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Past DSA Speakers

Past 2024


May 2024

Paula Goldberg

Paula Goldberg 2024

Storyteller, Educator,
Lover of Coffee and Salt

Paula Goldberg is someone who is fiercely optimistic that at 52 percent of the population, women can be a political and artistic force.  Continuously reinventing herself, she has worked in corporate America, academia, and artistically as a content writer, actor, screenwriter, producer, and director. Her feature writing credits include the screenplay for The Perfect Family starring Kathleen Turner and Emily Deschanel.  Her screenplay Unimaginable was a semi-finalist in the Dallas International Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2024. She teaches screenwriting at UTD and offers acting and writing workshops through her own studio, Well Told Gold.

Marilyn Atlas 2024
May 2024

Marilyn Atlas

MARILYN R. ATLAS is a talent and literary manager, author, and award-winning producer. Among her credits as a film producer are Real Women Have Curves for HBO, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently being developed as a Broadway musical for 2025. A Certain Desire” starring Sam Waterston; and Echoes, which won the Gold Award at the Texas International Film Festival. In addition to producing a variety of programming for the cable/pay TV market, Marilyn has produced live theater. She co-produced the West Coast premiere of the musical God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Ashman and Menken (the writers of Enchanted and Tangled). She also co-produced the award-winning play To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, which was made into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher. In 2014, she co-produced the play Detained in the Desert at the Guadalupe Theater in San Antonio, TX. Her additional credits as a producer in live theater include Today’s Special and As I Sing.

Previously, Marilyn developed the Brides’ March for Lifetime Television as well as a limited television series. She produced the musical version of Real Women Have Curves in Los Angeles in 2009. Real Women Have Curves is currently in development as a musical for Broadway. Additional credit was the Lifetime movie The Choking Game based on the YA book by Diana Lopez aired in Summer 2014.

Marilyn has long been committed to issues surrounding diversity in Hollywood. As a member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, she spoke at many of their writers’ and producers’ retreats. Atlas is a mentor in DIVERSE WOMEN IN MEDIA INITIATIVE. She has lectured at the DGA sponsored LA Asian Film Festival, as well as various other symposia for the Sherman Oaks Experimental College. She is a founding member of Women in Film’s Luminas Committee, which supports the portrayal of women in non-stereotypical roles in film and television. She has spoken at events such as The San Francisco Writers Conference, the Santa Fe Screenwriters Conference and Richard Krevolin’s USC Screenwriting Retreat.

Marilyn has been a guest speaker at various colleges and writers’ conferences all over the country, including at Harvardwood, UCLA, USC, Emerson, Providence College, University of Incarnate Word, University of Redlands, and the University of Wisconsin. She has spoken at the Texas Bar Association and was a guest lecturer at Whittier Law School. She has served as the professional-in residence (in theater and film) at Ball State University and was the speaker at the International Writer’s Conference at Hollins University. Additionally, she was a guest lecturer in the Writing Program at USC, where she previously taught a class every year on creating three-dimensional, non- stereotypical characters. In Italy, she spoke at the International Women’s Writer Conference in 2014 and Publishing Day in 2016.

In addition to Marilyn’s film/TV credits, she has sold (first time) novels Chasing the Jaguar to Harper Collins, Hungry Woman in Paris to Grand Central Publishing, Ave Maria Bed & Breakfast to Hachette Publishing, and the Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole to Source Books.

Marilyn is currently developing a TV pilot based on the Gary Phillips series of novels High Hand and Shooter’s Point featuring strong-willed African-American protagonist Martha Chainey. She is additionally developing a Chinese historical epic with the Metan Development Group and the Wolper Organization, as well as The Trouble with Dreamers in association with NEO Studios and the pilot Under The Devil’s Sky. Marilyn is featured in the book “Write Now!” from Penguin/Tarcher. She is also the coauthor of a relationship-based, screenwriting guide called Dating Your Character, about an organic approach to character creation for Stairway Press’s 2016 catalog.

Past 2023


Jonathan Maberry 23
October 2023
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Jonathan Maberry

5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, and president of

the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times bestselling author, 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, 4-time Scribe Award winner, Inkpot Award winner, anthology editor, writing teacher, and comic book writer. His vampire apocalypse book series, V-WARS, was a Netflix original series starring Ian Somerhalder.


He writes in multiple genres including suspense, thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and action; and he writes for adults, teens and middle grade. His works include the Joe Ledger thrillers, Kagen the Damned, Ink, Glimpse, the Rot & Ruin series, The Dead of Night series, The Wolfman, X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate, The Sleepers War (with Weston Ochse), NectroTek, Mars One, and many others.


