Power of Story: "In The Beginning . . ."

Writers may not always have the last word, but they do have the first. Whether it’s theatre, film, or television, the power of a story begins with the vision of a writer, a blank page, and a world of limitless possibility. We’ve invited a distinguished group of writers to explore the mystique of the creative process and how ideas travel from the brain to the page, and to share some of the work they admire.

Stephen Gaghan is an Academy Award–winning writer and director whose feature-film work includes Traffic and Syriana, which he also directed. His production company, Unsupervised, has many film and television projects in development.

Caryn James (moderator) is a film and television critic who writes the “James on screenS” blog for IndieWire.com. Previously, she was film critic and chief television critic for The New York Times and authored the novels Glorie and What Caroline Knew.

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright, best recognized for her roles in The West Wing and, currently, Nurse Jackie. She is credited with creating a new form of theatre—part docudrama, part poetic—in work such as Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, and Let Me Down Easy. She is a professor at New York University.

Andrew Stanton is an Academy Award–winning writer and director best known for his groundbreaking animation films, including Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and WALL•E. He currently serves as vice president of creative for Pixar Animation Studios, which he joined in 1990 as one of its earliest employees.

Terence Winter is the creator and executive producer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Formerly a writer and executive producer of The Sopranos, he is currently developing an HBO series set in the world of rock music in the 1970s as well as writing a feature film about gangster Whitey Bulger.


Caryn James
Anna Deavere Smith
Andrew Stanton
Stephen Gaghan
Terence Winter
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