Full Sail University

Full Sail’s Writing Conference Schedule

Welcome to the digital program for the 2023 Full Sail Writing Conference. This annual event, currently in its sixth year, is a place for writers of all genres to come together and celebrate the craft and business of writing. This year, we welcome K-12 educators to join us once again.

Conference Schedule

Pre-conference Activities (8:30 AM – 9 AM ET)

Online Attendee Meet and Greet (Full Sail Events online lobby)
Campus Attendee Registration and Check-In (3B Lobby)

9 AM - 5 PM ET Conference Bookstore (campus only)

Join us in the 3B Lobby (“The Fishbowl”)

Author Book Signings

  • 9:50 AM-10:20 AM
    Beth Revis (Princess & The Scoundrel, Museum of Magic, Paper Hearts)
  • 11:05 AM – 11:35 AM
    Allen Gorney (Crafting and Revision Dialogue, The Scottish Bitch)
  • 12:20 PM- 12:50 PM
    Jessica Baker (A Lady Thea Mystery series, A Prescott House Mystery series, An Invitation to Tea)
  • 2:20 PM – 2:50 PM
    Arielle Haughee (The Complete Revision Workbook for Writers: Tools for a Polished Novel, The Creatives' Journal for Inspiration and Productivity)

9 AM – 10 AM ET | Workshop Block One (choose one)

  • Guidance from the Graveyard: Cemeteries as a Writing Prompt (Dr. Diane Dobry)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Lore, Mysteries & Revelations (Phil Mitchem, Roy Pettis, Ally Ramos)
  • Grammar Rogue: When to Break the Rules (Catherine Carson)
  • The Hollywood Writers Room (Devan Renae)
  • Ask the Writer! - Poetry (Gabrielle Grilli)

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM ET | Workshop Block Two (choose one)

  • Crafting the Mystery Novel (Sidney Williams)
  • Meter and Sonnets (Gabrielle Grilli)
  • What I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing (Jessica Baker)
  • Ask the Writer! - Television & Film (Andrew Williams)

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET | Workshop Block Three (choose one)

  • Beyond Google: Research for Fiction Writers (Dr. Stephanie Maatta)
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Crafting Villains (Phil Mitchem, Roy Pettis, Ally Ramos)
  • An Intelligent Approach to Adapting Real World Cultures (Katina French, Dimitris Havlidis)
  • Four Act Story Structure (Beth Revis)
  • Ask the Writer - Television & Hall of Fame Inductee (Devan Renae)

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM ET | Workshop Block Four (choose one)

  • What to Expect: A Conversation on Screenwriting (Les Brown, Sarah Goras, Peter Jervis, Andrew Williams) - moderated by Allen Gorney
  • Genius Hour: Finding Time to Write (Catherine Carson)
  • Love in Color: How to Write Diverse and Powerful Characters in Romance (Tamra Martin)
  • Ask the Writer! - Novels (Beth Revis)

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM ET | Workshop Block Five (choose one)

  • The Long and Winding Road – How Lyrics Take Shape (Zandi Ashley, Logan Belle, Stephanie Draper, Atom Troy – moderated by Dr. Charlie Griffin)
  • Taking Notes (Andrew Williams)
  • Writing a Micro-Budget Friendly Screenplay (Sarah Kambe Holland)
  • Ask the Writer! - Self-Publishing (Jessica Baker)

4 PM – 5 PM ET | Workshop Block Six (choose one)

  • Publishing Roundtable (Jessica Baker, Catherine Carson, Arielle Haughee, Saritza Hernandez, Beth Revis – moderated by Nikki Buyna)
  • Setting the Stage: Using Theater in Feature Storytelling (Dr. James Carstens)
  • Collaborative Development & Storytelling in Filmmaking (Justin Dec, Jessica Schwartz)
  • Practical Considerations with Final Draft and Yamdu (Estaban Gómez, Matt Markwalder)
  • Ask the Writer! - Indie Filmmaking (Sarah Kambe Holland)

5:15 PM – 6 PM ET | Keynote Presentation

  • AI Text Generators - Apocalypse or Golden Age for Writers? (Justin Brozanski, Katherine Ervin, Elise McKenna, Phil Pallen, Natasha Oliver – moderated by Bethany DuVall)

6:15 PM – 6:30 PM ET | Closing Remarks and Raffle Prize Information

(Jennie Jarvis)

Register Here

Workshop Descriptions

9 AM – 10 AM ET | Workshop Block One

Guidance from the Graveyard: Cemeteries as a Writing Prompt

Faculty: Dr. Diane Dobry

For a writer, almost anything can be fodder for a story, poem, play or song—even cemeteries. Dr. Diane Dobry personally covered how Hungarians celebrate the Day of the Dead and ghost tours at night in and around St. Augustine cemeteries when doing travel themes. She also covered a story about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina with a visit to a famous cemetery in the Ninth Ward and journaled about visiting the graves of actual Revolutionary War era people featured in her historical fiction story about the Long Island Spy Ring. Not only have plays and works of fiction included scenes in cemeteries—by Charles Dickens and Thornton Wilder, for example—but so have many major motion pictures and series like Six Feet Under. This session will review this multi-faceted theme.

Dungeons & Dragons: Lore, Mysteries & Revelations

Faculty: Phil Mitchem, Roy Pettis, Ally Ramos

In this workshop, attendees will learn how to create and integrate lore into their campaign world, develop compelling mysteries to drive player engagement, and prepare to drop clues that give players direction. The workshop will cover topics such as world-building, creating backstory, and developing intriguing plot hooks. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of how to create a cohesive and engaging campaign world, as well as practical tips for crafting compelling mysteries and clues that keep players engaged and interested in the game.

