Chairs of Distinction
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N. Zakin says he established the endowment to honor retired UCLA
screenwriting instructor Lew Hunter. “I started to write screenplays
as a hobby and Lew mentored me,” says Zakin, chairman of the
San Francisco-based Proxim Corp., which provides wireless networking
products. “He took a lot of time with me, and I was impressed
with that. When he retired I thought it would be nice to honor not
only what he did for me, but what he did for the school. I hope
the endowment raises the screenwriting image within the industry
and helps individuals make some great movies.”
has taught screenwriting off and on at UCLA since 1995. Since his
first writing job with B-movie king Roger Corman, he’s worked
at Warner Bros., Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks, Sony and Universal.
In addition to his motion picture screenplays, his TV credits include
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Darkman III and Bump
in the Night.
graduate seminars are run “as if it were a typical screenwriter
development deal,” with the eight students (selected from
20-30 applicants) working out of Colleary and Werb’s West
Hollywood office. “Students write individual screenplays in
10 weeks and contribute to the work of the others,” he says.
“The strength of the program is that you have a safe place
for a free exchange of ideas.”
addition to supporting Colleary’s work, part of the Hunter/Zakin
endowment helps to finance the School of Theater, Film and Television’s
annual Screenwriting Showcase, in which five students spend five
weeks to cast, rehearse and present a 15-minute stage-reading excerpt
from their film.
a big event,” Colleary says. “We get a big industry
audience. A lot of careers have been launched from this program.”
a chair, Colleary says, brings some much-needed cachet to screenwriting.
“When I tell people I am the chair, they take more notice,”
he says with a smile. “People take you more seriously.”
G. Wax is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.