Thursday, March 7, 2024


Lessons from the WGA & SAG-AFTRA Strikes
Panel Discussion
7:00 pm PT/10:00 pm ET

This panel will feature industry experts, professors and members of the writers and actors unions who will discuss the far-reaching impacts of this historic strike. They will also discuss how changes in the media landscape and consumption habits are impacting the industry.

Sharifa Simon-Roberts, Moderator
Sharifa serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College. She hails from Trinidad and Tobago and brings her unique perspective to teaching and to her research. Sharifa earned her doctorate from Howard University and her work centers on television, new communication technologies, and culture. She places special attention on groups traditionally underrepresented in the media — and society as a whole — such as women, Caribbean immigrants, and Black audiences. With media being an omnipresent force in society, one of Sharifa’s goals is to empower individuals to be critical consumers of media and conscientious creators of content.

Kara Lee Burk, Panelist

Kara Lee Burk began her career as an improv and sketch comedy performer in Detroit and New York, before moving into writing for TV thanks to the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. She has been staffed on shows from multi-cam sitcoms (Romantically Challenged for ABC, Melissa & Joey for ABC Family), to animated kids shows (The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show for Dreamworks / Netflix, Costume Quest for Amazon), to many shows based off toys (Equestria Girls, Polly Pocket, and Rainbow High to name a few). She has also developed shows at many places including ABC Digital, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon, as well as traveled to develop international projects for England, Mexico, Denmark, and Italy. Most recently she developed, wrote, and Executive Produced The Mindful Adventures of Unicorn Island (which is now available to watch for free on YouTube and the Headspace app) – which was the absolute highlight of her career thus far. She loves writing for all ages, and is passionate about bringing complex characters to life within stories that have both satire and heart.

Dahéli Hall, Panelist

Dahéli is an LA-based comedian, screenwriter, and director. Raised to be a strict rule-follower thanks to her Caribbean immigrant parents, she got quite the shock when her first Hollywood boss asked her to smuggle weed (before it was legal) into the Sundance Festival for him. She didn’t do it…thus ending her assistant career but kick-starting her journey as an independent artist in LA –Yay!!! She is perhaps most well-known as a writer and recurring guest star, on Netflix’s acclaimed comedy series, Dear White People, and as a cast member on the Emmy-winning sketch show, MADtv on Fox. Other notable credits include “Grace & Frankie,” NBA2K; and Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Dahéli has written and directed digital content for Funny or Die, VH1, and CBS; and her short films have been licensed to HBO. Dahéli served as senior producer on the fifth season of Wondery’s romance podcast True Love. Last fall, she joined Emerson College (Los Angeles) as an affiliated faculty member in Sketch Performance as part of the Comedic Arts Conservatory. Currently, Dahéli is touring with her award-winning comedy show, SPADURA, set to be filmed as a special this year. Dahéli graduated from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Theater and an MFA in Producing from the Stark Program at USC. She is a member of both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA West. #UnionStrong

Shana Lloyd, Panelist

Shana Lloyd is a (recovering) actor, (sometimes) filmmaker, and (mostly) writer hailing from suburban Maryland. She studied acting in New York at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. While in NYC, she worked off Broadway with many theaters, such as La Mama and NYTW. As an actor, she has shared the stage with such greats as Ed Asner and Isabella Hofmann. Shana established Crisis Management Productions in May 2011, as a vehicle to produce more female-driven socially relevant content. Their debut film was the short, Crisis.  She also has a few TV projects of her own in development, as well as with longtime collaborator and writing partner, Alison. Their film Heaven Down Here premiered in December 2023, starring Hamilton’s Krystal Joy Brown and the legendary Phylicia Rashad, who was just nominated for a NAACP Image Award for the project. Shana is also an adjunct faculty member in the screenwriting departments of AFI and Emerson. She’s also taught classes at SOCAPA Los Angeles.

Mason Richards, Panelist
Mason Richards is an award-winning producer, writer and director with over 20 years of professional experience in the entertainment industry. He is the Co-Founding Partner and Executive Producer of THE A.M. Creative Agency, a full-service creative agency and production house based in Los Angeles with associates in New York, Miami and London. Mason is currently in pre-production for the feature-length version of his award-winning short film The Seawall. His short was an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival (2011), the Havana International Film Festival in Cuba (2014) and has screened at festivals, museums and universities in the UK, Toronto, Mexico and throughout the Caribbean – including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (2014) and can currently be seen on Amazon Prime. He also serves as a Professor of film directing at Emerson College in Los Angeles. He considers himself an artist-activist believing that change and transformation can happen through the arts.
Trinitee Stokes, Panelist