Grammar Rogue: When to Break the Rules

Faculty: Catherine Carson

When it comes to grammar, we need to learn the rules to break the rules, but what are the “rules,” and when it is okay to break them? Explore ways to make your voice and characters sound the way you want them to while making it clear that this is your choice as a writer. Learn about tricker punctuation marks that affect style like the em-dash, semicolon, and colon. Take control of your style without compromising clarity.

The Hollywood Writers Room

Faculty: Devan Renae

This screenwriting workshop will be an engaging immersive experience for new and emerging screenwriters that will be an informative an comprehensive introspection on how writing rooms operate in professional Hollywood projects.

Ask The Writer! - Poetry

Faculty: Gabrielle Grilli

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, published poet Gabrielle Grilli will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

10:15 AM – 11:15 AM ET | Workshop Block Two

Crafting the Mystery Novel

Faculty: Sidney Williams

The mystery remains a popular form on page and screen. In this workshop, we'll take a look at basic building blocks and structures for the puzzle tale from classics to contemporary hits including Glass Onion and Murder on the Orient Express. We'll also discuss the shift in perception that makes a mystery fun for readers or viewers and explore twists on the familiar mystery template.

Meter and Sonnets

Faculty: Gabrielle Grilli

This workshop will discuss what meter is, how to achieve it, and the beauty it can add to any form of writing—most prominently poetry with particular attention to its role in sonnets. The session will discuss different ways of measuring and determining meter, types of rhyme schemes, and syllable counts. It will also discuss the various sonnet forms, their origins, and their requirements. Examples will showcase how the classical sonnet form and meter have evolved and become modernized over time.

What I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing

Faculty: Jessica Baker

After attending a variety of panels and workshops, self-published author Jessica Baker found that actually beginning the self-publishing journey was very different from what had been represented by those who have been publishing for many years. Since it's practically second nature to them now, they seemed to have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. There were many things this author had to discover for herself when self-publishing and wishes that she knew in advance. Such things include preparing for your taxes as a writer; why you need to have a detailed goal plan; ISBNs and why you should consider a DBA; why if you plan to publish your physical books to a bookstore, you should begin with places that publish wide; that if you don't have a publisher, you need to learn how to be proficient on social media; and more!

Ask The Writer! - Television & Film

Faculty: Andrew Williams

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, Emmy-nominated producer, director and writer Andrew Williams will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM ET | Workshop Block Three

Beyond Google: Research for Fiction Writers

Faculty: Dr. Stephanie Maatta

A good story makes the reader believe they are in your world. There needs to be a degree of plausibility and, for known locales or events, accuracy for reader buy-in. This can only be accomplished by balancing research with imagination. Research makes the story real; imagination makes it unique. In this workshop we will explore why and when to do research for fiction writing, resources and tools for conducting relevant research, and incorporating research into your story. We will consider several types of reliable resources, including books, TV and film, images, and real-life. Participants will examine short passages from works of fiction, identifying what elements needed to be researched to be accurate and/or believable; and begin to develop their own list of potential research resources. We will briefly touch on strategies to conduct and manage the search process, capitalizing on web and database functions (e.g., phrase searching and combining concepts).

Dungeons & Dragons: Crafting Villains

Faculty: Phil Mitchem, Roy Pettis, Ally Ramos

This workshop will focus on how to create villains that are more than just one-dimensional "bad guys," and instead, are the heroes of their own stories with goals and motivations. Participants will learn how to run their schemes and adapt them to player interference, as well as how to use fronts and factions for larger campaigns where players may have to choose the lesser of two evils.

Attendees will come away with a deeper understanding of how to create compelling villains that add depth and complexity to their campaigns, as well as practical tips for adapting their schemes and plans based on player actions and choices.

An Intelligent Approach to Adapting Real World Cultures

Faculty: Katina French, Dimitris Havlidis

How do you worldbuild using real world cultures as inspiration? How can you be inspired without creating something trite, dull, or worse, offensive? Dimitris Havlidis and Katina French of World Anvil explain how, offering advice and insights from professionals in publishing and tabletop gaming.

Four Act Story Structure

Faculty: Beth Revis

Are you interested in learning a simple structure that can help you develop an outline or a plan for revisions that is tightly paced, character-driven, and well-plotted? With hands-on examples and clear steps, New York Times Bestselling author Beth Revis breaks down the structure of story and shows you how easy it is to apply structure to any story, resulting in quicker writing and simpler revisions.

Ask the Writer - Television & Hall of Fame Inductee

Faculty: Devan Renae

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, Hall of Fame Inductee Devan Renae will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM ET | Workshop Block Four

What to Expect: A Conversation on Screenwriting

Faculty: Les Brown, Sarah Goras, Peter Jervis, Andrew Williams – moderated by Allen Gorney

The journey to becoming a screenwriter often feels like an uphill battle and a total mystery. Join members of Career Development who will pull back the curtain of becoming a screenwriter. This panel will explore the importance of knowing the rules of screenplay format, understanding the connections of managers and agents, and recognizing the realities of pursuing a career as a screenwriter.

Genius Hour: Finding Time to Write

Faculty: Catherine Carson

Genius Hour offers a way to make time for writing and other creative projects during the day and even at work! Learn what Genius Hour is, its benefits, and how you might even convince your boss to make it part of the work week. Build community, take a moment from your day for creative projects, and get those words down in a way you might not expect.

