Speed Pitch Bindercon LA 2017
Speed pitch offers writers the opportunity to have ten-minute meetings with literary agents, book editors, magazine and web editors, and professionals working in the TV and film industry.
Online sign up has closed. Paper copies of workshop, speed pitch, and Saturday lunch table sign-ups will be at registration on Saturday. If there was a workshop or a panel you were hoping to attend, you are welcome to show up in person and a volunteer will check if there is space available.
Literary Agents and Book Editors
Julia Callahan, Rare Bird Books
Julia Callahan started her publishing career in the Book Soup annex at age twenty-two. She worked her way through the ranks to become the Assistant Director of Marketing. In 2010, she left Book Soup for Rare Bird Books—a downtown L.A.-based publishing and literary publicity company—where she is the Director of Sales and Marketing and one of the main editors, and does anything else that needs doing.
In terms of wish list, she says: “I always look for books by women, particularly women of color, LGBT books, pretty much anything fiction, or nonfiction. I don’t like Sci-Fi/Fantasy (just because I don’t know how to sell or edit it), poetry, or redemption stories.”
Dara Hyde, Hill Nadell Literary Agency
Dara Hyde is an agent at the Hill Nadell Literary Agency in Los Angeles and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, graphic novels, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and young adult. Before joining Hill Nadell, Dara spent over a decade as an editor and rights and permissions manager at independent publisher Grove Atlantic in New York. A graduate of Bard College, Dara has always balanced her love of film and literature. At the agency she assists with foreign and film rights for the whole agency in addition to managing her own clients.
Dara has taught or spoken at a number of writers’ conferences and events, including 826LA, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, BinderCon, New Orleans Writers’ Conference, Pima Writers’ Workshop, PubWest, Long Beach Comic Expo, IWOSC, Antioch University LA MFA, Chapman University MFA, UC Riverside MFA and UCR Palm Desert MFA. You can follow her on Twitter @dzhyde.
Jennifer Kim, Dijkstra Agency
Jennifer Kim is a junior agent at the Dijkstra Agency. In addition to actively building her own list, she provides support to the team at SDLA. Jennifer joined the Dijkstra Agency after internships with Red Hen Press and the Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency. She is a graduate of University of California, Irvine, with degrees in English and Spanish Literature, and works part-time as a bookseller, having done so since 2012. You can find her on Twitter at @jennbkim.
In YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Jennifer is looking for multicultural projects featuring multi-dimensional, even flawed protagonists from diverse backgrounds. She enjoys unique, high concept stories, rooted in mythology or legend, with strong world building and character development. She especially appreciates atmospheric settings.
In contemporary YA, Jennifer is looking for unique, uncommon teen stories with an authentic voice. She enjoys stories that tackle themes of being an outsider, displacement, race, sexuality, and self-discovery, and is particularly drawn to bicultural characters.
In the adult market, Jennifer is particularly drawn to eccentric, unusual stories. She values a distinct narrative voice and memorable characters and settings, and is drawn to travel narratives, historical fiction, coming of age stories, family sagas, stories of displacement, and magical realism.
Please note that Jennifer is specifically not interested in: Picture books, romance, business books, cookbooks, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, self-help, or mystery/thriller/suspense.
Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Patricia Nelson has been a literary agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency since 2014, representing women’s fiction, contemporary and historical romance, and select literary fiction, as well as all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction. Recent sales include books placed with St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, and Penguin Random House, among others. Patricia holds master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California and, prior to joining the world of publishing, spent several years teaching literature and writing at the college level. She is actively building her list and is currently seeking new talent in all genres she represents.
In terms of wish list, I love to be surprised, so pitch me if you think we might be a fit! But here are a few specific things that I would definitely be excited to see:
*women’s fiction, YA or middle grade featuring compelling/complex female friendships and/or sister relationships
*fun, witty LGBT contemporary YA or middle grade
*literary fiction with a feminist and/or queer bent
*magical realism in contemporary women’s fiction or YA
*books with racially diverse and LGBT characters in all genres I represent
Dana Newman is a Los Angeles based independent literary agent representing authors of practical and narrative non-fiction (memoir, biography, pop culture, lifestyle, popular science, business, health and fitness, mind/body/spirit, sports, history, and current affairs), and a select amount of literary and upmarket fiction. She is most drawn to projects that are topical or have a broad cultural or social significance, and is always looking for authors with a strong voice, established platform, and fresh idea or story. She’s also a transactional and intellectual property attorney, focusing on publishing law, contracts, copyrights, trademarks, and licensing. Information about her agency is online at http://dananewman.com. Dana is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, and holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco.
Olivia Taylor Smith, Unnamed Press
Olivia Taylor Smith is Executive Editor of the Unnamed Press. She is also the translator of the graphic novel Panthers in the Hole, about the Angola 3. She lives in Los Angeles.
I’m interested in genre-defying literature set in unexpected places, memoirs with social or political merit, and non-fiction that is business, art or food focused, and most of all, diverse voices with original perspectives.
Digital and Print Editors
Erin DeJesus, Eater.com
Erin DeJesus is deputy editor of Eater.com, the national publication dedicated to critically examining the world of food and drink, where she heads up the news and reporting teams. In 2016, she (along with a crack reporting and photography team based in Portland, Oregon) won the James Beard Award for Visual Storytelling for the piece One Night: Kachka.
Eater’s reports section uses original reporting to inform readers about the things they obsess over: food, restaurants, and most crucially, why food and restaurants matter. Generally speaking, these stories are 1,800 words or less — tight enough to be a well-paced read, but rich enough to leave the reader well armed for dinner party conversation — and are usually assigned with a lead time of a few days to two weeks.
A successful pitch not only identifies a trend/interesting subject, but makes an argument for its place in historical and cultural context. This might include brief histories about regional, obscure, or deeply beloved food items (from ployes in Maine to Choco Tacos), dives into restaurant ephemera (like the tiny piece of plastic that arrives on top of your delivery pizza), and strange cultural phenomena (like people who collect vintage cereal boxes). We’re also interested in stories pegged to current events and breaking news (like how the Rio Olympics changed the city’s iconic beach food culture and how restaurants navigate political controversy), explorations of trends in restaurant operations, and generally examining why things are the way they are. These stories do not necessarily have to contain a complete narrative arc, but we ask that your pitch does offer a conclusion or a forward-thinking statement.
Serena Golden and Alana Hope Levinson, MEL Magazine
Serena Golden is managing editor at MEL Magazine. She was previously a senior editor/writer at UCLA Newsroom; before that, she spent nearly seven years at Inside Higher Ed, where she was editorial assistant, then copy editor, then associate editor. After more than two years she still finds living in Los Angeles somewhat surreal.
Pitch wishlist: MEL is a men’s magazine, broadly and progressively defined. Our five verticals are sex and relationships; jobs and money; body and mind; digital culture; and entertainment; successful pitches will fall into at least one of those categories, but all of them are flexibly interpreted.
We look for smart, insightful writing that sheds light on what it means to be a guy in the 21st century, no matter what’s on your birth certificate: profiles of and interviews with interesting people; reported features on weird, newsy, or otherwise fascinating subjects of all kinds; and first-person essays and opinion pieces with topical relevance. All of this is to say that any number of stories can find a home at MEL—if it’s original, thought-provoking and smart, I want to hear about it!
Alana Hope Levinson is a writer/editor who likes to make cool things and help other people make cool things on the internet. She started her career in book publishing before pursuing digital media at places like Gizmodo, Fusion, Medium and Talking Points Memo. She grew up in San Francisco and attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she was the Clay Felker Magazine Center fellow.
About MEL: MEL is a men’s magazine, broadly and progressively defined. Our five verticals are sex and relationships; jobs and money; body and mind; digital culture; and entertainment; successful pitches will fall into at least one of those categories, but all of them are flexibly interpreted. MEL is a men’s magazine for the guy who doesn’t find his reality reflected in either the fancy lad mags (esquire, gq) or bro-tent sites (brobible, barstool sports). But most notably, though, MEL isn’t JUST for guys. We welcome all kinds of readers, which I think is reflected in borh rhe type of content we publish and our staff, which is almost evenly split between women and men (this is extremely rare for a “men’s mag”).
What I’m looking for: I was brought on to focus on special issues, which publish about once a month on a given theme. The best way to know when I’m seeking pitches is to follow me on Twitter where I announce them about a month or two out. In the coming months, I’ll also be taking on a bigger role in assigning one-off features and essays. I’m most interested in stories about culture, though not the “pop” kind. As a writer, I built my career on zeitgeist-y pieces that put a name on a phenomenon (frexting, manthreading, cuckboi), and that’s what I gravitate to as an editor, too (boyfriend dick, meme-ification of misandry).