Several of his works are in development for film and TV. He is the editor of high-profile anthologies including The X-Files, Aliens: Bug Hunt, Out of Tune, Don’t Turn out the Lights: A Tribute to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Baker Street Irregulars, Nights of the Living Dead, and others.


His comics include Black Panther: DoomWar, The Punisher: Naked Kills and Bad Blood.

He is the author or co-author of several nonfiction books on supernatural folklore: The Vampire Slayers Field Guide to the Undead (writing as Shane MacDougall), Vampire Universe, The Cryptopedia (co-written with David F. Kramer), They Bite (co-written with David F. Kramer), Wanted Undead or Alive (co-written with Janice Gable Bashman), and Zombie CSU: The Forensic Science of the Living Dead. His Rot & Ruin young adult novel was adapted into the #1 horror comic on Webtoon and is being developed for film by Alcon Entertainment. He the president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, and the editor of Weird Tales Magazine. He lives in San Diego, California.

Danny Aguilar 999
Very Late 2023

Danny Aguilar

Dallas-based Independent Filmmaker

Born and raised in the Philippines, Danny Aguilar has a passion for storytelling in the areas of fiction and non-fiction.

After completing his degree in Chemical Engineering, Danny came to the U.S. He then continued his studies in Master of Science (MS), and followed by Master of Business Administration (MBA). He founded Quality Eagle Consulting Services in Dallas, Texas, advising Fortune 500 companies in the areas of engineering, quality, compliance, and process improvement.

His entry into film started as a hobby, then became a passion. He did a short stint as a volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival and other festivals, then studied with the Hollywood Film Institute. He was accepted into the Sundance Collab Director's Mentorship Program, where he was mentored by a Sundance award-winning director.

His practical business acumen and engineering skill helped him quickly master the work of producing and directing film. In 2017, Danny founded Carpe Diem Pictures, LLC, based in Dallas, aiming to produce and finance independent films. In a few short years, Carpe Diem Pictures has launched eight film projects, both documentary and narrative.

Danny brings know-how and innovation to the process of conceiving the idea, building the team, gaining the support, and producing each screen project. Strong relationships are at the core of all he undertakes. The film business is a people business, he believes, and good storytelling starts with caring about people, and benefiting them in their lives.



Jennifer Hutchins 22
August 2022

Jennifer Hutchins


Jennifer Hutchins has produced over 200 episodes of docu-series, studio and variety television for CBS, A&E, Paramount Network, TLC, SYFY, Discovery, Fox Sports, NatGeo, YouTube Originals, Amazon, Travel Channel and her most recent CBS All Access series with directors Richard Linklater & Bill Guttentag.

Jennifer's highlighted feature films include, "Most Likely To Die" distributed by

Mar Vista Entertainment, "Time Toys" directed by Mark Rosman (A Cinderella Story) starring Ed Begley Jr. (Pineapple Express), Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) , "Unfollowed" produced by Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) and Expendable Assets starring Jake Busey (Starship Troopers).

She currently is in post-production on a documentary about Bipolar and in development for a slate of films. She is founder of networking platform All Entertainment Business that connects entertainment professionals across

the globe. The group has 20,000 members.

Tom Vaughan 22
May 2022

Tom Vaughan


Screenwriter, Educator

Tom Vaughan has been writing professionally for twenty-five years and teaching the subject almost as long. He studied at the University of Houston with Broadway legend Jose Quintero and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee. It was his work as a writer and director in Houston theatre that got him recognized by Hollywood.

He was soon writing screenplays for, among others, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Disney, ABC, NBC, CBS, Phoenix Pictures, TNT, MTV Films, and Castle Rock Entertainment. He has developed screenplays for Matthew McConaughey, Nicolas Cage, Barry Sonnenfeld, Chow-Yun Fat, and many others.

WINCHESTER, the film he co-wrote starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke, about the infamous Winchester Mystery House, opened nationwide in 2018. Tom just finished work on QUEEN MARY, about the famously haunted cruise liner in Long Beach, California which just wrapped production. His next film is DADDY'S GIRL for XYZ Films with Derrick Borte (UNHINGED) directing, which is slated to start filming later this year.

Recently, Tom set up MOST WANTED at Miramax with director Ruben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND, VENOM) attached.

His feature film debut was the action film UNSTOPPABLE, starring Wesley Snipes. In 2011, he completed his directorial debut, PLAYING HOUSE, based on a script written with Kristy Dobkin. His past productions include BLACKOUT with Jane Seymour for CBS, and CRITICAL ASSEMBLY with Katherine Heigl for NBC. He served as writer as well as Co-Producer on ATOMIC TWISTER with Sharon Lawrence and DEAD IN A HEARTBEAT with Penelope Anne Miller and Judge Reinhold, both for TBS.

