LA Observed Script Project
The Writers
Alex Austin -- pages 7-11, 90-93
Alex Austin is a Los Angeles-based writer. Among his plays are "The Amazing Brenda Strider," a Backstage West Critic's Pick; "Mimosa," published by Playscripts Inc.; and "Dupe," which will be produced in June/July 2008 at the Two Roads Theater in Studio City. Austin's critically acclaimed first novel, "The Perfume Factory," a gritty coming-of-age story set on the Jersey Shore, was published in 2005. He is currently finishing the sequel, "The Dark Ride of Asbury Park." Black Clock, CalArts literary magazine, ran an excerpt from "Dark Ride" in its winter 2008 edition. He's written several screenplays.
David Benullo -- pages 23-27
David Benullo attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where he wrote and directed several short films, including the award-winning sci-fi short "Shifters." Since moving to Los Angeles, he has written the Valentine's Day-themed thriller "Cupid" for LIVE Entertainment; "The Nefarious Phil Guthrie: Killer of Men," which he sold to MGM; and the project "Junk" for producer Wes Craven. David also co-wrote Disney's "Around the World in 80 Days" starring Jackie Chan, Kathy Bates, Steve Coogan, Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Jim Broadbent. David directed the short horror film Shadow Man, based on his feature-length screenplay of the same name. The film is currently playing the festival circuit, having screened at LA's ScreamFest, the New York City Horror Film Festival, and many others. He recently made his directorial debut on the supernatural thriller "Hallowed Ground," based on a script he had written a decade earlier and off which he got his first professional job in town.
Bill Braunstein pages 12-14
Bill Braunstein is a Los Angeles-based writer/producer who has worked in television for so long he's stopped giving all his credits in job and pitch meetings. Prior to his TV career, he was senior editor of Los Angeles Magazine, where a life-long love of the printed word quickly evaporated once Hollywood beckoned. He's written for dozens of sitcoms and animated shows, as well as reality television; that is, if reality shows were actually written, which everyone knows isn't the case. When pressed, he'll admit to having credits on "Mama's Family," "Empty Nest," "Martin," and the new "Mickey Mouse Club," where he predicted great fame for T.J. Fantini, but thought Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears were just flashes in the pan. On the animation front, he's penned "Rugrats," "Pinky and the Brain" and "Aaahh! Real Monsters," and attributes his success in that world to playing with coloring books and crayons when his time would have been better served attending his University of Florida classes. In the reality field, he's worked on such shows as "Blind Date," "ElimiDate" and "Change of Heart" —— experiences that even today prevent him from having a normal dating life. Braunstein loves the notion of sharing a writing credit with 30 or so other writers because as a true team player he knows there's no "I" in "Script Project" —— except when you spell it.
Michael Breiburg -- pages 18-22
Michael Breiburg, a wannabe screenwriter, broke into showbiz through the back door of reality TV. His recently signed non-disclosure agreement prohibits him from revealing details of the show he is presently working on, so you'll just have to check his IMDB page in a few months. (Set your Outlook calendars!) Michael often says, "You can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a writer," which is his oh so clever, probably plagiarized defense mechanism for blocking out the fact that he is one and the same. When he's not procrastinating, he's polishing the latest draft of his teen thriller, "Stalking Connie" and hammering out the first draft of a spec which he hopes will one day become the ultimate pet cloning epic, "Copy Cat," not to be confused with 1995's "Copycat." Michael works everywhere and nowhere (freelance), thinks he's a Nighthawk and likes to be called "Mike." He shares a birthday with Quentin Tarantino, Fergie, Gloria Swanson and Viagra. Originally from Chicago, he now considers Hollywood to be his home.
Dianna Brown -- pages 61-63
Dianna Brown is a wife, mother and avid consumer of Renaissance era fiction and crime procedurals in Kokomo, Indiana. She has been working on her writing for… let's just say a long time, and that doesn't even include her eleven entries to the LAO Script Project before breaking in with her twelfth attempt. She is currently working on a Disney-style feature animation script and has written a spec outline for a new Star Trek film.
Glenn Camhi -- pages 28-31
Glenn Camhi is a screenwriter living in Pasadena, CA. He wrote: "The Empire Strikes Back," "The Godfather," "Annie Hall," "2001," "Singin' In the Rain," "The Seven Samurai," "The Gold Rush," "Battleship Potemkin" and "The Great Train Robbery." He has written many other lists as well. Glenn has sold scripts but has yet to be produced. He recently spent several years performing in and directing fully improvised plays with the improv troupe Impro Theatre (formerly Los Angeles Theatresports), where he also taught the class on narrative structure. He is currently rewriting an original epic action script that few could afford to film, and a small-scale comedy about a small-time con artist that he can afford to film... and will, soon.
