Department of Film

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Student Success Stories

Read about activities of current and former students of the Graduate Screenwriting Program:

Bill Arthur published his first book, Scrambled – The Rise of Taco Bill, a creative non-fiction memoir available in print and digitally. He is a visual artist as well and sales of his drawings have been escalating steadily.

Drew Bennett writes scenes and serves as an Assistant Director for Jig Reel Studios, a Los Angeles production company that specializes in demo reels that showcase actors. He is also a writer for Ultra Productions, a marketing company that specializes in promotional stunts and installations.

Kathrina Bognott, a current MFA candidate, was just awarded the Johnny Brenden Filmmakers Award, a $25,000 grant to direct her own movie, Death To False Hipsters.

Sheldon Bull is in his second year as a Supervising Producer on the CBS series, Mom, for which he has also written a number of episodes.

Shannan Calcuttwas the lead writer for the “reboot” of Zumanity, the Cirque du Soleil show at New York, New York Resort and Casino. She directed and co-wrote The Penny Pibbets Show, which premiered in January 2015, in Las Vegas, and is being planned for a national tour. Shannan was an integral creative part of the Cirque du Soleil’s internationally acclaimed One Night for One Drop shows in both 2013 and 2014, contributing comedy routines, coaching the performers and writing content for the transition scenes. Her performing persona, Izzy, may be found on youtube.

Pun Chidthai is now an Associate at Coalfire Systems, a Cloud security assessment firm where he started as a technical writer. He previously served as Adjunct Faculty at Nevada State College teaching several film and screenwriting classes.

Jamey Combs is an editor for Dish Nation, a nationally syndicated entertainment daily news program. He has edited more than 300 episodes so far. He previously worked at Studio City, Inc., producing and editing promo packages and “sizzle” reels for shows as varied as Criminal Minds, Burn Notice, American Idol, Ellen, Dr. Oz, and others. He is also adjunct faculty at Pasadena City College where he teaches writing, producing, directing, editing and electronic field producing.

Laurene DeBord-Foulk was named the 2012-13 UNLV College of Fine Arts Part-Time Instructor of the Year. She is presently working with UNLV Film Professor, Hart Wegner, on a film history text and is matriculating in the University of Arkansas’s Doctor of Philosophy in Cultural Studies Program. Her adaptation of the award-winning novel, Hawk, by William Wallis, is still being shopped by the producers. She is also a photo editor for Yahoo Automotive.

Nicole González-McIntosh is Adjunct Faculty at Olympic College in Washington State where she has taught screenwriting for several years.

Jared Goode was a Story Assistant for The Challenge on MTV; Story Associate Producer for Project Runway All-Stars; and Associate Producer for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge. He wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical, Wish Upon A Star, which debuted at MCL/Theatre Wit in Chicago. He produced the play, May the Lord Take a Liken To You, in Glendale, California, and wrote the music and lyrics for Crater Renaissance Academy’s A Very Undead Christmas. He is lead singer and guitarist for Goode Kids, who released a new album, In These Dark Woods, in 2014.

Lisa Henthorn was a writer and story editor on the USA Network’s detective series, The Glades. She was an Associate Producer and writer for The Beautiful Life on the CW. She was the Script Coordinator for the series: The Defenders; Swingtown (for which she also wrote an episode); Jericho; Love Monkey; Ghost Whisperer, and Kevin Hill. She wrote the feature film, Murder on the Border, also known as La Migra, which is available on DVD or streaming.

Jen Kohler is the founder of Docutah, an international documentary film festival in St. George, Utah. She coordinates submissions for the festival as well as serves as part of the faculty at Dixie State College where she teaches screenwriting, story development, and film history. She’s directed a short film, Four Way Stop.

Scott McGee continues to tour as a director and actor for the Missoula Children’s Theatre, which encompasses all 50 states and eleven countries. He is a developing a theatre program for dependents on our military bases in Okinawa. He spent a year developing a theatre program at the Learning Foundation and Performing Arts School in Gilbert, Arizona. While working in the Phoenix area, he was nominated for two “Zoni” awards for theatre excellence as both an actor and designer.