Even while living in Los Angeles, Tom kept his UH season tickets for football and basketball and would come home for as many games as he could. After moving back to Texas in 2019, he fulfilled a long held ambition and now teaches screenwriting at his beloved alma mater.

Joey Tuccio 22
January 2022
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Joey Tuccio

Roadmap Writers Founder

Joey Tuccio founded Roadmap writers as an avenue to help hardworking, talented writers get the opportunities they deserve to make it to the next level in their careers.

Roadmap Writers launched 5 years ago and has helped over 250 writers get signed, optioned, staffed and produced. He is currently producing projects with Josephson Entertainment and New Republic Pictures.


Joey started in the industry at Bold Films (Drive, Nightcrawler, Whiplash).


He has read for Hugh Jackman's company, George Clooney's company, as well as Night and Day Pictures, to name a few.


The only thing Joey is more passionate about than helping writers is rescuing dogs.



J-Moorer 21-11
November 2021

James Moorer

Diversity and Inclusion Advocate

James Moorer is an author, screenwriter, producer and motivational speaker who loves to find a way to succeed.


James has also worked as an actor and voice talent on numerous projects. He's passionate about finding the story within the story and helping writers find their own given greatness.


His other passion is being the San Fernando valley's expert on finding the best Pancakes.

D-Trottier 21-06
June 2021

Dave Trottier

Dave Trottier [BioSpecial].jpg

Script Consultant Par Excellence

Dave Trottier has sold, optioned, or developed numerous screenplays and screen stories for The Walt Disney Company, York Entertainment, On the Bus Productions, Hill Fields (for ABC television) and New Century Pictures. Titles include Igor's Revenge (produced), Zorro the Gay Blade (produced, but not credited), The Muppet's Hockey Movie – The Comeback Kids (not completed due to Jim Henson's death), Ratman From Saturn, Kumquat, The New Musketeers, and A Window in Time. He

co-wrote and co-produced the cult comedy, Hercules Recycled. More recently, he wrote A Penny Promise (produced; winner of awards at two film festivals) and sold Hemingway's Twin, an inspiring story about the Hemingway women.

As a teacher and script consultant, Dave has helped hundreds of writers sell their work, break into the biz, and win contests (including two Nicholl Fellowship winners and a National Play Award winner).  Dave rated in the top 5% of the "Cream of the Crop" category of Creative Screenwriting's report "The Best Movie and TV Script Analysts and Consultants as Rated by Screenwriters."


Dave also conducts his own online courses and screenwriting workshops, one-on-one mentoring program, and Sundance Retreat; plus he teaches courses at Screenwriter's University. His major work, The Screenwriter's Bible, is now in its seventh edition. He has authored 8 books in all, including Dr. Format Tells All, Double Your Creativity, and Two Screenplays.

He has been a senior writer for Script Magazine since 1989. His column "Ask Dr. Format" is the longest-running screenwriting column in the industry. Dave is known as Dr. Format because he has been the go-to guy for screenplay formatting. His book The Screenwriter's Bible was the basis for the software Script Thing, which later became Movie Magic Screenwriter. He was a content advisor for Screenwriting Pro, and has conducted a formatting webinar and

written articles for Final Draft. If you are curious, see the article, "How I became Doctor Format".

With his B.A. in business administration (from Cal-State, Fullerton), Dave has a strong business and marketing back-ground. He served for five years as the marketing manager and then executive vice president for a distributor of memorabilia and precious metals (about 100 employees). Dave has an M.A. from Goddard College and is a graduate

of both the Hollywood Scriptwriting Institute and the Hollywood Film Institute.  He served on the board of the Arts & Humanities Department of Cal-State, Long Beach, before moving to his present home near Sundance, Utah, where he married Virginian artist and educator Marsha Sawyer.

J-Brownlee 21-05
May 2021

Johnathan Brownlee


Producer - Director - Writer

CEO and President of the Dallas Film Society

Johnathan Brownlee is an award-winning Canadian-American director, producer, writer and actor with a diverse international body of work. His feature films, documentaries, television series and digital content have been viewed in more than 100 countries in 14 languages.

With decades of experience as a director, writer and host on television, and as a supervising producer in film, Brownlee founded Torfoot Films to write and direct more narrative features.

Johnathan Brownlee co-produced the feature films Decoding Annie Parker (2013), Three Days in August (2016), Occupy, Texas (2016), Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018), and The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018). Currently, he is active as the writer/director for The Eyes Of Jefferson and Montserrat.


