TV writing fellowships are a fantastic way for writers outside L.A. and New York to get a foot in the door in the entertainment industry, but these prestigious fellowships are extremely competitive and come with rigorous application processes. Minnesota writers Troy Kelly (2023 Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop) and Naomi Ko (2022 Sundance Institute Episodic Lab) share their experiences as recent fellows and provide tips for best practices in creating a successful application package in a conversation moderated by Matt Young (CW’s KUNG FU, NBC’s BLINDSPOT, 2017 Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop, 2014 Sundance Episodic Story Lab).
Troy Kelly is a gay forensic psychologist-turned-TV drama writer. He attended thirteen schools across four states before high school graduation – the frequent moves forced by his violent, drug-dealing father’s criminal activity. Despite his…unique childhood, Troy earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and practiced as a forensic psychologist, specializing in violent offenders, psychopaths, and interrogations. He is also a certified psychological autopsy investigator and has attained an advanced professional credential in investigative psychology. He’s testified as an expert witness in more than 30 cases across state and federal jurisdictions, his work bringing him to the darkest corners of the human psyche – from murder-for-hire plots to false confessions to sexually violent predators and everything in between.
Troy writes dark, emotionally-driven dramas about flawed protagonists with complicated relationships and unresolved traumas who overcome impossible obstacles and do whatever it takes to survive. He is an alum of the Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop (2023) and represented by Marathon Management.
Naomi Ko is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, actor, comedian, and cultural producer. Her indie pilot presentation, Nice, was an official selection at Tribeca Film Festival. Nice was described as “darkly funny, moving and whip smart” and critics applauded Naomi’s writing and performance as Teddy. She’s featured on The Mortified Guide on Netflix and sold TV & film projects to Warner Bros. and more. Naomi has also won multiple grants and fellowships for her film, writing, acting, and theater work including Sundance Institute’s Art of Practice Fellowship (IDP), the McKnight Media Arts Fellowship, and the inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship.
Naomi is currently developing her one-woman show, The 20-Year Curse. The TV adaptation of this show was selected for the 2022 Sundance Episodic Lab and the 2023 Sundance Pitch Parlor. She is also a Sundance Institute Women to Watch x Adobe Fellow and a Sundance Asian American Fellow.
Matt Young is a writer and producer whose recent credits include KUNG FU on the CW and BLINDSPOT on NBC. An alum of both the Sundance Episodic Story Lab and the Warner Bros. Television Writers Workshop, Matt has also written feature scripts for Netflix, Warner Bros./Stage 13, MarVista Entertainment, the Germany-based Rat Pack Filmproduktion, and he was a guest writer on Season Two of the Alan Tudyk/Nathan Fillion-produced SyFy comedy show CON MAN. In addition to screenwriting, he regularly creates content for Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games, and is a key contributor to a book of 500 D&D monsters that’s coming out later this year. Matt is a father and husband, a banjo-picker, an improv comedian, and an avid tabletop gamer.