Screenwriting Authors

Robin Swicord

Workshop – Developing Your Story Intuition

Robin Swicord is primarily known for her work as a screenwriter for “Memoirs Of A Geisha”, “Little Women,” (co-producer) “Matilda,” (co-written and co-produced with Nicholas Kazan) and “Shag,” (shared), “The Perez Family,” “Practical Magic” (shared).  Her two plays were produced off-Broadway “Last Days at the Dixie Girl Café,” “Criminal Minds”, both published by Samuel French  In 2009 she received an Oscar nomination for her contribution to “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, a project Swicord originated and worked on for more than a decade.  Swicord made her feature-directing debut with Sony Classic’s “The Jane Austen Book Club,” for which she also wrote the screenplay adaptation. She is currently adapting an E.L. Doctorow short story, “Wakefield”, for Swicord to direct as an indie feature.  Swicord is married to writer Nichols Kazan; they have two daughters.

John Pielmeier

Workshop – Adapting for the Screen

John Pielmeier began his career with the play and movie Agnes of God and the television film Choices of the Heart. Most recently he has written and acted in the extremely successful television miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, and written a stage adaptation The Exorcist. In between he has won the Humanitas Award (plus two nominations), five Writers’ Guild Award nominations, a Gemini nomination, an Edgar Award, the Camie Award, a Christopher Award, and his projects have won a Gemini Award and been nominated for the Emmy Award (three times) and the Golden Globe Award. He is married to writer Irene O’Garden. They live in Garrison, New York. If you want to know more, please visit his website at

David W. Rintels

Workshop – Advanced Dramatic Writing


David W. Rintels has written and produced for theatre and television in a long and productive career. He is author of the Broadway stage play Clarence Darrow starring Henry Fonda, of which Clive Barnes of the New York Times wrote, “I urge everyone, man, woman and child interested in justice and America to see this play … It is just plain wonderful.”  He produced the premiere production at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, The Oldest Living Graduate, with Henry Fonda, George Grizzard, Cloris Leachman and Timothy Hutton.

In television, Rintels won Emmy Awards for his scripts of Clarence Darrow, with Fonda reprising his stage role, and Fear On Trial, starring George C. Scott and William Devane.  He won a third Emmy for his production of Day One, starring Brian Dennehy, David Strathairn, Hal Holbrook and Hume Cronyn. His other writing and/or producing credits include Gideon’s Trumpet, starring Henry Fonda, John Houseman, Jose Ferrer and Fay Wray; World War II: When Lions Roared, starring Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and John Lithgow; Andersonville, directed by John Frankenheimer; Nuremberg, with Alec Baldwin, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow and Bryan Cox; The Last Best Year, with Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters; Sakharov, starring Jason Robards and Glenda Jackson; My Antonia, starring Jason Robards, Eva Marie Saint and Neil Patrick Harris; The Member Of The Wedding, with Anna Paquin and Alfre Woodard; A Town Torn Apart, with Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry; The Execution Of Raymond Graham, with Jeff Fahey and Morgan Freeman; Choices Of The Heart, starring Melissa Gilbert, Helen Hunt, Mike Farrell and Martin Sheen; The Supreme Court And Civil Liberties, starring Henry Fonda and Burt Lancaster; and Washington: Behind Closed Doors, with Jason Robards and John Houseman.  He was Executive Producer of NBC Live Theatre which brought to television the plays The Oldest Living Graduate starring Henry Fonda, John Lithgow and Cloris Leachman; All The Way Home with Sally Field and William Hurt; The Member Of The Wedding with Pearl Bailey; and Mister Roberts starring Robert Hays and Charles Durning.

Rintels is former President of the Writers Guild of America, west, and a former Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California Department of Cinema. In addition to three Emmys, he has won three Writers Guild Outstanding Script of the Year Awards and has been named Television Producer of the Year by the Producers Guild of America. He has been honored by the Writers Guild with its Paddy Chayefsky Award for Lifetime Achievement in Television and the Valentine Davies Award for Contributions to the Motion Picture Industry Which Have Brought Dignity and Honor to Writers Everywhere. He is married to Victoria Riskin, a film writer and producer who was also President of the Writers Guild and who is on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, Chair of the Hellman-Hammett Foundation and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Antioch University, Santa Barbara.  They live in Santa Barbara.

Cheri Steinkellner

Workshop – The Writer’s Journey

Cheri Steinkellner has won four Emmys, two Golden Globes, the People’s Choice, BAFTA, Writers Guild Award and a TV-Land Legend Award for writing and producing television’s Cheers and the Disney animated series and feature film Teacher’s Pet. 2011 Tony-nominee for Best Book of a Musical for Sister Act and 2012 Ovation-nominee and Indy winner for Best Book of a Musical for Hello! My Baby, Cheri has also written book and lyrics for the off-Broadway musical Mosaic and Princesses. She teaches writing at UCSB and is partnered with Bill Steinkellner in writing, marriage, and parenting their three favorite children – Kit, Teddy and Emma Steinkellner.

Bill Steinkellner

Workshop – Improv for Writers

Bill Steinkellner has won four Emmys, two Golden Globes, the People’s Choice, BAFTA, Writers Guild Award and TV-Land Legend Award for writing and producing Cheers and TEA Teacher’s Pet.. 2011 Tony-nominee for Best Book of a Musical for Sister Act and co-author of Broadway’s smash-hit The Pee-Wee Herman Show, Bill is a veteran of Chicago’s Second City and L.A.’s The Groundlings where he met Cheri Steinkellner, his writing partner, wife, and mother of Kit, Teddy and Emma Steinkellner. Bill teaches writing at USC, writes a post-card sized short story every day at, and authored the L.A.Times best-seller Postcards From The Moon.