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Rona Edwards & Monika Skerbelis

About Rona Edwards:

Graduating from California Institute of the Arts, Rona Edwards became Vice President of Creative Affairs for multiple Emmy-winner John Larroquette (Night Court), Academy-Award Winner Michael Phillips Productions (The Sting, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Taxi Driver) and Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Producer Fern Field (Monk, Heartsounds) before she was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of independent producing. As a Producer, she Co-Produced and/or Executive Produced One Special Victory (NBC) starring John Larroquette, The Companion (USA/SCI FI CHANNEL) directed by Gary Fleder, I Know What You Did (ABC) starring Rosanna Arquette, Out Of Sync (VH1) starring Gail O’Grady, and Der Morder Meiner Mutter (Sat.1/Studio Hamburg) for German television. She set up Matchmakers, a feature at Warner Bros. based upon an article she found and the movie, Blind Trust, which aired in 2007 on Lifetime television. Recently, she produced a series of movies for Lifetime based upon a book series she optioned, subtitled “Crimes of Fashion” by Ellen Byerrum. The first two books, "Killer Hair" and "Hostile Makeover," were aired on the Lifetime Movie Network in June 2009. She is also working on a number of documentaries including one with award-winning documentarian, Barbara Multer-Wellin about Military Nurses, which will examine war through the POV of nurses who were there healing the wounded, and "Unforgettable" written and directed by Eric Williams ("Mad City," "Out Of Sync"), which tells the story of his brother who has what is called hyperthymesia – the autobiographical ability to recall every day of his life. She executive produced the awarding-winning documentary, "Selling Sex In Heaven," which won the Beyond Borders award for documentary film, the juror’s award at the Big Bear Lake Film Festival, and aired on the CBC.

With Monika Skerbelis, a former VP at Universal Pictures, she teaches “Introduction to Feature Film Development” at UCLA Extension (both on campus and online) for the past ten years, as well as “Story Development Process” at Riverside Community College’s Open Campus online, and “Basic Fundamentals of Screenwriting” and “Visual Storytelling” at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Together, they wrote the critically acclaimed book, “I Liked It, Didn’t Love It (Screenplay Development From The Inside Out),” now in its 2nd edition. In addition, their new book, “Maneuvering Film Festivals” is due out next year from MWP. Edwards and Skerbelis are also the co-founders of ESE Film Workshops Online, global online classes that teach the ins and outs of the film industry. Classes include: "Creating a Production Company," "Maneuvering Film Festivals," "Screenplay Development from the Inside Out," "Finding & Developing New Ideas" and "Basic Screenwriting from the Inside Out." As a contributing writer to the Beachwood Voice, Edwards was also the newspaper’s restaurant reviewer and feature writer for 8 years. Currently, she’s a lifestyle columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger and is also a contributing writer to "Produced By" magazine, the official magazine of the Producers Guild of America. In addition, her column, “Rona’s Reel Take,” appears in the New York quarterly newspaper, "The Neworld Review," where she rants and raves about the film business.

About Monika Skerbelis:

Monika Skerbelis is in her eleventh year as the artistic & programming director for the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival and the programming director for the American Pavilion's Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. She is a co-author of the book, “I Liked It, Didn’t Love It: Screenplay Development from the Inside Out.” Ms. Skerbelis is a former Vice President of Creative and Executive Story Editor for Universal Pictures story department where she spent ten years overseeing the story department and developing a number of screenplays including "Black Dog" starring Patrick Swayze. In addition to her duties at Universal, she scoured film festivals and screenwriting competitions in search of new filmmakers. Prior to Universal, she was Story Editor for 20th Century Fox. She began her career as an assistant in the Story Department for Paramount Pictures. She co-produced the feature-length mockumentary, "Quest for the Yeti," directed by Victoria Arch. Ms. Skerbelis directed the short film, "Reel Footage: The Secret Lives of Shoes" that screened at the 2008 Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival. She was associate producer on two movies "Killer Hair" and "Hostile Makeover" based on the “Crimes of Fashion” novels by Ellen Byerrum for the Lifetime Movie Network that aired in June 2009. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

With Rona Edwards, she teaches, "Introduction to Feature Film Development," at UCLA Extension on the campus and online, and “Story Development Process in the Entertainment Industry” online for Riverside Community College. She also taught “Basic Screenwriting Fundamentals” on campus at Chapman University Dodge College of Film & Media Arts. She serves on the jury for numerous screenwriting competitions and has guest lectured at film schools, film commissions, film festivals and film organizations across the country.

Edwards & Skerbelis formed Edwards Skerbelis Entertainment (ESE) and ESE Film Workshops Online an online Film School offering 4 to 6 week classes on "Creating a Production Company," "Maneuvering Film Festivals," "Finding & Developing New Ideas" and "Feature Film Development." ESE is also developing several projects for both feature and television. In addition, via consultations, ESE assists writers and filmmakers in developing their screenplays and pitches with development notes and general career advice. Their next book, “Maneuvering Film Festivals,” is due out next year from Michael Wiese Productions.

Articles by Rona Edwards & Monika Skerbelis

Finding and Developing New Ideas

How many times have you heard someone say, "I have a great idea for a movie," and then never do anything with it? They don't remember it later or they never actually put words on paper. On top of that, there are many people who think they have a good idea for a movie - and it's really not. It all starts with the idea but there's much more to it. It's not as easy as people think. M... (read more)

Discovering Ideas in Everyday Life

Time and time again, people come up to us and pitch ideas for movies and television. Everyone thinks their story needs to be told or that they've got the greatest idea since the invention of the iPhone. But it's not just enough to have an idea. You have to see if it can go the distance. Does it have legs? Is it really a movie? Or is it just a sketch? Is there enough there to ke... (read more)