Seriesfest Announces Finalists Of “Storytellers Initiative,” Annual TV Festival’s Effort To Empower and Mentor Emerging Comedy Writers

Industry Creatives Participating in Two Day Mentoring Event Are Ed Lee, Scotty Landes, Claire Epstein, Stacy Rukeyser, and Ben York Jones

Denver, CO-April 26, 2018—SeriesFest, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to showcasing the best and boldest emerging voices in television, in partnership with Elysium Bandini Studios and Parallel Entertainment, personal management company, today announced the three finalists of this year’s “Storyteller Initiative,” a program created to discover original comedy writers. They are: Juiciful, written by Courtney Bush, Jake Goicoechea and Will Carrington; Volunteered, written by Paige VanTassell; and Coupled, written by Janet Silverman.

All three finalists will participate this week in a two-day workshop in Los Angeles, meant to encourage growth in their craft and the opportunity to hone skills like the art of the pitch; get first-hand accounts of what it takes to run a writer’s room; and the chance to spend one on one time learning about the industry rules of the road. Industry creatives taking part in the workshop are Ed Lee (Emerson College, The Drew Carey Show),Scotty Landes (Workaholics, Adam Devine's House Party),Claire Epstein (Storytellers Initiative Season 2 Winner), Stacy Rukeyser (UnReal), andBen York Jones (Everything Sucks).

Writers of the winning project, announced in late May, will receive an exclusive first look development deal with the presenting partners, a professionally produced pilot presentation valued at $60,000 and will be flown to Denver for Season Four of SeriesFest (June 22-27) to participate in a “Storytellers Initiative” live read event. Season Three winner, Jack Robichaud’s You from the Future, is currently in preproduction and will shoot in Los Angeles this June.

The finalists include:

Pilot: JUICIFUL; Written by Courtney Bush, Jake Goicoechea, Will Carrington (Based in NYC)

When a group of outcast LGBTQ teens working summer jobs at a juice shop accidentally curse their town, they must embark on a journey to undo the damage – and solve the mystery of the magic’s origin – before it’s too late.

Courtney Bush, Will Carington, and Jake Goicoechea met as students at NYU. Since graduating in 2012, they’ve worked together as writing partners on a variety of comedy shorts and web series under the moniker Doormat Productions. Their first web series, Getting Big, was featured on Splitsider’s list of “5 Best New Web Series You Almost Definitely Haven’t Seen,” and their first short film, Marilyn Monroe’s School for French Girls was featured on NoBudge and at the 2016 Nitehawk ShortsFest. Their latest short, Kim Bush’s Abduction, recently premiered at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. Courtney is originally from Gulfport, Mississippi, and completed her MFA in poetry at Brooklyn College in 2016. Will is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and Jake is from Boise, Idaho. All three currently live in Brooklyn.

Pilot: VOLUNTEERED; Written by Paige VanTassell (Based in LA)

When the outspoken, independent, and slightly criminal Frankie Walker begins her mandatory volunteer work at the local community center, she’ll find what she never expected – a family. To whom she’ll introduce the joyous benefits of lawbreaking.

In college, Paige VanTassell convinced herself that her great love of the TV series “Scrubs” meant that she should become a doctor. Three years and two semesters of organic chemistry later, she realized that she just really liked television. Since then, Paige has studied television writing and has worked on and off set on multiple film and TV projects. Her spec script for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was a finalist at the Cinestory Foundation competition, and her sitcom pilot was a semi-finalist at the 2017 Austin Film Festival. She currently studies improv at Upright Citizens Brigade and works as a Writers’ Production Assistant for Shooter.

Pilot: COUPLED; Written by Janet Silverman (Based in NYC)

Single Leah knows who she is and embraces it with gusto. But when she finds herself in a great relationship, Single Leah needs to figure out what it means to shed her single status and still be Leah.

Janet Silverman is a New York based writer and performer. She is a proud member of the UCBTNY house sketch team Nipsey and her two-woman show “Urgent Care” ran at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for six months in 2017 with additional performances in Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, and LA. She can also be found in various videos floating around the interwebs including the viral “Janet Looks at 89 Dicks.”

“Storytellers Initiative’ exemplifies exactly what SeriesFest is all about, cultivating new voices and providing actual opportunities to be seen,” comments Kaily Smith Westbrook, CCO. “We’re thrilled to partner again with Elysium Bandini Studios and Parallel Entertainment to offer this incredible opportunity to an emerging talent.”


The award-winning international television festival SeriesFest ( has become a must-attend destination event for entertainment industry leaders and fans alike since its launch in 2014. Season four of the Denver, Colorado-based festival returns June 22-27, 2018. A celebration of compelling and creative content, SeriesFest is a global marketplace and community for creators, industry professionals and audiences. At a time when television is expanding and evolving like never before, the festival provides an opportunity to showcase a diverse range of original programming. This year’s festival will celebrate “The Year of Impact” with a musical performance and network premiere at the unique Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and six full days of in-competition screenings (categories include “Independent Pilot,” “Digital Short Series,” and “Late Night”), panels, workshops, as well as never-before-seen sneak peeks and television premieres. The full schedule will be announced in May; passes are available now.


Elysium Bandini Studios (Elysium Bandini Studios) is a philanthropic film studio and video streaming platform featuring films, documentaries and interviews to raise funds and awareness in support of young artists and filmmakers as well as The Art of Elysium’s charitable programs. EBS was launched by founder, Jennifer Howell, who partnered with Tom Franco and Rain Phoenix to assist EBS in offering curated content that combines emerging filmmakers with all-star talent.


In 1992, CEO J.P. Williams Founded Parallel (Parallel Entertainment) as a personal management company and launched the celebrated Blue Collar Comedy Tour franchise, featuring comedians Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Ron White. Today Parallel is one of the most successful talent management, music publishing and production companies in the entertainment business.