In 2017, Johnathan was named CEO and President of the Dallas Film Society and Executive Director of the Dallas International Film Festival. In 2018, he created the Veterans Institute for Film and Media (VIFM), a program of Dallas Film that prepares veterans for careers in film and media production through education, mentorships, and job placements.


Johnathan received a Leo Awards Best Host – Information Series honor in 2003 for his television show, Johnathan Brownlee's at Home. He received five Leo Award Nominations, including Best Lifestyle Series, Best Writing – Lifestyle Series, Best Information Series, Best Screenwriting – Information Series, and Best Host – Lifestyle Series.

MarilynAtlas 21-04
March/April 2021

Marilyn Atlas

Marilyn Atlas is a talent and literary manager and award-winning producer. Her clients have appeared in shows such as Star Trek, Fringe, Pretty Little Liars, How to Get Away with Murder, 90210, Revenge, Hart  of Dixie, NCIS:LA, True Blood, Dexter, Chuck, Castle, and Criminal Minds. She was film producer on Real Women Have Curves for HBO, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival; A Certain Desire, starring Sam Waterston; and Echoes, which won the Gold Award at the Texas International Film Festival.

In addition to producing a variety of programming for the cable/pay TV market. In live theater, Marilyn co-produced the West Coast premiere of the musical God Bless You Mr. Rosewater by Ashman and Menken (the writers of Enchanted and Tangled).  She also co-produced the award-winning play “To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday.”

Marilyn herself has been in development on pilots for Showtime and ABC Family. In addition to Marilyn’s film/TV credits, she has sold (first time) novels Chasing the Jaguar to HarperCollinsto Hachette, book Ave Maria Bed & Breakfast to Grand Central Publishing, as well as the Hungry Woman in Paris, Group, and the Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole to Sourcebooks.


Her Lifetime movie The Choking Game, based on the YA book by Diana Lopez, aired in summer 2014.  She is also featured in the book Write Now! from Penguin/Tarcher. She is the co-author of a relationship-based, screenwriting guide called Dating Your Character, about an organic approach to character creation for Stairway Press’s Summer 2016 catalog.

BartWeiss 21-03
March 2021

Bart Weiss

Bart is an award-winning independent film and video producer, director, editor and educator, who has lived in Dallas since 1981.

He is mostly known as the director and founder of the Dallas VideoFest. He produces the TV show Frame of Mind on KERA TV in Dallas, and is the artistic Director of 3 Stars Cinema. He has traveled to Nigeria Pakistan and China to show American Documentaries for the US State Department.

Bart has taught film and video at Texas A&M's Visualization Lab, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin, and West Virginia State College, and is currently an Associate Professor at UT Arlington.

He is a former President of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), former (and founding) board member Dallas Artists Research and Exhibition (DARE), past Vice President of the Texas Association of Film and Tape Professionals (TAFTP), founder and past President of the West Virginia Filmmakers' Guild, and co-founder of the Dallas Video Festival and the Video Association of Dallas.  He has been a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald, and United Features Syndicate.



Gary Goldstein 20-11
NOVEMBER 2020 - online

Gary W. Goldstein


Writer, Producer ...

Gary W. Goldstein has produced some of Hollywood’s biggest box-office hits, including Pretty Woman, Under Siege, The Mothman Prophecies, generating over One Billion Dollars in worldwide revenue, receiving multiple Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe, among other honors.

Long before he produced his first low-budget film Cannibal Women in

the Avocado Jungle of Death, Gary founded his own boutique literary management firm and launched successful careers for Matt Reeves (director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and writer-director of War

for the Planet of the Apes, as well as The Batman due out in 2021), J.F. Lawton (Pretty Woman and Under Siege, among others), and dozens of other writers, directors and producers in both film and television. All of whom were unknown at the time.

Gary’s no less passionate and committed today to helping all creatives master the business, learning how to turn their talent into a sustainable career more rapidly than most think possible.

Gary’s book Conquering Hollywood: The Screenwriters Blueprint for Career Success has become the top-selling book teaching ‘career’ (versus ‘craft’) for creatives in front of and behind the camera.

Along with his popular ‘live’ group coaching, Gary’s greatest contribution to advancing the careers of professionally-younger talent is undeniably his much-celebrated Creative Edge: Masterclass. This 6-module course-work applies strategy on a personalized level to insure each of his students breaks out from the pack and gets traction in Hollywood.


A former criminal defense attorney, Gary later served as president of two divisions of, an internet entertainment company successfully funded at $50MM. Gary also founded an independent record label based out of Los Angeles and Montreux, Switzerland, which he ran for four years.