Maria Paola Chironi pages 12-14
Maria Paola Chironi, online editor, screenwriter, Italian to the bone but based in London since 2005, was bitten by the screenwriting bug in November 2006 and has been lost in scripts ever since. With two scripts completed, "Find Me Again" and "Life Thrills", a third one on its way and the recent challenge with the LA Observed script project, her life couldn't be more exciting and thrilling - with the exception of the OSCAR for Best Original Screenplay in 2012.
Steve Chivers pages 85-89
Steve Chivers was first published at age 17 and has been writing plays, sitcoms, hour drama, screenplays, reality shows, short stories, webisodes and just about anything that involves putting words together ever since. He's written and/or produced shows that have aired on The WB, CBS, Disney, Fox, TLC, Travel, CMT, Fine Living, Weather Channel and The Food Network.
Elizabeth M. Cosin -- pages 32-36, 42-46
Elizabeth M. Cosin is a veteran TV writer of such shows as "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "24" and has written two pilot scripts sold to CBS/Paramount. She is also an award-winning published mystery novelist, having authored two detective novels featuring L.A. private detective Zen Moses. She is getting ready to direct her first feature script and continues to develop TV pilots that no one will ever see. She lives in Healdsburg, CA.
David S. Klein -- pages 81-84
David Klein is a group publisher for Crain Communications, overseeing that company’s media and marketing magazines as Publishing and Editorial Director of Advertising Age, Television Week, Creativity and B-to-B magazines. He stopped writing professionally many years ago, but was dragged out of his peaceful author’s retirement by a screaming desire to to bring some closure to the plot of this community script. When he was a professional writer, it included long stints as a TV critic for daily newspapers in Florida and Ohio, but he got out of that loser’s game before the Internet made the newspaper racket as obsolete as vaudeville. During a misspent youth he did co-write one spec movie script and several teleplays, and his track record remains perfect: None was ever produced, or, possibly, even read.
Jerry Lazar -- pages 4-6
Jerry Lazar is a longtime writer and editor who has successfully mined every medium (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, the Web) except for one -- movies. And it hasn't been for lack of trying. He's come so close so many times, and has even met new Oscar winner Diablo Cody, who led him to wonder if his career would have gone differently if he hadn't so strenuously resisted turning his flesh into a tattoo canvas. He says the L.A. Observed Script Project t-shirt he wins as the first freelance contributor to "Right of Way" surpasses all the "attaboys" (zillions!) and option fees (zero!) he's received to date from studio execs. As a film noir fan who has personally interviewed mayors, drug addicts, industrialists and fading starlets, Lazar feels well qualified to participate in this innovative experiment. He promises to wear his t-shirt with pride -- in lieu of tattoos.
Jonah Lazar -- pages 15-17
Jonah Lazar is an 11-year-old sixth-grader. In his after-school filmmaking program, he wrote what his teacher called "an extraordinary" treatment for a music video. A native Angeleno, he's no stranger to scripts, having had featured roles in seven musical productions, including "Annie," "The Wizard of Oz," "Mary Poppins," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Willy Wonka" (twice!). He currently studies at the Youth Academy of Dramatic Arts (YADA). A fourth-generation magician, he has studied with some of the world's leading prestidigitators. He's also an advocate of alternative fuel sources.
KP Mackie -- pages 94-97
KP Mackie lives in San Diego with her husband, three teenage boys and a yellow lab. A proofreader and California girl, she has a BA in English from San Diego State. KP is thrilled to be listed on the same page as previous distinguished contributors. Alas, she is the definition of volunteer, having read 75-plus screenplays for Ben Affleck/Matt Damon's "Project Greenlight." She also holds the record for writing 19 consecutive submissions to the LAO Script Project. Her first screenplay, "Annuals and Perennials," a dramedy which takes place in Hawaii, is in revisions. She is looking forward to conducting more location research in late August. Another spec, "Beach Ball," a drama about the interaction between neighbors in a beach area complex, may require a research trip as well, if the sun's out.