Love in Color: How to Write Diverse and Powerful Characters in Romance

Faculty: Tamra Martin

How do you write diverse characters that are genuine and memorable to romance readers? In this workshop, we'll answer this by exploring different ways to create unique characters while avoiding common stereotypes that can pull readers out of the story. From people of different cultures to people with disabilities, we'll explore how you can write realistic characters in romance that readers fall in love with and follow until the end. We'll also discuss ways of researching groups of people to create characters with respect and sensitivity to lifestyles, backgrounds, and individuals.

Romance writing provides an atmosphere to create diverse characters through loving relationships. With the world of romance writing expanding, writers can create more inclusivity in their characterization and world-building. This opens opportunities to explore writing romantic couples and pairings in ways that show acceptance, equality, and struggles to reach there happily ever after.

Ask The Writer! - Novels

Faculty: Beth Revis

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, New York Times Bestselling author Beth Revis will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM ET | Workshop Block Five

The Long and Winding Road – How Lyrics Take Shape

Faculty: Zandi Ashley, Logan Belle, Atom Troy, Konli - moderated by Dr. Charlie Griffin

Join us for an illuminating discussion with four acclaimed songwriters as they unravel the mysteries behind crafting powerful, poetic lyrics. Moderated by Charlie Griffin, our esteemed panel featuring Full Sail faculty Atom Troy and Logan Belle, and Full Sail grads Zandi Ashley and Konli will provide an inside look at their creative processes. Learn how initial lyric ideas transform through the give-and-take of musical collaboration, arrangement, and performance. The songwriters will break down their methods for capturing raw emotion and polishing lyrics that resonate. With decades of hit songs between them, these artists will uncover their journeys from blank pages to unforgettable lines. After gaining insight into their lyric writing techniques, you can ask your own burning questions during an audience Q&A session. Don't miss the chance to find out what goes on behind the scenes of great songwriting.

Taking Notes

Faculty: Andrew Williams

An absolute must for any professional writer - the art of taking and incorporating notes is a career make-or-break skillset. This session will focus on the core blend of confidence and humility needed to effectively address notes, the power of understanding the need vs. the want, and how to graciously turn down notes you disagree with.

Writing a Micro-Budget Friendly Screenplay

Faculty: Sarah Kambe Holland

How do you write a screenplay that you intend to direct yourself for very little money? Filmmaker Sarah Kambe Holland breaks down the process of writing the script for her award-winning debut feature film, Egghead & Twinkie, and the production limitations that influenced her approach. Learn to rotate hats as a producer, director, and screenwriter during the script development phase to set yourself up for success once it comes time to bring your screenplay to life.

Ask The Writer! - Self-Publishing

Faculty: Jessica Baker

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, self-published novelist Jessica Baker will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

4 PM – 5 PM ET | Workshop Block Six

Publishing Roundtable

Faculty: Jessica Baker, Catherine Carson, Arielle Haughee, Saritza Hernandez, Beth Revis – moderated by Nikki Buyna

You have finished writing and revising your novel, short story, comic or graphic novel, but now you aren't sure what to do next. Should you traditionally publish or self-publish? How do you submit to literary magazines or agents? In this comprehensive roundtable, you can get the answers to all these questions and more!

Setting the Stage: Using Theater in Feature Storytelling

Faculty: Dr. James Carstens

When faced with trying to create and organize an in-depth feature story, especially in journalism style, a writer is faced with the challenges of trying to cover what might be a myriad of information combined with numerous characters, each with their own 'story' to tell, including a wide range of opinions, ideas, attitudes, and experience. By incorporating some of the elements used in theater and drama writing, authors can learn how to use descriptions of settings and tone to frame the story, action and dialogue of characters to showcase characters and create drama and interest, and craft a comprehensive and satisfying storyline.

Collaborative Development & Storytelling in Filmmaking

Faculty: Justin Dec, Jessica Schwartz

This session will provide insight into how a filmmaker and an executive can effectively contribute their unique perspectives to shape a compelling story. Full Sail Film grad and working Filmmaker Justin Dec and Film Production MFA grad and Director of Development at Roundtable Entertainment Jessica Schwartz will share their process for developing a feature film. They will explain how they are working together to ensure their project resonates with audiences and attracts the attention of distributors and investors.

Practical Considerations with Final Draft and Yamdu

Faculty: Estaban Gómez, Matt Markwalder

When it comes to writing a feature film or television script, writers can often get carried away with the worlds they create and forget about the practical considerations that a producer will consider when deciding whether or not to option the screenplay. Every word a writer writes in a screenplay carries real-world financial consequences. Budgeting and scheduling are the foundation upon which any production is built – and they both begin with the written word. In this session, representatives from Final Draft and Yamdu will walk participants through the newest pre-production tools and workflows. They will show writers how to break down their script in preparation for scheduling and budgeting needs. This will put the writers’ work into a position that is much more desirable for producers, development executives, and studios.

Ask The Writer! - Indie Filmmaking

Faculty: Sarah Kambe Holland

Come and enjoy this laid-back Q&A session where you can ask your burning questions to the writer of the hour! In this session, independent filmmaker Sarah Kambe Holland will be on hand to share wisdom and experience.

Conference Inspiration Room

Campus attendees! Come and enjoy a space where you can write, relax, or just unwind. Please be aware that this is a quiet room, so no talking please.

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM ET | Keynote Panel

AI Text Generators - Apocalypse or Golden Age for Writers?

