Yesterday, I was fortunate to attend The Table Read Initiative hosted at the WGA West. The event, produced by Mike Flynn, Lena Waithe and Codie Elaine Brooks, was the first of many showcases of unproduced scripts written by up and coming writers with diverse backgrounds.
Ultimately, the aim of this function is to increase the diversity of showrunners in television. Last night’s read featured Lenox Ave. Written by Mike Flynn (Life on Mars, Happy Town, Detroit 1-8-7) who’s also a co-creator of the event, Lenox Ave is an hour-long drama set in 1920′s Harlem during Prohibition and the start of the Harlem Renaissance. The time period alone was rich with culture and Mike Flynn has imagined equally rich characters to uncover a world that’s never been explored by a t.v. series. Lenox Ave is fresh, layered, compelling and I found myself having genuine moments of laughter and concern.
Yesterday evening was extremely well put together. 21 amazing actors and actresses lent their talents to the read, including, but not limited to, Dennis Haysbert, Naturi Naughton, Jurnee Smollett, Andre Royo, Lee Thompson Young, Charles Parnell, Lamorne Morris, Arlen Escarpeta, Geoff Stults and Kelley Robins Hicks. This group, directed by Kevin Hooks (24, Prison Break, Detroit 1-8-7), performed for over 100 audience members. Among them were network executives, agents, showrunners, writers and the list goes on.
Flynn, Waithe and Brooks plan to have two of these events each year. The next read for 2012 will be a half-hour pilot. They have yet to choose a project for the second TRI, but are currently assembling a committee that will be in charge of selecting submissions. If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if you have no interest in television, yesterday evening was a prime example of taking action. It’s easy to discern a need but quite difficult to implement a solution. I’m thankful that these talented individuals and groups have come together to form a creative synergy towards a positive end, increasing diversity in television. I can’t wait for the next Table Read Initiative!
The Table Read Initiative on Facebook!