September 25, 2022

Feedback with Tanya Barfield and Kemiyondo Coutinho

American Steele by Will Loper Jr. (drama pilot)

A PTSD-stricken student body president fights to expose the secrets behind a recent shooting at his Southern university.

Featuring Jared Corbin, Jamal Douglas, Summer Brown, Brooke Johnson, James Kenna, David Meyers, Tamika Simpkins, Inger Tudor, Rama Vallury, and Kaiy Watts

Will Loper Jr. is a well-traveled military brat and theater kid born and raised in Alaska’s whimsical wilderness who’s been accused of being the Abominable Snowman which has done wonders for his character development. Rejected by his beloved theater teacher for the lead role in his senior year musical, he addressed the lack of Black queer stories and characters by creating his own. As a drama writer that leans light, he focuses on characters whose shortcomings give them a chance to embrace their potential and, with the right community and support, thrive in their authenticity. Will’s purpose as a writer is to leave audiences having found joy in their own circumstances and arming them with a few remedies along the way. By providing a safe space to explore tabooed themes, he strives to empower and encourage his audience to let go of their self-imposed limitations in order to achieve their highest potential. As a founding member of the A-Story Collaborative – a group of emerging BIPOCwriters – his synergetic spirit, BFG (Big Friendly Giant) energy, and bomb snack/food suggestions are surefire assets that will enable him to flourish in any community. His latest project is the short film son•shine, which is inspired by the life of Nigel Shelby–a gay, Black, 14-year-old who committed suicide because of bullying and neglect at his high school as he struggled with his mental health.

Nefertiti by LaDarrion Williams (period drama pilot)

An epic exploration of Kemet’s most formidable Queen, Nefertiti, as she navigates betrayal, forbidden love, and a secret that will threaten her ascension to the throne.

Featuring Eric B. Anthony, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Summer Brown, Marcuis Harris, Mildred Marie Langford, Tamika Simpkins, and Inger Tudor

LaDarrion Williams is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker, author, and screenwriter whose goal is to cultivate a new era of Black fantasy, providing space and agency for Black characters and stories in a new, fresh and fantastical way. His first play, Katrina, won first place at the Alabama State Thespian Conference. It was also a part of A Noise Within Theatre for their Noise Now Reading Series. In September 2019, his play, Coco Queens, was a part of the Sundance Institute’s Playwriting Intensive. The play was also a semi-finalist for the 2020 Eugene O’Neill National Playwriting Conference. In 2021, his play Boulevard of Bold Dreams (a story about Hattie McDaniel’s historic Oscar win) was a part of the NewWorks Festival at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, California. Currently, it will be a part of the Orlando Shakes PlayFest 2022, and it will be making its world premiere at TimeLineTheatre in Chicago in January 2023 and Greater Boston Stage Company in March 2023. LaDarrion is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective, where his play UMOJA made its WestCoast premiere in January 2022 and produced North Hollywood’s first Black playwrights festival at the Waco Theater Center. His viral and award-winning short film Blood at the Root is currently on YouTube and Amazon Prime and is anticipated to become a Young Adult fantasy novel.