Faculty: Justin Brozanski, Elise McKenna, Katherine Ervin, Phil Pallen, Natasha Oliver - moderated by Bethany DuVall

Generative AI technology has evolved rapidly since it went open source late last year. Keeping up with the uses, legalities, and ethics related to this tech can be challenging. On this panel, we'll discuss everything from how generative AI is changing the writing jobs landscape to practical uses for AI to ethical questions it raises surrounding intellectual property and perpetuating stereotypes.

6:15 PM – 6:30 PM ET | Closing Remarks and Raffle Prize Information

Faculty: Jennie Jarvis

Register Here

Faculty Bios

Zandi Ashley
Zandi Ashley is an Orlando, FL based creative originating from Albuquerque, NM. Primarily a singer/songwriter/producer for her main indie pop/rock band, “Scorpio Szn,” she is also in the midst of focusing more of her attention to writing for her solo project under the same stage name of “Zandi Ashley.” Her work with Scorpio Szn has led to being placed in the Top 5 in the Central Orlando NPR Tiny Desk Concert Contest in 2020 and 2023, a music video featured at the 2020 Virtual GrammyU Conference as well as being awarded “Song of the Year” for Scorpio Szn’s funky track “Sugar Sugar” at the indie award show, “The Wavy Awards,” in NYC; featured in Variety Magazine. Zandi Ashley is currently working on finishing Scorpio Szn’s first album in December of 2023, with a new single release called “Neon Glow (Ft. Nervous Nature),” that will be hitting all streaming platforms in November 2023. She is also in the process of publishing a poetry book titled, “Highs, Lows, Push & Pulls,” expecting to release in 2024. Currently, Zandi Ashley enjoys being a vocal, songwriting, guitar, piano and ukulele private lesson instructor alongside her creative endeavors. She seeks to songwrite for more artists and live a fulfilling life by documenting her human experience through multiple creative media.

Jessica Baker
Jessica Baker (she/her) is a cozy mystery and sweet romance author. She lives in sunny Central Florida and is a member of the National Sisters in Crime. Jessica graduated from Full Sail’s Film Bachelor in 2015 and the Creative Writing Masters in 2019. When she’s not writing, she works as a Lab Specialist in the Digital Cinematography Bachelor of Science and freelances as a camera assistant in film which provides plenty of inspiration for her stories. To learn more about Jessica and her books, visit her at www.jessicabakerauthor.com and for the latest information, subscribe to her newsletters.

Logan Belle
Logan Belle has been playing guitar since the age of 13. After relocating to Orlando, Florida, Logan began carving out a niche for himself in the local music community. His first band, Angel of the Odd, garnered critical accolades from all over the southeast which resulted in signing a deal with Saturn Records. Logan has released several albums of original material (in various genres) and has worked and toured with several national acts including A Flock of Seagulls and Wang Chung in addition to opening for such artists as War, Mickey Thomas’ Starship and Edwin McCain. Logan has also helped write songs for other artists including Omar Jose Cardona (NBC’s The Voice finalist), as well as having helped other writers with successful pitches to Alicia Keys and The Alan Parsons Project. With insightful lyrics, infectious melodies and a powerfully dynamic stage persona, Logan continues to win over new fans with his highly original musical style. His solo releases have won the praise of critics and music lovers alike. Logan continues to perform and record his original music.

He has won the distinct honor of 2001 and 2007 Songwriter of the Year from Songwriters Showcase of America, as well as being nominated as Best Male Soloist in the Regional People’s Music Awards as well as Artist of the Decade from the SSA. He currently holds the position of Course Director in the Music Production degree program at Full Sail University where he teaches songwriting skills and techniques. In addition to completing the University’s Leadership Academy, Logan completed coursework for his second bachelor’s degree (Music Production) where he earned the title of class valedictorian.

Les Brown
Les Brown is a Writer, Video Editor, Producer, and Creative Writing Advisor in the Career Development Department. His background is in film and television. After graduating with a degree in film production, he found his way into the industry via the post-production process as a video editor where he worked on all types of projects from children’s television to music videos. This opened a path for him in writing and producing for commercials, promotional spots, documentaries, and feature films. His experiences in the industry allowed him to work with clients such as Universals Studios, Paramount Pictures, Monster Energy, Hershey’s, Hope Community Center, Embodiology, and Melia Resorts.

Justin Brozanski
Justin Brozanski is a Course Director in the Creative Writing Department at Full Sail University. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing for Fiction at UCF and his BFA in Philosophy and Religion at Flagler College with minors in Creative Writing and Pre-Law. Since 2007, Justin has worked in professional writing, advertising, content creation and distribution, marketing, project management, and storytelling for several industries including entertainment and nightlife, art, real-estate, health, education, and others. His teaching career started in 2014 in South Korea and, he has, since then, taught students worldwide from Kindergarten to University. Currently, he owns and operates a 501c3 Nonprofit for the socialization and rehoming of feral cats and kittens in Orlando, continues to write and produce content professionally, is a full-time husband, and wonders if he’ll ever sneak a nap without his cell phone buzzing, and buzzing, and buzzing. Since integrating AI into his professional work, the subjects of “What should come next?” and “How do you use and teach this ethically?” are always on his mind, and he believes we are facing a change in basic assumptions for how we approach creativity as human beings.

Nikki Buyna
Nikki Buyna (she/her) has engaged students and faculty for twenty-three years as a teacher of literature, composition, and humanities. As a podcaster, she shared her love of education in “Parent- Teacher Conference” and archetypal analysis in “Making the Monsters.” She has written for various blogs and co-authored the ebook #Reaching the Tweeps.

