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How To Get Paid as a Writer: Conversations with Writers and their Representation – Wrap Up

July 14, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Thank you for joining the panel How to Get Paid as a Writer, presented by Launch Pad and LA Skins Fest! We hope you found the event informative and insightful.


“I don’t want to send [my client] into a situation where he’s doing months of work for no payday at the end of it all, because his time is worth more than that, so it’s important for your representatives to have that understanding too and not necessarily be of the mindset that exposure is everything.” – Kegan Schell (Echo Lake)

Manager Kegan Schell discussed the importance of having management that advocates for clients when it comes to money in the development process. His client, writer Tom Hanada, relayed an experience early in his career working for months for free on a project that went nowhere. His advice…

“As a younger writer, you just have to be able to sniff it out when you’re being compensated in money or just in BS.” – Tom Hanada

Thuan Dang of Gotham Group emphasized the need to build from one success to the next so that a writer has consistent opportunities for paid work, avoiding the gaps in payment that can plague writers in a gig economy, saying we’re gonna fire on all these doors, and just hope one cracks, and then use that as leverage for the other things.”

“There’s no financial education for writers that just break in, they’re all just worried about breaking in.”  – Conrad Sun (Meridian Artists)

Manager Conrad Sun discussed the difficulties that come once those paychecks start to come in, emphasizing how little emerging writers are told about managing their money. His client Shelley Dennis agreed, saying writers have to “put our business hat on,” because “you have to learn all these grown-up things that when you’re an artist and just writing your script you don’t think about.

Siena East discussed her experience with finally getting compensated for her writing after years working hard to build up to that moment…

“I’m getting paid for, like bombing on stage at weird bars where I cried afterwards… And getting paid for scripts that never came out but taught me so much… Or the massive amount of debt I took on going to college. These are the things that I’m being paid for.” – Siena East


Siena East (Choctaw) is a writer, comedian, and actress based in Los Angeles.  Her short film “Lycanphobic” was included in both the LA Skins Film Festival, where it was nominated in the Emerging Filmmaker category, and the NYU First Run Festival, where it won an award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2018, Siena was a part of the 3rd LA Skins Television Writers’ lab, and her original pilot “Mixed Up” was selected for a live reading at the LA Skins 12th Annual Film Festival. In 2019, she was in the first all Native improv show at UCB.  As a comedian, Siena was first featured in the Kibitz Room’s clean showcase, where she won the audience choice award “The Best of the Bunch”. Since then she has performed at the Comedy Union, The Ruby, and has regularly performed at ACME NoHo. Currently, Siena is working as a tv writer, and is managed by Thuan Dang at the Gotham Group.


From the farm to the catwalk, Shelley’s wide-range of experiences have helped her create multifaceted characters with unique points of view. Shelley was born into a family of Choctaw storytellers in small-town Oklahoma.  She was scouted by a modeling agency and flown to Milan, where she made a living being tall and hungry. Her runway days provided her with a plethora of questionable experiences, many of which inspire her projects. Shelley later toured alongside Wayne Brady, doing both standup and improv and in 2020 she was one of four selected for the Native American Showrunner program. She became a staff writer on SPIRIT RANGERS at Netflix, was in the 2021 Disney General Entertainment Writing Program, and is currently a staff writer on THE CONNERS at ABC.


Tom is a writer who specializes in thriller and horror… despite starting his career writing romcoms. Now, Tom finds himself being hired to bring empathy
and relatability to the bloodiest of stories and most twisted of characters. In essence, Tom puts the “human” in “human cruelty.” In addition to film and TV, Tom is a prolific horror novelist. His 2019 novel, Intercepts, was named one of the “Best Horror Novels of All Time” by Cosmopolitan. Born and raised in Portland, OR, Tom graduated from Stanford University before moving to LA where he now lives with his high-school-sweetheart-turned-wife, Virginia, a
professor at CSU Northridge.


Echo Lake Entertainment

Originally from a farm in rural upstate New York, Kegan studied film production at Full Sail University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. Kegan joined Echo Lake Entertainment in 2017 and swiftly rose through the ranks before being promoted to manager in the literary department. Kegan specializes in working with a broad and inclusive range of voices in the horror and comedy space.

Meridian Artists

Conrad Sun joined Meridian Artists in 2014 to head their Los Angeles Division. Conrad devotes his efforts toward building the Los Angeles roster, and supporting all of Meridian’s LA based clients for both staffing and development. Additionally Conrad works with the Toronto office to develop properties for the US market and prepare clients who plan to work in Los Angeles. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Alberta, Conrad started his entertainment career by founding a Calgary-based video production company in 2004. Soon he took his passion for film producing and entrepreneurship to Los Angeles where he attained his Master’s Degree from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California.

The Gotham Group

Thuan Dang is a literary manager at The Gotham Group representing writers and directors in feature film, live action television, and animation. Previously, he was a development executive for Mark Wahlberg’s nonscripted production company, Unrealistic Ideas, and before that worked at WME. Thuan initially got his start in the industry as a tour guide on the Warner Bros. Studio Lot and then transitioned into production, working on multi-cam sitcoms from MIKE AND
MOLLY, THE GREAT INDOORS, and THE JERROD CARMICHAEL SHOW. Before entering into the entertainment industry, Thuan was a janitor.



Natalia Temesgen is a playwright and TV writer based in Georgia. Her plays have been produced nationally and won multiple awards and accolades. Her TV drama pilot “Bea Rose,” based on one of her plays, was a 2019 Launch Pad Top 100 Finalist. Natalia was a Staff Writer on the fourth and final season of Netflix’s “Dear White People” and is currently a Story Editor on the upcoming HBOMax series “Julia,” about the beloved TV chef, Julia Child.


July 14, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm