A Conversation with Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil

Date: Sunday, 6/11

For nearly 20 years, producers, collaborators, and spouses Mara-Brock Akil and Salim Akil have brought their unique points of view to iconic series like Girlfriends, The Game, and Being Mary Jane, culminating in the creation of their own creative brand: Akil Productions. Now, join us for a one-on-one conversation with Mara and Salim as they discuss their partnership as writer/director (respectively), the creative voice and direction behind Akil Productions, and their new CW series DC Comics’ Black Lightning.

Panelists: Mara Brock Akil (Writer/Creator/EP), Salim Akil (Director/EP)
Moderator: Sarah Rodman (LA Times)

TV Mixtapes: The Ultimate Playlist

Date: Saturday, 6/10

In the age of too-many-shows-and-not-enough-time, a distinct musical language can be the make or break element that sets a series apart and strikes a lingering note with viewers. When creating a “world” and “setting the tone,” it starts with the music supervisor and creator and expands from there. What’s the secret to crafting the perfect TV mixtape — one that lends page & screen to ear & emotion, and keeps viewers thinking about a show long after an episode ends? Join us for an in-depth look at the delicate (and often powerful connection) between the right song and the right scene, and the creative collaboration between producers & the music supervisors who craft the sound of their show.

Panelists:  Maggie Phillips & Dave Andron (Snowfall), Liza Richardson & David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), Justin Simien (Dear White People)
Moderator: Michael Schneider (IndieWire)

From SNICK to Splat: Where Kids are King

From SNICK to Splat: Where Kids are King

Date: Friday, 6/9

In the ’90s, Nickelodeon broke unprecedented ground for children’s entertainment with an innovative slate of sitcoms, game shows, and animated series.  Unlike any other channel, kids could turn on the TV and see themselves in the center of it all.

With NickSplat, home to the first generation of iconic Nickelodeon hits, we revisit summers spent at Bar None and Camp Anawanna, and the crazy adventures of Pete & Pete.  Join the writers, creators, and cast members for an in-depth look at their experiences behind the scenes of these beloved shows.

Panelists: Graham Yost (Writer, Hey Dude), David Lascher (Cast, Hey Dude), Kelly Brown (Cast, Hey Dude), Steve Slavkin (Creator, Salute Your Shorts), Danny Cooksey (Cast, Salute Your Shorts), Chris Viscardi (Creator, The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Danny Tamberelli (Cast, The Adventures of Pete & Pete), Michael C. Maronna (Cast, The Adventures of Pete & Pete)
Moderator: Leanne Aguilera (Entertainment Tonight)

Welcome to TV Camp for Grown Ups!

Date: Thursday, 6/8

ATX Alums & Staff share their tips, tricks, and breakfast taco recommendations for getting through the festival. Whether you’re a first-timer or ATX pro, join us (and some special guests) to help kick off Season 6!

Panelists: TBA
Moderators: Caitlin McFarland, Emily Gipson

The Bloodworth Bunch: Southern Charmers

Date: Sunday, 6/11

Television producer, writer and creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has penned over 350 comedic episodes, and in the process, earned a reputation as the voice of smart, Southern humor on television. From the legendary Sugarbaker women of Atlanta (Designing Women), to the critically lauded small-town characters of Evening Shade to the darkly hilarious political comedy Hearts Afire, and even the Texas women of 12 Miles of Bad Road that never made it to air, Bloodworth-Thomason and team have fearlessly tackled misogyny, racism, political correctness, domestic violence, mental illness, AIDS, homophobia, elitism and regionalism, while delivering it with sophisticated charm. Join an expansive conversation on these series’, the Southern identity, and the current state of culture, politics, and art on TV.

Panelists: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Writer/Creator/EP), Harry Thomason (Director/EP); Cast: Marilu Henner, Markie Post, Kim Dickens
Moderator: Bill Keith (Entertainment Weekly)

Lived In: A Look at the Family Drama

Date: Friday, 6/9

While it may come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the concept of ’family’ is undeniably universal — which is why it so often finds itself central to many of TV’s most compelling and emotional series. The creatives behind some of the most memorable modern family dramas discuss the process of shaping these familial relationships, how they are inherently complicated, and why they believe week after week (or all at once) audiences invest in the struggles, successes, and tragedies of these fictional families.

Panelists: David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights), Michael Rauch (Royal Pains), Anna Fricke (Everwood), Paul Garnes (Queen Sugar), Mitchell Burgess (Blue Bloods), Robin Green (Blue Bloods)
Moderator: Sarah Rodman (LA Times)

Understanding the Enemy

Date: Saturday, 6/10

A common element of humanity that spans generations of social and cultural interactions, and is deeply embedded in our DNA, is the concept of the “enemy” (or the “other”) that we all must face. Whether it is external or internal, this conflict continues to grip us as we explore the meaning of our own enemy: what it means to be one, to have one, and ultimately, understand and see the “other” as human. These writers discuss the questions they’re forced to confront in crafting “both sides” of a story, exploring human and character motivations in creating understanding, challenging notions of “good” and “bad,” and how they have to abandon (or reconsider) preconceived notions of “who” is the enemy.

Panelists: Joe Weisberg (The Americans), Joel Fields (The Americans), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Graham Yost (Sneaky Pete)
Moderator: Eric Goldman (IGN)

A Showrunner Defined

Date: Sunday, 6/11

the person who has overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program.

Despite a clear and succinct definition, the job is anything but concise. Every series is run differently, and every job has a new set of perks and challenges. Listen as this group of showrunners have an in-depth discussion with one another on what their job actually is, swapping stories, asking each other for advice, and giving insight into the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Panelists: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (The Carmichael Show), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman), Bob Daily (Superior Donuts), Tracey Wigfield (Great News), Greg Garcia (The Guest Book)
Moderator: Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries)

Directors & Showrunners: A Collaboration

Date: Friday, 6/9

You’ve heard it before, “Film is a director’s medium,” clearly implying TV belongs to the writer. While that statement can easily be debated, it is undoubtedly true that the showrunner is at the helm, and an episodic director must follow his or her lead. As different directors tackle single episodes or an entire series, a strong relationship between these two entities is crucial in maintaining a cohesive and dynamic vision of the storytelling. Join these showrunner + director pairs, who have worked together across multiple episodes, as they discuss the challenges of collaborating across a season of stories, establishing trust, and what occurs when opinions collide.

Panelists: Kevin Falls & Paris Barclay (Pitch), Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields & Thomas Schlamme (The Americans), Dave Andron
Moderator: Kat Candler (Queen Sugar)