Catherine Carson
Catherine Carson (she/her) is a writer and educator in Orlando, Florida. Her poetry, nonfiction, and fiction has appeared in SLANT, RogueAgent, Fantastic Floridas, Condoms and Hot Tubs Don’t Mix (Beating Windward Press, 2018), My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends (HerStories Project, 2014), and The Drunken Odyssey podcast. She is former Managing Editor of The Florida Review and Poetry Editor of Fantastic Floridas. She manages the CoPilot Tutoring Center at Full Sail University and holds an MFA from the University of Central Florida. She loves playing old- fashioned card games, riding horses, and knitting.

Dr. James F. Carstens
Dr. James F. Carstens’ (he/him) life-long interest in reading led him to get a bachelor's degree in English Lit (with a double minor in Creative Writing and Technical Journalism) from Colorado State University. His experience as a newspaper reporter, columnist, photographer and copy editor, along with technical writing and editor positions in business and healthcare, inspired him to pursue a master's degree and to teach writing classes at the community college level. This fulfilling experience then motivated him to obtain his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught journalism/media classes at several colleges and universities, including the University of South Alabama, Salisbury University, and Florida State College at Jacksonville. He worked for daily newspapers including the St. Petersburg Times and the Mobile Press Register, and in the healthcare field for several companies, including Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Walt Disney World. In his pedagogical aspirations, he has tried to connect with his students on a 'realistic' level, to help them understand how the knowledge and skills they learn will benefit them in their career and personal objectives. He believes that basic 'communication' and critical thinking skills - defining a topic, learning to find and evaluate information, organizing and logically presenting that information - are essential to future successes both personally and professionally. His interests include reading, writing, poetry, cooking, the environment, the beach, and travel.

Justin Dec
Justin Dec was born and raised in Woburn, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He graduated with a BSA in Film from Full Sail University in 2001. He worked for many years as a production assistant before writing/directing his first short film, "Rolling", a film festival favorite that won Best Director at the 2010 New York Television Festival. He has two Vimeo Staff Picks, an Addy-Award Winning commercial campaign, and over 10 million views online. His feature film debut "Countdown" was the #1 new movie opening weekend at the domestic box office. The film cost $6 million and has grossed over $60 million worldwide. To learn more, visit www.justindec.com.

Dr. Diane Dobry
Dr. Diane Dobry speaks frequently on topics related to death, the afterlife, communication with the dead, and other topics related to the mysteries of life and death. Her area of academic study at Columbia University was focused on television viewers whose program choices focused on death, the afterlife and the paranormal. She was interested in learning how viewers might use media to interpret death and the afterlife. In her dissertation, she specifically looked at paranormal reality television that included paranormal investigations, communication with the dead through a medium, and documentary re-enactments of individual experiences related to mysteries of life and death. Diane has written about her work and the topics related to her research in a chapter in The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures, and through commentary about American media, spirituality, the afterlife and the paranormal and on her past blog Ghost Doctor.

Her podcast “Dying to Know” and blog “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” are part of her website HungarianAquarian.com, which is also the name of her astrology Facebook page.

Bethany DuVall
Bethany DuVall (she/her) grew up on Ray Bradbury and Star Trek. Her interest in AI has a lot to do with hoping to push the needle in the direction of Star Trek. She's a department chair in the Creative Writing BFA at Full Sail where she heads up the task force developing department framework for AI use, supports an amazing team of writing instructors, and teaches Developing New Worlds. Bethany writes historic and contemporary fiction, usually with a touch of magic, and has a small gift shop offering ethically produced items featuring her artwork. You can learn more about her at BethanyDuVall.com or WhimseySky.com.

Katherine Ervin
Katherine Ervin is a writer, teacher, and editor of speculative fiction and romance. Over the years, she’s edited around thirty novels at independent presses such as Relay Publishing. She writes about knitting witches, lying mermaids, and androids falling in love. Her cyborg soldier poetry is forthcoming at Strange Horizons.

Atom Troy
Atom Troy has spent most of his music career as a major label artist, a touring drummer, and a head audio engineer (both studio and live), a teacher, and even a record label VP. After earning a BA in theater and an MFA in computer arts both from Florida Atlantic University, Atom has achieved many career successes, including over twenty-two hours of music streaming online. Along with John Paulson, the creator of Coda software, Atom created one of the first Midi music companies, Midi Music USA/UK. As an artist, he is best known for the classic pioneering progressive trance hit, “You're Not Alone” (atom-You're Not Alone on Atlantic/Nebulous Records), which kept him touring for over two years. Besides song writing, he serves as an active judge with the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, writes articles for MIX and Re-Mix magazine, hosts webinars about mixing and songwriting, and records and mixes the famous Brevard Symphony Orchestra and Villages Philharmonic. He recently celebrated his sixteenth work anniversary at Full Sail University where he is the Course Director for Portfolio 7.

Katina French
Katina French is a best-selling fiction author under multiple pen names, as well as an ADDY award-winning marketing professional. Currently, the content strategist for World Anvil, Katina has handled multimedia brand storytelling for ad agencies (and their famous clients), global NGOs, and scrappy technology start-ups. She's also written seven published novels, ranging in genre from LitRPG to steampunk fairy tales to paranormal romance. She's obsessed with D&D, tarot cards, classic movie monsters, and convincing people the ending of LOST was good, actually.

Esteban Gómez
Esteban Gómez boasts a career that spans over two decades. He has truly excelled as a 1st Assistant Director, collaborating with distinguished Production Services Companies in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His track record includes partnering with renowned Oscar winner Directors and Directors of Photography to meticulously coordinate shoots across the globe for commercials and films, a testament to his seasoned expertise. Currently, Esteban holds the pivotal role of Sales Account Executive at YAMDU, the #1 Content Production Hub for Film & TV. Drawing upon his extensive experience, he's dedicated to crafting impeccable solutions tailored to the intricate demands of audiovisual productions.

Sarah Goras
Sarah Goras is an award-winning director and screenwriter with selections in over a hundred festivals and winning several awards for her short films and feature screenplays under her company FireDrive Films. She recently got contracted as a writer and director for a feature film due to her recent success with her horror drama short film, VIOLAR. She attended Full Sail University for her Bachelor's in Film and Master's in Creative Writing as well as a second Master's in English and Screenwriting from Southern New Hampshire University.

Allen Gorney
Allen Gorney is an actor and writer living in Central Florida. As an actor, he has appeared in commercials, on television, and in film. As a writer, he is the author of the writing textbook Crafting and Revising Dialogue: A Guide for Playwrights, Novelists, and Screenwriters. He is also the author of many stage and screenplays, and writes novels under the pen name Jameson Tabard. His debut novel, The Scottish Bitch is available in e-book or print formats.

Dr. Charlie Griffin
Dr. Charlie Griffin’ (he/him) professional career as a classically-trained freelance composer and music educator has broadened over time to include improv (Sak Comedy Lab and Orlando Fringe Festival), acting (MTV), sketch comedy (Second City), and a big pivot toward writing, where he now devotes much of his creative energy. He graduated valedictorian with a BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University in 2019. He recently completed UCLA’s Professional Program in Television Writing in the Comedy Track. He brings a spirit of play and musicality to all his writing. He’s a member of the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge community and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. His children’s picture book, Indy and Jennyis available now at Amazon and all online retailers.

Gabrielle Grilli
Gabrielle Grilli (she/her) is an Associate Course Director of English at Full Sail University. She is also an emerging poet with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida, where she worked with her late mentor, Jay Hopler. Her work has been featured in Chasing Light: A Burgert Brothers Anthology, Wingless Dreamer, Kelp Journal: The Wave, PanoplyzineThe Racket, The Fine Print, Saw Palm: Places to Stand, Poets' Choice & Spectrum Literary Magazine. She was also a finalist in the Spring 2020 F(r)iction Poetry Contest & has work forthcoming in The Mailer Review.

Arielle Haughee
Arielle Haughee (Hoy) is a seven-time RPLA-winning author, editor, speaker, and publisher. She is the owner of the small press Orange Blossom Publishing and was previously the Executive Vice President and Marketing Chair for the Florida Writers Association. She was honored with the President’s Award from FWA in 2020, and in 2021 Pling’s Party was awarded Children’s Book of the Year.

Dimitris Havlidis
Dimitris Havlidis (he/him) has been building settings for 30 years, and has made more epic, sandbox worlds than he’s had hot dinners. He holds degrees in Computing, Social Psychology (always useful for tormenting characters) and Graphic Design, and worked as a CTO for some of the top agencies in the UK. He left the corporate world to focus on World Anvil, which is now his life's work. With his wife Janet Forbes, he developed the groundbreaking Agile Worldbuilding Method, and has given talks and seminars at some of the biggest conventions in the world on worldbuilding and game mastery. He loves cheese, lemon pies and top hats.

Saritza Hernandez
Saritza Hernandez (she/her) of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency came to agenting from a publishing industry background and has been a literary agent for 12 years. Based in Orlando, Florida, she is a passionate advocate of the BIPOC & LGBTQIA+ communities. She enjoys fresh voices in Children’s and Adult commercial fiction and select non-fiction.

Sarah Kambe Holland
Sarah Kambe Holland is a film director working between Austin, TX and New York City. She is best known for her debut feature film, Egghead & Twinkie, for which she was also the screenwriter, co-producer, and co-editor. The film is currently screening at festivals all over the world, including the Seattle International Film Festival, TIFF Next Wave, BFI Flare, Frameline, Outfest, and the Florida Film Festival, where it took home the Audience Award for Best Film. Beyond her narrative work, Holland makes her living by directing commercial work for clients. She has also served as a Jury Member for the Austin Asian American Film Festival evaluating narrative features and shorts. As an artist, Holland loves working with emerging talent and developing multi-faceted characters, with a special focus on telling LGBTQ and Asian American stories. For more information, visit sarahkambeholland.com or eggheadandtwinkie.com.

Peter Jervis
Peter Jervis graduated from Full Sail in 1997. After that, he had the privilege of working on several international television shows and commercials in which he was able to wear many different hats in preproduction, production and postproduction. After several years in Florida, he decided to expand his experience by moving to Los Angeles, California. While on the West Coast, he worked as a Producer’s Assistant on Duma and North Country, a Camera Assistant on MTV’s Camp Jim, a Visual Effects Producer’s Assistant on Fantastic Four as well as a Visual Effects Production Coordinator on films such as Eight Below and Night at the Museum. Currently he is back at Full Sail University working with the Alumni Relations Team. Alumni Relations allows him to assist, connect and celebrate Full Sail University Alumni.

Konli is a Los Angeles-based pop artist, songwriter, vocal producer, and music producer. Her singing has earned her multiple vocal awards in competitions and her music has even been placed on MTV. Konli combines elements of electronic, indie, RnB and soul with pop to create her signature sound. Using her degree in Music Production from Full Sail University where she graduated as Salutatorian and her passion for research, Konli has spent the last seven years designing her home studio to get a radio-quality sound where she engineers and producers both her own and other artists’ music. Most recently, she came back from a writing retreat for Christie Lamb, an Australia-based country artist signed to ABC Music, to help her finish her album since their co-write “Tipsy” became the single off of it. Konli enjoys songwriting retreats with her co-writing teams, fitness, attending live shows, hanging with her bf and his dog in their new apartment, and exploring the nature of California. She is currently finishing her first collab EP with an award-winning pop artist Jai Sessions. Every one of her 20+ releases are available on your favorite streaming platforms. 

