Forget the auteur theory – Hollywood is all teamwork.

And smart collaboration equals success as we proved in our inaugural year. Founders Kam Miller, Barbara Stepanksy, and Henry Lowenfels shepherded more than a dozen teams through development to help USC alumni writers, directors, and producers launch projects to Hollywood. During one quarter, USC First Team was the largest development entity in the town.

In just one year, we already have a film in post-production – Weapon starring Jean-Claude Van Damme written by Aaron Thomas. We have two other films going into pre-production. One is a comedy called The Bluff written by Dov Engelberg with director Jonathan Dillon and producer John Frank Rosenblum attached. The other is an adaptation of the Danish novel Adele written by Scott Thompson with director Hal Long attached. Several other scripts have been optioned. Another feature has been set up at Radar Pictures with Matt Charney and Adam Wilkins attached. Gotham Group is currently developing Elia Petridis’ thriller Amber. Erika Cervantes, Marcey Fructey, and Barbara Stepanksy created the comedy web series Assassins.

These projects represent just a few of the creative collaborations borne of USC First Team.

In our inaugural year, we began with 21 team projects. Fifteen of them came to fruition, and we launched them to our industry affiliates. We received 34 industry requests for those projects, giving each a boost out of the gate.

Beyond our initial teams, we believe USC First Team continues to seed the future for alumni success. Meeting other people interested in the same types of projects you’re interested in making may germinate a future project. What’s more, several First Team participants gained representation and renewed momentum for their careers.

The program

The USC First Team is a structured networking program designed to help teams of USC SCA alumni writers, directors, and producers launch film and new media projects. The leadership team shepherds teams through the development process. We then take industry-ready projects out to our industry affiliates. Some of our industry affiliates include CAA, Bona Fide Productions, FilmNation, Occupant Films, Legende Films; there are many others.

Our participants

Last year we received almost 400 applications. We selected 95 participants – approximately 30 writers, 30 directors, and 30 producers. We selected some very recent graduates just beginning their careers. We also brought on some driven, successful veterans. One of the First Team participants had won the Palme d’Or. Others had been nominated for Emmys or had multiple films screened at Sundance. The mix of recent graduates and veterans adds incredible energy to the program!


First Team is currently on hiatus.