Mitch Paradise -- pages 56-60
Mitch Paradise has been a member of the WGA long enough to see two strikes and Halley’s Comet. He broke in with episodes of "Remington Steele" and "Jake and the Fatman," then did a stint on staff at "Hotel." Mitch has written several screenplays that have been optioned over the years, done some rewrites on features, and earned rave reviews for his first produced feature, "Death Spa," from the iconic critic Joe Bob Briggs. More recently, he wrote and executive produced the original Showtime movie, "Bleacher Bums," an adaptation of the acclaimed play about die-hard Chicago Cubs fans in the Wrigley Field bleachers. He is currently working with an independent producer on both an original black comedy and an adaptation of a noir drama set in Europe.
Paul Smolarski -- pages 37-41
Paul Smolarski is project manager for a telecommunications engineering firm in Mission Hills, California. A USC graduate, he split his childhood between New England and the San Fernando Valley, moving to Los Angeles permanently in 1975. While this is his first attempt at screenwriting, Paul's interest in politics, architecture, urban history and film – especially the noir dramas and other Hollywood classics from the late 1930s to early '60s – made him a natural for the Script Project, particularly since his job involves zoning and jurisdictional issues dealing with public right of way. In his free time, he can often be found at his Oak Park home, tinkering with pretty much anything mechanical, including bicycles, classic cars and other means of transportation.
Arthur Tiersky -- pages 51-55
Arthur Tiersky has penned numerous screenplays, two of which have taken up residence in development hell: the bedroom farce "The Second Best Man" and the meta-comedy "Fist in the Eye," in which he will be playing himself (!). His work has been read on-stage numerous times, by such talents as Radha Mitchell, Joel Edgerton and Blake Lindsley. He has done rewrite work for several independent and studio productions, and has also penned and appeared in national commercials for "Get-a-Grips." In his spare time, he seeks his fortune as a game show contestant on such classics as "Jeopardy!," "Win Ben Stein's Money," and "Merv Griffin's Crosswords." In a previous incarnation, he was the "Strategist" columnist at He is currently writing for an as-yet-unaired animated series and working for the Disney Channel.
Irene Turner -- pages 64-66
Irene Turner is the co-screenwriter of the May Showtime premiere “An American Crime,” starring Catherine Keener and Ellen Page, which the New York Times just named "One of the best television movies in years." Upcoming projects: a thriller for Anonymous Content and “A Little War” – her novel of obsession, corruption, love and death – in Paraguay. Previously, she produced the Sundance hit “Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss” and directed the feature film “The Girls' Room,” called "a terrific discovery" by the L.A. Times. It played 34 festivals worldwide, winning eight prizes before premiering on Showtime. An L.A.-based writer, Irene co-wrote her “Right of Way” entry with the project’s producer, Eric Estrin. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Writers Guild of America, west.
Eric Volkman -- pages 67-70
Eric Volkman, who'd like to be a TV comedy screenwriter when he grows up, is a recent arrival to Los Angeles. He was born and raised on Long Island, where he somehow escaped acquiring the harsh local accent. What undoubtedly helped to neutralize his English was the 13 years he spent living in Europe, specifically Prague, Czech Republic. Eric started writing screenplays in Prague with efforts such as the mafia comedy "Sleeps With the Fishes," the horror feature "Monster," and the charming yet nasty sex comedy short "Toothbrush Charlie," for which he also served as producer, director, editor and lead caterer. Prior to moving to L.A., Eric never possessed what most would term "a career," but nevertheless managed to collect interesting work experiences as a magazine publisher, investment bank analyst, radio newscaster, rock and roll bass player and landlord. He lives in a part of the Fairfax district frequently mistaken for West Hollywood.
Marvin J. Wolf -- pages 71-75
Marvin Wolf flunked an LAPD Internal Affairs polygraph administered in a cramped, stuffy Parker Center room with puke-green walls and was once arrested by Hermosa Beach's chief of police for selling encyclopedias. He's worked as a Farmer's Market pearl diver, sold cameras, served as an Army drill sergeant, taught hand-to-hand combat at the Ranger School and while serving as a First Cavalry Division combat correspondent, walked away from three helicopter crashes, earned a Bronze Star, an Air Medal, a Purple Heart, a battlefield commission and later commanded a signal company. Oh, and he's written hundreds of magazine articles and 15 books, including best-sellers "Fallen Angels" and "Where White Men Fear To Tread" and ghosted two award-winning sci-fi novels and a professor's popular science book. A four-time past president of Independent Writers of Southern California, he wrote his first screenplay at age 60, sold a couple of others and in 2005 his script "Ladies Night," based on his own short story, aired on USA Network. Wolf recently completed a memoir, "The Best Outhouse in Vietnam, and Other War Stories I Never Told Mom," and is seeking a publisher.
Eric Estrin