Journalists and producers tell many stories, but sometimes they don’t get to tell them in their own way. Talk to those journalists who have sat down and written the books, plays or screenplays they’ve always wanted, and learn what it takes to get the job done and get it released. Ever wanted to get into the entertainment industry or become an author? Come find out how you can use your journalism skills to make the leap.
Moderator: Senta Scarborough
Panelists: Benoit Denizet-Lewis, Randy Dotinga, Daniel Vaillancourt
SENTA SCARBOROUGH is an award-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated producer. She is the founder of Sentamatic Media focusing primarily on screenwriting, journalism and nonfiction projects. Her work has appeared in Adweek, INTO, USA Today, E! News, Us Weekly Magazine and Asheville Poetry Review, among others. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association. She holds her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California Riverside/Palm Desert. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, Katie, and their dog, Sadie.
BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS is an associate professor at Emerson College, a longtime writer with the New York Times Magazine, and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller “Travels With Casey.” Denizet-Lewis has received awards from GLAAD and NLGJA and was named one of the 50 Most Influential LGBT media members by The Advocate. His 2011 profile of ex-gay activist Michael Glatze was turned into a film (“I Am Michael”) starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto. At Emerson College, Denizet-Lewis teaches courses in publishing, journalism and gender and sexuality studies.
RANDY DOTINGA is former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors, a 1,200-member nonprofit association that serves as a voice and resource for independent writers. He has been a full-time freelance journalist for nearly 20 years.
DANIEL VAILLANCOURT is a native French Canadian, Southern California-based journalist who has contributed not only to a self-created syndicate of more than 50 regional LGBTQ publications through the U.S. and Canada but to The Advocate, Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times, among dozens of other publications. He’s also served as a medical writer for CBSHealthWatch.com and Gayhealth.com. As a screenwriter with husband David A. Lee, Vaillancourt was on staff for the final season of GLAAD Media Award-winning daily dramedy “MTV’s Undressed,” and has sold a handful of TV pilots and features that have yet to be produced. Currently in development for the couple — who’ve just set up holiday movie “The Christmas Shopper” at VH-1 — are a biopic of Barbra Streisand based on biographer William J. Mann’s best-selling “Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand,” and “Sex-Crime Panic,” based on gay historian Neil Miller’s nonfiction book of the same name. That latter project tells the true story of how — following the rapes and murders of two children in 1955 Sioux City, Iowa — 20 closeted gay men were entrapped, declared sexual deviants by the courts and committed to a state mental institution “until cured.” The film will be directed by Peter Paige (“The Fosters,” “Queer as Folk”). Vaillancourt is a member of both the Writers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of Canada and served as co-vice chair of the WGA’s LGBTQ Writers Committee from 2006-2016.