Terese Mailhot, The Rumpus
Jennifer Sahn, Pacific Standard
Jennifer Sahn is Executive Editor of Pacific Standard, where she oversees longform print features and story packages. She previously served as Editor of Orion, during which time the magazine was twice a winner of the Utne Independent Press Award for General Excellence and twice a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She has been a judge for several literary awards and fellowships and has taught or lectured at a number of writing workshops. Stories she has edited have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Prize, John Burroughs Essay Award, and have been widely reprinted in the Best American Series anthologies, The Norton Reader, and via online aggregators such as Longreads.
Pitch wish list:
I’m looking for ambitious stories that fulfill the promise of Pacific Standard’s tagline: Stories That Matter. Stories that gain traction with me are finely crafted, meticulously reported, and fueled by a bottomless curiosity about society and the world in which we live. Pacific Standard’s content revolves around four core subject areas: environment, education, economics, and social justice. Personal essays work for us when they are informed by research and touch on issues that affect the culture at large. I enjoy think pieces that question an assumption in our society or defend an obscure idea and help it gain prominence. Profiles work too, when the subject offers a unique perspective on a pressing issue or helps shed light on some forgotten corner of history. Above all, I’m looking for stories that, by virtue of their ideas and their craft, are capable of making a difference in our complex and rapidly changing world.
Rain Turner, The Penny Hoarder
Rain Turner is an editor at The Penny Hoarder, a website about interesting ways to earn and save money.
We’re looking for writers who have a fun, bloggy voice, and great ideas for earning, saving or investing money. We’re not your average personal finance site; rather than writing about Roth IRAs, we tend to cover more quirky, practical and down-to-earth tactics for earning and saving money. That means you don’t need a background in finance to write for us; instead, we look for strong reporters and storytellers who can make earning money fun for our readers.
Personal stories with a strong money angle tend to work best for our site, especially if you can share detailed numbers, strategies and advice. Past articles include a woman who travels year-round in an RV while running her business, a mommy blogger who makes $6,000/month and a writer who used his tarot-card hobby to earn $20/hour.
Our primary demographics are women with families, ages 25-34; and millennials — but our goal is to help everyone put more money in their pocket. The majority of our readers make less than $50,000 a year, so keep that in mind when fleshing out your ideas.
Kelton Wright, Headspace
Kelton Wright is the managing editor at Headspace. She is the author of “Anonymous Asked: Life Lessons from the Internet’s Big Sister”, as well as two upcoming guidebooks to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Previous careers have included lounge singing, sailing, ad agencies, and—most regrettably for a hypochondriac—the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. For an easy in, mention cycling.
Pitch wish list: Headspace is looking for reported stories on mind science, mental health, meditation, self-improvement, happiness, death, existing in general. Recent examples include “How to blackmail yourself into achieving your goals”, “What’s the right amount of sex?”, “Here’s what happens to your body when you’re lonely”, “How I fell off the meditation wagon (and got back on)”. We do not publish stories about yoga retreats, juice cleanses, chakras, sound baths, enlightenment, or anything else stereotypically associated with meditation. Our mission is to demystify meditation. Our stories should do that, too. Tone is warm, but realistic, as are the editors.
Katie Wudel, GOOD Magazine
GOOD magazine, the recipient of a 2017 National Magazine Award for its guide to surviving and thriving in the Trump era, is always hungry for fresh, powerful, and unexpected stories that tackle the intersection of living well and doing good. We’re looking for rising stars and diverse voices, especially for our website, good.is. More than anything, we want stories that are culturally and politically relevant and, whenever possible, offer thought-provoking solutions to (not just complaints about) the world’s most pressing problems.
Katie Wudel is the features editor for GOOD magazine, where she commissions, edits, and occasionally writes stories across both print and digital. Outside of GOOD, Katie’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Men’s Health, Nerve, Tin House, The Rumpus, and more; her expertise has been featured on Thomson Reuters and Jezebel and was recorded for NPR. Katie was awarded the Hedgebrook fellowship for visionary women writers.
Film and TV
Emily Ziff Griffin
Emily Ziff Griffin lives in LA where she writes, produces, teaches, daydreams, and mothers two young kids. In 2003, she co-founded Cooper’s Town Productions with Philip Seymour Hoffman and produced the Academy Award-winning film, ‘Capote,’ along with Hoffman’s directorial debut ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ and John Slattery’s ‘God’s Pocket.’ She’s run three marathons, slowly, and holds a degree from Brown University in art-semiotics, the study of how images make meaning. ‘Light Years,’ her first novel for young adults, will be published in September, 2017 by Simon & Schuster/Merit Press.
Moira Griffin, Sundance Institute
MOIRA GRIFFIN is the Senior Manager of Diversity Initiatives at the Sundance Institute where she focuses on creating an inclusive space for diverse artists to thrive by helping them gain access to the programs within the institute, as well as access to the international marketplace, finance and emerging technologies. In addition she is a Strategist for TED conferences working to build an diverse community of attendees for the 2017 conference in Vancouver. Prior to her position as Sundance she worked as an Independent Producer and Festival Strategist based in Los Angeles. She has numerous projects under her belt including music videos, short films, features, documentaries and webseries for a variety of companies, including PBS, YouTube, and NBC Universal. With award-winning projects such as “Night Shift”, “The New Black”, “Black Folk Don’t”, “Hug”, and “The Contest” premiering at festivals including Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, AFI Docs, Mill Valley Film Festival, and Human Rights Watch Film Festival, she is consistently focused on helping directors move their projects from development through post. Previously, she worked as VP of Development with Pipedream Productions developing scripts with established and emerging writers. A founding director of Rooftop Films, she has curated film programs for multiple organizations from Ocularis (New York, NY) to the Global Peace Film Festival (Bali). In addition, she developed the Ethiopia Film Initiative as a consultant with the IETFF in Monaco, which supports Ethiopian filmmakers and the development of an Ethiopian film industry. Originally from the border cities of Windsor (Ontario) and Detroit (Michigan), she holds degrees in Media Studies and Japanese Studies from the University of Windsor.
Danielle Kramer, Jash Network
Danielle N. Kramer is a Development Executive and Head of Live Events at the comedy collective Jash Network. Before joining the Jash team, she was Program Director at Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics, rated one of the best comedy venues to visit in Los Angeles.
Pitch wish list: Jash is a multi-platform network founded by Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, Reggie Watts and Michael Cera producing talk show and scripted series for digital and television platforms, short films, and music videos. We look for smart comedy with a unique voice, usually airing on the darker side of humor. You can check out Jash originals at Jash.com.
Scripted Series: In scripted series, we read anything and everything comedy. We’re simply looking for new stories that make us laugh with strong writing. Humor can range from slapstick to something with heart.
Talk Shows: We are currently looking for brand new talk show formats in podcast or digital talk show form with potential for incubation into television formats. There are no restrictions on theme or topic, as long as there is a thru-line of comedy, a clear point of view and a unique format. Having talent attached or at least examples of talent for tone and voice is a plus.
Short Films: In short form scripted content, we seek stand-out short films and funny one-offs that can shine on their own as well as have potential for further development into a larger story, whether that be a series or feature film. We are looking for more than just a script. We seek independent filmmakers with a track record for executing high quality, cinematic work able to execute on small to medium size budgets.
Marla White is a television development executive with experience producing prime time series and award nominated television movies in multiple genres.
She most recently started Pitch2Script.com to help writers create powerful pitches for their television series ideas as well as strengthen their scripts. Though she’s only just begun teaching her pitching workshops, writers have raved, “Marla’s approach has changed the way I will pitch forever” and “She has incredible ideas, tremendous patience, and a true sense of character, tone, and place” while one client called her “a fun, hip, whip-smart fairy godmother.” Before starting her own company, she helped writers who have gone on to win awards including one Nicholl Fellowship finalist. It’s also been her pleasure, on select occasions, to work with novelists and be part of their publishing success.
The former head of television for Emmy Award winning writer & producer Peter Tolan’s Fedora Entertainment for the past seven years, Marla was involved in numerous comedy and drama pitches being sold to networks and cable outlets. She’s worked hands-on with writers through the pilot process and has been involved with the WGN hit show “Outsiders”, the Fox drama “Rake” and “Gaffigan” for TV Land. Prior to that, she sold the television movie “Kings of South Beach” to A & E for legendary television producers Sonny Grosso & Larry Jacobson, and was involved in the development and production of several television movies for ABC, CBS, USA and HBO.