Central Wyoming College’s very own professor Jeremy Neilson and alumna Connie O’Donahue just came home from the New York Television Festival with a big award: “Best drama script.”
The Festival unites a veritable sea of New York and Los Angeles-based writers who all submitted to the 2018 script selection, and Nielson and O’Donahue’s work is one of only two selections originating outside of the media meccas of LA, New York, and London.
Their drama submission “Ticker” has been more than a year in the making. The sci-fi drama is set in a future where people must sell years off the end of their lives for money, and corporations decide who lives and who dies. A rule-following paramedic and his impulsive partner struggle to save society by overthrowing the system.
“I feel especially honored by this award having seen the caliber of talent at the festival this year,” Nielsen said. “We appreciate the tremendous support from both the CWC community and Fremont county as a whole.”
Despite their small-town beginnings, this is not the first time they’ve seen success in script writing. The duo made it in 2015 after being accepted to the Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab.
“Finding someone who believes in your work enough to vouch for you is a big morale booster,” O’Donahue said about her experience at Sundance.
In following years, the pair gained experience in the television industry and received feedback on Ticker through their LA-based manager. Prior to attending NYTVF, Nielsen and O’Donahue said they felt well-prepared to engage with industry executives at the event. O’Donahue said their primary motivation for attending is building and maintaining industry connections for their project. After the festival, Nielsen and O’Donahue begin meeting with producers from the festival who are interested in taking their work to the next level.
The duo is grateful for their “Wyoming roots” which offers vastly differing perspectives coming from an area far removed from the “industry.” O’Donahue believes that they have strength in their point-of-view, distinct from the big-city filmmakers that often attended the same film schools and experienced similar things. “CWC’s outstanding film program was integral in my development as a writer, and I know how fortunate I am to have been a part of it, “O’Donahue said. “I’d encourage anyone interested in telling their stories through the medium of film or television to come take a closer look at all the program has to offer.”
Needless to say, the duo is breaking down barriers in one of the toughest industries in the country without signs of stopping.
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Central Wyoming College
Central Wyoming College is a two-year college serving Fremont, Hot Springs and Teton Counties Our main campus is located in Riverton Wyoming and we have outreach centers in Lander, Jackson and Dubois, each designed