Kara McKinney’s play The Ride Home was produced at the Onyx Theatre in Las Vegas where she has also appeared as an actress in The Graduate and Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Gabirel Pitchon-Getzels is an Associate Producer on the upcoming independent feature film, Under a Blood Red Sky, upon which he also shares writing credit with the director. His script, Out At Home, was a semi-finalist in L.A.’s Fresh Voice Screenwriting Competition. His script, Menorah Blue, won the audience award in the Writer Writes Festival. Gabe was also the Head of Acquisitions for Seminal Films, housed at Universal Studios.

Jill Ramirez is the Production Coordinator of the Disney Channel hit series, Liv and Maddie. She also worked as Production Coordinator of the Emmy-winning Dog With A Blog and the television movie, The Wizards Return: Alex Vs. Alex. She has been an Assistant Production Coordinator on the series Lab Rats, The Wizards of Waverly Place, Jonas and on the television movies Billion Dollar Freshmen and Pack of Wolves.

Ricardo Reyna, Jr., has published and presented several papers in the past three years. In 2014 he published “National Geographic Channel’s Borderwars: Reality TV and the Commodification of the Immigration Narrative” in Borderlines, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Nevada, Reno. At the Southwest Popular Cultural Conference he presented: “Television, Immigration, Latinos, and National Geographic Border Wars” (2013); “Television Advertising and Latinos/as” (2014); “The Shield and the Sexual Assault on Captain Aceveda” (2015). At the Science Fiction Research Association in 2014 he presented “Battlestar Galactica and Hispanic Image” and at the Rhetoric Society of America Biannual 2014 Conference he presented “Video Games on the Border Between Texas and Mexico.” He has been invited to the Rhetoric Society’s Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in June 2015. He wrote, produced, and performed a one-person show, A Compadre Fiesta, in 2012 in Las Vegas. He is part time at UNLV teaching a Production 1 class and is the Master Control and Assistant Operations at MundoFox 34 television station in Las Vegas.

Keith Strasbaugh has been a semifinalist in the Austin Film Festival’s screenwriting competition for two consecutive years, first with his UNLV thesis script, A Christmas Break, and with C.J. Roper, 2nd Grade Dick, co-written with Anthony Guidubaldi, a current MFA candidate. That script also finished second in the Fresh Voices Screenplay competition as well as a “9” ranking for the Black List for Television comedy. He is a Digital Distribution Operator for Modern VideoFilm. He was also Stage Operations Coordinator at The Lot studios and an office production assistant at Funny or Die, an entertainment website.

Brian Sodoma produces an average of 250 bylines a year as a freelance journalist. He has published in local and regional major dailies and national media outlets including Forbes, Inc. Magazine,, Arizona Republic, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sun and several other on-line and print publications. He is a part-time instructor and faculty advisor at Nevada State College where he teaches an introductory journalism course and is faculty advisor to the student newspaper.

Michael Sweeney and his writing partner, Nick Creature, who attended UNLV as an undergraduate, are currently writing a supernatural thriller for producer Joel Silver and Paramount Pictures. They are also adapting an Image/Top Cow comic book for RDH Entertainment. Their screenplay, The Mayor of Shark City, was on the 2013 Black List, an annual chart of the best unproduced screenplays of that year.

Christopher Thomas is developing scripts for two production companies, Bullwhip Films and Todd Korgan Productions. He developed and supervised a filmmaking curriculum for Quest Preparatory High School in Las Vegas. He’s worked extensively with special education students at Pinecrest Academy and Somerset School in North Las Vegas. He has been retained by Creative Images of Columbus, Ohio, as both a script consultant and video editor.

Maggie Werning has been a Script Supervisor on more than 20 feature films and a First Assistant Director on four others. She also read scripts and wrote coverage for the Michael Forman Management Agency. She continues to write with several projects in development, including the feature film, Decay, and its sequel, Beauty of Decay, optioned by Psychedelic Love Pictures.

Brian Williams is the Supervisor of Descriptive Video Services for Media Access Group at WGBH. In this position, he supervises and edits all narrative content describing action in movies and television for the vision-impaired. His play, Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, had productions in Rancho Mirage, San Diego, and San Francisco. His new play, Animal Magnetism, was given a staged reading at the Noho Theatre in North Hollywood.

Jia Xing was contracted by Aim Film and Television, a Chinese production company, to write a feature-length movie, Plan C, as well as a 33-episode television drama, Yulinglong. Both projects in preparation for production in China.