Gary believes in kindness and lives on a steady diet of curiosity and optimism.

Bennett Litwin 20-09
SEPTEMBER 2020 - online

Bennett Litwin

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Writer, Producer ...

Bennett Litwin is a writer, public speaker, business consultant, real estate professional, investor, and producer of film and books, with  transactional experience in commodities, commercial real estate, and with a film professional's focus on task, value, and quality.


Bennett approaches film making with a variety of skills:

  • breaking down complex ideas into simpler terms and concepts;

  • translating different styles of thinking as a negotiator, comedy writer, screenplay writer, story teller; and

  • coordinating various tasks towards the same goal;
    bringing a team together.

In 2020, Bennett discussed the locally developed film Frackers and presented a couple of Trailers as wells as Video on Demand access information.

Barr Evins 20-07
JULY 2020 - online

Barri Evins


Producer and Consultant

A working film producer and longtime industry exec, Barri has packaged and sold projects to all the majors including Warners, Universal, Disney, Nickelodeon, New Line, and HBO, and worked extensively with A-Listers.


Barri co-wrote treatments, Meet John Doe, sold in a preemptive six-figure sale to Warners and Unidentified Suburban Object for Fox Family.


As a teacher and consultant, Barri uses her industry expertise to enable writers to create the best version of their stories and advance them in the marketplace through story and marketing consultations, and mentorship.

Barri has taught at Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, UCLA Graduate Producers Program and AFI, and spoken at conferences around the country. She is a Contributing Senior Editor and monthly columnist for ScriptMag and a contributor to Writer’s Digest. A book, Creating Delicious Stories, is in the works.

APRIL 2020 - online

Heather Hale

Author, Screenwriter, Former American Film Market Host

Heather’s new book How to Work the Film & TV Markets: A Guide for Content Creators was published this summer.

Her Story$elling: How to Develop, Market and Pitch Film & TV Projects was published in 2019.



Loglines, Outlines, Pitch Decks, Oh My!

Douglas King


Screenwriter, Producer, Columnist, ...

Author of, Loglines: The Long and Short on Writing Strong Loglines

Over his career, Douglas King has worked in a variety of disciplines within the entertainment industry. Having studied screenwriting and directing in courses at the American Film Institute, King optioned two television scripts to TriStar Television and was hired by various independ-ent studios and producers to write screenplays. His spec feature scripts have been finalist in the Kairos Prize screenplay competition and the Big Star Screenplay Competition, two years in a row.

Douglas King has also worked in the publishing industry for 29 years, beginning as a columnist for a small-town paper and working up to the founder and publisher of the internationally distributed architecture and design magazine Hawaiian Style. His writing has appeared in over a dozen magazines world-wide. He helped launch and was editor-in-chief

of Dallas Style & Design until 2019 when he decided to pursue publishing coffee table books about art and design.

In addition to film and writing work, King has been hired by Sony Entertainment, Laser Storm, Minotaur Amusements, Celebrity Cruise Lines, and others to design and develop themed entertainment attractions with a focus on interactivity and virtual reality. He was one of the lead designers for the Dream Park project, a fully interactive theme park based on the Larry Niven and Steven Barnes novel of the same name.

Douglas King 20-02

Mystery Writers Night


Daniel J. Hale

Mystery Writer

Past Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America

Daniel J. Hale is an FAA-licensed remote aircraft. He specializes in aerial captures of architecture, landscapes and abstract nature images. Hale's fine art photography career is the result of a happy accident. While checking on a tract of family timberland with an airborne camera drone, he noticed the surprisingly broad range of colors and textures of a creek bed on the remote visual display. He pointed the camera straight down, snapped a photo and then posted it on lnstagram. Three successful gallery exhibits later, Hale's aerial platform work now includes commercial projects for enterprises such as petroleum companies and architectural firms.


An Agatha Award-winning author, Daniel J. Hale holds degrees from Cornell University, the Bowen School of Law and Southern Methodist University. He served two terms as Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America (presenter of the Edgar® Awards). He's a licensed attorney, and he speaks fluent French.


Based in Dallas, Texas, Hale travels extensively by air & by Airstream.

Harry Hunsicker


Mystery Writer

Past Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America

Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice-president of the Mystery Writers of America and the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers.


He serves as executive producer for the film adaptation of his novel The Devil's Country, currently in development. His work has been short-listed for both the Shamus and Thriller Awards.


Hunsicker's story "West of Nowhere", originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was selected for inclusion in the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 . His latest novel, Texas Sicario, was published in January 2019 by Thomas & Mercer.

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