. The Savages premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and it received two Academy Award nominations (Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay), the Best Screenplay award from both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and many other honors. Jenkins lives in NYC with her husband and daughter.


The Hartman Family Screenwriting Series allows us to host an annual event with a successful professional screenwriter so that aspiring moviemakers in the Writers House community can get a taste of the writers' room. Past events in the series have featured Scott Neustadter (500 Days of Summer, The Fault in our Stars) and John Leguizamo (Ice Age, Romeo + Juliet).

Alec Sokolow, nominated for an Academy Award (Toy Story) has worn many hats in his career as a professional writer. A career in Hollywood has taken him from writing late night TV comedy to having written some of the most memorable studio films of our time. His credited film work has topped one billion dollars in worldwide Box Office receipts and includes Toy Story, Cheaper by the Dozen, Garfield, Evan Almighty, Daddy Day Camp, and Money Talks. Alec hails from New York City and resides in Sagaponack, NY.

Kathleen DeMarco Van Cleve is a novelist, screenwriter, film producer and teacher. She is currently adapting the Young Readers edition of the 2017 National Book finalist Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar for Aladdin Books / Simon & Schuster, due to be published in 2019. She is also working on a film adaptation of the Wesley Stace novel Charles Jessold: Considered as a Murderer and her own young adult book series, Hurricane Ike. With Aline Brosh McKenna as producer, (showrunner, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and screenwriter, The Devil Wears Prada), Van Cleve is also working on an original screenplay currently entitled I'm With Her. Her middle grade novel, Drizzle, received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books, and won the Pennsylvania students' choice award for best middle-grade novel. For many years, she was the creative partner of actor and writer John Leguizamo, during which time she produced the films Joe the King, (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival), Pinero, (a Miramax release starring Benjamin Bratt) and Undefeated (an HBO film starring Leguizamo) as well as worked with Steven Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election, Downsizing) and Frank Pugliese (showrunner, House of Cards). Her other novels are Cranberry Queen (optioned by Miramax Films) and The Difference Between You and Me. She graduated with a dual degree from the Wharton School and the College of Arts & Sciences, was captain of Penn women's crew, and lives with her husband and two sons in Philadelphia.

February 22, 2016: A conversation with Scott Neustadter

Screenwriter and producer Scott Neustadter writes screenplays in collaboration with his writing partner Michael H. Weber. The pair have collaborated since 1999 when Scott hired Michael for an internship at New York's Tribeca Productions. They have proven themselves to be some of Hollywood’s most versatile and sought-after writers with their witty, fresh and intelligent storytelling. Neustadter and Weber together wrote the hit Fox Searchlight comedy/drama (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The film was nominated for "Best Feature - Comedy" at the Golden Globe Award and earned them an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Satellite Award for Best Screenplay of the Year. Their follow-up, The Spectacular Now, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, and directed by James Ponsoldt, also garnered them a nomination for Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards. From there, they went on to adapt The Fault in Our Stars, based on the bestselling novel by John Green. It opened as the number one movie in America and has since grossed over $300 million dollars worldwide. This year saw the release of a second John Green adaptation Paper Towns, starring Nat Wolff and directed by Jake Schreier. Neustadter and Weber are currently working on several high profile film projects including The Disaster Artist, currently filming with an all-star cast including James and Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Sharon Stone, Bryan Cranston, Zac Efron, Jason Mitchell, Bob Oedenkirk and more; Rules of Civility, an adaptation of Amor Towles' critically acclaimed novel; Where’d You Go, Bernadette, based on Maria Semple's bestselling novel; John Green's debut novel Looking for Alaska; and Rosaline, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as told through the perspective of Romeo's ex.

October 29, 2014: A conversation with John Leguizamo

John Leguizamo is a multi-faceted performer and Emmy Award winner, who has established a career that defies categorization. With boundless and visceral creativity, his work in film, theatre, television, and literature covers a variety of genres, continually threatening to create a few of its own. Screenwriting credits include Fugly, Freak, and Spic-O-Rama — and he’s written for stage too. As an actor, he’s known for his extraordinary range (Super Mario Brothers and Shakespeare), for his voice work, and his energetic, one-man shows. This year alone Leguizamo completed production on Universal Pictures’ The Nest, opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the Lionsgate action comedy, American Ultra, with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, Atlas Independent’s The Man on Carrion Road, opposite Patrick Wilson and Jim Belushi, and in Meadowland alongside Olivia Wilde.