All Posts By

Allison Norlian & Sean Collins-Smith

A Charmed Beginning: The ‘Many Worlds’ of TV Writer Christina Piña

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Imagine yourself a self-proclaimed aspiring witch (the good kind), sights dead-set on a professional career in TV writing. Then you land a job on one of television’s most popular hourlong series—a show about witches. Credit the rituals? Divine intervention? Personal ambition and shrewd planning? Christina Piña personifies the struggle of many hopeful writers: breaking from familial expectations, coping with mental health, and finding a clear niche despite originating from “so many worlds.” ▼ Rituals are in Christina Piña’s blood. From the time she practiced Santeria with her grandmother as a child, to years later, when she became a witch, the 29-year-old has created rituals for many parts of her life. Including job interviews. In March of 2019, Christina scored an opportunity to write for the CW reboot of Charmed, which meant it was time for the the ritual of all rituals. She got up early, made breakfast, picked an outfit,…

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Leaps and Bounds: Writer Ariel Levine Makes Her Ascent on ‘Better Call Saul’

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Sports and writing share no similarities in action. Their crossover is in practice. Long hours, a clear sense of discipline. “Commitment” and “sacrifice.” Writer Ariel Levine once had Olympic gold and a career as a ballerina in her sights, then discovered the glory of television. Now she’s writing for one of the most celebrated TV dramas in history. Still learning, still practicing, and still proactive in the pursuit. ▼ Ariel Levine had a plan. Now she had to execute. She’d been working her way through the assistant ranks of the Breaking Bad-verse for nearly a decade: post-production assistant on Breaking Bad’s final season; post-production assistant on season one of Better Call Saul; writers’ PA for season two; writers’ assistant for seasons three through five. Writing the finale for the critically-praised fifth season (which aired April 20th on AMC) with Saul co-creator Peter Gould. Not to mention the Emmy she’d won…

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‘A Certain Kind of Broken’: Writer Amanda Graham Stays Afloat with Comedy

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Most comedians generally consider humor a saving grace. An ally to counter the glare of harsh reality. For comedy writer Amanda Graham, no idea rings truer. Take it from someone who escaped a cult. Who found a way to survive as a single parent. Who never let go of what could be in the face of what was. And who was rewarded by glimmers of triumph. Eternal imposter syndrome be damned. ▼ Amanda Graham has never done anything the normal way. From the time she was trapped in an American Baptist cult, to the days she spent hiding from a predatory pastor accused of rape, the 48-year-old’s childhood memories sound like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale. “It was absolute 100% control over everything you did and everything you said,” said Graham, who now lives in Bolton, England with her son. “You weren’t allowed to hang out with outsiders. There…

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Going Off-Road: The Bold Choices of Writer Charles Ray Hamilton

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Now a film and TV writer on an unimpeachable career path, Charles Ray Hamilton hadn’t always seen a clear finish line. His journey was interrupted by ‘debilitating’ false starts and ‘dehumanization,’ outweighed by opportunity and the invaluable mentorship others afforded him. All of which the Texas native can credit to a brand of persistence you only see in artists—-and the belief that the payoff justifies the journey. ▼ “It really did feel like, ‘We’ve never seen one of your kind before.’” When he was 13, Charles Hamilton started the eighth grade as a stranger in a strange land. He’d just left the comfortable confines of Killeen, Texas–population 81,000–and moved with his family to Fort Worth, a metropolitan powerhouse with over half a million residents. Hamilton wasn’t just starting a new school. He was starting a new life. And what happened next was right out of Jordan Peele’s race-themed horror film…

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