Panelists Provide a Look Into Finding Success as a Writer in the Television Industry at “Women of Co

Story posted April 12, 2023 in CommRadio, News by Cassie Baylis

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Bellisario College of Communications hosted four writers to speak on their experiences finding success in the television industry at the “Women of Color in Hollywood" panel event in the HUB on April 10.

Yasemin Yilmaz, Laura Nava, Cori Uchida and Adam Lash, discussed the importance of staying persistent, having a diverse story and finding worthiness as someone desiring to break through as a screenwriter with Kamran Pasha leading the conversation.

“My journey has been now to find that within myself,” Laura Nava said in reference to feeling “imposter syndrome” in the industry as a woman of color. “To remind myself I am good, I do have talent, I am worthy of this position…”

Nava is a writer on the upcoming Netflix series “Ransom Canyon” and previously worked on the Golden Globe-nominated Hulu show “Casual.”

“Starting as a writer’s assistant and discovering her desire to write has caused a sense of often wondering if she’s in the right place,” Nava said.

Insecurity in the writing room is not a worry faced by Nava alone, as this topic led to various pieces of insight the panelists sprinkled throughout the event. More notably, the advice to persist even when kicked down.

“Not every idea is going to land, but you’re better off putting your idea out there because you don’t know what it can spark,” Cori Uchida said, current co-executive producer of “The Company You Keep.”

Yasemin Yilmaz, co-executive producer for “NCIS,” concurred with Uchida and went on to explain the true fear ignited during someone’s first time in the writer’s room.

“Being able to follow all of that [pivoting from one story idea to another], if you’re not used to being in that setting, can be very daunting,” Yilmaz said.

Yilmaz, along with the other people present on the panel, made an effort to explain the beginning stages of one’s path in the industry until they find success to benefit the film students attending the event.

Continuing to show up day after day makes it easier to be in that initially daunting setting, said Yilmaz.

“Each of them has their own individual experiences, they’re all diverse,” Elissa Johnson said, a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism.

The featured writers described unique journeys leading them to their writing careers, and they were adamant about the industry seeking out writers with interesting stories to tell.

“Your life experience is your superpower,” Nava said.

There was a consistent message of utilizing life experiences to one’s advantage, and not letting a lack of experience in writing affect a person’s mindset.

“The only regret you’ll take away, if you really love this, is not at least giving it a shot,” Lash said.

Even with the ups and downs of each of their paths, the panelists did not express that journey is not worth it. They provided encouragement to the students present and explained it just takes a persistent mindset.

Cassie Baylis is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email