Stephanie Maatta Smith, M.S., Ph.D.
Stephanie Maatta Smith, M.S., Ph.D. (she/her), Director of Library Services at Full Sail University, earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from Florida State University, and her Bachelor of Art in English from Michigan State University. She served as a professor at the University of South Florida and Wayne State University, teaching research strategies for the arts, humanities, sciences and business. Her role in the Full Sail Library is to support the students on their academic journey. She hosts workshops on research strategies along with managing the day-to-day operations of the library. Currently, Dr. Maatta has the pleasure of being the club advisor for the Movie Club. Dr. Maatta has written numerous professional and scholarly articles for education and library science journals. She published a textbook entitled A Few Good Books: Using Contemporary Readers’ Advisory Strategies to Connect Readers with Books. Dr. Maatta has presented her work at international conferences in England, Finland and Puerto Rico as well as at state and national conferences in the U.S. She is currently writing her first novel, a time travel fantasy featuring a little magic and a little mystery. She cannot remember a time when she didn’t know how to read or have a book at hand. Her current favorite genres are mysteries and historical fiction. A well-researched and believable story is a thing of beauty. When Dr. Maatta is away from the Full Sail Library, she’s a photographer and handcrafter. Her favorite photography subjects are old vehicles, nature and animals. For practical purposes, she is a product and brand photographer. If Dr. Maatta isn’t behind a camera, she’s behind a sewing machine, creating costumes for cosplay events, most recently re- creating the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. Connect with Dr. Maatta on Instagram @slmaatta, Facebook smaattaphotography, Website https://smaattaphotography.com.

Matt Markwalder
Matt Markwalder has worked in the film business in a variety of roles for more than twenty years. As a screenwriter, he has worked closely with directors such as Oliver Stone, Robert Zemeckis, and Roger Avary. He has also directed and produced numerous award-winning music videos and commercials. Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and in his spare time he enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and – of course – watching movies! Originally from Milwaukee, he now resides in Los Angeles.

Tamra Artelia Martin
Tamra Artelia Martin (she/her) received her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Central Florida. She served on panels for the Interracial Romance Author's Expo (IRAE) conference and presented roundtable discussions on paranormal romance at Alessandra Torre’s Digital Inkers Con. Currently, she teaches English at Full Sail University as an Associate Course Director. She writes paranormal and multicultural romance as Auriella Skye, for which she earned a USA Today Bestselling author title four times with her fellow paranormal romance authors. Her bestselling romance series incorporates diversity and magic in the fictional town of Kala West, Florida.

Elise McKenna
Elise McKenna is a Course Director for the Creative Writing Department at Full Sail University. She holds a master’s degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. Her articles appear in Eclectica.org, How We Became Middle Earth, and Conference Proceedings for the Tolkien Society and Tol Harndor. As a recipient of local awards & grants, she teaches literature, composition, creative writing, and horror fiction. She guest lectures on different aspects of J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, and the Harry Potter series locally and overseas. She is a guest speaker at ConZealand and Secluded: A Virtual Writing Conference.

Phil Mitchem
Phil Mitchem (he/they) first started playing Dungeons & Dragons over ten years ago as a Dungeon Master. In that time, Phil has run multiple campaigns and one-shot adventures. He’s started expanding his experience to include other RPGs such as Monster of the Week and Blades in the Dark. When not moonlighting as Dungeon Master for his weekly game group, Phil is the Project Administrator for Full Sail University's Financial Aid department.

Natasha Oliver
Natasha Oliver writes action-packed fantasy thrillers and romantic suspense novels featuring strong female protagonists supported by a diverse set of characters with origins from all over the world. At the core of her storytelling is the universal struggle for love and belonging. She earned her MFA in 2010 from Goddard College and has lived and worked in Japan, Singapore, and the UK. She teaches Creative Writing in the BFA program at Full Sail University and is currently working on an epic fantasy and a romantic fantasy thriller. She loves reading, learning, and traveling with her chalk & cheese daughters and her introverted-tech-driven husband. You can learn more about her at NatashaOliver.com.

Phil Pallen
Phil Pallen is a personal branding expert and keynote speaker. His non-conventional approach to digital marketing and talent for social media has built him a global audience. As a brand strategist, Phil has advised hundreds of brands from over 30 countries, including a Shark on Shark Tank, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, politicians, and some of the most important names in entertainment. A digital nomad and globetrotter, Phil has delivered speeches on five different continents and frequently appears as an expert contributor in media outlets around the world, including CNN, Access Hollywood, and The Daily Mail. To learn more, including what services he offers, go to https://philpallen.co/.

Roy Pettis
Roy Pettis has been infatuated with the magical experience known as D&D since he first created a character in 1987. Adventuring wasn’t enough for Roy and in 1989, he took the brave leap and began DMing for a close group of friends. Since then, he has been building worlds, crafting adventures, and guiding brave adventurers through noble quests spanning a variety of gaming systems and editions. If he is not running an adventure or adventuring himself, you can find him sharing his love of D&D with others by either teaching workshops, at his local comic store, for both players and for DMs or running a public game, introducing others to the magic and wonder of D&D. Roy has his Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and when he is not guiding a band of merry adventurers through a whimsical world of fantasy, you can find him working at Full Sail’s Financial Aid Department.

Ally Ramos
Ally Ramos started her Full Sail journey in 2016 when she came in for the computer animation Bachelor’s degree program. She later started working for the Full Sail financial aid department in March of 2021. Ally started playing D&D during her time as a student, learning how to play with two different DM’s and learning the difference in storytelling. Though she has finished her first campaign as the DM, she doesn’t let it slow her down as she starts the path of pulling together a new campaign. Using this experience to grow as a storyteller, she helps newer players find the same spark she did when she first started playing.

Devan Renea
Devan Renea is a native of the Washington DC metropolitan area and holds an MFA in creative writing, a bachelor’s degree in film, and a GradC in Education Media & Technology. She co-wrote two episodes of OWN’s legal drama series, Delilah, including the season finale. Devan was recently a writer and script coordinator in the writers’ room of the critically acclaimed limited series, Mike, starring Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. Devan’s other credits include work on the NAACP award-winning series Queen Sugar, produced by Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, the Saturn-award winning CW series Stargirl, and Freeform’s Teen Choice award- nominated series Famous in Love. She is the CEO of Boss Up Productions, a multi-platform production company. Devan also previously presided as the board Co-Chair/President of Black Employees at WB and is a Screenwriting Instructor for nonprofit organization, Kids in the spotlight. Devan’s most prized accomplishment is her recent induction into Full Sail’s University Hall of Fame 13 induction. She currently resides in North Hollywood CA.

Beth Revis
Beth Revis (she/her) is a NY Times bestselling author with books available in more than 20 languages. Her most recent title, The Princess and the Scoundrel, is a Star Wars adult science fiction novel featuring the marriage and adventure-riddled honeymoon of Leia and Han. She's also the author of serialized novels written using Dungeons & Dragons skills--playing with dice and taking votes from readers to determine the fate of the characters. The first novel in this format is called Museum of Magic. Beth’s other books include the bestselling science fiction trilogy, Across the Universe, Star Wars: Rebel Rising, and many more. Her next novel is a historical fantasy co-written with bestselling author Sara Raasch; Night of the Witch will be available in October. Beth is the co-owner of Wordsmith Workshops and the author of the Paper Hearts series, both of which aid aspiring authors. A native of North Carolina, Beth is currently working on multiple more books and video game scripts. She lives in rural NC with her son, husband, and dog.

Jessica Schwartz
Jessica Schwartz is Director of Development at Roundtable Entertainment where she focuses on developing both scripted and unscripted content across the company. She is Co-Executive Producer on the upcoming slasher horror film for Roundtable called ALL MY FRIENDS ARE DEAD starring Jade Pettyjohn and JoJo Siwa directed by Marcus Dunstan. Jessica has worked in development at ITV, Team Whistle, Telepictures, Kingdom Reign, and Collins Avenue. Jessica was a Producer on Siwa's Dance Pop Revolution on NBC Peacock & E!. She has been a Casting Producer on TV shows and development projects for Lifetime, Nickelodeon, NBC Peacock, Bravo, and ABC. Jessica graduated from University of the Arts in Philly with her BFA in Directing, Playwriting, and Production. She directed and assisted at theater companies in NYC and Philly from 2011-2015 (Atlantic Theater Company, Roundabout, Azuka, InterAct, Plays and Players, Fringe Arts, Philly Young Playwrights, etc.). She then received her MFA in Film and Production at Full Sail University in 2016 where she was awarded the Advanced Achievement Recipient.

Andrew Williams
Andrew Williams (he/him) is an Emmy-nominated Writer/Producer/Director who has produced series for Disney Animation Studios, Legendary Entertainment, All Things Comedy, and Disney+. Over the last 15 years, Andrew has overseen multiple projects for The Muppets Studio, from the viral smash hit The Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody to the PGA-Award-Winning Muppets Haunted Mansion. Andrew serves as the Vice President and head of Original Content at Soapbox Films - the indie studio behind recent horror films The Old Ways, Southbound, The Wind, The Mortuary Collection, and the upcoming V/H/S/85.

Sidney Williams
Sidney Williams (he/him) is the author of the Si Reardon detective thriller series from Crossroad Press’s Gordian Knot imprint. Titles so far include Fool’s Run and Long Waltz. His body of work also includes traditionally published novels from Kensington Books and original titles from Crossroad including Dark Hours and the Lovecraftian thriller Disciples of the Serpent. Sidney holds an MFA from Goddard College and has taught creative writing for a decade with a focus on speculative fiction and short stories. Sidney’s own short stories have appeared in publications ranging from Cemetery Dance and Hot Blood: Deadly After Dark to Under the Fang, Quoth the Raven, Love Among the Thorns, Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse, Dark Corners of the Old Dominion and the transgressive horror anthology Deranged. His historical-action-horror tale “By Side Saddle” is included in the anthology Unknown Heroes vs. the Forces of Darkness. Additionally, Sidney wrote horror comics for Malibu Graphics, Campfire Comics and Caliber Comics. He also occasionally contributes reviews and articles to the website Wicked Horror and has served as a contributing editor to The Big Thrill, the newsletter of ITW, the International Thriller Writers association. A native of Louisiana, he has resided in Virginia since 2019. He lives in Williamsburg with his wife and a cat named Zoë Moonshadow. Visit Sidney online at: https://SidisAlive.com, Facebook: https://facebook.com/SidneyWilliamsBooks, TikTok: @willysid, Newsletter Signup: https://tinyletter.com/SidneyW.

All pronouns included in this program were volunteered by the individuals themselves. Some faculty chose not to share their pronouns or did not volunteer them, and we respect their decision.

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