2019 Master Class: Your Book into Film (Afternoon)


A writing workshop on adapting stories into film and television scripts, with Ken Sherman and Jim Abell.

4 Afternoons:  Monday 11/4 – Thursday 11/7, 1:30-4:30pm

A $100 combination discount will be applied when registering for the conference at the same time.

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Your Book into Film

with Ken Sherman & Jim Abell


Ken has made a career of adapting books for successful films and TV shows. Today with the rise of Netflix, Amazon and others, the opportunities to take your book to the screen are both greater and more complex than ever. In this class, Ken will draw upon a multitude of examples showing what worked, what didn’t, and the reasons—often subtle and non-obvious—for both. He will ask students to provide excerpts from their own writing and examine them in class, focusing on their potential for film and TV and what you can do to improve it.

Jim Abell is a legendary writer of comedies for TV. He has written for Lily Tomlin, Phyllis Diller, and Rowan and Martin, among others. He will present eye-opening stories about how he made his way into this exclusive club, and offer insider insights into what it takes to write and adapt material for TV. These days, TV has vastly expanded its scope to include platforms such at Amazon, Netflix and others. Some of the best cinematic writing is now created not just for movies but for the new world of television. Jim will naturally also focus on bringing humor into your work. 

Topics will include:

  • How to optimize your book for the screen
  • What the studios are looking for
  • Best points of entry for a writer hoping for success in film and TV
  • Successes that came from following rules and from breaking rules



Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company was established in 1989, and handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights.

An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker, having taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he just received a lifetime achievement award.

Ken teaches his course, “The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and the Publishing Worlds,” at both USC and UCLA. He also co-taught a screenwriting class for many years at the Eugene International Film Festival. He serves as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner for the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles (BAFTA), and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Science and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.


Jim Abell is a comedy writer of some of the most popular television ever written. As a staff writer for two seasons of LAUGH-IN, Jim made people crack up not only all over America, but on Canadian, English, Australian, German and Japanese TV. Paramount / ABC ’sLOVE, AMERICAN STYLE hired Jim and CHET DOWLING to write the blackouts that fit betweenthe stories.

Jim was hired to write the pilot for BLACK OMNIBUS hosted by JAMES EARL JONES, and insisted the series needed a Black writer tofor the variety series, and hired LEROY ROBINSON to write with him. The pilot sold and Robinson continued on as the series head writer. In all, Jim has written over a hundred hours of PRIMETIME SPECIALS, PILOTS and SERIES for NBC, ABC and CBS.

JIM ABELL has been nominated for AN EMMY AWARD for writing LAUGH-IN, which received the EMMY AWARD for BEST COMEDY, MUSIC OR VARIETY SERIES. Jim has also received the WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA “101 BEST TELEVISION

Jim looks forward to helping writers create a comedic element to their projects, when appropriate.