Trinitee Stokes is an actress, producer, speaker, host, author, singer, author, and comedian. Entertaining since the young age of 3, she is one of young Hollywood’s most heralded stars as she is constantly sought after for international commercials and guest star opportunities. Trinitee is best known for her starring role opposite Zendaya in Disney Channel’s hit series K.C. Undercover. She is also known for her work on ABC comedy series Mixed-Ish as well as other notable hit shows including Dear White People, All About the Washingtons, and Snowfall. As an author, Trinitee published her first book Bold & Blessed: How to Stay True to Yourself and Stand Out from the Crowd with much positive reception. With the foreword by Angela Bassett, Bold & Blessed encourages readers to know their worth and use Trinitee’s ups and downs as encouragement in their own lives that their big dreams are within reach. Trinitee made history at age 14 when she became the youngest student accepted to acclaimed university Emerson College in Boston, MA. During her tenure, Trinitee has also engaged in numerous academic trips abroad to proudly represent the School of Communications and share her academic research. Stokes also earned the 2023 Intern of the Year Award for her stellar work in the U.S. State Department, and Essence GU 2022 Education Award. Trinitee also serves as a Global Ambassador for “Read Across Africa” where she promotes literacy and raises funds to ensure that Kenyan kids have access to books. Other causes close to her heart include women’s empowerment, sustainability efforts, climate change, and voting equality.


Oscar Buzz
Panel Discussion
8:00 pm PT/11:00 pm ET
This panel will feature the perspectives of consultants, journalists, film critics and marketing executives on the strategies and tactics used to generate Oscar buzz. Our panelists will also provide their expert opinions on the current nominees and predict the outcomes for the 96th Annual Academy Awards to be held on Sunday, March 10, 2024.

Owen Eagan, Moderator
Owen Eagan serves as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College and as a Senior Vice President for Consensus Strategies. He specializes in measuring and assessing strategic communications in business and political environments. His book, Oscar Buzz and the Influence of Word of Mouth on Movie Success, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in April 2020.

Tim Gray, Panelist
Tim Gray is an Executive Vice President of the Golden Globes, with oversight of the Membership Board of Directors. He formerly served as the Awards Editor and Senior Vice President for Variety. In 2021, he was named Print Journalist of the Year by the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards. In his 40-plus years at Variety, he held a number of positions including Editor in Chief and oversaw special reports on important issues such as an 80-page study of Hollywood and violence, marriage equality, and criminal justice reform. He also is the author of the Rizzoli book, “Variety: An Illustrated History of the World,” about world events and their connection, or disconnect, to entertainment, and he wrote “75 Years of the Golden Globe Awards,” to honor their diamond anniversary. In addition, he was co-producer of the HBO documentary Boffo.

K.J. Matthews, Panelist
K.J. Matthews is a veteran entertainment journalist who has covered Hollywood for more than a decade. She started her career working as a news producer for the CBS-TV affiliate in San Diego. During her two-year stint at the Emmy award-winning station in San Diego, she wrote and produced breaking news stories and general news. After producing, she spent five years reporting and anchoring for ABC-TV and FOX-TV affiliates across the country. After several years, the Los Angeles native returned to LA and became an entertainment journalist for CNN for a decade. While at the network, she reported on the TV, music and film industry. Her work regularly appeared on AC360, The Situation Room, CNN Newsroom, and Outfront with Erin Burnett among others. Her work was not only a staple on CNN, but also on sister networks CNN International and CNN digital. She also created the TV and film digital segment, The Red Carpet Report. During her tenure, she was part of a team that won a Peabody Award and contributed to the Emmy-award winning primetime special CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. Her career as an entertainment journalist eventually led her to work for the Emmy Award-winning show, Extra, for nearly two years. Currently, you can see and hear her entertainment reporting on BBC World TV, BBC World Service Radio, Sky News UK TV, and Germany’s DW News English TV. K.J. is also a member of the Golden Globes Awards (AKA the Hollywood Foreign Press Association). She also holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, and a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from New York University.

Ryan Mazie, Panelist

Ryan Mazie is a dynamically-rounded publicist who has experience on the personal, studio, and agency side of PR to have a deep understanding on running a successful campaign that fires across all cylinders. Over the past decade he has been a part of dozens of Best Song and Score campaigns that have resulted in dozens of nominations and wins. In addition to his awards consulting, Ryan currently serves as Head of Communications at Story Syndicate, the production company created by Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmakers Dan Cogan and Liz Garbus. Previously he worked at Focus Features, Chasen & Company, and Jane Doe Films (the award-winning production company from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering).

Carla Renata, Panelist

Carla Renata, aka “The Curvy Film Critic,” is a graduate of Howard University and has served as a moderator/host for Film Independent, SAG-AFTRA Foundation, American Cinematheque, The Bentonville Film Festival and more. As an entertainment host, she hosted The Black Experience on Film for Turner Classic Movies sponsored by AAFCA and various segments as a contributor for ITV, BBC, The LISTTV, The Stream Team, Fox-11 LA, Fox Soul and Good Day LA. Her reviews can be seen LIVE every week via YouTube and Facebook Live as part of her award-winning podcast The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata.