Spotlight Events feature conversations with high-profile film and television industry professionals who share helpful advice and insights on their career experiences and creative process.

Join creators and showrunners Jen Statsky and Lucia Aniello to discuss their Emmy and Golden Globe winning television show, Hacks, and how they approach writing compelling characters who often find themselves in moral gray areas.

Hacks is the story of Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a legendary grande dame of stand-up comedy whose long-running Las Vegas residency is threatened by a new vanguard of live performers, and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a twenty-something television writer whose only hope of surviving cancellation is a gig modernizing Deborah’s material. Theirs is a fraught but kinetic partnership masterminded by Jimmy (Paul W. Downs). The highly anticipated third season of the show airs on Max in May 2024.

“What makes Hacks season 3 the biggest yet is how effectively the story raises the stakes from the previous seasons. If audiences think that Deborah has run out of stories, the newest installment will prove them wrong in a heartbeat. These characters feel more real than ever as their stars reach heights they never thought possible.” - Mary Kassel, Screen Rant

Jen and Lucia focus on comedies that bring authentic female experiences to the forefront. Their credits include Broad City, Time Traveling Bong, Nora From Queens, and The Baby-Sitters Club (Aniello) and The Good Place, Parks and Rec and Lady Dynamite (Statsky).

For this Spotlight Event, Lucia and Jen will discuss how they approach character development, making secondary characters shine, depicting the climate crisis through comedy, and portraying generational dynamics.

Photo Credit: Andrew Law -- Jen Statsky is the Emmy award winning co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer of MAX's HACKS. Prior to that, she was most recently a co-executive producer on NBC’s THE GOOD PLACE, working all four seasons on the Emmy nominated show. She also served as a co-executive producer on Comedy Central’s BROAD CITY. Her other writing credits also include NBC’s PARKS AND RECREATION, Netflix’s LADY DYNAMITE, and Amazon’s FOREVER. Jen is currently under an overall deal at Universal Television. more...
Photo Credit: Ryan Pfluger -- Two-time Emmy-winner Lucia Aniello is a writer, director, producer, performer, and one half of the comedy team Paulilu with her partner, Paul W. Downs. Aniello and Downs are trailblazers who have achieved critical acclaim and commercial success over the past nine years, producing, writing, directing, and acting in comedy that brings authentic female experiences to the forefront. With BROAD CITY, TIME TRAVELING BONG, NORA FROM QUEENS, THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB, HACKS, and more, they make it a priority to showcase rarely seen characters. more...
Moderator | Digital Course & Event Producer
Erica Elson is a Producer, Writer and Educator based in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Her short film, WING NIGHT, premiered at Method Fest in Los Angeles. She is the co-author of the book THE AWKWARD HUMAN SURVIVAL GUIDE and co-hosted a podcast by the same name on the 5by5 network for five years. Elson's articles have been published by HuffPost, Lifehacker, and Reader's Digest. Prior to working in education, she worked in television development and writers’ rooms such as VH1’s HINDSIGHT, where she had the chance to write for the spinoff web series PLANET SEBASTIAN. more...

Join the Discussion